Monday, August 2, 2010

King Crimson - Red

10/10

Red does pretty much everything right. The band was officially down to a power trio at this point, although David Cross, Ian McDonald and some other musicians show up from time to time. Red has little of the avant-garde dicking around that polluted the previous two albums- this is still progressive rock through and through, but it's fairly straightforward, with just one track, "Providence" that goes out of its way to be weird (and even it comes together beautifully near the end). This is remarkably heavy stuff for 1974, and it's surprising that the horns mesh with the other instruments as well as they do. This album also has a lot of variety of moods and textures- the title track is a heavy hard rock instrumental, "One More Red Nightmare" has an awesome groove, "Fallen Angel" is surprisingly sorrowful, and "Starless" starts out mellow and goes through several instrumental sections, eventually becoming frantic. Red is also very well produced, with a mix that emphasizes all the instruments well.
When it comes to my favorite King Crimson studio album, it's basically a choice between this and the debut, and I have to go with Red, mostly because Moonchild doesn't go anywhere after the first few minutes and Providence works pretty well. I think that Court has better high points, but I don't think Red has a single major flaw- it's amazingly consistent the whole way through.

1 comment:

  1. "This is remarkably heavy stuff for 1974 . . ."

    What's interesting here is that Chuck Eddy--so often critically offtarget that you have to figure it's all of a perverse willfulness--is for a change spot on when he includes Red in his book of 500 best metal records.

    A blind squirrel finding nuts I suppose . . . .

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