Red (King Crimson album)

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For other albums called Red, see Red (disambiguation).
Red
Studio album by King Crimson
Released 6 October 1974
Recorded 30 June, July–August 1974 at Olympic Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, heavy metal, hard rock
Length 39:54
Label Island (UK)
Atlantic (North America)
Producer King Crimson
King Crimson chronology
Starless and Bible Black
(1974)
Red
(1974)
USA
(1975)

Red is the seventh studio album by progressive rock group King Crimson, released in 1974. It was their last studio recording of the 1970s and the last before the lead member Robert Fripp temporarily disbanded the group.

Production[edit]

Violinist David Cross left King Crimson after the end of its tour in summer 1974, reducing the group to the trio of Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Bill Bruford. Having already begun to record Red with Cross, the trio finished the album with help of former band-members Ian McDonald and Mel Collins. Fripp disbanded King Crimson on 24 September 1974, and the album was released the following month 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 (perhaps partly because every lineup of the band after this one has included two guitarists).

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.[citation needed] Its polyrhythmic melodies use whole-tone scales.[1][2]

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."[3] A longer, unedited version of the track was first available on the live four-CD set The Great Deceiver and later added as a bonus track to the album itself for its release as part of the band's 40th Anniversary Series.

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, with the group then choosing 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 in 13/4 contributed by Bruford) added to it, and performed live between March–June 1974. A discarded verse was later used by Wetton in UK's "Caesar's Palace Blues".[4] 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."

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau A−[6]
Mojo 5/5 stars[7]
Willson&Alroy's Record Reviews 3.5/5 stars[8]

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."[5] 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."[6]

Legacy[edit]

In 2001 Q magazine named Red as one of the "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time",[9] and Kurt Cobain has cited the album as a major influence.[10][11] 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 title track was ranked #87 in the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs list of Rolling Stone.[12] Pitchfork ranked Red #72 on the Top 100 Albums of the 1970s stating that "For a band that was very obviously about to splinter, King Crimson's music sounds remarkably of a single mind. On Red, they achieved a remarkable balance between bone-crushing brutality and cerebral complexity." Rateyourmusic voted Red as #1 album of 1974 and #47 greatest album of all time.

Releases[edit]

