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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4459 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Crown of Thorns

Time for a little revisionism here methinks...

Reviewers of this album are often at a loss to reconcile the disparity between its indisputable influence and its musical merit. In the case of the former, it made Prog mainstream and served to convince the money men that this type of artistic expression could shift shed loads of units. In the case of the latter, we are left with an endearing work that left its indelible mark on all those who fell within its magical slipstream. Yes, this is one of the most important prog records EVER No, this is NOT the flawless masterpiece touted as a 5 star effort by most of the genre's myopic curators.

Therefore, at the risk of appearing bludgeoning, there are only three tracks on this record that you really couldn't live without: 21st Century Schizoid Man - Epitaph - In the Court of the Crimson King

The remainder are pleasant enough but do inevitably betray the origins of the band in its gestation period of hippy 60's pop through free-form freakout wankery. e.g. Giles + Giles + Fripp = Flanders + Swann + flares + chemicals

What is also interesting about this record is that it subsequently shaped everyone's perceptions of what King Crimson were about, irrespective of how much they grew and developed over time. To wit, mention the name to anyone over 40 and you will get that that tiresome lazy association of ideas - Groovy baby, peace man, far out, let's all make love etc Anyone who has heard the band live circa 69-70 will testify that In the Court only hints at the sort of ferocity and confrontational power integral to an audience with the reigning 'King Progress'. The irony of their 'hippy drippy' label is one that probably hindered Crimson's material success in later incarnations. If you seek further evidence, check out the numerous Collectors Club releases lovingly remastered by Robert Fripp himself to see the sort of feral jazz intensity they exuded live.

So for me at any rate, this album is not even representative of our fave red critter at the time of its release and it could be argued that Court was culpable in creating a level of expectation amongst it's subjects that the Crimson King was never really in a position to satisfy. Much of this music has aged far less gracefully that that of it's contemporaries (the Nice, Procul Harum, Arthur Brown etc) and notwithstanding the three indispensable tracks, those earnest apologists for Moonchild must be guilty of intuiting the 'Music of the Spheres' from the sound of their engines idling at a red light.

ExittheLemming | 3/5 |


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