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Octafish (Flow Country of Sutherland)

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Half A True Day
Half A True Day
Price: £16.57

4.0 out of 5 stars A dream, 13 Jan. 2017
This review is from: Half A True Day (Audio CD)
In dreams, people, places and ideas that don't belong together turn into a coherent, unreal whole. Everything makes sense together. Only on awaking are the absurdities obvious. I was where, with who? This is the musical equivalent. Incompatible melodies, rhythms and sounds are blended together into a perplexing whole. How do they form a whole at all? They should be a jarring mess, not this remarkable, dreamlike music, quite unlike anything else I've ever heard. Beautiful, special.

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( )
Offered by Side Two
Price: £13.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ice, 4 Mar. 2013
This review is from: ( ) (Audio CD)
I like this band's music more than I should. They're fantastic live when their slightly manipulative strategies work best. Their music often sounds like ice melting. On this CD the ice stays frozen so I like it best.

Starless and Bible Black, 30th Anniversary Edition
Starless and Bible Black, 30th Anniversary Edition
Price: £8.49

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This night wounds time, 12 April 2011
I know every note of this record. I almost don't need to listen to it. Listening to the CD, memory still supplies some of the scratches. Nonetheless I'm baffled by much of what's in the other reviews so here's my take.

As an LP there was an obvious division between side 1 (songs and short improvisations) and side 2 (two, longer instrumental pieces). It wasn't a problem because turning the LP over served as an intermission between these two, distinct sides of King Crimson. You can't separate the recorded music experience from the physical nature of the medium so maybe it does become a little bit more disjointed as a CD, certainly compared to Red or Power to Believe.

I think I bought this LP because Alan Freeman used bits of The Great Deceiver as a sort of jingle on the radio. I always loved this opening track, with its jazzy riff, tricksy rhythmic changes, the mocking lead guitar behind the verses (what other rock guitarist can do 'mocking'?), the rather childishly nihilistic lyrics. I was a teenager. At its greatest, Crimson's music goes to places words can't follow.

Lament is a tiny little rock opera, the progression of the story and the changing mood echoed in the changes of tone, pace, rhythm. Great. Funky, tricksy playing.

A lot of people like the gentle, contemplative tone of Trio but I always preferred the energetic We'll Let You Know (disposable title, like you find in a lot of jazz). Together with The Mincer, this was one of the places where I listened to the lead lines, learning my own major and minor scales, and thought, "where the f*** do those notes come from?" Masterful playing, boisterous and with what I can only describe as a sort of sarcastic humour in We'll Let You Know; in a dark, edgy place in The Mincer. Listen to Bruford's forceful punctuation on The Mincer. This was one of the great rhythm sections, technical like jazz players, muscular like rock.

Lots has been written about the Night Watch. It's sort of beautiful, has one of the finest Fripp set piece solos. The lyrics are clunky. Lyrics have always been a Crimson weak point. Imagine "King Crimson with P J Harvey"?

Side 2 is in different territory, however, and it's for side 2 that I can't give this less than five stars. The title track I find completely remarkable. Three men thinking and acting as one (and let's face it, poor old David Cross, an excellent musician, reduced much of the time to adding colour and underlining mood). The music builds tension and mood gradually, ebbs and flows, gains dark, burning intensity in such a sustained, deliberate way you could think it was written. There are no false steps, nobody ever pulls in the wrong direction. It's like three people walking a tightrope together. There is not technically spectacular lead, just the right notes, often sustained while the rhythm section builds and pushes underneath, the chromatic intervals, the sevenths, the flattened fifths - the forked tongue of the Crimson King. This goes far beyond "jamming", it's really "improvised music". Jamie Muir had left by this time but this collective music making maybe owes something to his influence. The moment at the end, when they've been marking time, then suddenly explode together into a slowing, decaying release - how did they all know to act at once? Was there some nodding of heads, looking at each other around the stage? Or had they attained by this point a sort of telepathy? Anyway it's just remarkable.

