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EARTHBOUND

King Crimson

Eclectic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars How to salvage a mess

When I first heard this live album in the mid-70's, I went back to the record store to exchange it with another copy, as I was sure it was obviously a bad pressing. You can imagine the visible amusement of the vendor's face and gently explaining me that this was indeed as the album was released. Indeed, Fripp & the boys tried to stop Island Records to release this sore excuse for a live record (a cassette used as a master), but it came out anyway. This was probably one of the worse-sounding album ever released (along with Grand Funk Railroad's Live album, but that was intentionally bad), and I never dared return to it after getting rid of the album in the used vinyl circuit, until recently I fell upon the 30th anniversary remaster version and decided to see how precise were my (bad) memories of it. All I can say is that I didn't find the sound nearly as bad as I did back then, but that's easily explainable with modern technology to clean up badly recorded music. What a job Fripp did with this Live album, one that he disowned for over two decades.

Actually behind the eternal Schizoid Man (not the best version), there is little else material that is present on studio albums, if you'll except Sailor's Tale (from Island, the album, not the company) and even that one is quite different (instrumental) than its original form. The rest of the albums are some improvisations that Crimson was getting famous for, even though the next line-up (Bruford/Wetton) would become famous for. Indeed Peoria is an improvised blues-rock with Burrell singing & scatting over a steady rhythm, while Collins blows a solo or two and Fripp remains mostly rhythmic. Not fascinating, but interesting, even if the fade-out leaves wondering how they could end it. Similarly Sailor's Tale starts on a fade-in, obviously in the middle of a wild and fast improv, but then one recognizes the tune when the group slows down, especially with the two mellotrons. Earthbound is another one of these improvs, one that fits well the mould of this album, but definitely not on par with the future improvs of the next line-up. The flipside opens on the rare Groon (this was the flipside of the Cat Food/Groon single and not available on an Lp), where the improv seems to be the continuation of Peoria, but it gets lost into individual solos (including the inevitable drum solo) and even goes dissonant for a while.

If the sound was not so awful, this would've probably been a great record back then. It is a real shame that the sound quality did not improve as much as I would've hoped (probably expecting too much, I guess) as this got finally released to CD's but I guess there is only so much one can do to an original cassette . When one thinks that Genesis did not agree with their label releasing their live album in 72 because of recording quality, this leaves you perplexed how this one got out in the store's bins a second time, especially when Fripp is soooo keen on quality. If progheads, want to investigate into that era live Crimson, there are some fine releases in the Crimson Collector's Club with much better sound quality, but the one I have is Groon-less. Paradoxically Earthbound is rather interesting enough for those Crimson lovers into their improvisations: this one is loaded with them, even if mostly blues-derived.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#15023)
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
telecaster@xs
5 stars I Love it. My first King Crimson album. Bootleg quality, obviously recorded with a cheap cassette recorder that shuts almost down after a peak in the volume. Totally freaked out version of Schizoid Man, far more better than the original studio recording (if it wasn't for the poor sound quality). The band was on the eve of a massive split. In some of the 'groove jam' tracks (Peoria, Earthbound), Fripp is forced into the role of just the accompanying funky rhythm guitarist, and he's not happy with it. When he tries to take over, introducing weird rhythmic syncopes, the groove disappears and the track is luckily faded out. The last track (Groon) is an expample of how the band was trying to fill the contractual xx minutes with freaked out drum solo's, cheap electronic toys (mind you, brand new at the time...). Oh boy. The most wild and animal like King Crimson you''ll ever hear. Those were the days...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15024)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Poorly recorded bootleg quality live album recorded towards the end of the 1972 US tour when tensions were running high within the band. For many years the only live document of pre-1973 King Crimson material. Only of interest to die-hard Crim-heads for archival purposes only. Mr. Fripp himself didn't even want this technical monstrocity released on CD and perhaps the only reason it was released was because it would probably actually sell. If you are expecting a completely re-mastered and improved version of this recording in CD form dream on, there's not much difference between this and the original vinyl product. Those who are interested in live recordings by pre-1972 Crimson line-ups those offered by the King Crimson Club are recomended.

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Send comments to Vibrationbaby (BETA) | Report this review (#15026)
Posted Friday, March 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Owl
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Great for getting rid of unwanted party guests!

Truth be told, this is an abomination! Between the horrible sound quality (done on a cassette recorder in rain), and the rather inept plodding rhythm section (well actually, Ian Wallace is a decent drummer, just not right for KC.) and a lot of personal friction, it was bound to self-destruct.

This period of Crimson could be described as Fripp's desparation phase, having the record company breathing fire down his neck and being willing to settle for anyone that would stay long enough to fulfill a contract. Mel Collins and Fripp do the best they can given the dire circumstances and Boz's complete ineptness as an instrumentalist at the time (he NEVER played bass before, Fripp had to teach him by rote).

Thankfully, this was all short lived, as Fripp would find his perfect foils in Bruford, wetton, Cross and Muir not long thereafter.

For MASOCHISTIC completeiists only.

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Send comments to The Owl (BETA) | Report this review (#15017)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
maurizio.font
5 stars A masterpiece? Yes - but, let me explain it. I know that its sound quality is not the best, but aren't you bootleg hunters (expecially when performances are worthy)? Fripp didn't want its release, but Bob has his manners - and after all Earthbound has been now remastered, and its sound quality is now satisfactory. This version of 'Schizoid Man' is among the better I've heard; the whole performance have a jazz/funk feeling that usually lacks at the court of the Crimson King; 'Groon' (over 15 mins.) is a masterwork of improvisation & electronics; and if only I could listen to the complete 'Sailor's Tale'... Definitely, this is a rare example of King Crimson going groovy and this album has the (nowadays lost) feeling of the best performances from the Seventies - I said, improvisation, groove, jamming - and that's the point!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15027)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I felt compelled to write this after reading a recently submitted review. I can see all too well where the reviewer's coming from and why he felt obliged to give it a zero rating. But, as it happens, I really quite like this album. Therefore I feel obliged to redress the balance and replace the negative with the positive. Yin and Yang and all that stuff? First of all I must emphasise how poor the sound quality is on this recording. It is, unfortunately, of semi-bootleg quality. Secondly, let me alert you to the fact that 'Earthbound' captures King Crimson in a process of heavy mutation. By the time it was recorded (1972) the band had shrunk to a four-piece, and a strange one at that. The most striking thing about the line-up is the rhythm section, consisting of Bass player, Boz, and drummer, Ian Wallace. Together they form the funkiest rhythm section in Crimson's history. Wallace is an excellent drummer, and he's given a lot of space on this recording to groove-out, as all of the tracks, bar 'Schizoid man', are extended improvisations. He plays a great drum solo too, if you like that kind of thing. As I said, the bass is played by the, infamous, Boz, who, as legend has it, apparently couldn't play the bass. Listening to his playing on this album, all I can say is the stories about his lack of bass playing skill must be apocryphal, for unless he's miming, he's definitely playing it on this album, and rather well at that. The sax and mellotron duties are handled by the excellent Mel Collins. Collins gets ample opportunity to express himself, too, treating us to some very soulful and frenzied soloing. Fripp is fantastic as always. The album opens with what is, in my opinion, a far superior version of 'Schizoid man' than the one released on 'U.S.A'. In some ways the overly distorted sound actually enhances this gutsy in-yer- face rendition of Crimson's most famous song. Boz's vocals are suitably distorted and deranged. In fact, everything is suitably distorted and deranged. Fripp's guitar solo is fantastic; much more manic than the tame U.S.A. version. There's a wonderful tension about this performance, especially the moment when Mel Collins tentatively begins his sax solo after the all-out warfare of Fripp's guitar solo. The tricky unison passages are all played with the precision expected from Crimson. Once more I say, if Boz couldn't play the bass, then, by a sheer fluke he hit the jackpot on this song. 'Peoria' is a great, funky jam featuring Mel Collins on sax, and Boz on funky "scat" vocals. (in this instance "scat" doesn't stand for "[&*!#]" although some might argue otherwise)The truth is, this track doesn't really sound like King Crimson at all. Even Fripp keeps the decidedly un-Crimson-like tune going by playing an uncharacteristically funky, wah-wah guitar solo. The Sailor's Tale' from 'Islands' produces some good guitar playing from Fripp, and some not-so-good mellotron playing from Collins. 'Earthbound' starts off as another funky un-Crimson-type tune with yet more sax and "scat" vocals. However, Fripp plays a solo that is unmistakably Fripp, and suddenly the tune sounds like King Crimson again. PHEW! 'Groon' is yet another extended jam featuring Mel Collins. It ends with the aforementioned drum solo. I know this isn't Crimson's best album by any means. Indeed, it might even be their worst.(although I admit to preferring it to 'Three of a perfect pair') But despite the poor sound quality, it does capture King Crimson at a very unusual and transitory phase in their development. Whether or not anyone cares is another matter.

