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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2287 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

LARKSTONGUE
4 stars This album evokes a sense of tremendous sadness but also a sense of closure in this reviewer. Interestingly, it suggests new beginnings. The fact that Ian McDonald appears on this recording signifies, in some ways, a promise of reconciliation and in some ways, indications that a more human side of Fripp is beginning to emerge. Similarly with the return of Mel Collins on this set. The return of key members of the Keith Tippett Group (Mark Charig and Robin Miller) suggest as-yet unresolved jazz inclinations though the context of their play on this recording is strikingly different than the Lizard and Islands records on which they previously appeared. The fact that David Cross appears as a session player on this recording even though he had left the band also suggests that on a personal level, Fripp might be toning it down a bit. Not so with the music. This is a heavy, dark and intense record." Red" is a thick instrumental featuring a chromatic guitar riff, booming base and crashing drums. The middle section is an eery modal melody carried on Wetton's bass. It sounds supernatural and sinister- absolutely magical. It could play in a horror movie or in Hell. The title "Fallen Angel" suggests that you may really be in Hell. It features a nice melody but the high notes are too high for Wetton who sounds strained and thin on the vocals. It is really a good thing, then, that his bass playing as well as the guitar playing of Fripp and Bruford's drums more than make up for the shortcoming of the vocals. The sidemen do a nice job with adding additional atmosphere to the track. "One More Red Nightmare" features a grooving intraductory bass line by Wetton and a nice bunch of work by Bruford to keep it going rhythmically. Fripp's guitar on this piece, interestingly, serves more of a support role to Wetton's fine bass play on this cut. "Providence" is a very provocative experimental cut again featuring a lot of fine bass work by Wetton. Starless is a melancholy and slow song that feature's warm contributions from the reeds and brass and some squeaky violin from Cross. It represents a sad end to a sad tale. Wetton eventually winds up briefly in Uriah Heep and Roxy Music before rejoining Bruford again in U.K. and then on to supergroup Asia with Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes. Bruford went on to various collaborative and session projects, many with a jazz bent as well as his own Bruford Group (which featured ex-Canturbury Scene David Stewart on keyboards) before the reformation of King Crimson around 1981. Ian McDonald, of course, became a founding member of Foreigner. Mel Collin's would turn up in Camel during their peak period. Fripp went on to continued and inimitable non- commercial greatness in his own solo efforts, collaborative experimentations with Brian Eno, as a session musician and producer, guitar guru in the League of Crafty Guitarists, and, again in the reformed King Crimson of the 1980s and 1990s. This recording has many fine moments but not quite a masterpiece. Wetton's vocals are flawed (although his bass playing is superb). And, while the concept of bringing back McDonald, Collins, Miller and Charig is an interesting one, their contributions on this record as frankly pretty bland and limited. The recording represents an important document of the musical wanderings of the mid 1970s but is not the musical statement that Larks' Tongues in Aspic or Starless and Bible Black were. It rates four stars.
LARKSTONGUE | 4/5 |

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