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KING CRIMSON

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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King Crimson picture
King Crimson biography
Formed in London in 1968 - Several hiatus & reformations (1981,1994,2007 & 2013) - Still active as of 2017

" When you want to hear where music is going in the future, you put on a King Crimson album."
- Bill Bruford, 1995

For all its break-ups, periods of non-existence and fluctuating methodology, King Crimson remains one of the interminably compelling bands playing within the domain of rock music to this day. Widely acknowledged as being the harbingers of the art-rock genre with their monumental 1969 album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", they paved the way for innovative art-rock/progressive rock bands such as Yes, ELP etc etc. in the early '70s as well as providing a stimulus for more recent neo-progressive bands like Tool and The Mars Volta through their post-progressive work in the early '80s and '90s. More of a frame of mind than a style, the music of King Crimson has constantly sought out sustenance through amalgamations of existing forms of music, veering away from any contemporary mould, nullifying any notions that it is necessary to adhere to proven formulas in order to create commercially feasible music.

From its formative years in Bournemouth, England in the late '60s, King Crimson's unwavering guiding light has constantly emanated from the abstruse intellect of guitarist ROBERT FRIPP. Although he maintains that he is not the band's leader per se, he attributes the band's enduring viability to the collective brilliance of its individual members even though it seems to disband and reform at the wave of his magic wand. Fripp began playing guitar at the age of eleven with 'Trad. Jazz' perfomer Acker Bilk providing him with early inspiration. By the age of 18, he was playing with a hotel band in his hometown of Bournemouth performing at bar-mitzvahs and weddings while developing his distinctive guitar style which incorporated many classical techniques. While other early influences included such diverse sources as Bartok, Debussy and Django Reinhardt, he was particularly drawn to the 1967 Beatles song "A Day In The Life" which, he claimed, affected him in similar ways as classical composers and it was around this time his designs for King Crimson began to take form. In early '67, after playing with other local pop outfits, he joined two brothers, MICHAEL GILES and Peter Giles on d...
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Buy KING CRIMSON Music


In The Court Of(40th)In The Court Of(40th)
CD+DVD
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$14.40
$15.99 (used)
The Reconstrukction Of Light (40th Anniversary Edition)The Reconstrukction Of Light (40th Anniversary Edition)
Dgm 2019
$14.26
$18.78 (used)
In The Court Of The Crimson KingIn The Court Of The Crimson King
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2010
$18.37
$21.97 (used)
The Elements Tour Box 2019The Elements Tour Box 2019
Dgm 2019
$22.98
The Power To Believe (40th Anniversary Edition)The Power To Believe (40th Anniversary Edition)
Dgm 2019
$14.22
$18.53 (used)
Meltdown: Live In Mexico CityMeltdown: Live In Mexico City
Dgm 2018
$30.03
$30.79 (used)
Three Of A Perfect PairThree Of A Perfect Pair
Panegyric 2019
$17.21
$23.15 (used)
Live In Newcastle December 8, 1972Live In Newcastle December 8, 1972
Dgm 2019
$8.58
$12.57 (used)
Heaven & EarthHeaven & Earth
Dgm 2019
$195.69
RedRed
CD+DVD · Extra tracks · Remastered · Special Edition
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2016
$13.78
$14.45 (used)
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KING CRIMSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KING CRIMSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.62 | 4041 ratings
In The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
3.83 | 2008 ratings
In The Wake Of Poseidon
1970
4.12 | 2045 ratings
Lizard
1970
3.82 | 1777 ratings
Islands
1971
4.42 | 2742 ratings
Larks' Tongues In Aspic
1973
3.93 | 1733 ratings
Starless And Bible Black
1974
4.55 | 3203 ratings
Red
1974
4.11 | 1831 ratings
Discipline
1981
3.05 | 1117 ratings
Beat
1982
3.27 | 1095 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair
1984
3.66 | 1028 ratings
THRAK
1995
3.09 | 247 ratings
ProjeKct Two: Space Groove
1998
3.14 | 757 ratings
The ConstruKction Of Light
2000
3.38 | 209 ratings
ProjeKct X: Heaven And Earth
2000
3.96 | 1137 ratings
The Power To Believe
2003
3.58 | 517 ratings
Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity Of Miracles
2011

