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KING CRIMSON

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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King Crimson picture
King Crimson biography
Formed in London in 1968 - Several hiatus & reformations (1981,1994,2007 & 2013) - Still active in 2017

" When you want to hear where music is going in the future, you put on a King Crimson album."
- Bill Bruford, 1995

For all its break-ups, periods of non-existence and fluctuating methodology, King Crimson remains one of the interminably compelling bands playing within the domain of rock music to this day. Widely acknowledged as being the harbingers of the art-rock genre with their monumental 1969 album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", they paved the way for innovative art-rock/progressive rock bands such as Yes, ELP etc etc. in the early '70s as well as providing a stimulus for more recent neo-progressive bands like Tool and The Mars Volta through their post-progressive work in the early '80s and '90s. More of a frame of mind than a style, the music of King Crimson has constantly sought out sustenance through amalgamations of existing forms of music, veering away from any contemporary mould, nullifying any notions that it is necessary to adhere to proven formulas in order to create commercially feasible music.

From its formative years in Bournemouth, England in the late '60s, King Crimson's unwavering guiding light has constantly emanated from the abstruse intellect of guitarist ROBERT FRIPP. Although he maintains that he is not the band's leader per se, he attributes the band's enduring viability to the collective brilliance of its individual members even though it seems to disband and reform at the wave of his magic wand. Fripp began playing guitar at the age of eleven with 'Trad. Jazz' perfomer Acker Bilk providing him with early inspiration. By the age of 18, he was playing with a hotel band in his hometown of Bournemouth performing at bar-mitzvahs and weddings while developing his distinctive guitar style which incorporated many classical techniques. While other early influences included such diverse sources as Bartok, Debussy and Django Reinhardt, he was particularly drawn to the 1967 Beatles song "A Day In The Life" which, he claimed, affected him in similar ways as classical composers and it was around this time his designs for King Crimson began to take form. In early '67, after playing with other local pop outfits, he joined two brothers, MICHAEL GILES and Peter Giles on drum...
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Live In Vienna, December 1st, 2016Live In Vienna, December 1st, 2016
Dgm 2018
$14.87
$19.00 (used)
In The Court Of(Std)In The Court Of(Std)
Remastered
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$8.10
$7.81 (used)
In The Court Of(40th)In The Court Of(40th)
CD+DVD
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$15.11
$13.70 (used)
Red 30th Anniversary Edition RemasteredRed 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$7.82
$12.00 (used)
In The Wake Of Poseidon  (30th Anniv Ersary Edition)In The Wake Of Poseidon (30th Anniv Ersary Edition)
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$7.82
$13.99 (used)
Official Bootleg: Live In Chicago, June 28th, 2017Official Bootleg: Live In Chicago, June 28th, 2017
DGM 2017
$12.73
Lizard (CD + DVD Audio)Lizard (CD + DVD Audio)
Extra tracks · Special Edition · Remastered
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$14.40
$8.24 (used)
Beat  (30th Anniversary Edition)Beat (30th Anniversary Edition)
Remastered
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$7.82
$9.01 (used)
DisciplineDiscipline
Panegyric 2018
$27.96
RedRed
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$16.71
$13.09 (used)
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KING CRIMSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KING CRIMSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.62 | 3850 ratings
In The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
3.83 | 1916 ratings
In The Wake Of Poseidon
1970
4.12 | 1945 ratings
Lizard
1970
3.80 | 1695 ratings
Islands
1971
4.42 | 2597 ratings
Larks' Tongues In Aspic
1973
3.93 | 1646 ratings
Starless And Bible Black
1974
4.54 | 3043 ratings
Red
1974
4.11 | 1735 ratings
Discipline
1981
3.02 | 1060 ratings
Beat
1982
3.26 | 1046 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair
1984
3.65 | 980 ratings
THRAK
1995
3.11 | 236 ratings
ProjeKct Two: Space Groove
1998
3.12 | 727 ratings
The ConstruKction Of Light
2000
3.37 | 201 ratings
ProjeKct X: Heaven And Earth
2000
3.95 | 1092 ratings
The Power To Believe
2003
3.59 | 499 ratings
Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity Of Miracles
2011

KING CRIMSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.45 | 378 ratings
Earthbound
1972
4.02 | 458 ratings
USA
1975
2.90 | 31 ratings
Strange Tales of the Sailors
1991
4.56 | 356 ratings
The Great Deceiver: Live 1973 - 1974
1992
3.75 | 165 ratings
B'Boom (Official Bootleg - Live In Argentina)
1995
2.63 | 197 ratings
THRaKaTTaK
1996
3.78 | 172 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes One & Two
1997
4.44 | 273 ratings
The Night Watch
1997
3.73 | 136 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes Three & Four
1997
4.44 | 280 ratings
Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984
1998
4.00 | 30 ratings
Live At The Jazz Café (ProjeKct One)
1998
3.93 | 30 ratings
Masque (ProjeKct Three)
1999
3.74 | 23 ratings
Live Groove (Projekct Two)
1999
3.42 | 12 ratings
West Coast Live (ProjeKct Four)
1999
3.62 | 109 ratings
Heavy ConstruKction
2000
4.04 | 113 ratings
VROOOM VROOOM
2001
3.62 | 93 ratings
Level Five
2001
4.03 | 138 ratings
Ladies of the Road
2002
3.68 | 76 ratings
EleKtriK
2003
4.60 | 93 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 1 (Live in Mainz, 1974 + Live in Asbury Park, 1974)
2006
2.87 | 42 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 2 (Live in Bath, 1981 + Live in Philadelphia, 1982)
2007
3.82 | 41 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 3 (Live at the Sheperds Bush Empire,London,1996)
2008
3.50 | 39 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 4 (Live in Warsaw,2000)
2009
3.84 | 37 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 5 (Live in Japan,1995)
2010
2.26 | 8 ratings
The Crimson Projekct - Offical Bootleg Live 2012
2012
3.48 | 35 ratings
Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct)
2014
3.03 | 95 ratings
Live At The Orpheum
2015
4.75 | 39 ratings
Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind
2016
4.50 | 12 ratings
Live in Vienna + Live in Tokyo 2015
2017
4.84 | 25 ratings
Live In Chicago
2017

