Red (King Crimson album)
|Studio album by King Crimson|
|Released||5 October 1974|
|Recorded||July–August 1974 at Olympic Studios, London|
|Genre||Progressive rock, hard rock|
Atlantic (North America)
|King Crimson chronology|
David Cross left King Crimson in 1974, reducing the group to the trio of Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Bill Bruford. The trio recorded Red with the help of Cross and former band-members Ian McDonald and Mel Collins. Fripp disbanded King Crimson on 24 September 1974, and the album was released later that year with no accompanying tour.
While musically similar to its predecessor Starless and Bible Black, Red was produced very differently from previous King Crimson albums. For instance, while the acoustic guitar features prominently in previous releases, on Red it is heard only for a few bars in "Fallen Angel". Also, unlike previous King Crimson albums, Red features extensive use of guitar overdubs. Later albums lacked acoustic guitar entirely and reverted to a minimum of overdubs, though by that point the band featured multiple guitarists playing simultaneously.
The album opens with the title track, a driving, hard rock instrumental. It features multiple time signatures including 5/8, 7/8 and 4/4. Its polyrhythmic melodies use whole-tone scales.
The fourth track on the album, "Providence", was recorded live at Palace Theatre, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, on 30 June 1974, and is the album's only live recording. Charles Snider refers to the album as a "swan song", and comments that "'Providence' packs just about everything improv-related from the last two albums into its eight short minutes." A longer, unedited version of the track is available on the live four-CD set The Great Deceiver.
The original lyrics and melody for "Starless" were written by John Wetton. He originally intended the song to be the title track of the group's previous album Starless and Bible Black. Fripp and Bruford initially disliked the song and declined to record it for that album. Instead the group chose an instrumental composition as the title track for the Starless and Bible Black album. However, "Starless" was later revived, its lyrics altered and a long instrumental section (based on a bass riff contributed by Bruford) added to it, and performed live between March–June 1974. For the Red recording sessions, the lyrics were again altered (with contributions by Richard Palmer-James). The haunting introductory theme, originally contributed and played by David Cross, was taken over by the guitar, with Fripp making minor alterations to the melody. As the title "Starless and Bible Black" had already been used, the original title was shortened to "Starless".
|Willson&Alroy's Record Reviews|||
The record spent only one week on the British charts, at No. 45, whereas all the band's previous studio albums had reached the Top 30. In the United States, it reached No. 66 on the Billboard 200. However, it remained a popular album with fans and critics.
Retrospective reviews were resoundingly positive. In theirs, Allmusic declared Red to be weaker than its two predecessors, but nonetheless a superlative work: "few intact groups could have gotten an album as good as Red together. The fact that it was put together by a band in its death throes makes it all the more impressive an achievement." Robert Christgau also applauded the album, calling it "Grand, powerful, grating, and surprisingly lyrical" and commenting that "this does for classical-rock fusion what John McLaughlin's Devotion did for jazz-rock fusion."
In 2001 Q magazine named Red as one of the "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time", and Kurt Cobain has cited the album as a major influence. Musicologists Eric Tamm and Edward Macan both consider Red, and particularly the track "Starless", to be the highlight of King Crimson's recorded output.
The album had CD releases in 1989 and 2001, each newly remastered by Fripp at the time. The newest version appeared on 21 September 2009, containing a 5.1 Surround Sound mix on DVD-Audio (created by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, in collaboration with Fripp).
Track listing 
|1.||"Red" (instrumental)||Robert Fripp||6:16|
|2.||"Fallen Angel"||Fripp, Richard Palmer-James, John Wetton||6:02|
|3.||"One More Red Nightmare"||Fripp, Wetton||7:07|
|4.||"Providence" (instrumental) (Recorded at Palace Theatre, Providence, USA, 30 June 1974)||Bill Bruford, David Cross, Fripp, Wetton||8:09|
|5.||"Starless"||Bruford, Cross, Fripp, Palmer-James, Wetton||12:16|
|2009 CD bonus tracks|
|6.||"Red" (pre-overdub trio version)|
|7.||"Fallen Angel" (pre-overdub trio version)|
|8.||"Providence" (unedited live version)|
- King Crimson
- Additional personnel
- David Cross – violin on "Providence"
- Mel Collins – soprano saxophone on "Starless"
- Ian McDonald – alto saxophone on "One More Red Nightmare" and "Starless"
- Robin Miller – oboe on "Fallen Angel"
- Mark Charig – cornet on "Fallen Angel"
- Arranged & Produced By King Crimson
- Recorded & Engineered By George Chkiantz & Rod Thear (also assistant engineer)
- Tamm (1995, p. 85): Tamm, Eric (1995) . "Chapter 9: Eno's Progressive Rock Music ('Pop songs')". Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound (Reprinted ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80649-5.
- Macon (1997, p. 55)
- Snider, Charles (2008). The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock. Lulu. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-615-17566-9.
- Eder, B. (2011 [last update]). "Red – King Crimson | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Christgau, Robert (2011 [last update]). "Robert Christgau: CG: king crimson". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Barnes, Mike (November 2009). "Royal Flush". Mojo (London: Bauer Media Group) (192): 106. ISSN 1351-0193.
- "King Crimson reviews from Willson&Alroy's Record Reviews". Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time
- Interview with Robert Fripp
- Interview with Bill Bruford (in italian)
- Rolling Stone – The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. Retrieved 2011-01-24. "‘I'm not a blues guitarist’, Robert Fripp said in 1995, 'but I think I've met the spirit of the blues several times.' This is one of them: blunt-instrument funk in which Fripp, leading a power-trio Crimson, jars the mathematical cadence of his riffing with a wrecking-ball swing and rude pig-squeal harmonics."
- Macon, Edward L. (1997). Rocking the classics: English progressive rock and the counterculture. Oxford and New York: Oxford University. ISBN 0-19-509887-0.
- Tamm, Eric (2003) , Robert Fripp: From crimson king to crafty master (Progressive Ears ed.), Faber and Faber (1990), ISBN 0-571-16289-4, Zipped Microsoft Word Document, retrieved 25 March 2012