KING CRIMSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.47 | 396 ratings
Earthbound
1972
4.03 | 480 ratings
USA
1975
2.88 | 32 ratings
Strange Tales of the Sailors
1991
4.57 | 369 ratings
The Great Deceiver: Live 1973 - 1974
1992
3.74 | 169 ratings
B'Boom (Official Bootleg - Live In Argentina)
1995
2.66 | 205 ratings
THRaKaTTaK
1996
3.78 | 181 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes One & Two
1997
4.45 | 288 ratings
The Night Watch
1997
3.73 | 141 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes Three & Four
1997
4.44 | 292 ratings
Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984
1998
3.97 | 33 ratings
Live At The Jazz Café (ProjeKct One)
1998
3.91 | 35 ratings
Masque (ProjeKct Three)
1999
3.78 | 27 ratings
Live Groove (Projekct Two)
1999
3.53 | 15 ratings
West Coast Live (ProjeKct Four)
1999
3.63 | 117 ratings
Heavy ConstruKction
2000
4.04 | 120 ratings
VROOOM VROOOM
2001
3.66 | 99 ratings
Level Five
2001
4.02 | 145 ratings
Ladies of the Road
2002
3.69 | 82 ratings
EleKtriK
2003
4.60 | 98 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 1 (Live in Mainz, 1974 + Live in Asbury Park, 1974)
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at 7th Note
2006
2.88 | 43 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 2 (Live in Bath, 1981 + Live in Philadelphia, 1982)
2007
3.82 | 41 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 3 (Live at the Sheperds Bush Empire,London,1996)
2008
3.50 | 39 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 4 (Live in Warsaw,2000)
2009
3.84 | 37 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 5 (Live in Japan,1995)
2010
2.29 | 9 ratings
The Crimson Projekct - Offical Bootleg Live 2012
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Vol.1
2013
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Vol.2
2013
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Vol.3
2013
3.53 | 38 ratings
Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct)
2014
3.03 | 100 ratings
Live At The Orpheum
2015
4.72 | 72 ratings
Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind
2016
4.57 | 30 ratings
Live in Vienna + Live in Tokyo 2015
2017
4.82 | 42 ratings
Live In Chicago
2017
4.33 | 24 ratings
Meltdown: Live in Mexico
2018
4.00 | 3 ratings
Uncertain Times
2018

KING CRIMSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 42 ratings
The Noise: Frejus
1984
4.64 | 22 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair - Live In Japan
1984
4.45 | 142 ratings
Deja Vrooom
1999
3.78 | 136 ratings
Eyes Wide Open
2003
3.92 | 76 ratings
Neal and Jack and Me
2004
3.92 | 18 ratings
Inside King Crimson 1972-1975 An Independent Critical Review With David Cross
2005
3.27 | 50 ratings
Live In Japan 1995
2007
4.30 | 47 ratings
Live In Argentina 1994
2012
4.64 | 101 ratings
Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind
2016

KING CRIMSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 108 ratings
The Young Persons Guide To King Crimson
1976
2.23 | 67 ratings
The Compact King Crimson
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
1989
1989
3.65 | 56 ratings
The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame
1991
3.20 | 47 ratings
Sleepless: The Concise King Crimson
1993
3.00 | 1 ratings
The First Three
1993
2.94 | 25 ratings
Schizoid Man
1996
3.35 | 46 ratings
Deception of the Thrush: A Beginners Guide to ProjeKcts
1999
3.84 | 92 ratings
Cirkus - The Young Persons' Guide To King Crimson Live
1999
3.58 | 77 ratings
The ProjeKcts
1999
4.56 | 49 ratings
21st Century Guide: Volume One (1969-1974)
2004
3.53 | 39 ratings
The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson Volume Two: 1981-2003 (4CD Box Set)
2005
3.98 | 28 ratings
The Condensed 21st Century Guide 1969 - 2003
2006
3.44 | 18 ratings
King Crimson - 40th Anniversary Tour Box
2008
4.79 | 112 ratings
In the Court of the Crimson King, 40th Anniversary Edition (5CD's + DVD)
2009
3.77 | 49 ratings
Lark's Tongue In Aspic (the complete recordings)
2012
4.01 | 54 ratings
The Road to Red
2013
3.88 | 39 ratings
The Elements (2014 Tour Box)
2014
4.34 | 25 ratings
Starless
2014
2.84 | 12 ratings
THRAK BOX
2015
3.81 | 16 ratings
The Elements (2015 Tour Box)
2015
3.70 | 10 ratings
The Elements (2016 Tour Box)
2016
2.14 | 2 ratings
On (And Off) The Road (1981-1984)
2016
4.50 | 10 ratings
Sailors' Tales
2017
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Elements (2017 Tour Box)
2017
4.50 | 4 ratings
Audio Diary 2014-2017
2018
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Elements (2018 Tour Box)
2018
4.33 | 3 ratings
1969-1972
2018
4.33 | 3 ratings
1972 - 1974
2019
4.00 | 3 ratings
A Mojo Anthology (Rare, Classic, Unusual and Live 1969-2019)
2019
4.00 | 3 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2019

