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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 2234 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars If progressive rock is supposed to be a mix of rock, jazz and concert hall music, then this album should be the poster child for the genre. I have heard that Fripp more or less disowns this album, which is a shame because I think it is one of the finest works he has ever produced. Anyway, Fripp is not the only star on this totally unique record, Keith Tippet, Mel Collins and Andy McCullough should also get a lot of credit for helping shape these songs.

If I had to pick a typical King Crimson song from any of their albums it would be this album's opener, "Cirkus", right down to the " is it modern or medevial" fake spelling. The song alternates uneasy psychedelic folk with spacey jazz while the lyrics deal with a paranoid nightmarish reaction to what is a fun occaison for most others. The song ends with an atonal march into madness similar to the ending of "I am the Walrus".

"Indoor Games" and "Happy Family" are both great funny avant-pop tunes from a distant future that will never happen. Both songs mix psychedelic pop with lounge exotica and free jazz and always sound new and modern in any era. The much maligned Pete Sinfield writes some of his best sarcastic lyrics on "Happy Family", which is a send-up of the Beatle's over publicized personal problems.

"The Battle of Glass Tears", towards the end of the second side, is where it all falls into place. It is on this piece that Fripp pulls the jazz, rock and concert hall influences all together. First of all. to his credit, Fripp does not look too far in the past for his influence from serious composers. A lot of his inspiration on this section comes from 20th century composers such as Bartok and Stravinsky. I don't think it is particularly "progressive" to take some antiquated musical qoute from the 18th century and stick it next to some mediocre rock and think you have somehow improved rock music by doing so. Unfortunately a lot of artists who pretty much do that get credit for being "progressive".

Anyway, what Fripp does on this section is take musical themes that build and contrast with each other, weaving them in and out till it all hits a bursting point. This is the essence of concert hall music. On top of this tightly wound compostion the horn players spit out their chaotic solos, and it is all done with a rock sound and energy. It is the perfect blend of all three elements.

Easy Money | 5/5 |


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