Wednesday, January 14, 2009

King Crimson, "Frame by Frame" (1982)

One of my two or three favorite tracks by the '80s version of King Crimson--the videos from earlier lineups aren't very good, urrelse I'd hasten me to them.

Generally I ride for the 1972-1974 Crimson (Robert Fripp, guitar/keyboards; John Wetton, bass; David Cross, violin/keyboards; Bill Bruford, drums) above all other incarnations; if you haven't got Larks Tongues' in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, or Red, you have some immediate homework to do ... and actually, come to think of it, I suppose I prefer the different groups that made the first three KC records, In the Court of the Crimson King, In the Wake of Poseidon, and Lizard, as well (variously including Ian MacDonald or Mel Collins on reeds, Greg Lake or Peter Giles on bass, the brilliant British free-jazzer Keith Tippett on piano, Michael Giles or Andy McCullough on drums, and the fantastic horn section of oboist Robin Miller, trombonist Nick Evans, and cornetist Marc Charig).

That said, the early '80s KC represented the tenor of its time and place in a unique way: Fripp had been living in the U.S. since the late '70s, working on future-paranoid projects including his own Exposure and Peter Gabriel's first three solo records, and his plans to form a group with bassist Tony Levin and guitarist Adrian Belew metamorphosed when Bill Bruford joined up again and he decided to reincarnate the King Crimson "idea" (he's always referred to KC as more an interpretive and creative construct than a "band" as such). Heavily into the artier end of the new wave spectrum, Balinese gamelan, and the rhythmic experiments that had informed earlier compositions like "Fracture" and "Larks' Tongues," Fripp molded the group into a sort of neurotic, heavily urban Indonesian art-funk ensemble. Twitch thee twitch thee.

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