Tuesday, 16 September 2014

King Crimson - Back to Active Service

As we all know now, the beast that is King Crimson is back. But not a reconvening of what went before. Fripp has built a new band from the ground up. We have Mel Collins back on saxes and flutes. Jakko is in to add extra English guitar and vocals. We also have industrial drummer and REM member Bill Rieflin to be the third drummer along with stalwart Pat Mastelloto and Gavin Harrison who was added on the last Crimson outing. Then there is Tony Levin of course. A Crimson now without him is unthinkable.

To put it mildly when I heard that Fripp was going back on the road I was shocked. He never seemed happy with playing live now. He hated the photos and all the business side of it. I think we all felt resigned to the fact that KC was probably over. But not only has he put the band back together, but in such an original way is really shocking. This lineup is inspired and the stuff they are playing is mind boggling. Fripp is even playing live with lights on him! Who would have thought. He has even given interviews for the like of Wire and Prog magazine. He seems to have become rejuvenated somehow and really enjoying for once playing In King Crimson.

The first fruits of all this endeavour, apart from the concerts in the US are a Tourbox which came out of the blue last week. There was nothing beforehand to warn us of the imminent release of this. A newsletter was sent out last weekend from the Burning Shed web site informing us of the shipping of this 2CD King Crimson Tourbox. Of course I ordered. Burning Shed may have jumped the gun as the ordering of this was withdrawn till Wednesday (the day after the bands first public performance). But it was shipped on Wednesday and received on Friday.

This Tourbox, unlike others KC have released is no mere compilation of fragments and odds and sods. This is packed with choice cuts showcasing the band in its various guises over the years. There are even a couple of outtakes from the Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins sessions of a few years back, which may mark the genesis of the current lineup.

The packaging too is outstanding. Both discs housed in a hardback digipak design. The 24 page booklet has notes by Sid Smith of course which focus on the archiving of the band. I was pleased to see a pic of the cassette edition of Larks' Tongues in Aspic which was my first introduction to the album back in the 70's. Haven't seen that in nearly 40 years!

Get the Tourbox! It's a bargain, especially at £15 which is unbelievable value for a limited release.

It's good to have the band back, especially in such a refreshing lineup. Now, to that Starless box set next month.