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Send comments to The Mentalist (BETA) | Report this review (#15030)
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
rhodesfiocchi
1 stars A shame really. The sound quality is so poor it can disturb your mind. This particular recording can easily give one the wrong perception. Don't allow this to happen. The same line up is featured on Ladies Of The Road and they do a magnificent job. On LOTR you will hear flute passages backed with wind chimes, crystal clear mellotron parts with jazz drumming, some dynamic improvisation from Fripp and Collins! Earthbound has put a dent in the reputation of this line up. Don't let Earthbound deceive you like it did me.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15031)
Posted Tuesday, November 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
david.murray2
2 stars I remember buying this for £1.49 when it first came out and felt they'd given their public a discount due to the atrocious sound quality. It really was worth a lot more than this debause of one contribution - Mel Collins. I'm a great lover of the saxophone both in a rock, jazz and fusion context and Mel Collins, particularly on Groon, shows what a great virtuoso exponent of the sax he really is. Where he went to or who he ended up with I don't really know - he just exemplied the unfortunate here today...gone tomorrow apprenticeship great musicians serve with King Crimson. Schizoid Man really lacks the excellent drumming that was apparent and omnipresent on the Court of - though having said that the guitar solo by Fripp is excellent....and that was it from Fripp. Bar a few riffs on Groon he'd didn't really feature on Earthbound. But Mel Collins made up for it. If you like saxaphone and are prepared with indifferent sound quality give Earthbound a listen.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15032)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
gvillegas@hot
4 stars I have to agree with the awful sound quality this album has. I actually cant tell if Burrell's voices is really distorted in 21st Century Schizoid Man like in the original version or if its the sound quality that's causing that soun effect. But try to look deeper...that version of 21st century its really outstanding and has one of the best sax solos I've ever heard. (Althoug I like the Cirkus version more). Anyways, Sailor's Tale os also good. But the jams presented here are excelent, they cause like a big funky aura. They do what must funk and jazz musicians do...they jam and come up with very crazy stuff like the electronics in Groon and the improvised vocals on Peoria and Earthbound. I'd recommend this to people who already know King Crimson, cause if you try to start with this one you might get the wrong idea.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15034)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Let's face the facts: there is no use in complaining about the sound quality (which is really awful, as the other reviwers pointed). Mr. Fripp refused to release "Earthbound" on CD for years, and when he finally did it, he decided to keep the original sound. But what we have here is a little gem, showing us that this particular line-up, although isn't up to the standards of the classical Fripp/Lake/Giles/McDonald or Fripp/Bruford/Cross/Wetton, could do a decent job on stage. If you are a Crimhead, buy this one and enjoy your trip; if you're not, forget this album; if you are an occasional fan, go to Crimson's Collector Club and buy "Ladies of the Road: Live 1971-72" instead. But I think this album stands as a bizarre example of mr. Fripp's caustic sense of humor: after three years establishing himself as the most perfeccionist musician in all rock's scene, a poorly recorded live album reveals that he is not. Maybe he was the only one who laughed - but I always smile when I listen to my "Earthbound" CD and, believe me, I listen to it more than to "USA" (Crimson's other official live album).

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Send comments to M. B. Zapelini (BETA) | Report this review (#15038)
Posted Sunday, April 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars If ever an album deserved a 'collectors only' rating, it is "Earthbound".

The sound quality is enough to turn off most listeners, but as a diehard Deadhead I'm a little more used to bootleg material. And this isn't the worst bootleg ever; crowd noise is mostly absent and the instruments are usually tolerably distinct, except for the not uncommon moments of extreme saturation.

Performance-wise, this is a decent offering; Collins is excellent, Fripp and Wallace turn in solid and tight showings, and Burrell is...better on bass than on vocals, anyway. During instrumental sections it is almost possible to appreciate him, and during the aforementioned 'scat' sessions it is a struggle not to want to kill him. Maybe Fripp thought that he and Boz had a Zappa/ Beefheart dynamic, or maybe his perception of what makes a good vocalist was somewhat faulty after working with Hammill.

I must say that if I'd been at this concert, I wouldn't consider my ticket money wasted- there's a rawness in the energetic and dirty tracks that foreshadows the ragged edge of Lark's Tongues and Red; it's a much more pared-down menace and wildness in the delivery than in any of the previous studio albums. Subtlety loses out in favor of power, and it is this power which almost redeems this release.

If you are not already a KC fan, this will almost assuredly NOT appeal to you. Even if you are a fan, there are many (many) more live KC albums that show a better band, clearer recordings, and more nuance-filled performances- so if you're contemplating your first live album by the band, do NOT choose this one. However, if you are a fan, and you prefer the raw and heavy side of the band, it is actually fairly full of impressive moments within the seeming shambles.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#15039)
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
NetsNJFan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The First thing one should know before purchasing this live 'recording' is that it is essentially a bootleg. While many fans gripe at the mediocre sound quality of Yes's "Yessongs" or ELP's "Welcome Back.", this one takes the cake. This probably has the worst sound quality of any official release I have ever heard (which is surprising, coming from the perfectionist band leader, Robert Fripp. One must remember however, that this was 1972, and Fripp was under pressure to get an album out from his label, and this lineup of King Crimson had already broken up. So this is a posthumous recording, made from the best available sources, so we take what we can get. Enough about the sound quality, to the actual music:

This is essentially a jam-album, featuring a very blues and jazz oriented band. Wallace (drums), Burrell (vocals/bass), and Mel Collins (Sax) were all the time at odds with Fripp (guitar) who was still pulling the band in a very Prog direction. The other three wanted more control, and Fripp, always a domineering sort of person, refused to give it, (resulting in the breakup in 1972). This album shows those strains, but has many good points. This was a very popular touring lineup, and there strengths show.

The album opens with a strong rendition of "Schizoid Man". Boz Burrell's vocals are processed through a synthesizer to get that same studio distortion as when Lake sang the song, and it works quite well. The band then breaks into a long jazzy break where Mel Collin's sax really shines. Next is "Peoria", a jazz-improv-jam piece, which surprisingly features 'scatting' of all things from Burrell. Overall, not a very impressive piece, but it is energetic and is played well. The "Sailor's Tale" off of the Islands album, is this albums most symphonic piece, and it is good, but pales in comparison with the strong original. The mellotron, (when it can be made out) as well as Fripp's Guitar are fairly good. "Earthbound" is another jazzy piece much in the vein of "Peoria" but it features much more interesting guitar work. Finally, the album closes with "Groon", a fifteen minute expansion of a three minute B-side from 1970 (from "Catfood"). This track is very interesting, especially to fans of avant-garde King Crimson. It features fantastic and funky drumming by Ian Wallace, and very interesting VC3 synthesizer work by Robert Fripp, which remains interesting despite its obvious improvisation. It does, however, drag on a bit too long.

This album is enjoyable, as the only King Crimson live album from its early period (1969-1972), (others have since been released), but its awful sound quality and jazzy- jam nature, and lack of classics (other than "Schizoid") make it definitely for King Crimson collectors only. Start with the studio albums first, if you like those, proceed to this one.with caution - 2 stars.

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Send comments to NetsNJFan (BETA) | Report this review (#37306)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Philo
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars King Crimson release a live album and it turns out to be a poorly recorded (in the crowd Amstrad tape deck) affair and arguably, no, definitely the least inspired line ups that Fripp organised, in fact organisation is what is lacking when it comes to this era King Crimson and especially the whole release of this live album. "21 Century Schizoid Man" from the off lacks a power and the bootleg quality of the album drags it back a few steps though the album gets worse, there is a jam somewhere which is [%*!#]ing terrible. Boz Burrell (bass/vocals) and Mel Collins (saxophone) at this time were members of the King Crimson and the almost constant change of personnel, and clashing personalities, were having a big effect on the bands stability. There are many stories of conflict between both the afore mentioned with King Crimson's leader Robert Fripp and the band does sound as if it is pulling apart. "Sailors Tale" deserves a decent production to gain some dynamic aural symphony of sound but obviously fall flat, which would just sum up the life of this line up completed by drummer Ian Wallace. Again, Fripp would regroup but the next stage would produce the goods for the band, Earthbound is a disjointed effort that may just be the honest testimony to whole experience of the Fripp/Burrell/Collins/Wallace version King Crimson. Sits almost uncomfortably and very shabby beside the other albums in the King Crimson canon.

