Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A Sonic Chronicler of the Apocalypse Rides Again

I don’t have much of a “bucket list” because there’s not all that much that excites me. For instance, I don’t need to throw myself out of an airplane to feel more alive when a cold draft ale will suffice. But seeing Robert Fripp and King Crimson perform—this is something that must be done. 

Photo of Robert Fripp taken at a solo show
at the Winter Garden in NYC, Dec. 2010.
Swiped from, of all places, a site called
Brooklyn Vegan. Hey, the guy knows his music.
This seemingly flies in the face of my general disdain for watching old rock stars on tour, but these aren’t your normal rock stars. This is prog, baby. It’s about long pieces of music and the hell-for-leather musicianship that makes those pieces soar or sink. Fans of King Crimson get a laugh from Robert Fripp being described as “one of the guitarists.” Yes, he’s one — among a senior varsity squad he approved himself. Only Frank Zappa was as exacting of his musicians, and I think it’s one of the great tragedies of all time that Zappa and Fripp never collaborated on a project.

This is Robert Fripp introducing the YouTube channel he’s starting for Discipline Global Mobile (DGM), his own recording and publishing company started decades before it became cool. (Think Frank Zappa and Barking Pumpkin Records; the parallels do go on.) It’s something he just got going this week, a channel that promises to be the home of all things King Crimson”:

To better understand why I get excited by this music, I offer this 1994 performance of “Red,” the title track to a 1974 album that makes for a fine soundtrack to whatever apocalypse you’re running. The menace becomes the mood:

I edited the first act of Bleeding Kansas to “Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part 1.” Seriously, follow this link, listen to the piece, and tell me you cant hear civilization fall to the undead (or something) before your very ears. If this is something youre into, Mr. Robert Fripp has a YouTube channel for you