There are some albums that defy genre’s, Kurt Cobain described it as the best album ever made. It is terrifying at times and achingly beautiful at others. Tortured is a kind description. Horns, guitars and mellotrons, some deft poly-rhythmic drumming and a thunderous bass sound.
The album is so good the band stopped recording for 5 years so that they could figure out what to do next and when they reformed it was a new sound and a new band.
Red by King Crimson is a beast of a record. It is also rare in an affordable manner. So my excitement was unbound when I found a copy, o.k. the cover is ringed and split along the seam and there may be a significant coffee stain. I asked the owner what she wanted for it and paid my dollar in incredulous joy. She smiled and thanked me and told me it was not a very good record. I smiled and had to disagree.
The cover always strikes me as very descriptive of the music, John Wetton is beaming, Bruford is serious an scholarly and Fripp looks like he is about to decide to do something drastic which I guess he was.
Red has always been a record you experience much more than listen to. It is a quiet evening in a dark room as the bass rattles your joints and the guitar sears your mind. It is punk and prog, jazz and something else entirely. It is alien music that will terrify you and then remind you why you are alive. It is an emotional experience of highs and lows and fearless music.
The most amazing night of music I ever had was in October of 2014 watching King Crimson perform much of the album in Seattle. Yes the lineup was different, three drummers, two guitars, bass and saxes, what Fripp described as the seven headed beast of Crimson. As the band launched Larks Tongues In Aspic Part 1 you knew a journey was beginning that could only end with Starless one of the most beautiful melodies around. Two hours of magic ensued and I knew it was the right decision to take my kids to this as they may never see such a thing again.