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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4188 ratings

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5 stars This is a seminal Progressive Rock album, but not the first of the genre as some people claim. A search through the albums on ProgArchives will turn up earlier examples, and earlier albums of the genre also appear on Progressive Rock timelines on other Web sites. But certainly "In the Court Of The Crimson King" is a very early example of the genre.

'21st Century Schizoid Man', 'Epitaph' and 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' must be the most covered Progressive Rock tracks of all time, I would think. The music on the album is excellent, with only the extended noodling on 'Moonchild' being open to criticism. The first fifth of the track is a pleasant, laid-back song but the rest of the track is very subdued noodling. The latter does not bother me and could be claimed to be mood music, evocative of a moonlit garden or landscape. or, alternatively, it could just be noodling! I don't know whether the band was really trying to convey a mood (moonbeams flitting through the trees, that kind of thing), or were just at a loss for something better to do.

I had not thought of this until recently, but this album might have directly influenced some of PFM's early music.

Apart from the first track, which, as the name suggests, is hard-hitting, the music is symphonic and often subdued. So, if you've never heard the album before, don't expect very bombastic Progressive Rock (although 'Epitaph' and 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' are pompous, I suppose). The use of sax and vibes give the music a jazzy feel in places. Lake's voice is crystal clear and his singing is really on top form, as are Sinfield's poetic lyrics.

Just a note about the CD release I have: it's the Japanese company Universal Records' album UICE-9051 using the Microsoft HDCD (High Definition CD) system so, if your HI-FI supports HDCD, you will hear 20-bit digitised sound instead of the usual 16-bit Audio CD sound. However you don't need a HDCD-compatible HI-FI to play this CD - it will work on any CD player, although the HDCD Web site says that HDCD CDs sound better than normal Audio CDs on conventional CD players. I have to say that this CD does indeed sound very warm and less tinny than a conventional 16-bit Audio CD on my conventional HI-FI. The CD sleeve is of the mini-LP format and comes with a booklet with cuttings from Melody Maker, Rolling Stone etc. which is a nice touch.

As to the rating, such an important work could only merit 5 stars, and it should be in every Prog fan's collection.

Fitzcarraldo | 5/5 |


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