Tuesday, December 23, 2014


King Crimson imploded with the wicked and wild turbulence of this starless providence.  In the wake of two groundbreaking albums ('Starless and Bible Black' and 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic') with the same lineup, David Cross left the band after their summer tour in 1974.  Their next project 'Red' was recorded  at Olympic Studios in London with the remaining trio of Robert Fripp on guitar and mellotron;  John Wetton on bass guitar, and vocals;  and Bill Bruford on drums and percussion.  David Cross played violin on the live improvisation "Providence";  and former band members Mel Collins and Ian McDonald provided saxophone.  Mark Charig played cornet and Robin Miller added oboe, while a mystery musician added cello.  'Red' was arranged and produced by King Crimson with engineers George Chkiantz and Rod Thear.  

King Crimson had disbanded before 'Red' was even released.  The album charted at sixty-six in the US and forty-five in the UK.  Founding member Fripp would reveal:   "It was time for King Crimson to come to an end...and for three reasons. The first is that it represents a change in the world. Second, where I once considered being part of a band like Crimson to be the best liberal education a young man could receive, I now know that isn't so. And third, the energies involved in the particular lifestyle of the band and in the music are no longer of value to the way I live...The interesting point is that a number of groups are still going when the musicians involved are no longer in charge of the situation. With King Crimson, although that situation hadn't yet been reached, it could have developed that way within the next six months...King Crimson was a democratic band, we each had the power of veto, and would accommodate each other. But we'd got to the point where we discovered we were working together simply because we wouldn't be able to find musicians of that calibre outside of the band...I felt that by the end we were working together because there aren't any musicians of the same quality and proficiency outside.   And musically, perhaps, it was too much of a compromise. John's a rocker but Bill, on the other hand, has a very detailed and meticulous approach...When David left at the beginning of July, however, we considered working as a trio. Then Ian McDonald was joining the band for an American tour, but this would have involved three weeks rehearsals, for four weeks work - which is rather unbalanced...And then a European tour was suggested but I'd already decided the band was coming to an end. The tour would have meant that the band was on the road for another six months but I'm not prepared to keep secrets from men I'm working with and life is too valuable for me to commit six months to a situation in which I'm not whole-heartedly involved.   Hence the decision to end the band rapidly. the whole thing wasn't discussed, as such, although I think both Bill and John were aware of my feelings.   The energies involved weren't right. Getting on stage and having to fight the aggression of five thousand people, to beat them down to the point that they're listening... the band became very adept at going on stage and smacking straight through, but at the expense of creating something of a higher nature, if you like.   To give you an idea of the work we've done this year: from January to February we made an album, then went to Europe for a tour, then immediately off to America, back to Britain for rehearsals and straight back to America for another tour.   After that, I had one full day off in the country before we started recording 'Red'. With that kind of life there's a lot of things I'd like to do, but can't.    There are my responsibilities to the land, for instance, which can only be discharged by going out there and working (Fripp owns a cottage in Dorset). Consequently you can now see me halfway up a very large tree clasping two large saws and a pair of secateurs.   I am also spending more time learning, both in a very broad sense - for example, I am practically inept at anything more exciting than changing a three-pin plug - and in the field of musical electronics.   I would like to become self-sufficient so that, not only am I mobile, but I'm also independent as well. In other words, I want to develop practical skills and, in addition to this, there is a mental approach involved in all these things...I was tone deaf and had no sense of time when I became a guitarist. And, looking back over the years, I've wondered what on earth an unmusical, tone deaf, timeless dummy was doing becoming a professional musician.  And I've found the answer: I needed music, and music needed me. If you accept that I needed music, then this also involves responsibilities. Because of what I received, I have responsibilities, and I can discharge these as a player...My tuition involves the creation of a technique which enables the player to have the facility to move his hands to perform an idea which has come from a feeling inside him.  In other words, it's a technique which works on the level of the head, the hands and the heart...What my guitar technique will do is enable is enable musicians to move more freely from one form of music to another since, in learning the technique, his personality will be put under sufficient stress that he will not only develop emotionally and mentally, but the feelings involved will change his personality.   In other words, it's not so much a guitar technique as a way of life."




Side one
1. "Red" (instrumental) Robert Fripp 6:16

2. "Fallen Angel"   Fripp, Richard Palmer-James, John Wetton 6:02

3. "One More Red Nightmare"   Fripp, Wetton 7:07

Side two
4. "Providence" (instrumental improv)  (Recorded at Palace Theatre, Providence, USA, 30 June 1974) Bill Bruford, David Cross, Fripp, Wetton 8:09

KING CRIMSON - RED - Providence by bozorale

5. "Starless"   Bruford, Cross, Fripp, Palmer-James, Wetton 12:16

Sundown dazzling day
Gold through my eyes
But my eyes turned within
Only see
Starless and bible black

Ice blue silver sky
Fades into grey
To a grey hope that oh years to be
Starless and bible black

Old friend charity
Cruel twisted smile
And the smile signals emptiness
For me
Starless and bible black

full album:

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