King Crimson

bargepole's picture
What's it called?: 
Red - 2013 version
What does it sound like?: 
This is perhaps the pivotal release in the Crimson canon. An astonishing album by the core trio of Fripp, Bruford and Wetton, this was the last release before Fripp called a halt to the band for the next few years. What do you get in this 2 cd set ? The original 1974 album augmented by the full version of Providence, originally available on the Great Deceiver set. This is accompanied by a second cd - and this is the key selling point - of a 2013 stereo mix newly created by Fripp and the ubiquitous Steven Wilson. Musically this is a stunning experience, ranking alongside Wilson's recent work on Yes's Close To The Edge. Make no mistake, this is one heavy album, and that is really brought to the fore here. The original track listing is supplemented by trio (pre overdub) versions of the title track and Fallen Angel, both of which reveal hidden depths to these pieces and are certainly well worth checking out.
What does it all *mean*?: 
As with the USA set reviewed elsewhere on here, this album is also available as part of the Road To Red box. Forty years after its original release, this is still a magnificent piece of work, and its influences continue to resonate today.
Goes well with …: 
Anyone wanting an introduction to King Crimson could do worse than start here - to these ears the album still represents the epitome of this trio's work, and this reaches its zenith on the peerless Starless, still their masterpiece.
Might suit people who like …: 
KC fans will have this already in one of its incarnations, but the 2013 mix is certainly worth shelling out for, either for yourself or to bring a little seasonal cheer into the heart of any prospective prog fan who is seeking an introduction to KC.


I'm sorely tempted. I was going to post asking for some Crimson advice. I'm not that familiar with their work from their 80s reformation onwards. I'm a bit strapped for cash, so any specific recommendations to purchase would be very much appreciated.

I bought both this and USA in the last couple of weeks. The Fripp/Wilson mix is excellent but beware, the discs are wrongly labelled: both the cover and discs themselves say that CD1 is the original 1974 album and CD2 is the Fripp/Wilson mix (both with extra tracks). However, they're the other way around...

(Rob, of the 80s stuff I'd go for Discipline.)

Duncan. I heard it years ago. I'll check it out again. How about 90s/00s ?

Considerably heavier stuff, Rob. Definitely best spotified or youtubed before you buy if possible, but I'd have a pre-listen of Thrak and The ConstruKCtion Of Light if I were you. I'll be interested to see what the new three-drummer lineup will do. (I'm not expecting to hear a mellotron...)

a burned copy of ConstruKction Of Light under my bed. I got it from the library a few years back. Thanks for reminding me. I'll dig it out for a spin and check out Thrak as well.

in the '90s Crims. It was all done by midi by then. Thrak is good, or one of the several live releases of that incarnation, such as "B'Boom" or "Vrooom Vrooom"
Here's an example of their '90s repertoire.

(Dinosaur - Live in Japan '95)

Hmm. It sort of reminded me of Neil Innes fronting a rockier Talking Heads. Not sure about the singer. I expected something much harder and more out there. Crap lyrics. What is it with KC and (usually) crap lyrics ?

if you scroll down through these, which cover 80s onwards, and reasonably priced too.
of the original studio albums, well worth a listen are Discipline (as already mentioned), Three of a Perfect Pair and Thrak.

hopefully next autumns live shows will have a few uk dates!

I'll send you my Fripp remaster of Red from sometime in the early 90s, just give me time to find it. I had my room gutted last year and everything is still in the attic or garage. I could do you an 'evaluation copy' of the Fripp and non SWilson 2013 mix. Drop me a line.

@ Mr. Pole - SWilson's Larks' Tongues doesn't convince me, the album was perfect in the first place, I paid a hundred quid for a nice box, a book I've still to read, some artefacts, some ropey video, some proper rare early takes and two or three versions of the album. I wasn't fooled by The Road to Red, it sounded exactly like the LtiA box. Islands and Starless and Bible Black were purchased but in non overblown form.

kind of you James but I already have all the classic period remasters. Thanks anyway and Merry Christmas to you and yours :-)

that the more expensive boxsets are rarely worth it - Bargepole found himself in the same position with Floyd's Wall set. A box full of useless 'souvenirs', a book that took five minutes to look through,four cds already owned, just to get two cds of outtakes etc.
Like you, would much rather get an expanded album of say two cds or a cd/dvd set.
Maybe the box set debate is a suitable subject for discussion on the blog .

I think we're all suckered by a nice (only available this once) affair in nice packaging. I'm not that well off I can afford various and alt. versions by KC, PF, Genesis and The Yes.
Baw's burst.

but are curious to see the contents, have a look at this:


obviously love. That guy's great value. Unlike the box set!

I was tempted by this, but note there's a CD/DVDA edition from 2009 that also has the original mix on the CD and a "new" SW mix on the DVD-A in both stereo and surround. Is this 2013 another new miss from SW or the same mix as the 2009 version ?

I would prefer the DVD-A as that will give me a high resolution version.

features a new 2013 mix by messrs Wilson and Fripp.

Has the King Crimson project touring down here soon. Any views on this outfit.?

none of them favourable in the context of KC