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Send comments to Philo (BETA) | Report this review (#39680)
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
platinumblond
4 stars This may well be nearly one of the greatest live albums around if it was'nt for the sound limitations,which makes it a very sad missed opportunity that was lost as the music as a perfomance is some of their best and some of the best of prog or rock. What Earthbound does prove is sometimes the most basic can be the best and it's what i'd call a flawed masterpiece,a real gem. I believe Earthbound was recorded from equipment that was hooked up to and linked to the rear of a combie van,(a Volkswagon) truely amazing how many acts would ever think of this let release it as a live album.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#46073)
Posted Friday, September 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is obviously the most controversial KC album, its ratings range from one to five star. But what can I say, I just love it despite the really low sound quality and the vocals which are not the best ones. But if you ignore these two points it's a hell lot of fun listening to this live performance. As another reviewer pointed out already, it's really the most jamming KC live concert I know. There are three good reasons (not only one as Hugues thinks) to have this record. Apart of the great jamming piece "Groon" with awesome drum solo there is still "Peoria" and the great funky version of "21st Century Schizoid Man", which I prefer to the one on USA because it's sounding even more distorted there. And the remaining tracks "The Sailor's tale" and "Earthbound" are not much inferior. I'm really happy that this record is existing and I'd like to say thanks to the guy in the audience with the recorder. The only point to critize is that maybe it shouldn't have been published as an official "standard" live album, because it has a very obvious bootleg quality. There are for sure bootlegs which sound worse but I've to say there are as well some of GENESIS having a better quality than this one. On the other hand the point for quality of studio records goes without doubts to KC. Anyway regarding this one here although I like it very much I decided to give it a mediocre rating due to the sound quality. I think it neither deserves one nor five stars!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#48220)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This "album" was a complete disappointment to me. Terrible sound quality wouldn't matter so much to me, but the chemistry of the band doesn't work. In my opinion, Boz cannot sing to this music context, and he cannot play bass very well. Just listen the opening of the first track, and find the most terrible piece of music you can ever imagine to hear, I fear. The other players have had a very bad ride through the last years with the unstable band. Boz had managed to turn them against Fripp, and after the set they ran onstage to do a basic blues jam as an encore, which they knew their pedantic bandleader cannot play well. Luckily there are some long instrumental jams, so the bold blues "singer" has to keep his too wide mouth shut. Most things in life come in waves, there's seven bad years, and seven good years. After this humiliation Robert got rid of the rest of the band on this album, and formed something unique with Bruford, Muir, Wetton and Cross. Thus this kind of bad moments may be meaningful, forcing the people to change in order to reach more satisfying setups to the future. I understood Boz had also a good career after this, when finding a more suitable band and stylistic direction for him.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#48398)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars As fellow reviewer James Lee puts it, Earthbound is the definition of a collector's only album. The sound might be way below par, but what is there is a raw energy that foreshadows what would soon come to be as the Larks' Tongue in Aspic era of the band, the experimental years. Beginning with a rousing version of 21st Century Schizoid Man (with a subpar vocal performance from Boz, who seems too into it and loses the feel). Mel Collins is a joy and is the most consistent on this album. Fripp has strong leads and blocky rhythmic sections, and his crunchy sound again foreshadows what direction he was taking. Ian Wallace takes a stab at the drums and succeeds with cohesive and technical beats that never get too out of control. Peoria is a nice little jam with some nice work from Fripp and Collins, and some "shout outs" from Boz telling the crowd to get into it. Sailor's Tale and Earthbound are both mostly instrumental and are varied in sound. Stand out performances on those from Boz and Fripp. The finale to this album is Groon, which is a jazzy number that has incredibly complicated rhythms performed very well from the group. Fripp and Wallace are the stars of this track. Overall, if you can get past very dodgy sound, there is something to like about this "bootleg". If you haven't listened to King Crimson before, then don't even dare pick this up. If you haven't heard live King Crimson before, find another album of the era that's live (you can get it through the King Crimson Collector's Club), I'd recommend checking one of those out. But if you want raw energy, go with this. Me, I give it a 2/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#60218)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This live album captures the best and worst of this incarnation of the band. The version of 21st Century Schizoid Band is my personal favourite - Boz's vocals, distorted by the EMS VCS3 synthesiser, really gets across the power and energy that other versions lack.

Robert's guitar solo is spellbinding, and then the immense sax solo from Mel Collins, preseded by a shout of 'Go on Mel' from Ian or Boz is untouchable.

Finally, the band come back together for the intricate last section and third verse, before finishing off with a frenzy of notes.

The raw sound quality of the recording only adds to the intense edge that this song should always have.

Peoria is a funky blues jam which leads into an edited version of The Sailors Tale.

Earthbound is another improvised track but the last track of Groon, shows the risks that this particular version of Crimson were prepared to take.

I can only imagine what the audience felt when Ian Wallace's drums were electronically distorted by Pete Sinfield's use of the EMS VCS3, but the effect is out of this world.

An inconsistant album, but certainly it should be heard by all Crimson fans, and owned by more.

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Send comments to Pbak (BETA) | Report this review (#60532)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
infandous@exc
2 stars A shame about the sound quality, as the music is quite interesting. This was a good live band no doubt about it. But very unlike all the other Crimsons. If only the sound could have been better I could give this 4 stars. As it is, I have a hard time listening to it and can't possibly recommend it to anyone but the die hard fan.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#65361)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars It deserves a short review, because it's the least interesting KC album (including all of their officialy edited live material). I wonder if it was the only live material Fripp had in his archives at the time. If compared to "Ladies of the road" or any of collectors club concerts from this line-up, "Earthbound" proves to be the worse. Sound quality is weak. What's more "Sailor's tale" - really great in live versions -is abridged. We can hear that Fripp plays a really great solo here, but in this form the track is dissapointing. Three improvised tracks seem a bit weird. I could hardly guess that for example "Peoria" is played by King Crimson... And to tell the truth all this jamming - seems at some moments as played by some simple bluesy band from that period. But then Fripp solo appears, really great solo, as in "Earthbound" ... and it gets even more strange. Just as if there was some division between Fripp and the rest of the band. And I don't find much of the same problems on other live albums by the same line-up. What else? Final drum solo is really rather boring... But stil, it's King Crimson and it's worth listening every now and then. Specially because of "Schizoid man". This version is one of the best among KC enormous live recordings. Boz Burrel's distorted voice fits here really perfectly and makes the whole thing quite different from original version. And then very good Fripp solo and nice cacophonic ending.

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Send comments to kajetan (BETA) | Report this review (#69301)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Bought this when I was about 14 (1974) as I wanted everything KC had out on vinyl. I didn't understand the album at the time and I guess I'm still unsure. I certainly didn't like Earthbound and for 20 years it sat gathering dust along with USA whilst I wore out the grooves on the studio albums. 20 years on and I resurected Earthbound and found to my joy some delights, the sound quality is dire in places and poor the rest of the time, but then you already know that. 3 stars primarily for Peoria and Earthbond both of which still blow me away! Groon has too many farts and squeaks to provide any meaningful message and appears to be a filler. 21st Century Schizoid Man is excellent and Boz Burrell adds rather than detracts. Yes I guess you could argue its for completists but there are too many golden nuggets in there to be ignored.

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Send comments to Eastvillan (BETA) | Report this review (#74166)
Posted Wednesday, April 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
Nman@hotmail.
4 stars Well, I agree that the sound quality is kinda bad. This was probably recorded with a cheap tape-recorder, but at list they did it! They had to record this great live set!. So, I don't care for the sound quality, this record is still awsome. It features the 1971-72 line-up: Master Robert Fripp: The leader, guitarrist and main composer./ Mel Collins: Great saxophonist, flutist and keyboardist, also./ Boz Burrell: Really cool vocals and bass (Fripp taught him to play bass)./Ian Wallace: Jazz-rock drumming, really cool.

1)-21st Century schizoid man:One of my favourite KC tracks. As dark, agressive and progressive as ever.Distored vocals by Boz sound a lot different than Lake's, and they sound weird and cool. The middle "Mirrors" section is quite longer than the original. Fripp and Collins do an amazing work on this one, combining jazz-rock sax, with heavy guitar. As great as ever!

2)-Peoria: A funky-groove jam. Mel Collins shines on this one. You really feel his going to tear his sax up! Ian and Boz do a fine job keeping the rythm. Boz sings to the crowd to get onto it ( he sings anything that comes into his mind: "bababdubbab....No make no difference...it makes a whole lotta differece while I think about you", or something). Fripp plays the funky rythm guitar, most of the time, but then he does a werid mini-wah- wha solo, which is great!

3)-Sailor's Tale (edit): This is an almost-5-minute version of the track from "Islands". It's psychedelic all the way through. Remarkable drumming by Wallace, nice bass lines by Boz, ground-breaking sax and mellotron by Mel Collins, and the typical Crimson trademark guitar by Fripp. Awsome and really progressive!

4)-Earthbound: The second groove jam. Funky drums with funky bass, funky sax and guitar. The same "whatever" vocals by Boz which feature on "Peoria". At first, it doesn't even seem like King Crimson, but, then Robert Fripp knocks out a solo which is really KC! Cool!

5)- Groon: The jazzy guitar riff and the jazzy drums from the original. Then, it turns out to be more "Earthbound"-like with funky bass and sax. Progressive Crimson guitar solo...and then...the moment for Mr.Wallace to show all he's got: Really freaked-out drum solo! And it ends.... Amazing!

