Wednesday, July 03, 2013

King Crimson - Frame By Frame: The Essential King Crimson (Caroline, 1991)

Frame by Frame was released during the first initial rush of boxed sets in the early 1990’s as bands and record companies rushed to cash in on the digitization of their back catalog. This was one of the finest, and the way King Crimson developed from 1969-1984 was ideally suited to this format. The band had three distinct periods of activity during this period: the initial rush of brilliance with their first classic album, In the Court of the Crimson King was followed by a rotating cast of characters (the only member to remain stable during the whole affair was founder and patriarch, guitarist Robert Fripp) as they released several albums from 1969-1972 trying to catch lightning in a bottle once again. This period is captured on disc one. The band stabilized briefly from 1973-75 (disc two) with an extraordinary unit featuring Fripp, bassist and vocalist John Wetton, drummer Bill Bruford, percussionist Jamie Muir and violinist David Cross. Over the course of three studio albums and one live LP they were one of the most impressive bands on the rock scene, combining the thunderous power of heavy metal and the delicacy of a classical ensemble or the improvising power of a jazz band. Fripp disbanded the group in 1975, feeling that they had achieved all they could muster, only the dust off the name in 1981 with another excellent group anchored by himself and Bruford along with guitarist and vocalist Adrian Belew and bassist and stick player Tony Levin. This was a group that was much more dedicate to song structure and rhythm combining the best of new wave music with Crimsonesque power and complexity. This group also recorded three very good studio studio albums and toured widely as reflected on disc three of this collection before the ever mercurial Fripp disbanded the group once again. King Crimson was always known as a stellar live unit and the final disc of this collection features live performances from a variety of incarnations of the band. This is quite a lavish package and contains a very lengthy and extensive booklet that has many excellent pictures and tells the bands story in excerpted press reports and interviews (not all of them favorable.) This is a fabulous boxed set, now out of print but widely available used for a reasonable price. Any fan of the band or progressive rock in general should check it out. Frame By Frame:The Essential King Crimson -

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