See King Crimson Live On Tour

See King Crimson Live On Tour

Wesley MurchisonThursday,12 June 2014

The Snap:

King Crimson occupies both a space of obscurity and reverence in the annals of rock. The once seminal icons of prog rock have shown that experimentation need not be a hallmark of one’s music but of one’s career, as well. That’s why a surprise to the reunion tour is a surprise itself.

But alas, any band, even one as renowned as King Crimson, can’t withstand the passage of time. They disbanded in 2009 and by all appearances it looked final. Yet in classic form they’ve returned by announcing firm dates and hints of more to come.

Before the first show kicks off in Albany, New York on September 9th at The Egg, you can get a listen by streaming many of their tune. Or for a proper introduction, order an album through Amazon.

The Download:

The source of founder and guitarist Robert Fripps’ problems leading King Crimson was his inability to settle. He’s a musician’s musician, a purist. He wants to focus on music and let only the business side of running a band aid in that endeavor, not supplant it.

His opinions on the matter read like excerpts from an unwritten manifesto. “The greater the success, the greater the pressure to keep repeating yourself,” he said to the Financial Times. And there’s nothing more sacrosanct to a prog rocker than repetition. Otherwise, what’s all the experimenting for?

To write a concise description of King Crimson’s oeuvre is a futile undertaking. They’ve released 3 EPs, 12 studio albums, 15 live albums and over 30 so-called King Crimson Collector’s Club albums. Unfortunately, the on again, off again legends are still mostly riding the success of their contributions made during the 70s with a few notable exceptions — think Bob Dylan post Blonde on Blonde or Beck after Sea Change.

Devoted King Crimson fans would suggest listening to their 1969 debut album In the Court of the Crimson King, and rightfully so. However, their defining traits are most aptly showcased in their mid-70 releases Larks’ Tongues in Aspic and Red. The latter album displayed their instrumental skills and former explored the limits of non-jam band experimentation, though it often borders on sound art. After the 1995 released Thrak, the rest of the albums generally wane, invoking nostalgia for the past.

The brilliance of King Crimson’s music is the feeling that you are experiencing something new that’s completely devoid of novelty. That’s why the band as been sampled by Kanye West, covered by The Flaming Lips and honored by Tool front man James Maynard Keenes as a major influence. Give a listen and see if you can hear any impact King Crimson has made on today’s music.

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Hat Tips:

Ticketmaster, Uncut, The Egg, GrooveShark, Financial Times, Rolling StoneDiscipline Global Mobile, DiscogsWikipedia, YouTube, Image Credit: Flickr

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