King Crimson

Collectors' King Crimson, Vol. 6

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This box set contains three consecutive volumes from the King Crimson Collector's Club: Projekct Two: Live in Northampton, MA July 1, 1998, Live in Detroit, MI 1971, and Live in Nashville, TN. The first disc features instrumental improvisations from ProjeKct Two -- the second fraKctilization of the double-trio -- consisting of Robert Fripp (guitar), Adrian Belew (V-drums), and Trey Gunn (touch guitar/talker), captured in performance in Northampton, MA, at the Pearl Street Club on July 1, 1998. This combo is fuelled by some of the most chilling soundscape techniques and patterns Fripp has incorporated into any of his recordings. The various "Vector Shifts" act as bridges as well as textural indicators of things to come. Belew relegates himself to a decidedly more percussive role in this context and Fripp's unmistakably pungent solo guitar lines weave hypnotically throughout the intricately funky double- and triple-time signatures of "X-Chayn-JiZ." Belew's incorporation of the electronic or "virtual" drums is often more akin to the Synclavier compositions and performances of Frank Zappa than an over-clocked Casio keyboard. Using a pastiche of sound effects and sampled percussive beats, his unrelenting electro rhythms propel Fripp and Gunn into startling sonic topography during the preamble of "Light ConstruKction" and the denser and seething "Heavy ConstruKction." Next up are portions of a 90-minute live King Crimson set derived from the East Towne Theater in Detroit, MI, on November 11, 1971. The band embarked upon their fall 1971 North American tour in support of the Islands album -- which was still a month away from release at the time of this show. This mini-tour would be the last to involve founding member Peter Sinfield. His work with the band included significant lyrical contributions in the studio, as well as their sound and lights on the road. The Islands-era track "Formentera Lady" and instrumental counterpart "Sailor's Tale" are of particular note, as the loose structure encourages primal contributions from Robert Fripp (guitar) and Ian Wallace(drums). Their clever timing and cacophonous exchanges raise the stakes higher and higher until they become buried in a sonic tidal wave of white noise from a VCS3 synthesizer manipulated off-stage by Sinfield. The 12-bar blues reading of "In the Court of the Crimson King" is unfathomable until heard. Additionally, Fripp and Wallace's on-stage banter before the encore reveals a few witty gems. The quality of the mixing-desk [read: soundboard] tape is remarkable for its time. Finally, Live in Nashville, TN features the talents of Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals), Robert Fripp (guitar), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar), and Pat Mastelotto (percussion). The band is captured here during the opening performances of the Level Five North America tour, which took place in November and December of 2001. The standard practice and methodology of recording an album first and then touring to support it has been abandoned in favor of what Belew calls "risky listening," which involves working through new material in front of a live audience night after night prior to taking it into the studio. Although the tour's typical 90-minute performance has been truncated to necessitate a single CD, the track list for Live in Nashville, TN accurately represents the resonant fusion of road-tested warhorses such as "Red" and "Thela Hun Ginjeet" as well as the debut performance of the instrumental "eleKtriK." Indeed, it is a glowing testament to the astounding musicality and discipline of this unit to be able to pull off a challenging endeavor with such aplomb. This is especially evident when considering that this 21st century schizoid band is as musically informed by cutting-edge industrial artists Rammstein or Tool. The Collectors' King Crimson box sets are specifically designed for the Australian market and have been slightly edited with respect to each title's mail-order configurations. As such, the partial "Lady of the Dancing Water" from Live in Detroit, MI 1971 and "Red" off of Live in Nashville, TN have been excised for use in this volume.

blue highlight denotes track pick