Featured Album

September 24, 2007
JVC Victor

Album Review

The half-dozen CDs in the third installment of King Crimson's Collector's Box cover the King Crimson lineup of Bill Bruford (drums), David Cross (violin/flute/Mellotron), Robert Fripp (guitar/Mellotron), Jamie Muir (percussion/allsorts) -- who left in February of 1973 -- and John Wetton (bass/vocals). The entries in question are Live at the Zoom Club, 1972, The Beat Club, Bremen, 1972, Live in Guildford, 1972, Live in Mainz, 1974, and Live in Central Park, NYC '74. The Zoom Club gig in Frankfurt, Germany, is nothing short of remarkable despite the less than optimal audio fidelity. The seminal rendering of "Book of Saturday" and vocal-less "Improv: Fallen Angel" both aurally envisage the sonic force of nature that these gentlemen would soon become. Equally fascinating are the progressions and deviations that "The Talking Drum," "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2," "Easy Money," and "Exiles" would have over time. The titles occur as leitmotifs -- even turning up during both the debut (Zoom Club) and last stand (Central Park) of this incarnation. Another equally powerful theme is the seemingly interminable capability and insatiable prowess for improvisation that the unit members shared. "Improv: The Rich Tapestry of Life" (from the October 17, 1972 Beat Club TV program) and the compact "Improv: Arabica" and "Improv: Atria" (from the Live in Mainz, 1974 CD) all reveal a maturity in their collective approach to the art of extemporaneous creativity, especially as the use of wordless melodies becomes a fixture linking the decidedly more structured pieces. Other standouts from Mainz are the brawny "Dr. Diamond," "Easy Money," and potentially the most exquisite editions of "Lament" and "Fracture" to have been committed to tape. Fripp himself has commented on the strength of the Central Park set. The source is a very good to excellent audience tape; however, the lofty spirit of the music makes up for any loss of sound quality. They sojourn though the past right from the beginning with a wickedly ferocious spin of "21st Century Schizoid Man." While the energy level remains solid, once they hit "Starless," a new zenith for the band is created. The irony is that it was their ultimate performance for an audience as they close the gig with the medley of "Talking Drum" and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2." Although a somewhat pricey way to go, the whole six-CD Collector's Box, Vol. 3: 1972-1974 is unquestionably greater thanks to the sum of its parts.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1
  2. Book of Saturday
  3. Zoom
  4. Improv: Zoom Zoom
  5. Easy Money
  6. Improv: Fallen Angel
  7. Improv: Z'zoom
  8. Exiles
  9. The Talking Drum
  10. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2
  11. Improv: The Rich Tapestry of Life
  12. Exiles
  13. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1
  14. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1
  15. Book of Saturday (Daily Games)
  16. Improv: All That Glitters Is Not Nail Polish
  17. Exiles
  18. Improv: The Savage
  19. Dr. Diamond
  20. Improv: Arabica
  21. Exiles
  22. Improv: Atria
  23. The Night Watch
  24. Starless
  25. Lament
  26. Improv: Trio
  27. Easy Money
  28. Walk on...No Pussyfooting
  29. 21st Century Schizoid Man
  30. Lament
  31. Exile
  32. Improv: Cerberus
  33. Easy Money
  34. Fracture
  35. Starless
  36. The Talking Drum
  37. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2