KING CRIMSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.40 | 62 ratings
The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
3.38 | 52 ratings
Cat Food
1970
3.89 | 26 ratings
The Night Watch
1974
3.67 | 44 ratings
Epitaph
1976
3.87 | 21 ratings
Discipline 12'' Sampler
1981
3.19 | 23 ratings
Matte Kudasai
1981
3.20 | 5 ratings
Elephant Talk
1981
3.45 | 11 ratings
Thela Hun Ginjeet
1981
3.36 | 30 ratings
Heartbeat
1982
3.15 | 21 ratings
Sleepless
1984
3.60 | 5 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair
1984
2.19 | 20 ratings
The Abbreviated King Crimson: Heartbeat
1991
3.61 | 140 ratings
Vrooom
1994
3.60 | 5 ratings
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream
1995
3.87 | 23 ratings
Dinosaur
1995
3.00 | 1 ratings
AAA Sampler
1995
4.00 | 1 ratings
THRAK (4 Track Sampler)
1995
2.99 | 25 ratings
Live at Jacksonville 1972
1998
3.20 | 27 ratings
Live at The Marquee 1969
1998
3.23 | 11 ratings
King Crimson - A Beginners' Guide To The King Crimson Collectors' Club
1999
3.85 | 28 ratings
The Beat Club, Bremen, 1972
1999
3.35 | 18 ratings
Live in San Francisco - The Roar of P4 (ProjeKct Four)
1999
4.62 | 26 ratings
On Broadway - Live in NYC 1995
1999
4.33 | 27 ratings
Live at Cap D'Agde 1982
1999
3.83 | 26 ratings
Live in Central Park, NYC, 1974
2000
2.72 | 20 ratings
Nashville Rehearsals, 1997
2000
2.58 | 18 ratings
Live at Moles Club, Bath, 1981
2000
4.19 | 33 ratings
Live at Summit Studios 1972
2000
3.20 | 26 ratings
The VROOOM Sessions 1994
2000
3.83 | 23 ratings
Live in Detroit, MI
2001
3.69 | 31 ratings
Live At Plymouth, May 1971
2001
4.08 | 32 ratings
Live in Mainz, Gemany 1974
2001
3.15 | 17 ratings
Live in Northampton, MA (ProjeKct Two)
2001
4.18 | 8 ratings
The Guide to Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Parts 1-4)
2001
3.23 | 25 ratings
Live at The Zoom Club
2002
3.37 | 90 ratings
Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With
2002
3.24 | 17 ratings
The Champaign-Urbana Sessions, 1983
2002
3.62 | 28 ratings
Hyde Park, London, 1969
2002
4.12 | 17 ratings
Live in Nashville, TN, 2001
2002
3.51 | 21 ratings
Live in Berkeley, CA 1982
2002
3.28 | 18 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct One - Jazz Cafe Suite, December 1 - 4, 1997
2003
3.84 | 26 ratings
Live in Guildford, 1972
2003
3.58 | 17 ratings
Live in Orlando, FL, 1972
2003
2.88 | 17 ratings
The Power To Believe Tour Box
2003
3.11 | 19 ratings
Live at Fillmore East, November 21 & 22, 1969
2003
4.04 | 15 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct Three Live in Austin, TX , March 25, 1999
2004
4.05 | 18 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA , July 30, 1982
2004
2.79 | 15 ratings
Live in Brighton, October 16, 1971
2005
4.13 | 20 ratings
Live in Heidelberg, 1974
2005
3.78 | 19 ratings
Live in Warsaw, June 11, 2000
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Two - Live at I.C. Light Music Tent 1998
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKt One - London Jazz Café
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at Fox Theatre
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
ProjeKct Three - Live at Cactus Cafe
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
ProjeKct Six ‎- East Coast Live
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at Crystal Ballroom 1998
2006
3.35 | 8 ratings
ProjeKct Six - East Coast Live
2006
3.90 | 10 ratings
Projekct Two - CC- Live in Chicago, IL
2006
4.27 | 15 ratings
Live at the Wiltern 1st July 1995
2006
4.25 | 12 ratings
Live in Munich
2006
3.73 | 15 ratings
Live in Denver, CO, March 13, 1972
2007
4.00 | 9 ratings
Projekct Three - CC - Live in Alexandria, VA, March 3, 2003
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Two - Old Lantern, Charlotte 1998
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct One - London Jazz Café
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct One - London Jazz Café
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct One - London Jazz Café
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Three - Live at Poor David's
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Four - Live at Richard's On Richards
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Two - Park West, Chicago
2008
4.25 | 16 ratings
Live in Kassel, April 1, 1974
2008
4.31 | 13 ratings
Live at the Pier, NYC - August 2 , 1982
2008
4.18 | 11 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA, August 26, 1996
2008
4.17 | 14 ratings
Park West, Chicago, Illinois (August 7, 2008)
2008
3.77 | 13 ratings
Live in Boston, MA, March 27, 1972
2009
4.41 | 17 ratings
Live Zurich, Nov. 15, 1973
2009
4.18 | 13 ratings
Live In Milan June 20, 2003
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKct Three - Live at Electric Lounge
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Chicago (November 29, 1995)
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Jazz Club 1969
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
ProjeKt Two - Irving Plaza
2010
4.20 | 15 ratings
Live in Toronto, June 24, 1974
2011
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live in New Haven (November 16, 2003)
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson ProjeKct (Premium Bass)
2014
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Crimson Projekct ‎(Official Bootleg Live - Extended Edition)
2014
3.50 | 2 ratings
Plumpton Festival
2015
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live at the Marquee (August 10, 1971)
2015
3.60 | 5 ratings
Recorded Live On The 2014 US Tour
2015
4.58 | 61 ratings
Live In Toronto
2016
3.86 | 9 ratings
Rehearsals & Blows (May-November 1983)
2016
3.40 | 24 ratings
Heroes
2017
4.00 | 3 ratings
Cadence and Cascade
2019
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Mincer / Law of Maximum Distress
2019
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Terrifying Tale of Thela Hun Ginjeet
2019
3.00 | 3 ratings
21st Century Schizoid Man
2019
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live in Newcastle (December 8, 1972)
2019
3.00 | 2 ratings
Inner Garden
2019
4.00 | 1 ratings
Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 1
2019
4.00 | 2 ratings
Ladies of the Road
2019
3.00 | 1 ratings
Space Groove II
2019
3.00 | 1 ratings
Eyes Wide Open
2019