KING CRIMSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 39 ratings
The Noise: Frejus
1984
4.70 | 20 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair - Live In Japan
1984
4.45 | 138 ratings
Deja Vrooom
1999
3.76 | 130 ratings
Eyes Wide Open
2003
3.90 | 72 ratings
Neal and Jack and Me
2004
3.92 | 18 ratings
Inside King Crimson 1972-1975 An Independent Critical Review With David Cross
2005
3.26 | 48 ratings
Live In Japan 1995
2007
4.31 | 45 ratings
Live In Argentina 1994
2012
4.62 | 92 ratings
Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind
2016

KING CRIMSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 100 ratings
The Young Persons Guide To King Crimson
1976
2.15 | 66 ratings
The Compact King Crimson
1986
3.65 | 55 ratings
The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame
1991
3.21 | 45 ratings
Sleepless: The Concise King Crimson
1993
2.94 | 25 ratings
Schizoid Man
1996
3.34 | 45 ratings
Deception of the Thrush: A Beginners Guide to ProjeKcts
1999
3.84 | 89 ratings
Cirkus - The Young Persons' Guide To King Crimson Live
1999
3.58 | 74 ratings
The ProjeKcts
1999
4.55 | 48 ratings
21st Century Guide: Volume One (1969-1974)
2004
3.53 | 38 ratings
The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson Volume Two: 1981-2003 (4CD Box Set)
2005
3.98 | 27 ratings
The Condensed 21st Century Guide 1969 - 2003
2006
3.44 | 18 ratings
King Crimson - 40th Anniversary Tour Box
2008
4.78 | 105 ratings
In the Court of the Crimson King, 40th Anniversary Edition (5CD's + DVD)
2009
4.02 | 42 ratings
Lark's Tongue In Aspic (the complete recordings)
2012
4.65 | 48 ratings
The Road to Red
2013
3.89 | 36 ratings
The Elements (2014 Tour Box)
2014
4.60 | 20 ratings
Starless
2014
4.20 | 5 ratings
THRAK BOX
2015
3.93 | 15 ratings
The Elements (2015 Tour Box)
2015
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Elements (2016 Tour Box)
2016
4.29 | 7 ratings
Sailors' Tales
2017
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Elements (2017 Tour Box)
2017

KING CRIMSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.40 | 56 ratings
The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
3.36 | 48 ratings
Cat Food
1970
3.88 | 24 ratings
The Night Watch
1974
3.63 | 39 ratings
Epitaph
1976
3.89 | 19 ratings
Discipline 12'' Sampler
1981
3.10 | 20 ratings
Matte Kudasai
1981
3.33 | 3 ratings
Elephant Talk
1981
3.56 | 9 ratings
Thela Hun Ginjeet
1981
3.21 | 24 ratings
Heartbeat
1982
3.15 | 20 ratings
Sleepless
1984
3.67 | 3 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair
1984
2.17 | 19 ratings
The Abbreviated King Crimson: Heartbeat
1991
3.60 | 135 ratings
Vrooom
1994
3.50 | 4 ratings
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream
1995
3.86 | 22 ratings
Dinosaur
1995
2.99 | 24 ratings
Live at Jacksonville 1972
1998
3.19 | 25 ratings
Live at The Marquee 1969
1998
3.23 | 11 ratings
King Crimson - A Beginners' Guide To The King Crimson Collectors' Club
1999
3.84 | 27 ratings
The Beat Club, Bremen, 1972
1999
3.35 | 18 ratings
Live in San Francisco - The Roar of P4 (ProjeKct Four)
1999
4.63 | 24 ratings
On Broadway - Live in NYC 1995
1999
4.33 | 26 ratings
Live at Cap D'Agde 1982
1999
3.83 | 25 ratings
Live in Central Park, NYC, 1974
2000
2.72 | 20 ratings
Nashville Rehearsals, 1997
2000
2.57 | 17 ratings
Live at Moles Club, Bath, 1981
2000
4.19 | 32 ratings
Live at Summit Studios 1972
2000
3.20 | 26 ratings
The VROOOM Sessions 1994
2000
3.83 | 23 ratings
Live in Detroit, MI
2001
3.71 | 30 ratings
Live At Plymouth, May 1971
2001
4.10 | 30 ratings
Live in Mainz, Gemany 1974
2001
3.15 | 17 ratings
Live in Northampton, MA (ProjeKct Two)
2001
4.18 | 8 ratings
The Guide to Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Parts 1-4)
2001
3.23 | 25 ratings
Live at The Zoom Club
2002
3.37 | 86 ratings
Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With
2002
3.24 | 17 ratings
The Champaign-Urbana Sessions, 1983
2002
3.63 | 27 ratings
Hyde Park, London, 1969
2002
4.13 | 16 ratings
Live in Nashville, TN, 2001
2002
3.52 | 20 ratings
Live in Berkeley, CA 1982
2002
3.28 | 18 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct One - Jazz Cafe Suite, December 1 - 4, 1997
2003
3.84 | 25 ratings
Live in Guildford, 1972
2003
3.56 | 16 ratings
Live in Orlando, FL, 1972
2003
2.88 | 17 ratings
The Power To Believe Tour Box
2003
3.11 | 19 ratings
Live at Fillmore East, November 21 & 22, 1969
2003
4.04 | 15 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct Three Live in Austin, TX , March 25, 1999
2004
4.06 | 17 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA , July 30, 1982
2004
2.79 | 15 ratings
Live in Brighton, October 16, 1971
2005
4.13 | 20 ratings
Live in Heidelberg, 1974
2005
3.78 | 18 ratings
Live in Warsaw, June 11, 2000
2005
4.27 | 15 ratings
Live at the Wiltern 1st July 1995
2006
4.25 | 12 ratings
Live in Munich
2006
3.25 | 7 ratings
ProjeKct Six - East Coast Live
2006
3.90 | 10 ratings
Projekct Two - CC- Live in Chicago, IL
2006
4.00 | 9 ratings
Projekct Three - CC - Live in Alexandria, VA, March 3, 2003
2007
3.79 | 14 ratings
Live in Denver, CO, March 13, 1972
2007
4.27 | 15 ratings
Live in Kassel, April 1, 1974
2008
4.33 | 12 ratings
Live at the Pier, NYC - August 2 , 1982
2008
4.18 | 11 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA, August 26, 1996
2008
4.18 | 13 ratings
Park West, Chicago, Illinois (August 7, 2008)
2008
3.77 | 13 ratings
Live in Boston, MA, March 27, 1972
2009
4.41 | 17 ratings
Live Zurich, Nov. 15, 1973
2009
4.18 | 13 ratings
Live In Milan June 20, 2003
2009
4.15 | 13 ratings
Live in Toronto, June 24, 1974
2011
3.50 | 4 ratings
Recorded Live On The 2014 US Tour
2015
4.59 | 59 ratings
Live In Toronto
2016
3.81 | 7 ratings
Rehearsals & Blows (May-November 1983)
2016
3.40 | 20 ratings
Heroes
2017