Ok, I'll rate it with 4 stars, 'cos it's awsome, but not so much (as, say, ITCOTCK or "Lizard"). But I don't thing it is for collectors only, or that it's just good. It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Note: You can notice why they became Art rock, and they weren't symphonic anymore, like on their debut. Their style became more varied and more experimental crossing different prog genres and jazz and, even funk. Genre: Art Rock: Jazz, funk, groovy and progressive rock.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#83138)
Posted Saturday, July 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Now most of us know that this album is very poorly recorded - partially "in the rain, from the back of a Volkswagon Truck". However, this recording shows a very different side to the Crimson King. The rhythm section of Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace is very 'primitive' sounding, not really suited for Crimso, but they give a certain feel to the tracks presented here, with funky jams such as 'Peoria' and 'Earthbound' and you can even hear Mr. Fripp like you've never heard him before - grungey and rough - not meticulous and angular like he is usually. Mel Collins does a fine job with the Saxes (always does) and handles the only bit of Mellotron on the record - 'A Sailor's Tale', which is too short. '21st Century Schizoid Man' is given a lengthy workout, and again, the sound quality lets down a rather interesting version, with the best distorted vocal yet and groovy middle section. 'Groon' is a 15 minute version of the 3 minute avant-garde 'B' side to Cat Food, and is a good reason for owning this record - especially the drum solo ; Wallace's kit was processed through a VCS3 synthesizer, and the sounds produced were rarely heard and hence, would've made the the crowd 'trip out' whether on something or not, so it was kind of revolutionary in a way. Definately a 3 star effort, and I'm grateful that this exists. Naturally, if the recording quality was pristine, it would have many proggers drooling !!

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#102288)
Posted Saturday, December 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars One of the worst recordings ever.

I've heard some pretty poor recording in my time, but few measure up to the basic butchery of an otherwise pleasant experience. This stuff can put some Black Metal recording quality to shame. Think Bathory's Return with incessant static popping. That's how abysmal it is. If you can get past the annoying fade outs and the incessant popping, it's actually not half-bad a concert experience.

Besides the fact that I never, ever, in my dreams want to hear Boz sing "21st Century..." again, the track is quite good in its improv state, with really nice instrumental play from the band. The opening of it just makes me want to literally stab my ears because of how poorly it is done in comparison to Lake's performance on the debut album. It's so over-dramatic to the point of being cringeworthingly laughable. I guess the thing that excites me the most, an anecdotal piece of information if you will, is how much my guitar playing sounds like the ending instrumental section before we go back to the familiar verse and chorus.

The only reason this record is remotely inspiring or insightful is the work of Fripp and Collins, two masters of their craft who manage to pull off an interesting live show, despite it's many flaws, none of which can particularly be credited to them. This is a jam album in every meaning of the world, and this can lead you too many insightful and inspiring passages, but also many marked by confusion and questions. There's enough good material on here keeping it from being a total disaster, but it's layered in so much filth its difficult to find.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#112230)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars a failure? NO!!!! yes, the album has bad sound quality - so what? this is a live album, amd I have heard worse regarding the sound quality. "Vital" by Van der Graaf Generator comes to my mind, which is one of the best live albums ever and would get 5 stars from me. but I digress...

The distortion of Burrell's voice during "21st Century Schizoid Man" is an intended artistic effect here and very fitting with the lyrics. It is accomplished by Burrell singing through a ring modulator. I definitely don't think Burrell is a bad singer or that he did not fit in with King Crimson; he fitted a lot more than the overly schmaltzy Greg Lake, for example. he is my number 1 singer for KC. a lot of jamming on this album ""Groon", "Peoria"), and I think those jams do work. Wallace tends to play a bit monotonously though (which is my main complaint about "Islands" too, by the way); of all the drummers King Crimson ever had he is my least favorite. a brutal rendering of "Sailor's Tale" which many do not like because of the rather tranquil verson of" Islands", but I like it a lot more than the studio version. ("Islands" always appears to me to be having toned down in the studio after recording). all in all, a live album that is definitely a great addition to any record collection. due to the perfomance of Wallace I deduct one star, so this makes it 4 stars for me. the bad sound quality does not enter into my rating at all, by the way; I hear the music and nothing else and don't let my judgement be affected by sound quality. great sound can't save a bad album, and bad sound can't ruin a great one

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Send comments to BaldJean (BETA) | Report this review (#112363)
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, let's tell to some KC fan the word Earthbound and more than 90 % will surely feel wrong. Anyway, this album is not as bad as it is usually claimed.

My dad, for example, thinks that this is KC best album ever made. In Slovakia there was little opportunities to hear raw rocking live performances back in the early 70's. This album was like a lightning from the sky. It was unexpected, very hard and full of energy. Yes, the sound quality was very poor (LP), but it was something totally different from e.g. Karel Got (for those, who knows...). He was (and still is) astonished by Boz screaming and great improvisation of the whole group. So, if he knew english he would give five stars to this album here on Progarchives.

But he isn't here. I was not much impressed by this when I heard it first. It was from the cassette and it was more noise than music. But when remastered CD version appeared I bought it (mainly for my dad). I can tell you now that I like it. It is not typical KC album, but it is surely very heavy and that's how I like it. The sound is MUCH better than on LP. If you want to listen to the best live version of The 21st Century Schizoid man, it can be found here. Some improvisation passages are greatly performed by Collins and the last song Groon is nice played as well. Though the drum solo is not the best one ever recorded, it can be heard without any bad feelings.

To sum up, I would give it two stars, but due to the impact this album had in Slovakia, I give it three stars. It is quite nice hard live album and it is also surprising to KC fans, so that's something I would call progressive enough to call it good.

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Send comments to Hejkal (BETA) | Report this review (#113448)
Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
2 stars FOR COLLECTORS ONLY!!

I never understood why this album has been released in the first place. Was it a contractual obligation toward the recording companyl ? Was Mr Fripp in one of those moods these days? i don't know.

You all know that the concert has been recorded on a...cassette. The sound is worst than a bootleg!! and it's an official KC album. I know when the KC albums have been transfered on CDS . Robert Fripp made sure that EARTHBOUND wasn't released back then in the 90s. But i guess, he changed his mind and this CD was released as part of the 30th anniversary collection. As an ardent Crimson fan, i bought it back for completion purposes , but that stops here. I am listening to it while reviewing this album but nothing new is changing my mind;utterly disposable! At least the CD sound is a big improvement over the LP; but that doesn't save it; the music is not very good either.A lot of jams with a very poor rythm section that doesn't fit with the music. The vocals are atrocious and it sounds like a mess. Thanks god i was not at this concert ready to listen to the goods of ISLANDS.Only MEL COLLINS saves the day>

This is the same line-up than on Islands, but that's the only common point. I am amazed at some reviews on this site giving 4 , even 5 stars to this album. I read that BOZ voice on this album was the best KC ever got. I love KING CRIMSON, but i am not that masochistic.

2 stars means for collectors onlY? so 2 stars! But it could be less.

Thanks god, King CRIMSON will be back in a big way!

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#119114)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Earthbound, as a vicious defect and a record romp crossover, is one of the negative down-faming known "stories", at least appreciating it simply and, alternatively, from inside the music "crimsonic" movement. If the story is used as irony instead of a healthy appreciation, it is even more spicy, more homogenously respected, as it is weakly said too. So Earthbound, as live and as the project in between Crimson doing virulent art and Crimson doing virulent (prog default) rock (artistically put, to not say it moronically), disappoints as quality and as a moment who would have preferably been an unrepeatable gem, a thick blood music and a large echo. It's a failure; and it is one in which, I was saying, you check all the senses before considering yourself "ripped-off" by broken sounds and moldy mastering. The extremes go towards judging the album as a radical egocentric decision made by Robert Fripp. In a way, as much as the special detail doesn't interest me, I see instead the ideal of a "live" in the eclectic-genuine Crimson smash period as one purely fantasist, or, by Earthbound, salutary. The hope of this isn't, in the end lost, given another "early prog times" recording placing in a live, 30 years later since this "infamous one" (Ladies Of The Road, CD 1), as other moments, more regressively, share such things. Still, for a progressive, conceptual, artistic, experimental, surreal, dark-orientated, caustic and melodic visceral emphasis of Crimson in the early 70s, a more representative and euphoric, plus fully achieved live would have landed better in the ensemble or the epilogue of the period; a period which, in itself, went excellent (only in particular preferential). Stepping outside this regret, there are the great and free impressions or ironies through which Earthbound sounds bad, weak, maniacal, depressive, irrepressible, as shrapnel noise and latent impressionistic schizophrenia. Etc. (of course)

About the recording's quality, my view is comfortably indisposed by the general flash cleanse miss, which makes music to be as sophisticated as it wants, but of minimal, chopped beauty. The recordings is badly scratching the ears, making out of a hard-listening default pleasure a fight to resist the album. The most annoying details come right as the most intrinsic, so that music's scratch staying drenched and, besides the bombatistic, mandible, defiant. The sound proves a jam of all the break-out, whilst, by finally some taste, a different kind of disturbance catches voice, in the posture of a concrete decibel stepped-on play and of an unaesthetic pedaled intensity. Earthbound is doubtless a crash of musical performance viewpoint and one of sound-producing too, and this, unfortunately, can't sound exaggerate; perhaps only a too suggestive remark.