KING CRIMSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Discipline by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.11 | 1831 ratings

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Discipline
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by DominicS

4 stars As an album this was brave in many ways; new line-up, new instruments and ambitious experiments with sound that certainly differs from the sound of earlier albums such as 'Red' and 'In the Court of the Crimson King'. Therefore, it is fair to call this a true example of 'prog' rock due to Fripp's determination to progress the sound of King Crimson within their own catalogue but also in the wider world of music generally. It's not their best album but it comes close and is certainly the best Belew-era album.

The first track 'Elephant Talk' introduces Levin's Chapman Stick to the world through a very funky riff that drives the song throughout. The more electronic sound of the stick, that can be likened to a keyboard, gives it a very cool electronic bass sound and it works very well in the context of this song. The other notable feature of this song that exemplifies the albums experimental tendencies is Belew's manipulation of the guitar to create elephant like noises ' very cool indeed. Belew experiments with guitar sound throughout the album; in the chorus of 'Frame by Frame', he uses a combination of the whammy bar and striking the strings above the nut to make the guitar screech and wail. Likewise, in 'The Sheltering Sky' Belew creates what is known as the 'windstorm and clouds' sounds with his guitar aided by a series of pedals. It is nice to have the mystery of trying to figure out who or what is creating such strange effects on a song rather than being able to pick out the predictable sounds we are all used to. 'The Sheltering Sky' is the longest track and probably the most experimental on the album; as well as Fripp and Belew's creation of abnormal guitar sounds, Bruford adds to the mystery of the song through the use of a very African sounding slit drum. The song definitely isn't a long King Crimson epic, but its ambiguity is certainly thought-provoking. The other track that is perhaps quite ambiguous is 'Indiscipline' which has only two main sections, but their complete juxtaposition makes the song so interesting to listen to. The song goes from being a loud wall of noise, drums crashing and guitars wailing; then suddenly everything cuts out and we hear only Levin playing a menacing line on the Chapman Stick underneath Belew talking. A very long guitar trill takes us back into the chaos of the song ' the repetition of these contrasting sections is relentless.

My favourite song from the album has got to be 'Frame by Frame'. Fripp's impressively speedy guitar playing in the instrumental section is like being hit by a machine gun. Likewise, I am also in awe of the polyrhythms created in the next section which always makes my head spin when I listen to it. This song also showcases Belew's voice the best on the album as on the other songs he adopts a more unusual vocal style which involves a 50/50 combination of singing and talking in songs, such as in 'Elephant Talk'. 'Matte Kudasai' also does justice to Belew's fantastic voice, a much more mellow track that gives the listener a break from the heavy experimentation of the rest of the album. The whale-like guitar sounds are very ethereal and almost sound quite distant from the rest of the music. Although it's not as ground-breaking, it's probably the most beautiful. Despite the opinion that 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' is a highlight from this album, it's not as strong as other songs from the album. It's very catchy but for me it's too repetitive and is quite average in amongst a set of songs that are more ambitious in my opinion. 'Discipline' showcases just how well Fripp and Belew work together as guitarists, they play a complex dual guitar part seamlessly throughout the song which makes for an impressive result. Again, it's not a song I am instantly drawn to but at least with this one I can appreciate it more for its complexity and ambition.

Overall, this has become one of my favourite King Crimson albums, the interplay between the musicians is evident on nearly every song. Fripp's choice to bring in Belew and Levin was a wise one as they both bring so many ideas to the table; Levin adds the great sound of the chapman stick to the album, giving it a distinctive colour while also creating some catchy bass lines. Furthermore, the album is made even greater by Belew's experimental guitar effects and vocal techniques that give this album a unique sound.