The album had CD releases in 1989 and 2001, each newly remastered by Fripp at the time. The 40th Anniversary Series 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). Another new CD edition, including a 2013 stereo remix by Wilson and Fripp, was released in September 2013.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
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
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
4. "Providence" (instrumental improv)  (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 40th Anniversary Series re-issue bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Red" (pre-overdub trio version) Fripp  
7. "Fallen Angel" (pre-overdub trio version instrumental) Fripp, Wetton  
8. "Providence" (unedited live version taken from “The Great Deceiver”) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford  
9. "A Voyage to the Centre of the Cosmos" (improv taken from “The Great Deceiver”) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford  
2009 40th Anniversary Series re-issue video content
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic: Part II"   Fripp  
2. "The Night Watch"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James  
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James  
4. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James  
The Road to Red Disc 1 (Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Columbus, Ohio, April 28, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Great Deceiver" (incomplete recording) Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 3:26
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:19
3. "Improv I"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 2:15
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:00
5. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:04
6. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:45
7. "Improv II"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 2:40
8. "The Night Watch"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:53
9. "RF Announcement"   Fripp 2:06
The Road to Red Discs 2 & 3 (Stanley Warner Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 29, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walk On (No Pussyfooting)"   Fripp, Brian Eno 0:59
2. "The Great Deceiver"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 3:42
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:58
4. "Bartley Butsford" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 3:13
5. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:47
6. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:11
7. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:04
8. "Daniel Dust" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 4:40
9. "The Night Watch"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:36
10. "Doctor Diamond"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 5:17
11. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 12:25
12. "Wilton Carpet" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 5:43
13. "The Talking Drum"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Jamie Muir 5:39
14. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)"   Fripp 10:26
15. "21st Century Schizoid Man"   Fripp, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield 8:27
The Road to Red Disc 4 (Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston, Texas, June 5, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Great Deceiver" (incomplete recording) Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 2:31
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:12
3. "Improv"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 2:03
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:29
5. "Fracture"   Fripp 10:56
6. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 11:40
7. "The Talking Drum"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir 5:48
8. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)" (incomplete recording) Fripp 4:21
The Road to Red Disc 5 (Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas, June 6, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walk On: No Pussyfooting"   Fripp, Eno 1:45
2. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 5:38
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:49
4. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:14
5. "Improv"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 6:32
6. "The Talking Drum"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir 5:19
7. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)"   Fripp 6:41
8. "21st Century Schizoid Man"   Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield 7:05
The Road to Red Disc 6 (Fairground Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 7, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Great Deceiver" (incomplete recording) Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 2:51
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 5:09
3. "Improv I"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 2:06
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:48
5. "Fracture"   Fripp 10:51
6. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 11:56
7. "Improv II"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 3:22
8. "The Talking Drum" (incomplete recording) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir 3:46
9. "The Talking Drum insert" (to maintain continuity, taken from Disc 5 show) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir 2:35
10. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)" (incomplete recording) Fripp 5:20
The Road to Red Disc 7 (Civil Auditorium, El Paso, Texas, June 8, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)" (incomplete recording) Fripp 6:03
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:25
3. "Improv"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 2:34
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:20
5. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 5:53
6. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:13
7. "RF Announcement"   Fripp 1:24
8. "Starless (Part I)"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 7:31
9. "Starless (Part II)"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 2:51
The Road to Red Disc 8 (Coliseum, Denver, Colorado, June 16, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Great Deceiver" (incomplete recording) Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 3:48
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:10
3. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:44
4. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 5:19
5. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 11:53
6. "The Talking Drum" (incomplete recording) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir 5:25
The Road to Red Disc 9 (Performing Arts Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 22, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)" (incomplete recording) Fripp 6:08
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:23
3. "Improv I"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 1:37
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:57
5. "Improv II"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 8:29
6. "The Night Watch"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:42
7. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 12:27
The Road to Red Disc 10 (Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 23, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)" (incomplete recording) Fripp 5:59
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:12
3. "Improv I"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 1:19
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:04
5. "Easy Money" (incomplete recording) Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 1:29
6. "Improv II"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 4:18
7. "The Great Deceiver"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 3:45
8. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:08
9. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 12:23
The Road to Red Discs 11 & 12 (Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario, June 24, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walk On: No Pussyfooting"   Fripp, Eno 1:31
2. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)"   Fripp 6:16
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 5:07
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 8:23
5. "The Golden Walnut" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 11:39
6. "The Night Watch"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:36
7. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:08
8. "Clueless and Slightly Slack" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 9:58
9. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:11
10. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 14:52
11. "21st Century Schizoid Man"   Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield 9:35
The Road to Red Disc 13 (Convention Center, Quebec City, Quebec, June 25, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "21st Century Schizoid Man"   Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield 7:20
2. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:18
3. "Improv I"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 1:18
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:14
5. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:05
6. "Improv II"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 6:31
7. "Fracture"   Fripp 10:53
8. "Starless" (incomplete recording) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 10:44
The Road to Red Disc 14 (Kennedy Centre, Washington, D.C., June 27, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:23
2. "Improv I"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 1:55
3. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:40
4. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 8:26
5. "Improv II"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 3:13
6. "Fracture"   Fripp 10:55
7. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 13:01
The Road to Red Discs 15 & 16 (Casino Arena, Asbury Park, New Jersey, June 28, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walk On: No Pussyfooting"   Fripp, Eno 1:39
2. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)"   Fripp 6:24
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:20
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:16
5. "Asbury Park" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 11:41
6. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 11:07
7. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:02
8. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 15:50
9. "21st Century Schizoid Man"   Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield 9:33
The Road to Red Discs 17 (Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, June 29, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walk On: No Pussyfooting"   Fripp, Eno 1:56
2. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)"   Fripp 6:26
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 5:03
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:22
5. "Is There Life Out There?" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 14:14
6. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 2:22
7. "It Is for You, but Not for Us" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 7:37
8. "Fracture"   Fripp 10:54
9. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 15:44
The Road to Red Discs 18 & 19 (Palace Theater, Providence, Rhode Island, June 30, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walk On: No Pussyfooting"   Fripp, Eno 0:49
2. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)"   Fripp 6:22
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 5:09
4. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:16
5. "A Voyage to the Centre of the Cosmos" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 2:06
6. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 7:11
7. "Providence" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 10:05
8. "Fracture"   Fripp 11:31
9. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 12:14
10. "21st Century Schizoid Man"   Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield 9:50
The Road to Red Disc 20 (Live in Central Park, NYC, July 1, 1974)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walk On: No Pussyfooting"   Fripp, Eno 1:51
2. "21st Century Schizoid Man"   Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield 7:45
3. "Lament"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 4:41
4. "Improv"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 1:28
5. "Exiles"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:15
6. "Cerberus" (Improv) Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford 8:17
7. "Easy Money"   Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James 6:16
8. "Fracture" (incomplete recording) Fripp 11:05
9. "Starless"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James 12:13
10. "The Talking Drum"   Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir 5:21
11. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)"   Fripp 6:44

Personnel[edit]

King Crimson
Additional personnel

Production[edit]

  • Arranged & Produced By King Crimson
  • Recorded & Engineered By George Chkiantz & Rod Thear (also assistant engineer)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tamm (1995, p. 85): Tamm, Eric (1995) [1989]. "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. 
  2. ^ Macon (1997, p. 55)
  3. ^ Snider, Charles (2008). The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock. Lulu. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-615-17566-9. 
  4. ^ John Wetton, Official John Wetton Website Guestbook
  5. ^ a b Eder, B. (2011). "Red – King Crimson | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: king crimson". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Barnes, Mike (November 2009). "Royal Flush". Mojo (London: Bauer Media Group) (192): 106. ISSN 1351-0193. 
  8. ^ "King Crimson reviews from Willson&Alroy's Record Reviews". Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time
  10. ^ Interview with Robert Fripp
  11. ^ Interview with Bill Bruford (in Italian)
  12. ^ 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."
  13. ^ http://www.elephant-talk.com/wiki/FAQ_-_King_Crimson_Past#Who_played_the_bass_solo_on_.27Red.27.3F

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]