Monday, 12 October 2015

King Crimson "In The Court Of The Crimson King" (1969)

I was pleasantly surprised by how swiftly I found my way into this record. Hailed as a classic of an era gone by I was a little hesitant this might be out of my reach. Ive always had a soft spot for Progressive Rock and this record is often considered the birth of the genre, turning away from the Blues roots in Rock and inspiring Classical influences into the scope of their songwriting. What I found though was a luscious warm record that felt like the precursor to much of the lullaby like themes found in early Genesis records. King Crimson are the credited creates of Prog Rock and have been going at it for 45 years with plenty of lineup changes a many intervals of hiatuses.

"In the Court..." is their debut release, a varied record with a lot to offer. "21st Century Schizoid Man" the slightly mad, energetic free jazz swings coupled with a traditional Metal attitude that starts the record of with a bang of announcing trumpets and a wild improvisational mid section of madness. "I Talk To The Wind" takes a u-turn in tone and pace, setting us on a soothing lullaby of innocent, gentle melodies climaxed by a gorgeous flute solo at the end. "Epitaph" brings a somber tone in as we sail to an epic swan song that's illuminated by a dreamy string section and dramatic, haunted synths. 

"Moonchild" mostly consists of a lengthy ambient jam of quiet mustering on the drum kit and sporadic improves on the lightly played guitars and keys. The jam doesn't lead anywhere much and conjurers up images of the band roasted on drugs, lying around tapping on their instruments. The record ends with the title track which is a rather similar sounding song to "Epitah" and delivors some lush vocals harmonies over the ever enigmatic synth and string section.

The records over 45 years old and sounds fantastic today. The drums have a narrow dimension, but the other instruments sound big, bright and free. I especially liked the keys string sound which had a slightly harsh tone yet came across so smoothly with a lot of energy, it reminded me of Genesis's "Watcher Of The Skies". Another band this reminded me off was Messenger, their album "Illusory Blues" one of my favorite from 2014. Definitely heard a lot of the influence that inspired that sound here. Solid record, can hear why its held in such high regard.

Favorite Songs: I Talk To The Wind, Epitaph
Rating: 9/10