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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4319 ratings

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5 stars In The Court Of The Crimson King - King Crimson (3.88/5 stars) Original Release: October 10, 1969


21st Century Schizoid Man (including "Mirrors") (4 stars) The start of this song suggests an arrival at a train station but not one that you might recognize. Then horns and guitar explode in synchrony and a portrait of unstoppable insanity is painted in music and lyrics. In the midst of this song is "Mirrors" which is a long instrumental featuring some guitar sounds that I suspect are unique to Robert Fripp. The instrumental puts you on a rollercoaster ride through hell until you emerge back into the initial hard rock with horns insanity the songs starts out with. I mean all of this in a good way.

I Talk To The Wind (4 stars) In my music collection, this song probably has the most flower power. This song has a serenely gentle melody with vaguely passive aggressive mystical lyrics. The extent to which this song might sound dated is also the extent to which this song evokes a mood perhaps unique to its time. The song ends with a nice flute solo.

Epitaph (including "March For No Reason" and "Tomorrow and Tomorrow") (5 stars) In "cliche" saturated lyrics we hear the lamentation of one who looks for meaning and value in a world overruled by chaos and destruction. There is misery and emptiness in the instrumentation and mood of the music. "March For No Reason" invokes a pointless treading through wasteland; "Tomorrow and Tomorrow" seems to be the coda that launches you into an endless void.

Moonchild (including "The Dream" and "The Illusion") (3 stars) Quiet melody with lyrics that paint some fantasy image of a young girl in the language of the flower children. After two and a half minutes you are required to sit back and relax and let your imagination come in as an additional band member and visualize to some extent based on the quiet free form instrumentalization that occurs throughout the rest of the song. I find this enjoyable when I am sitting and relaxing, but not so much when I am otherwise active. This song fits into the album as a whole with its counterbalancing effect set against the strong, cold passions in the songs which flank it. This song will require some extra effort focus wise and will probably not appeal to many or even most. I can't say when "The Dream" ends and the "The Illusion" begins in this song...and I hope that that wasn't intended by the band because I felt like I just wrote another lyric for them...

The Court Of The Crimson King (including "The Return of the Fire Witch" and "The Dance of the Puppets") (4 stars) The mood of the music and the lyrics on this song suggests to me a sentimental looking back at some lost fantasy realm where magical figures performed their timeless ceremonies. "The Return of the Fire Witch" is an instrumental interlude where the music picks up a more hurried energy. "The Dance Of The Puppets" is another short instrumental interlude that relaxes into a quiet guitar and flute duet. This song seems to end at one point, but picks up again. A carnival sounding organ precedes a return to the timeless main theme. This time the melody is punctuated with additional instrumental and keyboard sounds that seem to suggest a kind of static degradation of the otherwise pure emotion/memory as if this whole fantasy world-album is now beginning to disintegrate.

Album: If The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper..." was a concept album, which it wasn't, then this album is a better concept album, which it isn't. "Sgt. Pepper...", The Moody Blues' "Days of Future Passed" and this album all bring the listener effectively into another world that reflects our own. The songs combine and reflect and contrast one another and produce a sense of a complex space. "In The Court Of The Crimson King" simply takes you further away from the world that we know. This album in its new sounds in both the instruments and in its production is a world unto itself and for this reason this album has a timeless quality even as it does, at times, sound dated. With its stark fantasy and powerful album cover, this album is often hailed as the first true progressive rock album. This album invites you on an imaginative journey full of strange glories and frightening darknesses. As such it engages the unconscious more strongly than is typical and for this reason qualifies this work as Art Rock in the truest sense of the term Art.

MP3 recommendation:

Essential (5 stars) 1. Epitaph (5 stars)

If you only get one song from this album I recommend Epitaph. It contains most of the great qualities found in the various songs on this album.

sealchan | 5/5 |


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