KING CRIMSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Islands by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.80 | 1695 ratings

BUY
Islands
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Ludenberger

3 stars The 4th and final album of the Sinfield era, "Islands" is romantic, experimental and jazzier than ever. It holds the advantage over "Lizard" in some ways, especially because Boz Burrell, a much better vocalist (and my personal favorite), and Ian Wallace, a much more creative drummer, hop on board for this mostly relaxed album. Robert Fripp also plays a much larger role, exemplified with his "Sailor's Tale" that is somewhat of a precursor to the wonderful experimentation that would happen in "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" 2 years later.

The album opens with "Formentera Lady," which isn't the typical King Crimson album opener expected of the previous albums, but it really sets the tone for an exotic experience. It begins with Keith Tippet's signature piano flourishes and some outstanding saxophone work from Mel Collins. The vocal work from Boz Burrell is some of the best on the album, and Ian Wallace's percussion in this song sounds like what was to come from players like Bill Bruford or Jamie Muir. The song is also a whopping ten minutes, but like most KC songs, it doesn't overstay its welcome.

"The Letters" is a somber song with more excellent vocals, especially near the end of the song. As I said, "Sailor's Tale" is one of the great experimental works from not only the band but also Mel Collins, however I think this song does overstay its welcome in length, especially after "Formentera Lady."

Speaking of overly long songs, one song that I've never been fond of is "Prelude: Song of the Gulls," which is pleasant for about a minute but goes absolutely nowhere. I get that it's supposed to be a calm buildup before the final track, but it's just not fulfilling enough and "Islands" just isn't as powerful as songs like "Lizard" and "The Court of the Crimson King."

Another great moment on this record is "Ladies of the Road," with harmonies comparable to that of The Beach Boys in the chorus, which is easily the highlight of the song. I also love how Mel Collins uses the saxophone on this track, making it work with a bluesy number such as this.

Overall, the record isn't nearly as strong as the previous ones, but it's pretty good regardless. 3/5

 Lizard by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.12 | 1945 ratings

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Lizard
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Ludenberger

5 stars After the release of "In The Wake Of Poseidon" and most of the original band going off to pursue other musical avenues, most bands would just part ways, not bounce back to release the eclectic masterpiece that is "Lizard." Not only did King Crimson managed to pull the impossible off like they always do, but they even managed to release it in the same year as the previous album. Like "In The Court of the Crimson King," this album shows that KC are already ahead of other artists by leaps and bounds.

Fripp and Sinfield remain from the original band, making even more of a collaborative effort this time between two creative minds. Not only does Pete Sinfield return to write the lyrics, this time he also designs one of King Crimson's finest album covers, as well as one of prog's finest. Mel Collins joins the band as an official member this time around, bringing his amazing flute and especially amazing saxophone skills to the table. As for other members, Gordon Haskell comes on to do most of the vocals and bass guitars here, and he does a fine job, but not an outstanding one. Andy McCulloch is the drummer of the band, but it seems like he was just told to do his best impression of what Michael Giles was doing.

Moving forward from where the last two albums left off, "Lizard" decides to go in the jazzier direction that the early band seemed destined to go in at some point. Flutes, saxophones, trombones, cornets, and more take the spotlight, as opposed to a more traditional rock format using guitars. Many jazz sections are found in the tracks on this album, especially on tracks like "Indoor Games" and the title track.

"Cirkus" is the perfect opening track, and it immediately grabs your attention with abstract lyrics, and the highlight of the song, which are the menacing mellotron and horn sections after each verse. It's also one of Haskell's finest vocal performances on the album, and overall, a circus I like coming back to again and again.

"Indoor Games" follows a similar bombastic format to "Cirkus," getting even jazzier this time. With a "hey ho" from Haskell, we're launched into the next attraction of the circus, which is "Happy Family." Many consider this to be a weak song, but I think it's the perfect culmination of what "Cirkus" and "Indoor Games" were leading up to. Oh, and it's about the Beatles, too.

"Lady of the Dancing Water" is similar to "Cadence and Cascade," and although I probably like "Cadence" a bit more, this is such a peaceful song to close off the first side, giving the first 3 songs room for a better experience. The best part of the song is Collins's flute playing, and it echoes the brilliance of Ian McDonald's playing on "I Talk To The Wind."

