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King Crimson - Live at the Zoom Club 1972 CD (album) cover


King Crimson

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Perhaps two stars might be more proper rating for this strange artifact from the dusty vaults of KING CRIMSON (for collectors/ fans only), but I'm personally so interested about this material, that I'll go for three stars. But it's a tough decision...

This double CD has maybe the longest improvisations this line-up ever did, one of them runs over 44 minutes and it's faded out as the tape probably ran out before the jam ended! The sound quality is quite poor, but you can hear all of the instruments. Most versions of their basic repertoire are not very good performances, but it interesting to listen how some of their future numbers have evolved. There are some very familiar riffs and rhythms heard in some of the jams, which were later matured to complete songs (like "Fallen Angel", "Lament" and "Dr. Diamond").

I would suggest this double CD for fans of KING CRIMSON's line-up with Jamie Muir and for those who are interested of chaotic improvisational music. As this is a KCCC release (and there's also the "original" bootleg moving around), a casual consumer probably wont buy this by mistake from the shop.

Report this review (#60507)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars In the summer of 1972 King Crimson was reborn (again) and started rehearsing new songs in a new line-up. New members were Wetton, Bruford, Muir and Cross. Through the King Crimson Collectors Club (KCCC) there are 3 cd's available from this incarnation (apart from this release they are The Beat Club and Live in Guildford). This cd is of special interest, since it is the first official public appearance of this line up. It was recorded October 13, 1972 at the Zoom club in Frankfurt, Germany.

The performance consists for the biggest part of improvs but there are also some composed songs. It starts with Larks' Tongues in Aspic part 1. This version doesn't differ much from the one that was finally recorded in the studio. It is followed by Daily Games, which was the title of the track that would become Book of Saturday. On the final version the lyrics were altered a bit. The vocals of this track are buried in the mix, but are still audible. After these composed tracks the band plays two improvs, combined they last for over one hour. The first one is the closest thing Crimson comes to a hardrock band. In the beginning of the improv I hear something that sounds a lot like Lament (from SaBB). After about six minutes it becomes a riffing jam. It is probably not totally improvised since Wetton sings in this part. At first proper lyrics but later on 'wordless' vocals. In the end there is also a very long and heavy guitar solo from Fripp. This is a great improv. Considering the 'jammy' nature of it, it is an improv that would more be associated with the previous KC incarnation than with this one. The next improv, on the other hand, is an improv that is more expected from this line up. There a the more avant-garde bits (compared to Matching Mole for instance) and the heavy, jazzy bits (which sounds more like Mahavishnu Orchestra, especially with the violin parts). At the end the bass plays a tune that was later used in Easy Money. Again a great track. The second disc contains more familiar tracks. It opens with an early, basic version of Easy Money. The first improv is also familiar since it is the track Fallen Angel, which was recorded for Red in 1974. This piece was only played live a few times. Z'zoom is mainly noodling but then comes a nice Exiles with another intro than they usually play. The performances ends with The Talking Drum and LtiA part 2. Both tracks had already taken the shape as they were recorded later in the studio.

The sound of this release is not great, but also not that bad. The source of the material is an audience bootleg. If you are a fan of King Crimson I can really recommend this double cd. The performance is great and from a historic perspective, it is the first public appearance of this incarnation, it is also of importance. I also think this is the best live offering of KC with Muir. If you are not such a big fan and want to hear KC live, I recommend The Night Watch.

Report this review (#89096)
Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars When the Larks' Tongues In Aspic lineup of King Crimson was brought together, Robert Fripp decided to begin their live career the same way the Islands lineup started out: with a multi-date residency at the Zoom Club in Germany. Luckily, an audience member happened to record one of these sets, and the cassette recording has been tidied up and issued by Discipline Global Mobile in various formats; the most tidied-up version is available on the Larks' Tongues In Aspic Complete Recordings boxed set, or for download from the DGM website.

The sound quality is clearly below that of a decent reel-to-reel soundboard tape, but is actually pretty good for an audience bootleg - heck, there's reasonable separation between the instruments, you can understand what's being sung, you can tell the difference between Bill Bruford's conventional drum kit and Jamie Muir's bizarre array of kitchen implements, by these standards it's better than Earthbound. Don't get me wrong, this a rough, lo-fi recording - but the dark, chaotic music evoked by this lineup adapts better to a slightly muzzy recording than, say, the more delicate symphonic work of earlier lineups did.

In addition, this is an absolutely dynamite set. Perhaps one of the most astonishing things about it is that the entirety of the Larks' Tongues In Aspic album is here - sure, it's not quite all in the form it'd eventually be set down on in the studio, but each song and instrumental from the album is recognisably present in at least an early form. In addition, there's absolute tons of improvisation here, with a 44 minute improvised piece - dubbed in retrospect Zoom Zoom - which really takes the band through its paces.

The improvisational abilities of the mid-1970s King Crimson are rightly celebrated, and it's truly astonishing how quickly they were able to get this good - a surefire sign that the band chemistry was something special. If you are a fan of mid-1970s Crimson, you're likely to find this release a treat; I'd only recommend skipping it over if you already have the Larks' Tongues boxed set which includes it, or if subpar recording standards are an absolute dealbreaker for you.

Report this review (#2241635)
Posted Friday, August 2, 2019 | Review Permalink

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