Fracture is a totally different sort of masterpiece, tightly written (I believe), a set of variations on a simple, if rather chromatic theme, technically demanding, repeatedly dropping then building intensity, the endless variations in the rhythm section ratcheting up the tension to a pretty Wagnerian climax. Wetton and Bruford are particularly great here. It's spectacular, pretty overwhelming on the record; it must have been close to brain-melting to have been there.

I never read other peoples' long reviews on Amazon so I'll be surprised if you're still reading. I've listened so closely, so often to this record over the years that I may by now have poured all my own musical fantasies into it. Anyway what I've written is different from the other reviews so maybe somebody will find it interesting.

50th Birthday Celebration Vol.4
50th Birthday Celebration Vol.4
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 23rd century pub band, 12 April 2011
In the 23rd century things will be better. Humans will have come to understand and accept their natures. We'll be reconciled to the contiguity of the animal and the metaphysical. We'll still go to the pub, there will still be pub bands and this is what they'll sound like: sophisticated, adventurous, delicate and reflective, tumultuous, intense, popular, generic, sonically extreme, great musicians just going for it, individually and collectively, all bundled up together for enlightenment and entertainment. What a birthday party this must have been.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2014 9:01 PM BST

Heaven & Earth
Heaven & Earth

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "lost", great Crimson album, 2 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Heaven & Earth (Audio CD)
Well, it isn't "lost" of course because you can get it here and no doubt lots of other places. Recorded by the latter-day Crimson, "Double Duo" of Fripp, Gunn, Belew and Mastelotto, it was nonetheless regarded as a side project and attributed to Projekct X rather than to King Crimson proper. I notice Amazon says it's by "King Crassius" - sounds like a Stingray villain - which will no doubt make it even harder for the uninitiated to track down.

I think it's really a great record, freewheeling and sonically adventurous. One of them referred to it as (I think) "Crimson's techno alter ego" and the rhythm section particularly lays down great, heavy, modern-sounding grooves over which we get the usual prog-jazz-metal Crimson sounds, soundscapes as well as some spectacular Fripp flights. The title track is one of the most straightforwardly beautiful in the Crimson catalogue.

Construction of Light sounded like a strange, Pierre Menard exercise in recreating 70's Crimson, much later, for their own reasons. Heaven and Earth, in contrast, is truly progressive and forward-looking; but perhaps in some way incompatible with Fripp's ideas of King Crimson identity and possibly audience expectations. It may be a bit too freewheeling for some. If, however, you feel like me that Crimson's true greatness lies in bringing the approaches and some of the sounds of free jazz to stadium rock, you'll find this a hugely enjoyable development in that tradition.

Trout Mask Replica
Trout Mask Replica

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music for wallabies, 27 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Trout Mask Replica (Audio CD)
I am the manager of a wallaby farm in the Flow Country of Sutherland. At certain times of the year, when the dust blows forward and the dust blows back, the wallabies become restive but we keep them manageable by playing very loud music. We have experimented with many artists and genres but this is the only album in all of popular music history that subdues them completely. When the musicians play in different time signatures they break down into little groups, one group nodding its heads with the drums, another tapping its feet to the slide guitar, a third switching its tails with the Captain himself. They are motionless, mesmerised by the sheer metaphysical force of the unaccompanied Well. With this music they cannot go back to that Frownland. We thought maybe they liked just complexity and tried Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Crimson and Magma but all those excellent bands seemed self-conscious and a bit serious by comparison and they soon got unmanageable again. Those late records, Doc at the Radar Station and so on, they're also excellent but they're not quite in the same place as Trout Mask Replica and the wallabies' behaviour shows they agree. So the wallabies and me, we think it's ridiculous that TMR averages out at a lower Amazon star rating than Ice Cream for Crow, for instance. Our theory is that TMR is so famous that people are attracted to it who are just never going to get it and they wind up slating what they can't understand. I explain this to them and they nod sadly.
We're sure the Captain would like the word "wallaby" and we imagine a Magic Band tribute group: the Bulbous Wallabies. Sadly the great black birds that wheel overhead are not the same that gather outside the Captain's porch and it'll never happen. No matter, we still have this unparalleled masterpiece.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2013 12:46 AM GMT

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