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King Crimson - Epitaph, Volumes One & Two CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 211 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I think this compilation of live performances and radio sessions has much more interesting musical material on it, when compared to the studio albums of the 1st King Crimson line-up. Some exceptions certainly exists, but this is my overall feeling of the matter. The sound quality of these recordings is not very good, as they are from late 1960's and done with poor equipment even in the standards of that time. But I have heard much worse audio quality, and the music on the discs is really capturing.

The first four tracks on the CD one are from a BBC radio session, and I understood that these are from a tape which somebody recorded the broadcasted radio show from the air. If this is true, I truly appreciate the sound quality managed to be restored on this release. The performance of "21st Century Schizoid Man" is the best version of this song which I have heard, along with the live versions of the 1972-1974 line-up. The studio version of this tune is much more tamed and sterile. "Get thy bearings" is also a great jazzy track, a cover song written originally by Donovan. Next three songs are from New York's Fillmore East's concert of 21st November 1969. "A Man, A City" is the early version of the song "Pictures of A City". The last four songs on the first CD are from San Francisco's Fillmore West's gig 14th December 1969. Three tracks of these, "Mantra", "Travel Weary Capricorn" and "Improv: Travel bleary Capricorn", form a one, continuous piece of music. "Mantra" is an interesting number, as it was later used as the intro for the song "Exiles". The following song is also good, but it has some painful off-key singing by Greg. Doing a version of Holst's "Mars" is an interesting musical idea, but maybe bit boring to my taste. I guess Fripp was very obsessed by this number, as his composition "Devil's Triangle" on "The Wake of Poseidon" record sounds like his own version of this tri-tonal composition. The second CD has then material from the next day's show from Fillmore West, the highlight for me from these tracks was "Drop in", a Fripp- Lake-McDonald-Giles composition that didn't sadly make it to the studio sessions.

The versions of the mellotron driven pastoral epics "Epitaph" and "In The Court of The Crimson King" work maybe better on the original studio recordings. After all they are symphonic pieces, so they sound nicer when the mellotrons stay in tune, and the playing is done in an accurate manner along composition's predefined arrangements. But The songs with jamming potential (like "21st") work much better on stage, so if you are fond of this band and like good live music, this double CD is a worth of inspecting.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 4/5 |


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