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In the realm of progressive rock there seems to be a band that I have been trying and trying to get into for years: King Crimson. I don't know what it is that has kept me from really getting into their work before, especially because I've been a fan of the guitar work of Robert Fripp for some time. Maybe I've just finally reached the point in my musical tastes and especially my guitar playing where they fit in well. Recently I've been listening to a lot of music from this band and seeking out some of the early footage of them playing live to really get a grasp of what they're all about... and see what Mr. Fripp can teach me about my instrument of choice... and that lead me to this clip.
This footage is listed as King Crimson Live in Central Part 6-25-73 according to kingcrimson1973 who uploaded it, and is apparently taken from the original reels. I have no way of confirming that or not, but if true, than this is surely a rare find that I'm thrilled to see find it's way online so more people can enjoy it. It's only one extended cut and is extended to the point where it's in two parts and the sound quality could really be better in a few points, but as a demonstration of the raw intensity and power King Crimson had/has on stage, it's spectacular.
Extra special thanks to kingcrimson1973 and Youtube for making this possible.
Here's part 1:
And here's part 2:
For people new to this band, don't be afraid if you're a little put off. King Crimson is certainly not a band for the faint of heart. Their unique compositions are often blends of hard rock, fusion, noise rock and other avant garde styles all blended together to create something unique that runs the gambit from mind blowing heavy and intense to incredibly sonorous and beautiful. This is some extremely complex music that is just miles beyond what so many bands are doing compositionally to this day.
And then of course their's the guitar playing of one Robert Fripp to top it off.
I mentioned at the start of this piece that I'm a fan of the guitar work of Fripp and have been for a while, but I'll admit that until just recently I was more familiar with the subtle side of his playing. This footage though is a clear example that Fripp has fingers of fury. Some might call it shredding but it's really in a different league. There are some shredders who use their blinding technique sheerly for the impression it makes... the flash if you will. With Fripp he seems so completely removed from that kind of idea and into the overall picture that it takes on something else entirely. His playing is far more textural driven using technique to add to the arrangement in a very specific way. That seems true whether he's playing a million notes a second or simply crafting a slow melody... with Fripp it's not about technique, it's about music. I think that's why I appreciate his playing so much. The technique is stellar, but it doesn't overshadow or compromise the integrity of the composition.
If you're a fan of King Crimson, I hope you enjoyed this footage, I know I did. If you're new to this band, but you've been listening to modern groups like Tool or the Mars Volta, then you really owe it to yourself to listen to King Crimson too as both those bands owe a bit of their sound to them. Lastly, if you're a guitarist like me, it's time to bask in the genius of Robert Fripp.