 On (And Off) The Road (1981-1984) by KING CRIMSON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
2.14 | 2 ratings

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On (And Off) The Road (1981-1984)
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Man With Hat
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

2 stars I repeat myself when under stress.

The big King Crimson box sets keep rolling along. Just one year after the ThrakBox comes On (And Off) The Road, a boxset dedicated to the 80s lineup of the crimson king. Unlike the previous five boxsets, this one doesn't just focus on just one album. Instead it spans all three 80s Crimson releases (Discipline, Beat, & Three Of A Perfect Pair). In some ways this makes sense. The 80s lineup of Crim is not as freewheeling as the 70s lineup, nor did they routinely perform explosive improvisations. Given the more ridged structural forms of this era of KC, the songs didn't have large amounts of fluctuation in presentation. During the early part of the 80s formation, the sets they played live consisted of 95% new material, which essentially amounts to the Discipline album in full. Even once Beat was released, the setlists didn't have tremendous variation. However, in other ways this is a losing strategy. Even with the limited setlists, this band was still a force on stage. At their best, they were loud, ferocious, uncompromising, and all enveloping. They were also a tremendous amount of fun, a word that doesn't get used often to describe King Crimson. Every general and King Crimson Collector's Club release that features the 80s lineup is full of joyful and hot moments that show that KC wasn't going to just bend over for the changing musical culture around them. Why this box only gives us four shows (plus the Moles Club pre-KC boot) and doesn't focus on this aspect, will forever be one of life's greatest mysteries.

The main crux of this boxset is the unreleased material, of which there is very little. First up is CD 2, a show from Japan after the release of Discipline. The main attraction here is Manhattan, an early version of Neurotica, which would find its way onto Beat. The rest of the performance is good of course, but IMO they got better as they rolled along (the 82 show from Munich being an excellent example). Next is CD 9, 'Are You Recording, Gary?' This is the typical studio sit-along that features in these sets (like JurassiKc Thrak or 'Keep That One Nick'). There is some fun stuff here, but this disc is certainly in collectors only territory. Finally, there is CD 17, Live In Frejus. Technically, this has been released on DVD, but is now presented in full in CD form. A rousing show, it's nice to finally have the audio of it available in full. (NB: CD 5, Fragmented does contain a new song, Yoli Yoli, and an expanded Adrian And Robert (which was originally released on Rehearsal & Blows KCCC), but otherwise is just the Champaign-Urbana sessions KCCC.) Unfortunately, that's it, which is really strange. There are three other KCCC releases from the 80s, that at the very least should have made it in here. But what is most frustrating to me is the lack of 1984 material. Aside from Absent Lovers, this period is skipped over entirely. The least they could've done is released a CD for the Live In Japan part of the Neal & Jack & Me DVD like they did for the Frejus concert. The 1984 tour also had songs like Larks' Tongues III and Industry (and an improv in Entry Of The Crims), which are undocumented in the vast KC discography (aside from on Absent Lovers, obviously). They clearly toured all over the world during the 80s, and it would have been nice to for them to dig a little deeper for this boxset. The 80s were a great time to be Crim, but this boxset just doesn't show it off. (Consider this sentence the obligatory, everything that is here is pretty damn wonderful, commentary. KC could really blast off during some of these numbers and the guitar tones in particular are always fabulous.)

All in all, this is a disappointing and confusing release. Earlier in this series of megabox sets, they would dedicate 18+ albums for one studio album. Now it's three studio albums resulting in 11 CDs worth of material (which includes the aforementioned studio albums). I'm not sure who the target audience is meant to be. Surely, it's aimed at the longtime, hardcore fans. But these people (which I would include myself as a part of) would assuredly have 8/11th of the CDs presented (and presumably the Neal And Jack And Me DVD as well). I would imagine most casual fans would be satisfied with the individual 40th anniversary releases of the main studio albums, and/or the individually released Munich 82 and Absent Lovers CD sets, if they prefer the live setting. The new material in the box isn't really worth the price of an entire boxset, especially one filled with so much repetitive material. But perhaps I am wrong. The box did sell out so maybe I'm the only one that feels very unfulfilled with this release. The good folks at DGM still plowed ahead with two additional boxsets after this one (with possibly more to come), so they aren't completely tired of this format yet, but I fear they are getting close. On my personal scale, I would rate this as a 1/5. But with the zero-star rating gone on PA, I save one-star ratings for the truly dreadful and inferior. Thus, I will give it a 1.5/5 and round up to two stars.

