This is my 100th post (on this part of my site… there are another 80 images in the visual gallery and half a dozen articles in the written gallery as well). Woo! I actually feel like I’m starting to have a real quantity of content (well, I didn’t say it was thought provoking, witty, or even interesting content).
I have about 5 gigabytes of music on my laptop. 99% of it is rips of my CDs, and the other 1% is freebies downloaded off sites like MP3.com et cetera. (Take that, RIAA! Gestapo Fuckers.) It being autumn, a time I find particularly useful as a period of careful introspection and personal assessment, I’ve been going through my music collection. I’m up to “K.” K as in King Crimson, one of my all time favorite bands. My entire King Crimson collection is on my computer, which means that this particular section is going to take quite some time to complete… not that I mind, not in the least.
The listing starts with Cirkus, a delightful collection of live performances of some of their best songs. It’s broken up into new (neon heat disease) and old (fractured), and is just freakin’ cool. For those who haven’t listened to King Crimson (you poor souls), let me give you a brief summary: King Crimson started back in 1968, and released their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King in 1969. While they have certainly grown and evolved musically since then, in many ways In the Court of the Crimson King is still one of their best works. It is certainly indicative of that era of the band (they have gone through several incarnations). After releasing several more albums, and touring extensively, becoming well known as a masterful experimental group (well, well-known to musicians, anyway), they broke up. They re-formed later, in a different configuration, and continued to create excellent music that pushed boundaries as to what people were doing with music. Their style (if you could call it just one) is uniquely their own, exhibiting a diverse range of influences and originality, combined into a kind of music that by its very nature evolves every time you listen to it.
In 1981 (my birth year!), they released an album called Discipline. I could make a very strong case for it being their best album, though frankly I could not do it justice: go find a copy of it (it’s not currently being sold on the Apple Music Store, unfortunately), and listen to it. Not just once, but a dozen times. Put it in your car, and listen to it on your drive to and from work for a week, find someone with a nice stereo and sit down in a dimly lit room and let the music wash over you. You will NOT be disappointed.
After Discipline, they release Three of a Perfect Pair, which is also an excellent album. They then broke up (that was around 1984), the band members going off to do their own thing for a while. They re-formed yet again in the early 1990s, releasing a new album of original work called THRAK, which is an awesome body of work spanning from the sweetly mellow songs (Walking on Air, One Time), to a near-violence mood in the title track and others. This dichotomous combination made for an amazingly harmonious juxtaposition, that really did well to mark the reformation of the group. They’ve released two albums since (The ConstruKction of Light, and The Power to Believe), plus a variety of live recordings.
If I recall correctly, they are currently touring in Japan.
I’ve often daydreamed of finally getting to design some of the games I have in my head and on paper, and getting King Crimson to do the soundtrack for the game. Their style is so uniquely their own (with a combination of ethereal and experimental sounds and a rock sensibility), that I think this would really give the game I have in mind a unique flavor that would really make it stand out from its contemporaries. I have no idea if this will ever happen, but it IS a hope of mine. (I’ve also wanted to do similar projects with Radiohead, for much the same reason.)
Currently the song playing is a live recording of “Easy Money” by King Crimson. I don’t know why I like this song so much, but I do. It’s not a song you’ll hear on any of their greatest hits albums or anything, but it’s well worth the time to dig out off a live recording, or the original album (Lark’s Tongue in Aspic). It toys with soft and hard sounds delightfully, and the lyrics themselves are interesting and intruiging (not the type you want to identify with, mind you. Just… interesting, in the same way that I find Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany interesting).
Actually, come to think of it, there is a lot of similarity in the mood I get from listening to King Crimson, and the mood I get from reading Dhalgren. Any of you others who’ve read Dhalgren and listened to King Crimson (hmm, that’d be… Uri? Can’t think of anyone else who has done both that reads this site) notice the same similarity? In particular, King Crimson’s lesser known work (Lizard, Starless and Bible Black, and any of the longer experimental pieces that they tend to include at least one of on any given album). It’s a strange combination of violence and fragility, delight and terror, all rolled up in a chaotic melting pot of emotions and strange moods that defy easy description.
Hmm, time to experiment, I think: read Dhalgren… while listening to King Crimson! (My head will either explode, or I’ll reach a higher level of consciousness.)