Finally, the track that makes this album a prog essential is the title track of "Lizard." First and foremost, it is one of the first side-long suites in prog, coming in a year before ELP would release "Tarkus." It set a trend that other artists such as Genesis and Yes would take inspiration from. Speaking of Yes, one of the best things on the song is the fact that Jon Anderson, the vocalist for Yes, comes in to sing "Prince Rupert Awakens," and the song fits his voice perfectly. Next in the suite we move directly into "Bolero," the jazziest piece on the album which culminates in crashing cymbals, leading into the chilling opening notes of "The Battle Of Glass Tears." This section takes up most of the suite, but it doesn't disappoint and it really feels like a battle. Even Haskell's vocals fit the section well, representing a calm before the storm. The suite is ended off with "Big Top," a short nostalgic piece on the mellotron that never fails to give me chills.

Even though this album is said to be "hard to get into," it is worth it and overtime, its true musical excellence of "Lizard" starts to show. 5/5

 In The Wake Of Poseidon by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.83 | 1916 ratings

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In The Wake Of Poseidon
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Ludenberger

4 stars Even though "In The Wake Of Poseidon" lacks the impact and innovation of King Crimson's debut, it certainly isn't a sophomore slump. It isn't nearly as adventurous of an album, and most of the tracks derive from songs on "In The Court," but by no means does this make it bad. It does a pretty serviceable job of following up one of the best progressive rock albums of all time, in my opinion.

For this album, the only remaining and credited members in the band are Robert Fripp and Peter Sinfield. Greg Lake still lends his vocal talent on most of the songs, but his bass parts were left unfinished after he joined ELP, so King Crimson alumni Peter Giles steps in to record the bass parts. Ian McDonald still holds writing credits to songs on the album, but the great Mel Collins fills in for his woodwind parts and Keith Tippett fills in the spot for a pianist. Fripp also picks up the keyboards, something that would be seen on every KC album to come, save for David Cross playing some here and there in the mid-70s. Gordon Haskell, one of Fripp's good friends at the time, sings on "Cadence and Cascade," since vocals were unfinished by Lake. Michael Giles also returns to bring his stroke of brilliance on the drums, but he just plays as a session musician this time around.

Even with all of these drastic personnel changes, King Crimson still manages to pull off a great album, although not as tight of an experience as "In The Court of the Crimson King."

One of the more notable and inventive tracks on the album is "Peace," which is scattered throughout the album in three sections, and the final section is just beautiful. The vocal performance from Lake is so touching and calming, and Fripp's simple guitar work makes all of the difference.

"Cat Food" is also the most adventurous, off-the-wall, and just amazing things on the album. The concept is absolutely bonkers: I originally thought it was a blues tune about how bad cat food is, but I was actually corrected (see comments) and the song is really about how frozen food and food manufactured to just be heated up is bad, so the band is comparing it to cat food. Still, a pretty bizarre concept and definitely progressive lyrically. It also contains bits of nods to the Beatles, such as the bassline being eerily similar to "Come Together." This is the best song on the album, and the things that really make it are Lake's amazing vocal performance and Keith Tippett's abstract piano additions.

"The Devil's Triangle" is a wonderfully intense instrumental piece mostly by Fripp on the mellotron, and some writing and arrangements done by McDonald. "Garden of Worm" is the best section on this monster of a track, and it even includes vocal samples from "The Court of the Crimson King" from the first album.

"Cadence and Cascade" is simply breathtaking, and still one of King Crimson's best tracks to date. Gordon Haskell does a fine job on vocals (even if they were pitched during mixing) and it is a beautiful song, especially during the section starting with the lyrics "Caravan hotel..."

"Pictures of a City" is good, but it is evident that this song is heavily based on "21st Century Schizoid Man" and it begs for more development. It's an enjoyable song, and I especially enjoy Peter Giles's performance on this track. The title track is also derivative of past songs, sounding similar to "Epitaph" and using lyrical structure similar to that of "The Court of the Crimson King." However, Lake's vocal performance is great here, and Fripp and Sinfield's chemistry is shown through the guitar sounds made in response to certain lyrics. My only real gripe about the song is its lackluster interlude entitled "Libra's Theme."

Overall, it's a 4/5. Yes, it has more flaws than the debut, but it is still a solid album and is worth it if you really liked the first album (I certainly did.) Thankfully, the ever-progressive King Crimson catalogue gets even better from here.

 Starless And Bible Black by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 1646 ratings

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Starless And Bible Black
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

5 stars Scrolling through these reviews I'm not surprised at all Red is considered the masterpiece and Starless is the headed stepchild. I've found most of the masses go for the glossy streamlined product. Me, I'll take the rougher road less traveled any day of the week.

My history with this album is deep - I found a pirated cassette in a store in my hometown called Big Lots when I was seventeen. My curiousity for prog music was already there from having heard Roundabout many times on classic rock radio. Still, that was pretty much it as I didn't know anybody who liked or collected prog music as a youth. My friends and I used to go to this store to look for music, I remember discovering tapes by the Chi-Lites and the Blind Boys of Mississippi, things like that. Well, when I stumbled upon Starless and Bible Black and saw the name King Crimson, I snatched it up right away, remembering from the liner notes I had read in the Rush Chronicles CD I bought from a used CD store that Geddy's gang used to play King Crimson when they were starting.

If I remember correctly upon leaving the store I popped it straight into the tape player in my 1988 Pontiac Le Mans. The first side I was a bit confused, but upon hearing Starless and Bible Black and Fracture I was mindblown. I had never, ever, ever heard anything like those tracks.

Nobody else in the car thought as I did. I think they wanted me to put back the Jane's Addiction tape.

It took me a while to develop a healthy regard for side A, and while We'll Let You Know may be a throwaway, I still like the sound of it. Ironically, I still love side B, but my favorite song here and maybe (this is saying a lot) in the Crimson canon is Trio.

