The KC Experience

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Date: Sat, 01 Dec 2001 22:29:21 -0600
From: “Toby Howard” <>
Subject: NEWS: Sid Smith’s new Crimson book is out

Sid Smith’s new book, “In The Court Of King Crimson” is now out, published by Helter Skelter, ISBN 1-900924-26-9.

That’s the news.

This is my comment: I bought my copy two days ago and am REALLY enjoying it.


Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 22:07:36 +0000
From: “Nigel Baker” <>
Subject: Starting KC from 1981
I’m but 17 years old, and got introduced to KC when I was 16 ….
>Ive always wondered what it would be like to discover KC late in the game and THEN discover the rest of the catalogue, especially coming from an 80s/90s frame. I wouldn’t even know how to pose the question as to what the experience is, as, having heard and seen them from the start, amidst such a hugely differing environment (physically and mentally), I’m not even sure comparative grounds exist.
Well, this has prompted me to write my first email to ET.
I’m slightly older than 17… OK a LOT older, and I started
with the 80s material.

It all happened one fateful day in the early 1980’s when browsing
through the bargain bin at a record shop. There was a plain blue LP
with the name of a band I had never heard of. I was curious to know
what a “stick” was and already knew of Bill Bruford.

I was already aware of YES, having purchased the “Classic YES” LP
several years before. This was thrashed to death on a cheap LP player and at a volume sure to annoy the neighbors. It was probably also purchased on a whim due to the Roger Dean cover art.

At the time I thought of YES as just another rock band. I was not aware of “progressive rock”. In fact NO progressive rock was played
in New Zealand that I can recall. To this date, the only KC I have ever heard played on radio was “In the Court of the Crimson King”, and that was years ago.

Anyway, I got “Beat” for $4.99 (about half the price of a normal LP) and immediately loved “Sartori in Tangier” as until then I had never heard of anything quite like it. I spend years trying to find music of bands like KC. I eventually gave up. Around the same time I found Discipline and 2oaPP which I immediately liked.

I found out more about KC from books and discovered they had a past life. Over several years of scouring used record stores I managed to find all the previous studio albums. But I’m still kicking myself for not getting Earthbound and USA when I could.

These LPs tended to stay on the shelf and not get played much. I didn’t like the 1969-74 stuff as much as the 1980s trio. Strangely, it was not until I heard Frippertronics and the ProjeKcts that I could appreciate the earlier material. Now Red is one of my favorite albums.

On reflection, I think it is easier to approach KC from the 1980s albums.
They have the “Belew” songs that at least sounded like a conventional popular song, with a steady beat and verse/chorus/verse structure, a more familiar type and understandable by a non-musician like me. And the rest of the songs were a starting point to atonal music, dissonance and just plain weirdness.

For me, KC were the start of a musical journey back into the past that would end at the beginning of the 20th century with Stravinsky and Edgard Varese.

After 3oaPP and the breakup of KC I assumed it was all over (this was before the influence of the internet) and Fripp had retired. Then, about 1994-95 I was browsing a music magazine when I spotted a review of Thrak. I didn’t know of the reunion, and checked out the record store. I immediately got Thrak, Vroom and B’Boom. Since then I found ET (read every single issue) and now have just about everything Fripp has been involved with.

There is one thing I have always found constant with KC. Usually when I get a new album, I don’t immediately like it. But the more I play it, the more I like it.

Some have mentioned a link between Fripp and Miles Davis. For me there is a definite historical link. I can remember when one of our music shows played the video of “Sleepless,” it was just once, but I still remember it. At that time (mid 1980s) I was interested in searching for different music. When they played the Sleepless video, they also played the video for “Decoy”.

Until then, to me jazz was of two types :
– Big band swing jazz
– smaller bands with lots of meaningless solos where everyone goes
“yeah – right on” before the soloist returns to the group effort (BORING)

Miles Davis’s Decoy was a revelation. At last jazz had a “rock attitude”
and could be appreciated. I am also a Miles Davis fan and have just about all his albums since Bitches Brew.

I can vaguely remember hearing the opening chords of “Matte Kadusai” used in a BBC production many years ago. I think it was a nature, or possibly a travel TV program. The music was played over a scene on a beach. I cannot find any reference to it in the FAQs. Maybe my memory is fading. This would be 10-15 years ago. Anyone remember ?

Some of you have bean moaning on about getting email on ET, what you can and can’t say etc etc. I have a gripe with some of you out there (I’m not blaming the moderators for this). I just HATE it when someone writes a block of text 40 lines long without double line breaks. A solid block of text is difficult to read. PLEASE break your text up so paragraphs are no more than 4-5 lines long

BTW – are there any other ETers in ChCh, NZ ?

Nigel Baker
Christchurch, New Zealand