 The Compact King Crimson by KING CRIMSON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
2.23 | 67 ratings

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The Compact King Crimson
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by kaiofelipe

4 stars Tracks 1-8: a superb compilation of their 81-84 albums (Discipline, Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair). The tracklist, although not chronological, flows well. Tracks 9-12: King Crimson's 1969 debut album is presented almost in its entirety, except for the improv "Moonchild". The Compact King Crimson is a pretty good compilation to introduce someone to two of the best formations of King Crimson. It isn't perfect because it doesn't contain a single track from their 1970-74 albums (by the way, I'm reviewing the CD version; the double-LP version contains "Cat Food" [70] and "Red" [74]). One must consider, however, that at the 80s Fripp still haven't come to terms with their 70s albums - and that it was released at a time when CDs couldn't have more than 74 minutes. Nevertheless, The Compact KC does very well what it sets out to do: to present the highlights of the 80s King Crimson - and of their first album.
 THRAK by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.66 | 1028 ratings

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THRAK
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The third strong KC period started around 94-95 as a mixture of young and old blood and musically leaning stronger into 70's comparing to their 80's output. There are fewer new wave elements and rock sound is emphasizied. "VROOOM" is a great instrumental track full of promising moments, building tension and instrumental quality. "Coda Marine" feels like a continuation of the first track, notes falling down into darkness. "Dinosaur" is the most commercial track of late KC, a high quality memorable pop track still greatly arranged and performed. Vocal is strongly reminding John Lennon. Lennon's and this time also Beatles influence continue on "Walking on air", remotely reminding of "Sun King" from Abbey Road. This is a calm song with gentle guitar sounds. "B'Boom" is an experimental duet drum-driven truck that does not season well after repeated listens. "Thrak" is one of the darkest tracks on the album and strongly rooted in the KC trio's era of the 70's. "People" is the only track reminiscent of the 80's KC period with even some synths used. Vocals and drum patterns are creative. The ballads are represented by "One time" and "Inner garden II". "VROOM VROOM" is a strong composition characterized by ominous guitars, double drums, mellotron, not too different from Red. The last track goes doomy but lacks the creativity of "VROOM VROOM", however they hold well together.
 Three Of A Perfect Pair by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.27 | 1095 ratings

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Three Of A Perfect Pair
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars KC continue with their updated formula to create a symbiose of progressive yet accessible pop-rock. The album has some simple new-wave tracks that will be opposed by the old KC fans but they will be pleased by the second size with a few experimental tracks and the direct message to the 70's KC legacy in the last composition. Adrian Belew's vocals start showing a new influence: Jeff Lynne (ELO) as featured on the second, third Bill Bruford continues challenging himself by embracing more electronic drums and creating new rhythms.

The first track should actually draw attention from all fans since KC managed to combine complexity and accessibility here which is not the case on other tracks. "Sleepless" is a moderate and monotonous track that goes on for too long. "Man with an open heart" is a direct nod to new wave sound. "Industry" emphasizes band's tight rhythmical abilities and Fripp taste to deliver guitar landscapes. Levin's slap bass stands out. "No warning" is another instrumental but rather forgettable track since it seems to be more improvised than coherent. As expected by the name, the last track is a crowning jewel of the album and a dessert for a listener with every member of the band contributing.

Unfortunately, after this album, the band went silent for 10 years.

 THRAK BOX by KING CRIMSON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
2.84 | 12 ratings

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THRAK BOX
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Man With Hat
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

2 stars The AttaKck Of Thrak

Another year, another large King Crimson box. After dedicating significant attention to the trio of albums from the 'classic' 70s quintet/quartet, the Crim brain trust skips ahead to the mid 90s double trio. This lineup only produced one album, but toured excessively, resulting in more than several live albums. This incarnation of the band could certainly kick up a racket and could get a bit outside during their most exploratory moments, but also has a surprising and almost unnecessary delicate side. Thrak Box attempts to make sense of this part of King Crimson's history, giving a brief run up to the creation of Thrak, the album itself, and a slight taste of the six headed beast in action on tour.

Unfortunately, this is the first megabox (if it could even be called that at only 12 disks) that feels like a letdown. Of the 12 disks involved, very few include new material, there are no full live shows (just three amalgamated sets from multiple dates at the same venue), and two copies of the studio album proper. The tour was well documented by the band, with professional (and full) recordings of large swaths of this tour, so choosing so few live shows to feature feels incredibly odd. Likewise, the King Crimson Collectors Club released two full albums of rehearsals by this lineup, of which only a handful of tracks appear spattered over two different disks. While I'm not a fan of including already released material in these large boxes, it would have made sense to include more of the road to Thrak, as this box is meant to represent the entirety of this particular era and, especially, as this box isn't exactly bursting at the seams with content. And some of what was included is equally as head scratching.