In the Crimson music that's played, somewhat, things stay better, though not by a chance excellent. I've already said it, a live from the immediate period would have deserved a plus (or a surplice) of magic, frenzy and indubitable quality; have the small groove on the side, it would have seized all frivolous useless shivers. Otherwise, this "mistaken live" has only good moments, some even interesting, acting in a performance of experimentalism, pure schizoid and mental-digressive tones, it site well in the power asthenia and in the rotten symbols, and characterizes classic artists in a treating way of living up their personal nemesis in the side-syringing pathos. Extremely visceral and virulent, as well as unforgiving in an experimental dominating ardor, Earthbound is heavy listening, for fans who forgot the boredom of broken music or the much ignorant lack of character. But even in these points of critic that are from captivating down to acceptable, appears, typical, the complex of bad interpretation, of jam music and of hardly thought art, of a terrible improvisational passion, of a straight dire effect and of a poisoning elixir for the too evaluative soul. Maybe something cacophonous has ambiance as well. Everything tends to be style "grudge", well-pointed only if it doesn't mark the great tiresome of dead times and beaten to a bleed and a sheer corpulence sounds. 21st Century Schizoid Man, the great schlager, useless to be considered otherwise than essential and eternal, has an execrable vocal art, but the powerful instrumental, from the middle of the piece, is quite good class. Peoria is something I do consider a composition gem, too bad of the new sound handicap, entering the dissimulation. I never ever liked The Sailor's Tale, still here it's crispy plus macabre. After this, the joke of the jam and the schist-phonic thickens, the last too pieces share the greatest sin. Earthbound is ephemeral in itself, whilst Groon is too a gem composition, ruined by mud caliber, orgasmic loud-louder-loudest collapse.

For an unbelievable heavy rock cognitive orientation, it is a full shame and blame that the live album is a chop of sound quality and a killing bash art. It is a shame and blame that a quasi-perfect (art) period has such a "live" epilogue and such a "performance" comfort. Un-prodigious, on top of everything. No for Earthbound, no with a regrettable shrug.

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Send comments to Ricochet (BETA) | Report this review (#123429)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars Down to earth with a bump!

This is an early live collection from King Crimson, released around the same time as "Pictures at an Exhibition" (ELP). When originally released in LP format, these albums (plus others such as the re-released, "Valentine Suite" by Colosseum) sold at a budget price on Island records HELP label. For many, because of their budget price, they offered an introduction to the music of these bands. The success of the venture was however mixed. While ELP's offering was excellent both in terms of quality and musicianship, "Earthbound" did little to encourage the casual buyer to investigate King Crimson further.

The recording quality is little better than that of a bootleg with distortion aplenty, indeed, the sleeve notes actually state that the recordings were captured on a stereo cassette! To be fair, the cassette recorder was plugged into the mixer (sound board), this is not a microphone recording.

Looking through the mist, we find five tracks in total. An 11 minute rendition of "21st century schizoid man" kicks things off, the substantial lengthening of the song being due to improvisations on guitar by Robert Fripp, and sax by Mel Collins. Greg Lake's vocal is replaced by that of Boz Burrell, who rather struggles with the intricacies of the song. It's all rather messy with a distinctive feel of being under-rehearsed. The fact that by the time of these recordings the band was down to a four-piece, with most of the original members having moved on, clearly has a significant impact in this respect.

Two of the five tracks are new compositions, credited to all four current band members. In reality, "Peoria" and "Earthbound" are little more than lengthy jam sessions. Both tracks even find Burrell indulging in vocal improvisation! One can only imagine what those people in the audience who had turned up expecting to hear "Epitaph" and "Court of the crimson king" must have thought.

"The sailor's tale" fades in as "Peoria" fades out, presumably the cassette must have needed turning over at this point. The track is the only one taken from the band's then current album "Islands", Mel Collins moving to mellotron since Fripp is still on his guitar. This track at least has some semblance of a structure, but once again we have a rapid and unsatisfactory fade before it actually ends.

The final track, "Groon" was not considered worthy of a place on an album in its original 3 minute form as a single B-side. Quite why then it would become a 15½ minute monster here is especially puzzling.

Much has been made over the years of the sound quality of these recordings being the reason the album is poor. In reality, the sound is all too audible, it is the lazy, hope you like our new direction performances which are the real disappointment. All "Earthbound" did was to show that the majesty of the band's early mellotron drenched works was well and truly behind them. Avoid!

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#127680)
Posted Friday, July 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was a young guy, when I bought KC's Earthbound in 1973. I was a member of a group of some young people discovering the world of new music. We heard the new appearing records together always looking for the ultimate one. Earthbound was a shock. Nobody by then had dared to publish such a direct and terrible recorded piece of live music. Rain pelted against the roof of the Volkswagon truck with the recording equipment. But this was it, yeah man, this was it. This was the pure feeling makin the creeps, ploughing your ears and your nerves. King Crimson never more played so low over the ground, so dirty. But I love this record until now, this is one of my all time favorites. A masterpiece of rockmusic, not catched by many, not played for the crowd, great and eccentric.

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Send comments to golowin (BETA) | Report this review (#128135)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Even my cassette demos have better quality, I bet! Devoid of usual KC delicacy and sophistication, this concert sounds like a drunk Dixieland band jam-session. 2-3-chord pointless crooning around, total absence of legendary symphonic approach and noisy humiliating drum solo in the end. Satisfied? Well, I bought it mostly because of the booklet featuring newspaper clippings about KC from those times (other albums in my collection were of such edition as well). So, this is definitely a collection’s item, not recommended for KC beginners or those, who still owns 3-5 studio albums of them

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#135374)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
jammun
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars As others have noted, be forewarned: Earthbound is a live recording, captured on a cassette recorder. I paid a premium for this back in the day (it was initially only available as an import, and I was a needy college student), and even at that I probably listened to it only once. I have since acquired the remastered CD, and still the fidelity on this album is non-existent. If you have any interest in quality sound, avoid this like the plague. I don't care how intense the music is (and it is intense occasionally), the lack of quality recording ruins the moment. One can only assume that this was released only to meet contractual obligations. So given that the sound sucks, what's to recommend this at all? Not much.

The version of 21st Century Schizoid Man is pretty lame, save for Fripp's guitar solo, which is all over the place and might actually be one of his best if it could be heard in decent sound quality. Peoria is some jazzy funk; same with Earthbound, which reminds me of the rock/jazz/funk found on any Les McCann/Eddie Harris album of the same era. Sailor's Tale is just okay. Get Islands instead.

That leaves Groon, which is the only reason anyone would actually purchase this, it being generally unavailable on any other official release of the time. Groon is one strange duck, an extenuation of the jazz tendencies on display on Lizard and Island, though it too eventually devolves into the aforementioned rock/jazz/funk.

Realistically, this will only appeal to KC completists, which is the only reason I own it.

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Send comments to jammun (BETA) | Report this review (#146035)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first official live album by good ol' Crimso. The most loathed of all King Crimson albums, the audio quality is below bootleg-standards, however, if you look beyond the sound quality, you'll realize that this lineup had a distinguishing feature: Raw energy. And indeed, this album is one of raw energy, from the whooping 4 minute guitar solo in Schizoid Man, to the spontaneous vocals in Peoria, and definitely not least the absolutely barking mad drum solo from Ian Wallace.

Another seldom documented feature on this album is the funkyness of the band. Peoria is like a 7 minute funk jam, and this really gives a sense of fresh air.

Anyway, it starts of with the loudest band you'll ever hear by Crimson. The 21st Century Schizoid Man makes his appearance in the form of Boz Burrell. The ear-shattering vocals are superb, with the cracks and pops in the background only contributing to the raw power of the performance itself. Then follows the, in my opinon, best damn guitar solo in the history of recorded audio. Absolutely furious fretwork by Bobby Fripp, almost drowning out the others with his lightning fast playing. This is the kind of energy I'm talking about!

Peoria, of course, is a delightful funk-jam. Lovely and smooth saxophone improvisation by Mel, and of course the scat-vocals by Boz make this a great track. Wah-wah soaked guitar playing by Fripp and the meticolous time-keeping skills of Ian contribute to the cake, but doesn't really quite make the icing. Instead, the slow fade-in of the Sailor's Tale is where it's at! This track is an amazing showcase for Fripp and Collins, who duel it out for the intro. We are then treated with some lovely Fripp playing. It fades out with some loud drum fills by Ian. I'd wished it would've been a bit longer though.

Earthbound, the title track, is another funky track. Boz kindly thanks the audience, before it kicks into gear. It's a large showcase for Collins and Fripp, but again Boz contributes with scat-vocals. Great improvisation throughout. And while it may sound as if Ian is nothing more than just a rhythm-keeper, don't worry. You'll see why I haven't mentioned him soon.

Groon is the last and by far longest track on the album. Standing at 15 minutes and 26 seconds in duration, this is another saxophone-based jam. And it's bloody well the best sax playing I've heard in a long time! Fast, jazzy and long are three keywords to the saxophone playing in this song. After some 6 odd minutes of great saxophone playing, it seems the players settle down a bit. But oh no... Do you hear it? The light tapping of a ride cymbal. Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, it's time for sir Ian to take the throne. Beginning quite slowly, it turns into an out-right battering of the poor toms. The pure powerhouse that is Ian Wallace spares no drum skins for this. But the scary thing is that he keeps this raw energy for four whole minutes. Madness! Finally, strange effects carry on over the drumming, before it ends on an apocalyptic note by Fripp.

Overall, if you're a Crimson fan, get this album. Beyond the obviously bad sound quality there is loads of fantastic musicianship and amazing playing. If you're not a King Crimson fan, stay away from this. It will probably leave you quite shaken. 4 Stars!

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Send comments to Axel Dyberg (BETA) | Report this review (#149097)
Posted Monday, November 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars From the perspective of diehard Crim-head, this dreadful recording only serves to document the band on the verge of collapse. While sifting through the background noise and distortion, one can hear the occasional moment of brilliance, but not nearly enough to redeem the recording. In the days when I purchased full discographies, I remember how I waited three months to get this vinyl piece of excrement imported and the hard earned dollars I paid through the nose to get it. This record still strikes a sore spot even after all these years. This is a true one star recording if ever there was one.

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Send comments to LARKSTONGUE (BETA) | Report this review (#150471)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mediocre sound, it seems to be a bootleg live album, it has a bad, bad reputation...but I like Earthbound very much, as I like Genesis Live, Black Sabbath's Live At Last and all these underrated live albums. Not so many tracks, but very good set-list, this live albums is not the best of all times, it's not the best Crimso live album, but it's still enjoyable if you love prog-rock.

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Send comments to Zardoz (BETA) | Report this review (#164252)
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars An Official Bootleg album released in 1972.

In 1985 the singer of the band in which I was playing then, after knowing that I liked King Crimson`s USA live album, told me: "The live version of "Schizoid Man" from their "Earthbound" album is better!. In 1991, one German friend from one of my brothers, while being in my city on Holidays, asked me: "Is it true that you have the "Earthbound" album?". I said to him, "No, I don`t have it". He then said to me: "But your brother told me that you have it!" (my brother knew that I have the "USA " album, but as he never has liked King Crimson he didn`t remember the name of that live album, so he thought that it was called "Earthbound"). I said to him: "No. The only live album that I have from King Crimson is called "USA" . He was a bit disappointed but as he never have listened to "USA" too, he recorded it in a cassette before returning to his country. (The "USA" album was also a "rarity" in 1991, because it wasn`t available on C.D. then).

I have to say that in 1979-80 I found in some record shops several very expensive L.P. copies imported from England from this "Earthbound" album. I was a bit curious then to buy it but the prices were so high than I never bought it then, and another reason was that the back cover said that it was recorded using a cassette tape recorder, so I really expected a bad quality recording. I also didn`t know then why this album wasn`t released in the U.S. Now that I have it on C.D. I know the reason: maybe this album shouldn`t have been released. Why Fripp released a cheap live recording from his band? Why he didn`t use a more professional recording equipment to record this line-up in concert? I don`t know. Maybe he had some budget restricitions then.

This is really a "Schizophrenic" album, because some of the tracks are not very representative of the original musical style of the band. "Schizoid Man", "A Sailor`s Tale" and "Groon", which were released on previous studio albums ("Groon" was first released as the B-side of the "Cat Food" single in 1970, until being included in the remastered C.D. of the "In the Wake of Poseidon" album) , obviously sound in the original musical style of the band. The live improvised tracks, "Peoria" and "Earthbound", while sounding good and interesting in some parts, sound more like played by another band in a Jazz-Rock-Blues-Funky style. The musicians in this line-up are very good and they played interesting things, in my opinion. I don`t think that Boz Burrell was a bad singer / bass player. Ian Wallace and Mel Collins are also very good musicians, and both particularly shine in some moments. Fripp`s guitar playing is also very good, sometimes a bit noisy, but good. Wallace plays a very good dums solo on "Groon", and Collins plays a lot of very good solos on his sax in most songs

The live version of "Schizoid Man" is very good, more close to the original studio version in some parts due to Collins`sax playing. Wallace also plays the song more in the style of Michael Giles, the original drummer of the band. I like this live version, but I also like the live version which was released in their "USA" album.

The worst thing in this album is the recording, which sounds as a Bootleg, as many reviewers wrote. The performances are not bad, and this album has some interesting things. This is a Heavy live album from this band, not bad, but not of enough quality in the recordings to be sold now in the record shops in the same prices as better live recordings fom this band and others. Now I now why Fripp didn`t want this album to be released on C.D. It is more for Collectors / Dedicated Fans only.

After being for several years "a rarity and a mystery", now I have this album. Now I can see why I didn`t buy it in 1979-80. I was right. The recordings are of bad quality, as expected.

Two members of this line-up are now dead: Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace died a few years ago. RIP.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#171186)
Posted Friday, May 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars The poor sound quality on this album is too hard to look past. The version of The Sailor's Tale on this is actually not bad, but I can't listen to this album simply because of the sound quality. I gave my friend King Crimson's entire discography to listen to, but I did not give him this album. Really the only point in owning it is to complete your King Crimson collection. What's the point, though? I enjoy having an artist's entire discography that isn't limited to their studio albums, but this live recording is simply a throw away that isn't even worth listening to. A sad offering from such a brilliant band.

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Send comments to evantate09 (BETA) | Report this review (#192205)
Posted Sunday, December 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I can say nothing new: terrible sound quality destroyed that record from KC pre-72 era.

When I'm telling TERRIBLE, it doesn't means, that sound is plain, or bad mixed, or too rounded, as often happens, when we're speaking about recording quality of other albums. NO! The quality is terrible in direct sense, sound was recorded ot portative recorder (of that time) and just put on the disc as it is.

It's a mainly reason, why it's almost not possible to speak about album's music: what you are hearing there remains sound, recorded from radio from 70-th.

For a long it was very limited possibility to listen live sound of KC from early years. After USA album, "Earthbound" missed that exclusivity. And now, when you can choose perfect "The Great Deceiver"from the same era, only crazy KC-maniac could be interested in "Earthbound".

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#237096)
Posted Friday, September 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I know what you're thinking- "What kind of unrefined idiot would give this piece of crap four stars?? And he calls himself a FAN??? Guards, remove this man at once!!!"

As a King Crimson fan since '81 (via their appearance on the late night show FRIDAYS), I've avoided this album for many years due to the extremely hostile and venomous bad rap it gets from fans and critics alike. Fortunately, last year I stopped listening and decided to check this album out out of sheer curiosity. I figured "How bad can this really be?" The answer: this (along with the many other fine live albums of this particular line up from the King Crimson Collector's Club series) kicks the blithering crap out of ISLANDS (which I always considered to be Crimson's weakest album, despite minor gems like "The Sailor's Tale" and "Ladies Of The Road").

Ever since hearing the aforementioned better quality live outings from the KCCC, the '72 line up has been really growing on me. This was a band that seemed to be dominated by Mel Collins and Ian Wallace, as far as live presence goes. And we're all aware of the tension that's on display here: Fripp struggling to maintain some sort of control while the other three are Hellbent on turning Crimson into some kind of monster r&b/funk jam band. Yes, the sound quality is "bad", but it does nothing to diminish the Hellish intensity of these performances. In fact, it's almost appropriate. I will go out on a limb and say that this is their METALLIC K.O. The primary difference is (besides the musical genre), EARTHBOUND is the sound of a band at war with itself rather than with the audience. And it's hard, raw, gritty, unhinged, and angry. It is truly the Anti-ISLANDS. Crimson was (is?) one of the very few prog bands who weren't afraid to attack their audiences with occasional aural psychotic ugliness and still exhibit the precision that this genre is known for. It's just that in this case, it wasn't the kind of musical violence that Fripp had planned.

This album's "21st Century Schizoid Man" is flat-out mean, with Boz's crazy modulated vocal and Wallace's herd-of-elephants drumming. Probably the most urgent version I've heard yet. "Peoria" is a stomping Goliath of a funk jam, with Boz's wonderfully ridiculous scatting and Fripp being forced into some Reggie Lucas-style comping (and he pulls it off!). "The Sailor's Tale" is good, but merely a tease as it gets cut off too soon. "Earthbound" is full of rock/funk swagger, with a heavy beat, a bit more of Boz's purist-offending scatting, Fripp loosening up a bit, and Collins' fine sax playing. This track also gets cut off early, and it seems to be a primitive precursor to some of the live improvs of the '73/'74 line up, at least rhythmically. "Groon" is a wobbly jazz-rock ramble, complete with with some of Boz's excited and seemingly drunken yelling and hollering in the background. Things get really out-there when the electronic effects attach themselves to Wallace's thundering drum solo like the face-hugger in ALIEN. It ends with Fripp playing a few doomy, sustained notes which decay into quiet amp humming. What a glorious mess!

I think we all agree that this is Crimson's runt of the litter. But it's much more than that. It's a grainy black & white snapshot of a band's dying incarnation on the edge. Think of a large, bellowing beast in its death throes with a few spears stuck in its side, and you've got the picture. I completely dig it.

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Send comments to Jangoclone666 (BETA) | Report this review (#270182)
Posted Sunday, March 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars Earthbound ? Crimsons first Live album, must have been many prog. freaks waiting for that ! And quite a few must have been very disapointed. Live recording from this early period tends to be of a very pure sound in general, but in this case its plain terrible. On "21st Century Schizoid Man" the sound on Fripp's guitar is fine, and he delivers a great solo, so does Collins, but the backing is very muddy most of the time, and the vocals allmost anoying, not only does Boz not deliver, but the sound is distorted in the most amaturish way. Fripp is in the mood, and he is firing bullits, but as a band, not a great experience.

"Peoria" the name of an Indian Tribe, and the town where it was recorded. Nothing indian about it, as some might hope, straight forward beat music, simple track, with a very simple vocal !, but a nice feel to it. The sound still pretty bad, but better than most tracks here. Collins does a long solo, in the beginning, fine, but nothing glorius there either. Fripp fine rythm guitar stuff, a bit like on "The Sailor's Tale" but less impressive, it is a Jam !. The jamming goes on for 7.22 long minutes !

"The Sailor's Tale", again the sound so bad. Drums and bass drowning in the mix. And the version not even a good one, sad !

"Earthbound", well another Jam, maybe a bit better than "Peoria", Fripp's soloing is nice, but at this point You just dont care that much anymore, where is the King Crimson we all love ?

"Groon", same feel to it as in "Peoria", but now more complicated, making it way more interesting. Constant soloing from Fripp/Collins, more breaking, more bass diversity. The track ending out in one of those 70's drum solo's, like Bonham would play it live. I love good drumming, but 7+ minutes of drum solo, I can live without it. Second half is played trough a Synz, making it more experimental, or honestly, even more boring.

This is a recording of the kind, that should be given as a free copy when you buy Islands. Its not worth the price of shipment, unless you are the die hardest Fripp collector.

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Send comments to tamijo (BETA) | Report this review (#278516)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars It's hard to believe today that Earthbound was the first King Crimson live album to see an official release. Today, of course, we have available to us a whole wealth of archival live material from more or less every lineup of King Crimson that ever undertook a tour - indeed, 2002's Ladies of the Road comes from the same tour as this one, and has a vastly superior sound quality. Thus, if Earthbound was a baffling, inessential, and controversial release when it first came out in 1972, here in 2011 it's just a complete embarrassment.

The major problem with Earthbound is, of course, the recording quality. Why the band's label thought this botched recording to cassette (1972-quality cassette, at that) would ever be acceptable for mass release is beyond me, but there you go. On top of that, I *think* that the performances captured on this muzzy, horribly mixed recording are quite sub-par: there's a version of 20th Century Schizoid Man in which the instrumental soloing sections make it quite clear that only two of the band members (Mel Collins and, of course, the honourable Robert Fripp) even remotely possess the chops of the 1969 lineup, a similarly uninteresting performance of Groon, a passable (though still ruined by the recording quality) stab at The Sailor's Tale, and two new jams (Peoria and Earthbound) which consist of Boz boringly scatting into the microphone whilst the band make a fumbling and altogether half- hearted attempt at something resembling funk, both of which are unbearable.

I say I "think" the performances are sub-par - I can't say for sure because the recording quality is so bad I could easily imagine that any good there may have been in these renditions has been washed out by the tape recording. Trust me, the sound quality is terrible, to the point where it sounds like half the album was recorded in the next room away from where the band were playing. And in this day and age, there is no earthly reason why anyone who wasn't a completely uncritical King Crimson fan should feel obliged to track Earthbound down. When one considers all the many, many alternative live Crimson releases - every single one of which is superior to this one - the fact that the thing actually got reissued from time to time is completely baffling. It's a horribly recorded record of below average performances from a comparatively unimportant lineup of King Crimson.

Get USA, get Absent Friends, get the Great Deceiver box, get the Projekts material, get Epitaph, get Ladies of the Road, and get all the other King Crimson live material you could ever want in the world before you even consider wasting a scrap of your money on this one. As far as King Crimson's discography goes, this is as close as it gets to the bottom of the barrel unless you're willing to dabble in bootlegs - and most bootlegs will sound better than this turkey.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#494276)
Posted Monday, August 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars This is the only official King Crimson album that I never upgraded from LP to CD. It just isn't worth it. I originally found this album in a used record store for three dollars (it still has the price sticker). At the time I thought I paid too much. Now, while I'm glad I have it (just for the completion of their records), I can't justify spending any money to upgrade it.

The recording quality, as many have already said, is poor. It was recorded on a cassette deck from a mixer at a series of concerts in 1972. That doesn't excuse to poor sound. The more recent Collectors Club releases indicate that there were better tapes available.

As for the performances themselves, it's obvious that Boz Burrell at that time was a sub-par bassist, and although some recordings show him as passable, here he is an embarassingly bad vocalist. Ian McDonald, we know, was a pretty good drummer, although not up to the level of any of the other Crimson drummers before or after him, but he does a fair job on these tracks. Robert Fripp and Mel Collins play well, as always.

So, performancewise, I would give this three stars. But the poor sound, and bootleg style editing, like entering The Sailors Tale in the middle of the song, rate only one star.

So by the average, two stars.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#515847)
Posted Monday, September 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars In 1970 King Crimson jumped from jazz-oriented rock ("In the Court of the Crimson King" and "In the Wake of Poseidon") to a bit more classical side of things with "Lizard". In 1971 they returned to the idea of having more jazz in their sound with "Islands" and continued going down that path, adding some funk to their sound. Such stylistic changes were well reflected on their 1972 live album, their first live album, "Earthbound".

If you were doing a bit of a research on that album, you may have realized by then that the band and the album caught some fire of criticism because the band did some crappy performances that were recorded on a cassette. Well, I have some breaking news for you: I did not think the performances were crappy, nor was the sound quality a big deal for my eardrums to be able to appreciate what was happening on this record.

The album opens with an incendiary version of "21st Century Schizoid Man", where the drummer Ian Wallace is doing a lot of justice to the piece. Also, I don't mind the slightly excessive distortion of Boz Burrell's vocals. If I couldn't understand what Greg Lake sung on the opener of the band's debut, then it's only fair to add a little more, right? And doesn't it sound like Boz was faking his emotions? If so, then so did Greg, right? But who cares? The band is there to deliver! Now, why did I rate this track with a four? For one thing, it's the sound quality on the tape, but it's no biggie. Second of all, there is nothing new, truly fresh, or groundbreaking that the band had to offer. There are no surprises, so you can already imagine what the whole track sounds like. But still, this is a truly decent version. The track sounds good to me.

Then there goes "Peoria." What is "Peoria"? It's an interesting title for an average funky/bluesy rhythm track. At least no one there shows off for the sake of the show, no technical inconsistencies, no intentional drawbacks whatsoever, unless you count the lack of an emotional lead solo as a drawback.

Then there goes "The Sailor's Tale." This one is not superior to the rendition on "Islands" because it's shorter. A very good excerpt was cut out unless it was actually poorly executed live and, like with the "Schizoid Man", there's nothing truly innovative. Still, I can't find any good reason to pull its rating down to three as long as the musicians keep it tight.

You could think of the title track as the precursor to some of the jams on the the band's album "Starless and Bible Black." This is where Fripp polishes his economical guitar style (perchance something along the lines of ambient in mid- and late 70's) and Ian Wallace sounds like he took from Bill Bruford (or is it Bruford who took from Wallace? Or maybe nobody took from anybody else in that case?), but that's good. I don't mind another Bruford. And that's it. A very adequate jam. A band's sound in a development. They are cool as long as they keep on rocking. Boz's scat-singing is extraneous, just really in the way, but it's not much. I can't complain big time. The track sounds tight enough for me. No huge reservations.

Last, but not least, is the album's final track, the insane "Groon". I wanted to give this one a five because the first time I heard it, I skipped to the second half and heard some crazy sound affects accompanying Wallace's berserk drumming. This is actually one of those few cases where self-indulgence does not bother me. I actually found this kind of listening experience to be very rewarding. The drumming (which lasts about eight minutes) and the experimentation may be out of control, but you know what? Some people want longer freak-outs. In the case of Yes, some people want longer adventures. Sounds fair? And then, after all the intense drumming, the sax kicks in, and Mr. Fripp closes the deal. Oh, how he closes the deal, man.

Now, here is the kicker, though. When I heard the first half of the jam, I changed my mind. This is where self-indulgence was really grinding my ears: Mel Collins' saxophone performance can be thought of as simply dismal at first, but when I got used to it, it did not bother me as much. Now that first half of the track sounds pretty listenable to me but it doesn't really grab me. The whole track is now left with four stars.

1. "21st Century Schizoid Man" - **** ; 2. "Peoria" - ** ; 3. "The Sailor's Tale" - **** ; 4. "Earthbound" - **** ; 5. "Groon" - ****

Recommended for people who just can't get enough of the Ole King Crimson's jamming, minus the Mellotron, and want a bit of sonic wackiness to go with that.

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Send comments to Dayvenkirq (BETA) | Report this review (#613218)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Earthbound? More like Marooned: The fractured state of the Crims.

This is a genuine misfire on almost every level. The band themselves were in a transitional stage. Gordon Haskell was out replaced by Boz Burrell who does not do the songs justice either vocally or on bass. The saving grace of Mel Collins' sax is at least something to look forward to and one cannot dispute the towering guitar work of legendary prog hero Robert Fripp. Even the set list lacks something with waste of space B side 'Groon' and dull 'Peoria'. The 6:44 edit of 'Groon' on "The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson Vol 1" box set is better and interestingly the box set has an edited 9:47 version of '21st Century Schizoid Man', minus the vocals that is, as they no doubt realised how bad Boz sounded.

The sound is as good as I could get if I had been there at Wilmington, Peoria, Jacksonville and Orlando venues recording on my boom box cassette recorder. Actually scratch that, it is worse as I would not have recorded static feedback and drop outs. At times the sound is low fi and muffled, at other times it eats static, and occasionally it is a notch above tolerable. For some reason this was as good as the band could do, yet in the 70s there were plenty of live albums that bury this in terms of sound quality. It really sounds like a bad bootleg and perhaps should have remained out of circulation to surface as bonus tracks to CDs in later years rather than released as official. Listeners would be more forgiving if they were mere bonus tracks.

In June 9th 1972 when "Earthbound" was released in England, the US Atlantic label actually declined to release it on the grounds that it had poor sound quality. Also that same year King Crimson split up, and the following month of the album's release in July Bruford, Wetton, Muir and Cross reformed the band with Fripp as the sole survivor. When Bruford quit Yes 'Melody Maker' likened it to "Rolls quitting Royce". Nevertheless this record testifies to the fractured state of the band, and it is not a pretty sound.

It is difficult to forgive this quality no matter how much you love the band, it is truly the worst you will hear on an official release. We have a raw whispy gutless sound though the band are so energetic and heavy that I can still sit through most of this. You have to be in the right frame of mind to purposely subject your ears to such a cacophony of noise but King Crimsonites will do so relatively easily. It is the archival nature of the material that holds the interest as this was the early phase of the Crims and is a one off live record. The "USA" live album to follow later in 1975 is a better choice of course but the band were tighter and as a cohesive unit were outstanding musically. Boz is the main culprit here who only learnt bass at Fripp's training in a desperate attempt to quickly replace Haskell. This concert followed in the wake of "Islands" where Boz sounded better and then he was replaced quickly by John Wetton just in time for the awesome "Lark's Tongues in Aspic". Bill Bruford was also a better drummer, streets ahead of Ian Wallace who had replaced Andy McCulloch. Peter Sinfield jumped ship indefinitely so it is clear that there was a lot of tension in the band with all these changes.

It is disappointing that the quality is so under par because the music itself is rather excellent. The brilliant '21st Century Schizoid Man' is certainly one of the best things on it and worth getting hold of. It exists on CD on the box set of King Crimson so it is not worth hunting down "Earthbound" if one already has this track. I was astounded at how bad the sound is and with all the live material available these days the album exists as more of a collector's only item or for archival records rather than an essential purchase.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#682760)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Raw and dirty doesn't begin to describe King Crimson's first official live album, which isn't even worthy of the description, "bootleg quality." Recorded on cassette tape in a Volkswagen truck in 1972, the presentation of these performances never had a chance. It also has some unwanted fades. The saving grace on an overzealous and histrionic "21st Century Schizoid Man" is Mel Collin's wild saxophone performance over Boz Burrell's energetic bass. "Peoria" is a pleasant bit of jazzy improvisation minus the horrendous scat vocals. "Sailor's Tale" is a fair rendition, but not as smooth as the original, though the guitar is at its most adventurous. "Earthbound" is also an improvisational jam, heavily reliant on Ian Wallace's drums and a funky bass line. As for "Groon," my appreciation for it has grown over time, and it appeals to those who relish the more avant-garde side of King Crimson.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#912059)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
Einsetumadur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 8/15P. I shan't waste too many words about this album. It's the first radically lo-fi album in rock music. It's unlistenable. It's cathartic to the core. I could actually give this recording any rating, in a way.

If I were polemic I'd call this record the first black metal album of music history. In these years certain musicians of the black metal genre also feed their aggressive artworks through lots of tape recorders time and time again in order to get the necessary amount of brutality in the production. People might rightly argue that the band didn't record it in bad sound quality deliberately. That's absolutely true, of course. But Robert Fripp, an intelligent man with a frequently critical attitude towards his own work, surely released this recording deliberately. The band history reveals that the band somehow wanted to undermine the bootleggers' activities by bootlegging their own concerts with a primitive broadcast vehicle. If they had had the modern means of production, they would surely have recorded their shows with better equipment. But, looking back to the year of 1972, they wouldn't have published this thing if they hadn't been convinced by certain qualities of this recording: maybe the raw power, the cathartic performance or the unusual funk jams.

The one sufficient reason for getting this CD is this version of 21st Century Schizoid Man. King Crimson sound as if they were demolishing the whole stage - not a bit of clarity, just cristallised energy devouring your internal ear. Mel Collins' saxophone shrieks, Robert Fripp bathes in oceans of feedback, Boz Burrell screams through Pete Sinfield's VCS3 machine and lets the original Greg Lake version appear pale in comparison to this frantic exorcism. Sailor's Tale is very similar, albeit with Mellotron input and at least some moments which are a bit pastoral.

The point is that King Crimson don't care about anything on this record - and this is the inspiring point about it. The drum solo of Groon, also fed through the VCS3 machine, is ugly and overlong, but still amazes you due to its recklessness. Boz Burrell's scatting in Earthbound and Peoria is ugly and off-key, the funk rhythms are dull - but again it's this certain artistic arrogance which grabs you. The only fault of the album is that the similarly destructive version of Circus by this King Crimson line-up is missing.

Admittedly, I've never ever listened to this album in its entirety. I do listen to 21st Century Schizoid Man several times in a month, however, actually every time when I'm disposed to remind myself how much force and energy a 4-piece band line-up can convey. The sound quality is awful, it's - as I've said - close to being unlistenable, but I have tremendous respect for the band having put this stuff out.

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Send comments to Einsetumadur (BETA) | Report this review (#978636)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars In all the time spent listening to music, and albums of the progressive rock sub-genre, there's been an infinite amount of recordings to go through. Many of them are pretty damn good, and are lasting proof of how innovative these groups could be. There have also been albums that show a far more pretentious side to the artists themselves. In order to get to the good stuff, you must stumble upon a dud. Every prog-head has had a dud, whether it is Love Beach or Tormato, there's always going to be an album that you'll try to like, but it never clicks.

One of these albums is Earthbound, which until the late 1990's, was the only live (official) document of the short-lived "Islands"-era line-up, featuring the late Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace, along with saxist Mel Collins. The album is infamous for its extremely-poor audio quality, a result of the album being hastily picked by Robert Fripp from the collection of tapes gathered over the group's final U.S. tour that winter.

On Earthbound, there are few things to be familiar with, as the only recognizable recordings include: 21st Schizoid Man, The Sailor's Tale, and Groon. Everything else, however, are what Fripp calls "jams", and not actual "improvs", for this particular incarnation of King Crimson were more accustomed to blues-based jams and not the meticulous improvisations that was somewhat present in the previous live incarnation and would be a big part of future incarnations of Crimson.

Kicking off the album, Schizoid Man, even in its poor quality, is able to sound pretty stellar. The group, grinding along intensely, with Burrell's growling vocals, gives an edge to the apocalyptic lyric; although it doesn't really show Burrell's vocal prowess as it did with other performances. The improv drives the song along even further, building up to an explosive finale, before being abruptly cut off.

One of the two new songs on Earthbound, Peoria is much more relaxed than the previous track, giving Mel Collins a chance to show his chops as a saxist. Burrell also uses this time to mumble around, weakening the track itself. Earthbound although, is about as good as indulging in cat food, with Burrell adding even more unnecessary scat vocals to the track, although it is pretty rousing and cheerful. Behind these two jams showed the internal issues of the band. Fripp losing control of his own band, was the victim of a mutiny of some sort. The other tracks, The Sailor's Tale and Groon, feature impressive playing by the band, the latter being one of the best renditions of the track, despite being cut off earlier than usual. Groon features the band working as a unit, before Wallace takes the helm for his VCS3-infused drum solo, channeling Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Only after the solo is finally over, does the band come back in before fading out, ending the album.

Earthbound, throughout the long forty-one years it has been out, has always been known for how jarring it was to the ear and how it went against everything Fripp had done quality-wise in the previous and coming years. It was and is notoriously weak, to the point where Fripp attempted to "delete" the album, rendering it hard to find, before customer demand forced him to release it several years later. It was bad to the point where Atlantic Records, the band's North American label, absolutely refused to release it, and was released on E.G.'s budget label due to its quality alone.

Thinking about, this album could've been much better, and definitely much worse. From what was released twenty years later on the "King Crimson Collector's Club", Fripp had far much more shows to choose from, but for one reason or another, chose the worst possible recordings, surprising for someone who is known for high quality recordings. In general, there was so much wasted potential, both on this album, and for this particular incarnation of King Crimson. I really wanted to like it and all, but with the exception of Schizoid Man and Peoria, there's simply nothing here to enjoy in this mess of bogged-down sound that is called a "live album". To put this review in four words: "It's not worth it." Nothing here is worth your time, and while there are some enjoyable aspects to Earthbound, the effort put forth here is just downright shameful.

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Posted Sunday, February 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

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