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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3248 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The third and final album of King Crimson's second (or third? or fourth?) phase, which began with Larks Tongues in Aspic (or with Islands?), "Red", can be considered as a middle ground between LTIA and Starless And Bible Black both as sound and as a composition and musical score. "Red" is not as geometric and slow, and redundant as LTIA, it's not even live and erratic and improvised like "SABB", of which it doesn't sound dry and fatal. The live songs here are only one, "Providence", and otherwise the work has been done in studio with very studied and stryted pieces, which collaborate Ian McDonald to the saxes (already appeared on the first record of KC), which gives a greater variety in the arrangements and evokes the sound of "Islands".

"Red" (6:20) is an instrumental opening track built around a powerful guitar riff, doubled thanks to the overdubbing. The middle section includes an overdubbing cello performed by an uncredited session-man. The song is more conventional and predictable than the ones of the previous Lp, here Fripp follows a precise melody with his guitar. The track is good but lacks originality in his development and arrangement. Rating 7,5/8.

"Fallen Angel" (6:00) contains the last acoustic guitar track recorded by Fripp with King Crimson and the cello of the anonymous musician of the previous track, but even the oboe (Robin Miller) and the cornet (Mark Charig): both previous collaborators of KC on Lizard (1970) and Islands (1971). Wetton's singing is good and the structure of the piece is conventional: verse-chorus (instrumetal break)- chorus - verse- chorus but here the musical score is more original than in the previous one and the arrangement is disturbing and dissonant, less conventional, and touch the climax in the instrumental section. Masterpiece. Rating 8,5/9.

"One More Red Nightmare" (7:04) has got a frighteningly terrifying atmosphere, sounding similar to the previous one, centered on bass and guitar. The instrumental piece at the center of the track has something of the song "Larks TIA" but here is the McDonald's sax that produces a sound that also resembles "Sailor's Tale", from Islands (where at the sax there is Mel Collins). Anyway, here yuo can listen to a great musical orgasm. Masterpiece, 8.5.

Rating Side A: 8,5.

Side B.

"Providence" (8:08), instrumental, is a live improvisation, it starts slowly, with Cross's violin painting chromatic lines worthy of a classical sonata, then performing in virtuosity, while behind it you can hear Fripp's heavy guitar, Bruford's percussion, describing a completely improvised abstract sound, until around the fifth minute Wetton's bass took the lead, followed by Fripp's abrasive guitar, the drum snare arrives and the song takes off for a pyrotechnic ending, which softens in the last 30 seconds. Masterpiece, 8.5.

"Starless" (12:18), in the beginning, seems an epic melodic ballad as the ones on the debut album written by Ian McDonald, here on alto saxophone. Fripp's mellotron embellishes the sound that proceeds with Wetton's singing until four and a half minutes, when the structure of the song ends and begins an instrumental moment (that lasts 8 minutes) very dissonant with an atmosphere of terror, thriller mood, an obsessive and paranoid sound played by Fripp's guitar creeps into a devious progression dominated by Wetton's bass, until at the ninth minute the track becomes a free jazz - hard rock piece, thanks to McDonald's and Collins saxes; for a moment the initial melody appears again, before the ending, triggered. Fripp considered this piece as definitive, emblematic of the end of an era, and in fact after Starless he disbanded the group. Absolute masterpiece, Rating 9+.

Rating Side B: 9.

This album is a real masterpiece of progressive rock. The "weakest" song is the first: and I've said everything...

Rating album: 9,5. Five Stars. Absolute masterpiece.

jamesbaldwin | 5/5 |


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