In my eyes, Red is the girl you take home to mom and Starless and Bible Black is the girl you go out with on the sly. I've come to the conclusion my prog tastes ultimately swing in the King Crimson direction and if I had to pick one of the many great albums I'd pick Starless and Bible Black. Any album that begins with the words "Health Food Faggot" deserves the top spot.

 In The Court Of The Crimson King by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.62 | 3850 ratings

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In The Court Of The Crimson King
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Ludenberger

5 stars This is it... THE progressive rock album. The album that countless prog artists draw inspiration from, even to this day. Simply put, even though progressive rock music was well on the rise in the late 1960s, the "classic wave" of prog was initiated by "In The Court." This album truly defined what prog rock meant, and at the time it was like nothing else the rock genre had ever seen... but you've no doubt heard all of this. Now for the quality of the album as a whole.

"In The Court" brings together a truly spectacular team of musicians, including the early guitar brilliance of Robert Fripp (who, at the time, wasn't as major of a component in the group as he would come to be), the bass and chilling vocals of Greg Lake, Michael Giles's punchy drum lines that vastly increase the depth of each song on here, and the mystical lyrics of Pete Sinfield that rival the writing styles of Lewis Carroll himself. However, the member that I think really shines on this album is Ian McDonald: his intense and artful saxophone playing, his gentle strokes of brilliance from several woodwind instruments, and of course, one of the earliest uses of a prog staple, the mellotron. Each member brings something new to the table, and I love that about this album. If you were to take even one of the band members off of this album, a big chunk of its sheer quality and mastery would be severely missed.

This album also brings together styles of music previously unseen on rock albums, and it also introduced staples that are still being used (and sometimes abused) in prog rock today. Jazz music is an obvious influence here, seen on the improvisation-heavy "Moonchild" and the jazz instrumentation McDonald brings to the table, and other things used include the pop song structure of "I Talk To The Wind," a little bit of blues infused into "Schizoid Man," and even baroque music with the epic flourishes used on McDonald's mellotron.

As for the real shining moments on the album, "21st Century Schizoid Man" is an instant classic that grabs your attention on the very first listen, what with its surprising, striking opening chords and the distorted vocals from Lake. Even music fans who aren't usually too keen on progressive rock can appreciate this one just for its intensity, especially for a rock song from 1969.

"The Court of the Crimson King" is another essential track from this album, including some of Sinfield's finest lyrical work with the band. Michael Giles is also an integral part of this song's brilliance. It is even stronger in the context of the album, because after the quiet, slightly meandering improvisation on "Moonchild," the listener is just hit with a rush of intensity, almost like a musical apocalypse to close the album off.

"Epitaph" is also one of the most successful tracks on the album for similar reasons as the final track. It is an emotional rollercoaster, improved by the musical chemistry on this track between Lake, Giles, and Fripp. The lyrics also expand on the political commentary of "Schizoid Man," making it a fitting track on the album.

Personally, some of my favorite moments come from "I Talk To The Wind," especially McDonald's final flute solo to end off the track. I also really like the fantasy imagery in the lyrics of "Moonchild."

As for weak moments on the album, the only one that is generally pointed out as a weak moment is the improvisation entitled "The Illusion" for the most of "Moonchild." Yes, it's no masterpiece, and it definitely isn't King Crimson's best when it comes to improv that we would later see in the mid-70s, but it is still musically interesting and works just fine in the context of the album, although it is the weakest track.

Overall, this album is a 5/5, and it still holds up today thanks to the fine production. Progressive rock and its many artists wouldn't nearly be as massive if it wasn't for the influence, innovation, and mastery of this classic. It is simply essential, and a must-hear for fans of prog and rock alike.

 Red by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.54 | 3043 ratings

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Red
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by TheDapperFactor

5 stars An absolute masterpiece

King Crimson did not take long to recover from the (mildly) disappointing "Starless and Bible Black" as their next album, Red, is one of their finest. Despite only being a three-piece, the Crim is rocking hard as ever in this masterpiece.

Red| 9.5/10 One of the finest album openers of all time. Seriously, this song is an amazing song on its own, let alone being surrounded by the amazing works of this album. The polyrhythms make it an interesting listen every time, no matter how much I listen to it.

Fallen Angel| 8.5/10 One of Wetton's finer moments as a vocalist (R.I.P). Also, one of Palmer-James' finer lyrical works. "Lifetimes spent on the streets of a city / Make us the people we are / Switchblade stings in one tenth of a moment / Better get back to the car". Definitely not normal "progressive rock" lyrics (sometimes its good to not hear about crimson kings or moonlit knights).

One More Red Nightmare| 9/10 Fripp's standard rock (with a Fripp twist) riff abilities are on full display, but what really does it for me is Bruford's drumming. It is tight, professional, and complex. Wetton's voice fits the lyrics and overall attitude of the song perfectly.

Providence| 7.5/10 The definite ugly duckling of the album. It has a pretty standard Crimson improv feel to it. Bruford's interaction between the hi-hat and the side stick present themselves very well here, and the song is pretty well put together for improvisation. If Crimson rep this song with Fracture, this album would be even more of a masterpiece than it is. (I know the time period is a bit off, but one can dream)

Starless| 10/10 Holy [&*!#]. At the time I am writing this, this is my favorite song of all time. I am happy to give this masterpiece a 10/10. Talk about a perfect demonstration of cohesiveness and structural brilliance. This song is a timeless masterpiece. i can not even begin to explain the emotions I go through when that ending sax solo begins. The lyrics are concise and effective. One of the few good prog "epics" that does not require fancy lyrics with weird phrasing.

