The Discipline Global Mobile Collectors Club is a series of recordings featuring King Crimson in various forms throughout the band's history. Volume one, Live at the Marquee, 1969 is an apt inauguration featuring the original quintet. Materials used for Collectors Club releases range from complete professional multi-track recordings to tapes made by surreptitious enthusiasts. In addition, both studio outtakes and previously unreleased live performances are being issued -- offering a unique opportunity to hear works in progress. The precise date of the show on this disc is debatable. According to guitarist Robert Fripp's liner notes, "th[is] audience recording is rumoured to be of Sunday 6th, July. I am unable to confirm that, but it does sound and feel to me like Crimso (sic) at the Marquee." The venerable venue -- located on Wardour Street in London -- hosted the band on Sunday evenings throughout the summer of 1969. This single-disc volume includes key tracks from the group's groundbreaking and genre-defining In the Court of the Crimson King, as well as works performed exclusively by this incarnation of King Crimson. "Trees" -- a track which was never realized on record by the band -- is from an amateur recording made at Fairfield Hall in Croydon on October 17, 1969. Despite that portions of this show had been circulating among enthusiasts for decades, the sound on this volume is infinitely clearer than all prior versions. This is achieved by the advent of computer-based sonic manipulation. The general net result of these improvements yields uncompromising sound from less than stellar source tapes. Considering the late-‘60s amateur recordings from which this volume originates, the improvements realized are all the more striking. As with every version of King Crimson to have graced a stage, the 1969 congregate unleashes a sonically symbiotic assault, the power of which is arguably unparalleled. Upon their initiation, King Crimson consisted of guitarist Robert Fripp, woodwind and keyboardist Ian McDonald, bassist Greg Lake, percussionist Michael Giles, and illuminations (light show) by lyricist Peter Sinfield. This band, featured on Live at the Marquee, 1969 is clearly rewriting the conventions -- as well as the future expectations -- of live rock & roll. Prior to King Crimson, there were few amplified rock bands who could meet or exceed the impact of their studio-sweetened recordings in person as well as on stage. The raw and randy nature on this recording adds a dark and brooding intensity to the tracks "21st Century Schizoid Man" and "Epitaph." In contrast, however, the rarely performed "I Talk to the Wind" momentarily sheds the weight and floats about unfettered. The version of Holst's "Mars" heard here is an amazing aural glimpse into a work in progress. A studio version is on King Crimson's second LP, In the Wake of Poseidon. "Trees" is the dark horse of this collection. It brilliantly illustrates the improvisational skills of this unit around a haunting Greg Lake vocal. Unfortunately, at points during this track, the fidelity borders on unacceptable. Generally, however, once your ears have acclimated, hold on as the ride gets pretty intense. Accompanying the disc is a 24-page liner notes booklet, containing relevant memorabilia from bandmembers' personal collections. In addition, there are selections from Robert Fripp's professional diary. The Discipline Global Mobile Collectors Club provides the opportunity for members to purchase volumes from its catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer