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King Crimson The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame  album cover
3.67 | 60 ratings | 5 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc one: 1969 to 1971 (65:25)
1. 21st century schizoid man (7:20)
2. I talk to the wind (6:05)
3. Epitaph (8:44)
4. Moonchild (2:26)
5. In the court of the Crimson King (9:25)
6. Peace - A theme (1:16)
7. Cat food (single version) (2:45)
8. Groon (3:31)
9. Cadence and cascade (remix) (4:10)
10. The sailor's tale (7:27)
11. Ladies of the road (5:31)
12. Bolero (remix) (6:45)
Disc two: 1972 to 1974 (68:33)
1. Larks's tongues in aspic part I (abridged) (10:53)
2. Book of Saturday (2:53)
3. Easy money (7:55)
4. Larks' tongues in aspic part II (7:09)
5. The night watch (4:40)
6. The great deceiver (4:03)
7. Fracture (abridged) (6:57)
8. Starless (abridged) (4:38)
9. Red (6:17)
10. Fallen angel (5:59)
11. One more red nightmare (7:09)
Disc three: 1981 to 1984 (64:09)
1. Elephant talk (4:42)
2. Frame by frame (5:08)
3. Matte Kudasai (3:48)
4. Thula Hun Ginjeet (6:26)
5. Heartbeat (3:54)
6. The waiting man (4:22)
7. Neurotica (4:48)
8. Requiem (6:36)
9. Three of a perfect pair (4:11)
10. Sleepless (5:22)
11. Discipline (5:05)
12. The sheltering sky (8:16)
13. The King Crimson Barber shop (1:31)
Disc four: 1969-1984 live (58:39)
1. Get thy bearings (9:21)
2. Travel weary Capricorn (4:23)
3. Mars (Holst) (8:09)
4. The talking drum (8:30)
5. 21st century schizoid man (9:15)
6. Ashbury Park (6:52)
7. Larks' tongues in aspic part III (excerpt) (2:35)
8. Sartori in Tangier (4:08)
9. Indiscipline (5:26)

Total Time: 256:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Adrian Belew / vocals, guitar (disc3)
- Bill Bruford / drums, percussion (disc 2 & 3)
- Boz Burrell / vocals, bass (disc 1)
- Mel Collins / saxophones, flute (disc 1)
- David Cross / violin, viola, keyboards (disc 2)
- Robert Fripp / guitars, mellotron, devices (all)
- Michael Giles / drums, percussion backing vocals (disc 1)
- Peter Giles / bass (disc 1)
- Greg Lake / bass, lead vocals (disc1)
- Tony Levin / Stick, basses (disc 3)
- Ian McDonald / woodwinds, keyboards, mellotron, backing voccals (disc 1)
- Jamie Muir / percussions (disc 2)
- Peter Sinfield / words (disc 1)
- Keith Tippett / piano (disc 1)
- Ian Wallace / drums, vocals (disc 1)
- John Wetton / vocals, bass (disc 2)

Releases information

Caroline CAROL-1595-2

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KING CRIMSON The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KING CRIMSON The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I managed to loan this compilation box from the local library, and I was interested to see how Fripp wanted to present his material for the audiences during early nineties.

The first CD of four has their 1969-1971 material on it, and their legendary first recording has been transferred here quite nicely, having all of its material except the ten minutes sound wall of the "Moonchild" track. The next albums are presented quite shortly, and sadly there's much of material I personally found interesting missing.

Disc two presents in my opinion their most interesting line-up with John Wetton and David Cross. The sound of re-mastered music is beautiful, and there's a good selection of songs here, but sadly "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part one", "Fracture" and "Starless" have been "abridged", which means they have been edited to shorter versions. This is truly a shame, I think it would have been better solution to select fewer tracks than giving several torsos for the display.

Third disc has material from their Tony Levin and Adrian Belew era albums from the early 1980's, and this CD works most dynamically from all of these four CDs. The essential tracks are present unedited, and there's a nice "barber shop" song as a bonus feature at the end of the disc.

The fourth CD has the live material on it. "Get Thy Bearings" is a nice cover song from Donovan, and their version of Holst's "Mars" is interesting and legendary act, but maybe bit boring. "The Talking Drum" is a bit weird selection, as it is usually used as a lead to "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part two" which is not there, but there's a version of "21st Century Schizoid Man" behind it. I'm not very satisfied with Robert's trend of altering his past works, but this opinion of course seen from a vantage point of his music's adorer. The conversation about artist's rights on own work versus audiences demand continues on some forums without resolution. Luckily there's "Asbury Park", which should interest the fans of the 1972-1974 line-up, as it is their full-improvised jam from the stage. The 1980's song choices are also fine, especially the version of "Indiscipline" here is awesome. There's also a small but funny misspelling in the album track times considering this disc, as "The Talking Drum" is marked to last nearly thirty minutes.

