Saturday, January 13, 2018
King Crimson - 1974  "Red"
Tours in 1974 had seen King Crimson's musical approach becoming louder and more brutal, an approach primarily driven by bass player John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford (guitarist and group leader Robert Fripp once compared their powerful playing to "a flying brick wall"). This had the effect of drowning out the band's fourth member, violinist and occasional keyboard player David Cross, and led to tension within the band. Deemed not strong enough as a musical personality, Cross was ejected from King Crimson after the end of its tour in summer 1974, reducing the group to the trio of Fripp, Wetton and Bruford. Having already begun to record Red with Cross, King Crimson finished the album with the help of former band-members Ian McDonald and Mel Collins.
While musically similar to its predecessor Starless and Bible Black, Red was produced very differently from previous King Crimson albums. For instance, while the acoustic guitar features prominently in previous releases, on Red it is heard only for a few bars in "Fallen Angel". Also, unlike previous King Crimson albums, Red features extensive use of guitar overdubs. Later albums lacked acoustic guitar entirely and reverted to a minimum of overdubs (perhaps partly because every lineup of the band after this included two guitarists).
During the recording process, Fripp decided to take a "backseat" from the sessions' decision making. Although plans were considered to add McDonald to the lineup again for the next tour, Fripp abruptly disbanded King Crimson on 24 September 1974, and the album was released the following month with no accompanying tour.
The last hurrah of a group in its death throes, King Crimson's Red is perhaps the ill-fated 1972-74 lineup's masterpiece: a document of the band as they really were. Pressed for time and at the climax of growing tension amongst the members, Red is the flare of brilliance before collapsing into the void, a group that would not play together again for seven years and were forever changed.
The five-man arsenal that comprised the group heard on Larks' Tongues In Aspic had dwindled down to the core of vocalist/bassist John Wetton, drummer Bill Bruford, and lead guitarist/ringleader Robert Fripp - mad percussionist Jamie Muir had left after that album to join a Buddhist monastery, and strings virtuoso David Cross officially departed before the recording of the album but agreed to contribute what he could to the sessions. Stricken with five tunes to commit to tape and an entire LP to fill, the members of KC besieged alumni, old friends, and session musicians with requests of aid. Several excellent musicians make guest appearances on Red, although the lineup is not consistent: consequentially, the album has an unfinished, thrown-together feel. Still, this is the culmination of the first era of Crimson: well-written song structures, free jams, and instrumental virtuosity all play a role here.
1. Red (6:20)
2. Fallen Angel (6:00)
3. One More Red Nightmare (7:04)
4. Providence (8:08) *
5. Starless (12:18)
Robert Fripp – guitar, mellotron
John Wetton – bass, vocals, lyrics on "One More Red Nightmare" and "Starless"
Bill Bruford – drums, percussion
Former King Crimson personnel:
David Cross – violin on "Providence”
Mel Collins – soprano saxophone on "Starless"
Ian McDonald – alto saxophone on "One More Red Nightmare" and "Starless"
Mark Charig – cornet on "Fallen Angel",
Robin Miller – oboe on "Fallen Angel"
Uncredited musician – cello on "Red"
Uncredited musician – cello on "Starless"
Richard Palmer-James – lyrics on "Fallen Angel" and "Starless"
Posted by Crimhead420 at 1:19 PM