Average: 8.9/10

Weighted Average: 9/10

 Larks' Tongues In Aspic by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.42 | 2597 ratings

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Larks' Tongues In Aspic
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by SonomaComa1999

5 stars REVIEW #6 - "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" by King Crimson (1973), 06/07/2018

King Crimson is by far the most illustrious band in progressive rock, having spearheaded the genre since arguably creating it in 1969. Headed by the eccentric guitarist Robert Fripp, the band has gone through numerous personnel changes and musical periods ranging from eclectic mellotron-driven jazz fusion to heavy and industrial metal. Crimson's presence is felt throughout all the sub-genres of prog, and odds are any other prog band you're listening to was inspired by Fripp & Co.

Today we will be examining Crimson's fifth album, and the one which marked the beginning of the band's second generation, which has a heavy metal feel. Previously from 1969 to 1972, the group had released four albums which experimented with several different sounds, and featured several different musicians. Whether it be the late frontman Greg Lake who would reach the mainstream after leaving Fripp, or Boz Burrell who would go on to be the bassist for American rock supergroup Bad Company, it was obvious that Robert Fripp had a knack for selecting musicians who would become successful in the future. However, by 1972 there was a falling out between Fripp and lyricist Peter Sinfield, and an ensuing power struggle over their "Islands" album had prompted Fripp to fire the rest of the band and start anew. By the next year, Fripp had successfully pried drummer Bill Bruford from prog giant Yes, and sourced bassist John Wetton from Family, violinist David Cross, and percussionist Jamie Muir to form the "new" King Crimson. Their first offering was the album "Larks' Tongues in Aspic", considered to be one of prog's greatest albums.

"Larks" starts off with a thirteen-minute title track instrumental. The initial impression is almost unimpressive, as we are faced with a very quiet three-minute build up, beginning with the soft percussion of the second drummer Muir. King Crimson has made it known that they intended to take influence from Eastern European classical music for the album, while subsequently making use of improvisation. Muir satisfies the latter very well; an abstract percussionist, he was known for his wild stage persona, utilizing fake blood and running around his giant collection of instruments like a madman. Furthermore, he would make use of unconventional objects as instruments, such as small toy cars or shards of sheet metal in order to get very precise and unique sounds. While Muir's influence on the band was not so profound, as he randomly left the band in the midst of the album's supporting tour to pursue a monastic lifestyle, this album contains a great deal of his techniques and styles. Three minutes in, we meet the violin and a brutal Frippian guitar sound that had only been previously heard on "Prince Rupert's Lament". What ensues is perhaps the greatest introduction in the history of prog, as the band spontaneously erupts to counter the silence, blowing the listener's socks off with a brisk and heavy sound that had only been partially expressed through the music of Black Sabbath or Blue Cheer. King Crimson's sound is much more refined and electronic, and in my opinion is an obvious pioneer of the sound which would eventually transform into heavy metal. Following two salvos of pure noise, the group ventures off into a trademark dissonant improvisation section, where all the band members take off in different directions while still retaining the same motif. Throughout the middle portion of this song, we get a taste of every single thing the band can offer - a preview of what would be to come following our first impression. From the fleeting bass line to the powerful drumming of Bruford which drove the golden age of Yes, the listener can immediately extrapolate how monumental this album is going to be - not only is the music progressive, but it showcases the best of all worlds of rock. One may criticize the inclusion of a violin given it is often buried deep below the wall of sound created by both Bruford and Fripp, but the band takes time to include quiet passages where Cross can serenade the listener alongside the chilling sound of wind or wordless vocals which seem ripped out of a TV show, yet quiet enough to not be decipherable. As this piece comes to a close, King Crimson builds up towards a great climax, but unfortunately the band teases the listener by prematurely ending the song, and coming to a rather peaceful conclusion. Nearly fourteen minutes later, my mind has been blown, and King Crimson has etched itself into prog rock immortality - our journey has only just begun.

The minimalist album cover for "Larks" works very well. I personally am a fan of Crimson's album covers, whether it be the ornate medieval art of "Lizard", the iconic face of "In the Court", or the archetypes of "In the Wake", the bands cover art always seems to mirror the music. Back to the album, following the immaculate opening epic, the band throws a curveball and presents a three-minute ballad which warms us up to the vocals of bassist John Wetton. Wetton would go on to be the frontman for prog supergroup Asia in the 1980s, featuring on hit singles such as "Heat of the Moment", but on this album his voice sound remarkably green. It seems that he is still adjusting to becoming a frontman, but while some have criticized his voice as being a low-point of this album, it personally does not bother me. That being said, "Book" is a rather comfy breath of fresh air from the technical "Larks Pt. 1" while staying surprisingly progressive. This was the first song I ever learned on bass guitar, and it is uncannily diverse in sound and technique. Apart from that, it is a rather generic love ballad, but the placement on the album is pure genius to keep the listener on edge. Better yet it also serves as a warm-up to the next song "Exiles". This one is much more reminiscent of the band's previous incarnation, beginning with another long introduction but revealing itself to be a mellotron-driven ballad which once again makes use of Wetton's vocals. This song would fit in comfortably on an album such as "In the Wake" with its style, but even then there still seems to be an edge which that album was lacking in the instrumentation - Fripp's approach is much more striking as the wall of sound ranging from Cross's violin to the enthusiastic drums of Bill Bruford is much more exotic and enticing as it augments the mellotron. That being said, Wetton's vocals prove to be noticeably raw; it is obvious that he is not a natural vocalist, at least not in 1973. It personally does not bother me as the music is overwhelmingly instrumental on this album, but I can understand why another listener may be critical of this facet of the album. The music on "Larks" does not fit a specific concept, and even the music does not serve for much of an underlying meaning, even though some have speculated that "Larks Pt. 1" symbolizes the creation of the Universe and "Pt. 2" the Apocalypse. I personally do not see this being the case, although I could certainly see the monstrous exposition riff in the former being representative of the Big Bang. Otherwise, until Fripp acknowledges it, I'll view it as an urban legend.