There's also a very neat booklet included in the box, which has old paper articles about the band, an essay by Fripp, their gig lists and neat pictures which are animated when you flip the papers. If you are not familiar with the material of King Crimson 1969-1984 albums, this could be a decent introduction to them if you can lend this or get it with a moderate price. Maybe this isn't as "essential" in quality as its title suggests, but a better one in the family of the compilations of this band.

Review by fuxi
4 stars A GORGEOUS COLLECTION - slightly marred by a few perversities.

I simply adore anthologies, and when this one came out in the early nineties, it seemed like a godsend. No need to buy all those separate KC albums that you remembered from the 70s and 80s! All the essential stuff in a beautifully designed box! I still think FRAME BY FRAME is the most enjoyable Crimso compilation that ever appeared. Some people might complain that it has now been superseded by the so-called 21ST CENTURY GUIDES, but those are either too mammoth-like (TWO four-disc sets!) or too small in scope (the "condensed" version). No folks, if you want the best of classic Crimson on four solid CDs, FRAME BY FRAME is the set to go for. The only drawback is that it doesn't take you beyond 1984.

Just look at the track listing. Virtually all of their legendary debut album, and of the equally legendary 1981 rebirth, is included. The second half of the first CD then provides a great selection from the early seventies ("Catfood" and "Groon" are there, as well as the utterly beautiful "Bolero" and the best seven minutes of "The Sailor's Tale"). The second disc offers you an ideal 70-minute selection from LARKS' TONGUES, STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK and RED. The six best tunes from BEAT and THREE OF A PERFECT can be found on CD 3. It's true that a few of the longer tunes have been slightly abbreviated, but in my view this only makes them stronger.

Now for the perversities. "Cadence and Cascade" has been remixed, with a new vocal by Adrian Belew - but before you start shouting "Fire!", please note that it sounds virtually identical to the original. The final disc is entirely devoted to live recordings, but whereas the tracks by the 1973-1974 and the 1980s bands are superb, I see no redeeming features in the tunes from 1969 ("Get thy Bearings", "Travel Weary Capricorn" and "Mars") which sound utterly boring to me. Also, "The Talking Drum" just does not segue into "Larks Tongues pt. 2", as it ought to. I must admit I hardly ever play this live disc, especially since I also bought two of Crimso's greatest REAL live albums, USA and ABSENT LOVERS. But don't let this put you off. FRAME BY FRAME is worth it for the studio material alone.

FRAME BY FRAME dates from the good old days when four CDs were nicely packaged next to each other (not on top of each other) in an LP-size box. The FRAME BY FRAME box actually won a well-deserved prize for its design. The 64-page booklet (also LP-sized) is ravishing. Not only does it include a wide range of photos (many of them large-size), it also provides you with an extensive selection of the press reviews KC received through the years, both good and bad. As with the earlier YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO KING CRIMSON, Robert Fripp has done his utmost to represent his band's legacy (as it stood in 1991) in the best possible way.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This boxset is a MUST for Crimson-heads even if you have all albums of King Crimson, you should not miss this compilation. This applies also to those who are new to the band also, because it really contains essential material in the band's history. My chief reason to buy a box set is usually to get to know better the band - from the booklet provided - so that I know the background, the situations or the life dynamics of the band on albums they had made. I really love this compilation and it has become a precious collection altogether with The Great Deceiver - the live concerts boxset. I purchased "Frame By Frame" boxset in 1996 - it's already twelve years with me and it's really still in its mint condition. Because I like the packaging, I put the box (empty) on the wall and put the four CDs in my CD shelf. The great thing about the package, in addition to its deluxe box, is the large size booklet containing all narratives and photographs throughout the band's history.

Informative and Comprehensive Boxset

This boxset covers the band's history from its embryonic stage in 1969 until 1984. In terms of music direction, it covers both pre and post Belew (vocal, guitar) era. As you might have known that since Discipline album (1981) King Crimson changed its course dramatically from symphonic, mellotron-drenched type of music into those with a bit of new wave music due to largely the swept of punk music at the end of 70s and early 80s. The booklet and band's family tree are really great and it's a great joy reading them.

Disc 1 covers 1969-1971 era which starts with a track that inspired heavy metal bands in the world: "21st Century Schizoid Man (7:20) from the debut album that has been considered by most people as the birth of progressive rock genre (Classic Rock magazine, October 2008 issue). (Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield) - 7:20. The next four tracks were taken from the same album. With five tracks featured here, it's basically the whole debut album tracks were featured in here, with the exception of abridged version of Moonchild. For newbie, this is great because the complete version of Moonchild is too long in silent part at the end.

The next track Peace: A Theme (1:16) was taken from the album "In the Wake of Poseidon" (1970) followed with great singles "Cat Food (2:45) and Groon (3:31). Cadence and Cascade (4:10) was taken from "In the Wake of Poseidon" (1970) but with a change of vocal from Gordon Haskell to Adrian Belew. It's good also to feature the abridged version of Sailor's Tale (7:27) from the album "Islands" (1971) followed with Ladies of the Road which combines mellow and hard drive music nicely, from the same album. Disc 1 ends with one track from Lizard (1970) album: "Lizard (Part II: Bolero - The Peacock's Tale) (6:45).

