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King Crimson - The Night Watch  CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.46 | 308 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 4.5 stars.This was recorded live from one show in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (November 23rd.1973). As Mr.Fripp says, the album "Starless And Bible Black" that came out the next year (1974) used around 26:50' of material from this live recording. Including the two improvs "Trio" and "Starless And Bible Black", as well as "Fracture". So although the concert goers heard material from "Starless And Bible Black" before it was released, this live recording wasn't released until 1997 ! I don't think there is any question that KING CRIMSON sounds better live then on their studio releases. Fripp has said that himself. And you'll notice three improvs on this double disc. "Trio" ,"Starless And Bible Black" and "The Fright Watch". To quote Mr.Fripp "...the live Crimson in 1973/4...increasingly needed improvisation to stay alive : this was it's life blood. It went places where other musicians of that rock generation mainly avoided.This team looked into the darker spaces of the psyche and reported back on what they found.The 1969 Crimscapes were bleak and written : the 1973/4 Crimscapes were darker, and mainly improvised".

Things get started with "Easy Money". Wetton's vocals come out of the heavy intro.The mellotron 2 minutes in is fantastic ! Some scorching guitar 4 minutes in and the bass is relentless. Wetton's back singing. What a song to open with ! "Lament" opens with reserved vocals and mellotron. Nice. Aggressive vocals come in with the whole band 2 minutes in. This contrast continues. "Book Of Saturday" has some good vocals and violin. "Fracture" is next. I like the way Fripp's guitar notes rise out of the void. The song turns heavy and so this contrast continues. Some powerful guitar before 8 minutes, and check out the bass solo from Wetton ! Screaming guitar after that. "The Night Watch" has some good violin and a scorching guitar solo. A flood of mellotron after 4 minutes. Wetton's vocals and the lyrics shine on this song. "Improv : Starless And Bible Black" slowly builds to a climax. Check out Fripp ! He's a genius ! His guitar is screaming out in pain as the waves of mellotron flow. The song settles down, then gets heavy again.

On disc two "Improv : Trio" is up first.This is a beautiful piece with violin, guitar and bass only. Cross said that the band was tired from waiting around until late to play this concert, because there was a classical concert earlier in the evening. So when they got on stage it felt like all their energy was gone. When they started to play this song song Bruford leaned forward on his kit and held his drumsticks folded across his chest throughout.They later called this tune "Trio". "Exiles" has mellotron, violin and guitar, and it sounds gorgeous ! Good bass 5 minutes in on this amazing song. "Improv : The Fright Watch" opens with various sounds as mellotron comes in.The melody is exhilarating 5 minutes in. This song blends into "The Talking Drum". It has a good rhythm of bass and drums as Fripp and Cross have some fun. They are smoking 6 minutes in ! "Larks' Tongues In Aspic(Part II)" is another famous CRIMSON song. It contrasts the brutally heavy with the tranquil passages so beautifully. "21ST Century Schizoid Man" has some amazing drumming in the intro. Some great interplay as well between Bruford and Wetton as Fripp brilliantly comes in with some slowly played guitar melodies.

You need to find this recording !

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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