"Easy Money", one of Crimson's most-played and accessible works, picks us up on the second side. I am pretty sure the band makes it a priority to play this tune every concert given its appeal and room for improvisation. There is no build-up for this one, as we hit the ground running alongside Fripp's powerful guitar tone and some wordless vocals. The lyrical sections of this song contrast as being quiet, with Wetton performing at a quieter level than on "Book" or "Exiles". What I focus on the most on this rendition of "Easy Money" is the performance by the percussionist Muir. I consider this to be Muir's defining tune in his brief tenure with the band, as his abstract style is riddled throughout this song. To start, the drumming is very rich - you can easily define Bruford and Muir, as the latter mostly spends time making use of unconventional percussion which is extremely evident in the song's middle instrumental section. The resonance of what sounds to be a metal triangle or a chime being hit is prevalent, while some more bassy and hollow sounds permeate Fripp's backing guitar solo and Wetton's bassline. "Easy's" instrumental works very well in providing a succinct wall of music to the listener; it does not last overwhelmingly long, and as it gets closer to the end it begins to build up towards a satisfying climax that culminates in some epic Fripp guitar work which is supported by masterful use of Muir's percussion and the heavy Bruford drumming style that was event on Yes albums such as "Fragile" or "Close to the Edge". In a more conventional move, the song is concluded by a reprisal of the lyrical section, which gives a nice, solid ending to what is considered to be a solid highlight of the album.

"Easy Money" segues into "The Talking Drum" through the sound of wind. At first I was unimpressed with this instrumental, given that it is an extended build-up into the finale of the album, but over time I have grown to appreciate it. I suppose I was expecting too much out of a build-up track, but in retrospect I find that this piece does a great job prepping the listener for what is a much more dynamic and interactive instrumental. It opens up with a simple Wetton bass-line, which evolves over the course of seven minutes as the rest of the band progressively joins in and speeds up the tempo. By the end the band is in full flight, with Cross and Fripp dancing around Wetton's bass before coming to a full crash stop to signify the opening riffs of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Pt. 2" which brings us back to the heavy metal motifs of the first part. While "Pt. 1" was wholly improvisational, this part signifies a much more concrete ascension towards musical insanity, as the band pushes the envelope of what was considered musically haram at the time. There are still some less energetic moments as we journey through the rocky crags of this instrumental, but Fripp's omnipresent guitar riffs give this song the edge necessary to close out the album on a high note. I always like to focus on the guitar, but the rest of the band deserves attention as well, as Bruford's heavy style of drumming fits in perfectly with the sound the band is pursuing here. Muir's percussion still makes itself known, but in a less important role than on "Easy Money" or "Pt. 1". The rhythm section on this album does a great job at establishing a very solid foundation for the rest of the band to build upon through the form of improvisation or solo. Even though we heard it on "Prince Rupert's Lament", this was the album where Fripp established his trademark guitar tone, and at a semi-climax near the four-minute mark, it is especially present. Even in 2018, amidst a sea of loud heavy metal this tone hits hard; I can only imagine how it sounded to the virgin ears of rock listeners back in 1973. Coming towards the end we get a menagerie of drums and vicious guitar which signifies the conclusion of the album, but King Crimson does not cease the album outright, giving listeners an extra minute of a true ending as the sound descends and drowns away into an infinitely deep ocean.

When I first listened to this album, when it ended I was speechless. King Crimson introduced me to a higher understanding of music, and this album was one of the contributing factors into me becoming a more devout prog listener. There is no question that this album deserves a five-star rating, and even at that, I have debated giving this album a perfect 100% in terms of being listenable. I consider "Larks" to be my favorite King Crimson album; my 1973 Japanese pressing of the album has an epic amount of depth compared to digital recordings, and when played on my stereo is absolutely awe-inspiring. Perhaps one of the interesting things about this album is that it does not have a distinct champion of a song that carries the album, rather it is supported by songs which have equal weight in being unique, technical, and progressive. I still cannot find such a successful and revered album which has this quality, and even then it still garners an insanely high rating. While the band would continue to produce masterful albums even after 1973 and into the 80's, I always come back to this album as being one of the definitive prog masterpieces. I absolutely adore this album and certainly recommend that you give it several listens in order to truly absorb the musical depth that "Larks" offers a listener. That being said, I will shy away from a fabled 100% thanks to "the Talking Drum", which I view as being slightly long enough to offset this from being a perfect album. Nevertheless, it will get the next best thing - my rating goes as (99%, A+). One of the best albums of the genre.

 Red by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.54 | 3043 ratings

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Red
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars "Two Mellotrons on stage during the Red tour in 1974"

On this 7th studio album (1974) you can hear that King Crimson had done a lot of touring in the last two years, the band sounds more tight and powerful than on their previous two efforts Lark's Tongues In Aspic (1973) and Starless And Bible Black (1974). After the departure of first Jamie Muir and later David Cross, King Crimson became a trio (although David Cross is mentioned on Red as a guest musician): Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford and John Wetton. The album Red turned out to be commercially unsuccessful but it was a great inspiration for many bands like Nirvana, Living Colour and Tool.

The music on the opener Red is in the vein of the cover: dark and ominous featuring a kind of Heavy Prog, very compelling with propulsive drums, powerful bass work, a fiery guitar sound and melancholical violin play by David Cross. The climates alternate between mellow and agressive, it generates a hugh tension in the music.

Next Fallen Angel, this track sounds a a blend of jazz, symphonic rock and Heavy Prog. The one moment dreamy with Mellotron violins, and the other moment sumptuous with fiery brass, in a dark atmosphere.

In the following One More Red Nightmare it becomes even more dark, heavy and compelling featuring fat guitar riffs, a screamy saxophone, hypnotizing twanging guitar and a propulsive rhytm-section. This is topped by John Wetton his distinctive vocals, with a melancholical undertone.