Disc 2 covers the band's era of 1972-1974. It starts with a great track with heavy metal riffs "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part I) (10:53). I like this track especially on parts where the rough guitar riffs meet with dazzling drumwork by Bill Bruford. It's really great, especially when it's combined with David Cross' violin. Book of Saturday (2:53) is a track of my favorite followed by another great track Easy Money (7:55). Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II) (7:09) concludes the "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" (1973) album. The next album "Starless and Bible Black" was represented by three tracks: "The Night Watch (4:40), The Great Deceiver (4:03), and Fracture (6:57). The next four tracks "Starless (4:38), Red (6:17), Fallen Angel (5:59), and One More Red Nightmare (7:09) from the album Red (1974) conclude disc 2.

Disc 3 covers the period of 1981-1984 and it represents the critical milestone for the band as the music shifted dramatically when Discipline (1981) was released and Adrian Belew joined the band as lead vocal and guitar player. Most people would be shocked with this third CD as the music is totally different with previous two discs. Disc 4 is basically live recordings from their performances in 1969 until 1984.

Overall, I am really delighted with this boxset and I consider this as a masterpiece compilation. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This could have been a five star compilation. A four CD chronicle of the history of one of the greatest bands ever, with the last disk being rar (at the time) live tracks. It sounds easy. And it should have been.

There are two major flaws to this collection. First, many of the songs are shortened, with at least one missing the best parts. Sure, cutting out the spacy instrumental noodling on Moonchild may have seemed like a good idea to someone, but to me it ruins the song. And the edit on Starless, taking out the best part of the song, leaving it sounding like a version from a John Wetton solo album, is just criminal.

The second flaw makes me think Robert Fripp was having some sort of feud with Gordon Haskell at the time of this release. The two songs included here where he originally appeared (Cadence And Cascade and the Bolero section from the Lizard suite)are "remixed" versions. By remixed, they mean Haskell's vocals have been rerocded by Adrian Belew, and the bass rerecorded by Tony Levin. ANd the best songs from Lizard are totally unrepresented. Very disappointing.

The first disk features every song from In The Court Of The Crimson King (with the above mentioned edited Moonchild). Given the historic nature of that album, I suppose it's a good idea., and songs from other albums through Islands. The bonus on this is the studio version of Groon, originally the B-side of the Cat Food single.

The second disk is the biggest abomination. Three of the nine songs, actually the three best (Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part I, Fracture and Starless), are abridged. These are some of my favorite KC songs, and the edits make me cringe. Otherwise, the song selection is pretty good.

The third disk is the eighties Crimson. 'Nuff said. There is Tony Levin's humorous The King Crimson Barber Shop tacked on the end ("Tap your foot in 21").

The fourth disk is what I was anticipating at the time. Three rare recordings (at the time, this was before DGM released all of those Collector's Club live disks) of the original lineup, three Wetton-era live tracks, and three eighties live tracks. This is the best disk of the set, and that's probably one reason so many live recordings of Crimson have been released since (that and the love of the money they bring in).

At the time it was released, I would have rated it four stars. But now, get the original albums, up through Red, and some KCCC releases from your favorite lineups, and you can skip this collection.

Review by Matti
2 stars First off, KING CRIMSON is truly a band deserving a large box set. There are numerous smaller compilations too, that can't be anything but mere scratching of the surface. The studio album material of the years 1969-1984 are spread over three discs while the fourth (which I consider to be quite fan-oriented; I'm not one) contains live stuff from the same timeline. The problem concerns the way those three discs are compiled.

Yet another KC release to include In The Court of the Crimson King almost in its entirety. Only the tiresome instrumental extension of 'Moonchild' is missing. But then, every album between that and Lark's Tongues in Aspic are given *very* little space here. For example the excellent Lizard (1970): only a remix of 'Bolero'. Albums featuring John Wetton are handled better, but editing the awesome 'Starless' under five minutes is cruel. I don't mind other editings that exist here, unlike fans probably do.

These unbalanced decisions can't be explained with the lack of space: 1) each CD runs under 70 minutes, 2) the Disc Three is completely dedicated to the three albums of 1981-84, which means they are for the most part included. Good grief! So, that era is considered to be more important than the years 1970-1972?? As far as I'm asked, those albums sound very much the same. Two tracks from each would have been fair enough. I understand the symmetry in separating that era into another disc than the earlier generation with ever-changing line-ups, but was it really a good idea in practice? NO!

I was making a KC compilation to myself when borrowing this annoyingly big box, but I had to borrow some studio albums too to make it the way I wanted. Not very well done from a four- disc set... I don't know the price of it, but I'm sure you'd get several albums with the same amount of money. Me, I'd hate to see such big glumsy box on my own shelf, especially if the contents are so unbalanced. This low rating of course deals more with the nature of the compilation, not the music itself. I'm definitely not saying this wouldn't include some of the most essential prog rock ever done.

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