Tuesday, December 25, 2007
King Crimson, IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
EG, 1969; reissued by Discipline Global Media; available
5 tracks, 43:45
This may be the best known CD thus far! While King Crimson has uniformly released great albums, and many prefer later masterpieces such as RED or LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC, I think IN THE COURT is their shining moment. Recorded in the early days of prog, the lineup for this maiden recording was Robert Fripp, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, and Michael Giles. Peter Sinfield, the band's lyricist, is a crucial part of the picture as well. Lake already shows the dynamic vocals he used in prog legends Emerson Lake and Palmer. His touching and powerful voice drives the haunting "Epitaph" and the folky "I Talk To The Wind". The entire album is a gem, but the best known and most vicious song is "21st Century Schizoid Man". With its Mellotron textures, raging horns, and intricate guitar parts, this track is still a deserved classic nearly forty years later. The closing "The Court Of The Crimson King" is another highlight, with ethereal chanting vocals and a breathtaking progression. The only downside is "Moonchild", a pretty little folk song that degenerates into fairly pointless guitar-and-Mellotron noodling. However, even this misstep is a fascinating listen. Truly a classic album; if you don't own it yet, you should.
Update (01/2010): There is a newly available version of this expanded to two discs, with alternate mixes and other bonus material. I have yet to hear it, so I can't say whether it's worth replacing the single disc edition for.