First, the positives: Disk 1 and Disk 4. Disk 1 is entitled JurassiKc Thrak and is comparable to 'Keep That One , Nick', from the Larks' Tongues box, essentially allowing the listener to sit in on a recording session with King Crimson and listen as ideas are tossed about and tracks are demoed and experimented with. Disk 4 is entitled AttaKcathrak, and is similar to Thrakattak, i.e. a fusion of various improvs from live shows, edited together to form new musical events. Both of these disks are previously unreleased, exclusive to the box, and pretty wonderful. The live shows (disks 7-12) are also of high quality. Each complies a complete setlist from each of the three venues (as opposed to being a complete show from one night). All three show the power of the mighty beast, but AzteKc Thrak is definitely my favorite. Disk 2 is somewhere between the good and the bad. An expanded Vrooom EP, it's nice to have, although it feels a bit thrown together, as if they just wanted to get enough material tacked on to the end to call it a complete album. Disks 2 and 5 are both the studio album Thrak (albeit different mixes) and having both is completely unnecessary in this reviewers' eyes. The worst offender is disk 6, Btye-Size Thrak. A collection of single edits, 4 live cuts (two of which are of some of KC's least interesting material), three sessions outtakes (that would have made more sense on disk 2), and two short frippertonic pieces. Why anyone thought this was a positive addition to the thrak box is truly a wonder. (As an aside, even though this is only 12 CDs (16 disks total) it is still as expensive as the larger set The Road To Red, and only slightly more than the smaller Complete Larks' Box.)

All in all, this is an unfulfilling exploration of the mid 90s edition of King Crimson. By no means as definitive a dive as the previous megaboxes, the selections presented here range from disappointing to confusing (aside from the first and fourth disk). So much material was left on the sidelines, that it makes it feel like this box is an afterthought, meant to only give a faint whisper of what King Crimson were about at the time. This set can only be recommended to diehard fans of the double trio. 1.5 stars on my personal scale, rounded up to 2 stars for this website.

 Beat by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.05 | 1117 ratings

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Beat
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Equally accessible but more commercially driven than Discipline, the second 80's effort by KC immerses the listener quickly in the typical 80's guitar textures. Heartbeat is probably the most radio-friendly and famous track by KC but stands on its own in terms of quality. The first instrumental composition on the album, "Sartori in Tangier" driven by keyboard sounding like guitar. Another track worth mentioning is "Neurotic" and the drum pattern indeed sound neurotic, this is KC at their most experimental level. "Two hands" is the warmest track on the album with perfect melow guitar landscapes. "The howler" offers a marriage of new wave and typical KC rhythmical irregularity. "Requiem" tries to be progressive but fails at captivating the full attention because of an undeveloped feeling. Still a solid KC album and not a sellout comparing to some other fellow acts.

 Discipline by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.11 | 1831 ratings

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Discipline
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars No wonder that when this record came out, the fans were full of expectations if KC can fare better then their commercially growing contemporaries such as Genesis, Yes (going commercial in 1983). Would it be a decent prog-rock record, pop-oriented effort or simply a flop? KC prove that they are not a stereotype band because they evolve with each new phase. Two new members, this time from America, step in: Andrew Belew on the mic and guitar and the great Tony Levin on the bass. While the singing style of Adrian Belew might be an acquired taste (took me time to get used to it), it retains sense for melody and has an interesting feeling. Tony Levin provides some busy bass line (listen to Frame by Frame). Fripp is a master in his own sense well adapted to the fusion/contemporary rock music of that time.

Songs are overall shorter but still memorable and provide great instrumental interplay between the guitars, bass and the drums. "Elephant Talk" is a typical KC 80's track with a good melody and guitar decoration. "Frame by Frame" features quick guitar fingerprinting and quality vocals even with harmonies. The romantic touch can be felt in "Matte Kudasai" and on the next track, we briefly get close to the Wetton's KC era in the first intensive instrumental play marred by the following spoken word before the instruments take lead again. Bruford really shines here playing no 10 seconds alike. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is intensive put still feels lightweight and improvisational. "The sheltering sky" is a relaxing moody track with guitar effects and electronic drums. The last track is completely instrumental with creative guitar textures.

Overall, this is a convincing return to the shape by KC.

 Starless by KING CRIMSON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.34 | 25 ratings

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Starless
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Man With Hat
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars These nights wound time.

The King Crimson megaboxes return with a massive, sprawling set dedicated to the final album of the early/mid 70s trilogy, Starless & Bible Black. Once again, this set follows the Crimson King on tour, this time as it sojourns across Europe in late 1973, early 1974. Jamie Muir had recently left the band, leaving the band a quartet for this go around. Muir's presence is still felt, as Bruford's set up has greatly expanded to include large swaths of percussions and allsorts, which were Muir's territory when he was in the band. Nevertheless, the band remains fierce with sharp teeth and dangerous claws. All four have grown together as players and improvisers, getting more comfortable with the repertoire and ethos of the band. Even with the most unpredictable element absent from Crim, there is no shortage of risks taken here. And the results are splendid.