And now for something completely different, the long composition Providence: pretty experimental with violin and percussion, culminating in a heavy climax with blistering electric guitar and powerful bass.

The final composition Starless is for me one of the best King Crimson ever wrote. First dreamy with intense Mellotron violins, sensitive electric guitar and saxophone, a melancholical cello and tender vocals. Then follows one of the most exciting build-ups in Classic Prog history: Bruford's propulsive percussion and Wetton's growling bass, fueled by an ominous, razorsharp guitar sound from Fripp, gradually it becomes more and more bombastic, wow, what an ultimate exciting and compelling musical experience. After a break with a saxophone solo the climax is heavy and powerful, the interaction between the trio and the dynamics are overwhelming. In the end the dreamy atmosphere from the first part returns, with wonderful Mellotron work and tender vocals, goose bumps. This was a long and captivating musical journey between ultra contrasting atmospheres, unique and pivotal progrock!

Bonus items on my Red 40th anniversary edition.

The bonustracks are 'trio versions' from Red (impressive bass sound) and Fallen Angel (instrumental with jazzy guitar play) and a 'full version' from Providence (all pre-overdub versions by Steve Wilson).

The DVD is my highlight of this remastered version, especially the video with four tracks from the French tv in 1974.

Lark's Tongues In Aspic : Part II : More powerful and tight than the 1973 Beatclub version, and without Jamie Muir, a big plus, I never liked his contributions.

The Night Watch : The same irritating images as on Pictures Of An Exhibition from ELP but interesting to see Robert Fripp sublimating his infamous passive agressive nature into his fiery guitar play.

Lament : A young and inspired Bill Bruford experimenting with assorted percussion, that's why he left Yes for King Crimson.

Starless : A mindblowing version, for me it's also breathtaking to see two white Mellotron M400 models on stage, on the left for David Cross and on the right for Robert Fripp. To be honest, I prefer David Cross here with his violin, rather than the original saxophone. This is top notch legendary progressive rock and showcases why Classic Prog still rules.

More info from the record company.

This 40th Anniversary edition on CD/DVD-A features new stereo & 5.1 mixes by Robert Fripp and Steven Wilson plus high resolution stereo mixes of the original, extensive additional audio material and representative video. It also contains new sleeve-notes by Robert Fripp and King Crimson biographer Sid Smith, a newly designed booklet with rarely seen photos and other archive material and presented in double Digipack format with outer card slipcase.

 Islands by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.80 | 1695 ratings

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Islands
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Kornod

5 stars For me this album is one of the most interesting King Crimson effort, because it's at the same time something completely new for the band, and a delicate bridge between "Lizard" and "Lark's Tongues In Aspic".

Experimental nature of "Islands" is pretty much obvious in cause of contrast that was made by far more aggressive sound of previous album. There we have very calm and almost meditative soundscapes which are being represented to us starting with the first section of the disc.

I think now it's time to say something about album's structure. For me it can be simply divided into three major parts, where the first consists of tracks 1 and 2 which make a so-called "Sailor's Tale Suite" I like to think about it as an almost twenty-minute piece because the transition between the tracks is insanely smooth and they are very similar to each other if we speaking about atmosphere. For me this part is probably the best in the entire album, cause it gives many different and entertaining moves, which combine variety of greatly enjoyable moods.

The second part takes it place at tracks 3-5 and is the most experimental part of the album. Although it's still enjoyable I personally think that it's a bit of a letdown of an album.

Finally the last part is the title track only. And that's where things get very complicated, because it's one of a few songs which I find deeply personal but I can't say definitely why it's so. Still it won't stop me from getting shivers every time I listen to it.

I already said a lot about my all-time favorite, though I can speak about how gorgeous it is about an hour or even more, but there is still one thing that I want to mention - if you really listen to it carefully, then you can see pieces and moods that'll directly make their way to next King Crimson work. It provides very nice transition of styles within band's discography.

So, in the nutshell "Islands" is very calm but at the same time a very personal experience, something that you need to listen at least once. For me it's true masterpiece, and I won't hesitate even a bit from rating this 5/5.

 Live In Chicago by KING CRIMSON album cover Live, 2017
4.84 | 25 ratings

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Live In Chicago
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars Back in the 1980s, during the Discipline era of King Crimson, Robert Fripp decided that the band would not play any of the past groupings' songs, save for "Red" and "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part 2". This was humorously portrayed in Tony Levin's "King Crimson Barber Shop Quartet" ("We don't play 21st Century Schizoid Man, but we're the King Crimson Band"). I had read some quotes from Fripp at the time where he said he was not interested in the past, only wanting to move forward.

I suspected a different motive. King Crimson had gone through so many personnel changes that KC at the time just wasn't the same band from the previous decade, and those old favorites performed by this group might not be up to par with Fripp's meticulous musical sensibilities.

Well, here we are some thirty-something years later, and Fripp now wants to grace us with new live versions of many of those old masterpieces.

I have the 2015 "Live At The Orpheum" CD, and while I liked the album, I found it somewhat lacking. The performances on that set kept too close to the originals, and was often lifeless.

But here, after 2 years plus of touring on the KC catalog of music, this new set takes off. The life they breathe into all of the music, no matter which King Crimson iteration played the original version, is astounding. The three drummers, which often didn't blend on the earlier release, now come together to form 1 Bruford, or at least a reasonable facsimile.

And they throw in a couple of new tracks, which sound like they might have been leftovers from "A Scarcity Of Miracles".

My favorite tracks on this are "Larks'Tongues In Aspic, Part 1", modernized, but as earth-shaking as ever, "Cirkus" and "The Lizard Suite", two song I never thought Fripp would be playing again, and the almost 16 minute version of "Schizoid Man".

The best performer here is Mel Collins, who's sax & flute work brings me back to the good old days when he seemed to be sitting in with nearly every British prog band.

Truly an amazing trip through the entire history of the king of prog.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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