It’s been nearly 40 years since a band from England took the music world by storm with a shadow of evil, hidden forces, darkness, and sinister pieces of music that will give you goose bumps. There’s been a lot of digital re-masters, deluxe edition’s, and box sets to name a few, supplies the good ingredients of bonus tracks including; demos, b-sides studio run through, and alternate takes to fill in your savings account. And the beauty of the King Crimson re-master series of the 2004 edition must have been a painstaking process for Robert Fripp, and of course the listener. But it’s not for long until you hear these magnificent new 5.1 stereo mixes done by avid Crimson fan, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame and help from Mr. Fripp with permission to give it the green light. This is a must have for fans and the new generation who are discovering the music of King Crimson and this has helped them with love and beauty they fully deserve like a bat out of hell.
These two albums and Red which I will get to in February to look at, are amazing packages. For example, their magnificent 1969 debut album, In The Court of the Crimson King re-mastered and re-mixed from the original multi-track master tapes, are absolutely astonishing. Deciding whether or not the album needed some polishing and cleaning up is up to the Crimso fans to give their opinion about it: Let’s face it Movies have been done in ala Blu-Ray High Definition style to be re-mastered and the Beatles catalogue reissues have been delayed and now got the reissue treatment last year, so what’s there to bitch, whine, and fucking complain about, people buy the DVDs and albums nonstop to enjoy and gear up for more ideas.
I just hope the 40th anniversary series and the music critics are giving it a huge A+, will have their headphones go on because this was the album that burst through the flood gates. Since this was the beginning of the first progressive rock album since the Beatles first concept album with Sgt. Pepper in 1967, it was a huge direction towards King Crimson and the move they could have taken the huge road towards. And when you look back on it in retrospect, it was completely ahead of its time, but the music with different time signatures, annihilation, lukewarm fantasy ballads, and fucking bizarre at the same time – it still sounds like as if it was recorded and produced by Dante Alighieri as if he was making the Divine Comedy performed by the band themselves. It still sounds shattering to this day as it was recorded at the end of the flower generation.
Their third album, Lizard, released in 1970, is one of the most controversial albums among King Crimson’s career between the post-apocalyptic eerie progressive sound of the first album and In the Wake of Poseidon, shows King Crimson in their Jazz Fusion sound ala Miles Davis Bitches Brew meets In a Silent Way-era. Lizard is a blemished and sometimes weird, but all in all a tour de force work along with some amazing highlights including the cavernous 6-minute beauty, Cirkus; a tribute to the Beatles legal issues with quirky, Happy Family; and the 23-minute title track which featured Jon Anderson of Yes doing some angelic vocal arrangements that almost came straight out of either CS Lewis or JRR Tolkien.
The reissues features some bonus tracks including a DVD of different versions of the albums, the video footage of Crimson MK I performing for the first time at Hyde Park in 1969 opening for the Rolling Stones, backing tracks, liner notes from Robert Fripp and Sid Smith, and a studio run through featuring Gordon Haskell’s magnificent vocals on the alternate sessions of Cirkus. So keep your eyes open for more coming this way for 2010. Let’s hope Steven Wilson is giving the fans what they want to hear.