Starless complies 16 shows across 23 discs. The first three are double disk affairs, while the middle sets are singles (although it must be noted two of them are continued are the three 'bonus' disks). Of the 16 shows, 7 are unreleased (while others were released as a download only option from the DGM site). Although this does include an audio version of their French TV appearance, which is much shorter than a typical Crimson show was at the time. Weirdly, there is also a download only show from Germany added to the box, which doesn't make much sense to me, as adding one more disc to this box couldn't make that much more of a difference price or aesthetics wise. Each show has the band running through its standard 70s fare (Easy Money, Starless, Larks II, etc), peppered with improvs. Unsurprisingly, the improvs are the highlight of the box (once again). There are 18 new improvs in this set, 8 of which are previously unreleased in any format. It's hard to choose favorites here, but I'll go with Mainz, Gottingen, Heidelberg, and Kassel. But joy abounds on each of these discs. The sound quality of the majority of shows is good to very good (aside from the two shows that are taken from restored bootlegs, but even these are easily passible in these terms). Unfortunately, there are a few issues this set. First off, while these shows are (mostly) professionally recorded, there is still the problem of tapes dropping out, leaving songs incomplete. Luckily, this isn't as big a problem as The Road To Red, but there are still 10 incomplete recordings, which when things are really cooking does feel like a bit of a gut punch. Secondly, there are a couple of odd choices here, like having a shorter version of The Night Watch show in Amsterdam added as a disk (especially with the aforementioned download only show tacked on). There is also a fair bit of overlap with the King Crimson Collectors Club releases, which are all excellent, but for the dedicated collector is superfluous. As with the last box, I certainly don't feel any sense of being cheated or underwhelmed with the contents of the box, but there is a part of me that wishes a stronger presence from the unknown. But these issues are relatively minor, especially when comparing them with the advantages of this set.

All in all, this is a wonderful document from a rather busy and exploratory era of King Crimson. This European tour would comprise the basis for the studio album Starless & Bible Black, and as a result we get a very well recorded string of concerts from one of the world's leading progressive rock bands, arguably at the height of its powers. All four combatants fight hard, with the emphasis added to Wetton and Bruford, perhaps the most formable rhythm section in prog, standing out the most (and certainly the loudest). With 16 shows, Starless is the largest megabox yet (and would be tied with the most prolific when this line of megaboxsets are complete) and while there is some overlap, combining this fact with it being the best sounding 70s boxset, make this a hard box to beat. (The addition of the three 'bonus' discs are a wonderful gesture on DGMs part, adding a whole new concert of an American show, completing two of the 'proper' concert discs, and providing a couple audio curios, that round out this set nicely.) For Crimson fanatics, this is basically essential. On my personal scale, I give this a 3.5- 3.75, which I will round up to 4 stars for the purposes of this website. If you only own one King Crimson megabox, make it Starless. Conditionally recommended.

 Three Of A Perfect Pair by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.27 | 1095 ratings

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Three Of A Perfect Pair
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by patrickq

3 stars King Crimson released three albums in the 1980s - - Discipline (1981), Beat (1982), and Three of a Perfect Pair (1984). To me, each is a three-star album: good, but not great. But my favorite of the three is Three of a Perfect Pair.

Like Discipline and Beat, Three of a Perfect Pair mixes offbeat, but nonetheless pop-rock-oriented songs with experimental pieces. The first four tracks, "Three of a Perfect Pair," "Model Man," "Sleepless" and "Man With an Open Heart," are the relatively accessible songs, with varying levels of new-wave favor. The next five, "Nuages," "Industry" (the first song on Side Two, the "Right Side"), "Dig Me," "No Warning," "Lark's Tongue in Aspic, part III," are more experimental. All are instrumentals except "Dig Me."

As good as "Man With an Open Heart," "Model Man," and "Sleepless" are, the standout here is the title song. Like most 1980s King Crimson vocal songs, "Three of a Perfect Pair" has a verse-chorus structure. But even without a bridge section (the obligatory guitar solo - - or Frippertronics solo - - is based on the verse), the two sections are strong enough to carry the song. To me, this is the crowning achievement of this version of the band, a near-perfect blend of pointillist style and new-waviness.

I'm less enamored with the remaining tracks, some of which may simply have been selected from among dozens of unrehearsed jams. I'm looking at you., "Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)."* Just as Discipline had closed with its strongest math-rock instrumental, the final song on Three of a Perfect Pair, "Lark's Tongue in Aspic, part III," is the best of the instrumentals on the album.

The 2001 edition of this album contains six bonus tracks constituting the "Other Side" (these also appear on the inevitable subsequent reissues). In addition to two experimental pieces which expand on "Industry," there are three remixes of "Sleepless" and bassist Tony Levin's "The King Crimson Barber Shop." Another oddity, "Barber Shop" is an a capella ditty that probably never had any chance of being released on the album, or even as a b-side, in 1984.

Whereas Beat was at the low end of the three-star range, Three of a Perfect Pair is at the high end. It's a good effort, and while it lacks Beat's concept, the material on Three of a Perfect Pair is superior.

*Nothing wrong with a little unrehearsed jamming, by the way; the problem is when it's both unrehearsed and uninspired.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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