Jazz Cafe 12/03/97 June 12, 2008
Written by DeVito
The ProjeKcts were presented as "research and development" arms of King Crimson, but I quickly found that I had no interest in listening to them on those terms. Instead, I simply listen to each ProjeKct on its own terms, as a musical end in itself. The ProjeKcts were primarily improvising groups; this means the tunes donít always (or even often) lead to a "proper" resolution, or follow the rules of composition -- or even "good taste" (the enemy of art). This is a positive attribute. ProjeKct One feels, to me, like the most fully realized of the ProjeKcts. I think that each of the eight sets played and recorded over this four-night gig is a great album in itself and the whole thing would make a great eight-disc box set. (Actually I made my own 12-disc set, adding an 80-minute "best of" disc for each night.)
December 3 has a lot of variety in its two sets. Highlights, for me, include 3i1 (or, "Industry, Pt. 5"), which goes from quiet menace to upbeat groove-metal; the brilliant 3i2 ("Rough Sea, Red Sky"), which I consider to be a timeless Crimson classic that would fit nicely with any Crimson group since 1972; 3i3 ("Disturbing News from L5/Rat Patrol on Mars"), with Levinís chunky bowed bass and Brufordís martial beat; 3i5 ("Red Fog/Swirl"), with a meditative-metal solo from Fripp that dissolves in ascending and whirling soundscapes; 3ii2 ("Big Bass Beat"), with Gunn and Fripp rocking over the Levin-Bruford big beat; the quietly intense 3ii3 ("Atmospheres Rising"); 3ii4 ("Fuzzy Bear"), with one of Levinís patented monster-bass intros and more searing leaded-glass guitar lines from Gunn and Fripp; and 3ii7 ("Cheese Bags"), a rocker with a very nice coda of swirling soundscapes.
P1 was a great band, and weíre lucky all four nights at the Jazz Cafe were recorded, since the group was a one-off. If you have any appreciation for the improvising side of Crimson, I think youíll really like ProjeKct One (and all the other ProjeKcts). --Chris DeVito
Pig Heaven April 15, 2007
Written by DanAnderson
After listening to this seires of concerts several years back (from recordings of indeterminate origin) this was my favorite ProjeKct. This outing shows the willingness to teeter on the edge (succeding or failing) in the same fashion as the LTIA band.
Surprisingly DGM has released the full set and I am officially in Pig Heaven. Ahhhh...
Nice Show April 11, 2007
Written by Tadream
I always enjoy all of the releases on DGM Live, and this is no exception. A great listen. Itís also great how DGM is doing this and all of their releases right. Hats off to all involved!
Point of Disembarkation April 10, 2007
Written by dubhthaigh
Among the ProjeKcts, I guess I have a predilection for this one, and for a number of reasons: it is the point, apparently of disembarkation for Bruford and Levin - yes, I know that temporally it happened a little bit later, but listen carefully enough, even from the beginning riffs, and it is clear that Levin and Bruford are heading elsewhere. This set, among the three I have, I enjoy more than the others, and I think it is because it seems to channel Miles at points, especially in the aforementioned rhythm section. P1 runs the voodoo down anyone?
Not exactly Earthworks, but certainly Upper Extremities seems to be announcing itself. It had been a long and brilliant collaboration with Fripp, perhaps one of the longest for either of them. Out of the convulsive regenerations of King Crimson of 69 through 71, that Fripp and Bruford and their protean teammates would present at the very least a more consistent trajectory, especially via the rhythm section, seemed to lay at least one foundation upon which future directions could be launched. That they did so so magically through 1974 certainly brought me a lot to think about, a lot to be thankful for. The 80ís quartet and the Double Trio endlessly reveal things to me as I think through them and revel in the music. The DTs spoke to me. Jayzuz, it was powerful stuff. Time moves on and other clearings must be made, and I can only guess that one of the triumphs of this brief engagement at The Jazz Cafe is that different futures arrived in different gardens.
I would highly recommend this set, if for no other reason than to hear the clinking of glasses, plates and cutlery! Hard to imagine dispatching a sumptuous meal with yer men there venturing into brilliantly creative and improvisational foreys.... fava beans and chianti anyone?
An Incredible Evening December 4, 1997
Written by Hynek Dvorak
I was at the final two shows of this Crimso offshoot's four night
stand. I arrived in London, from Chicago, the morning of December 3rd,
drowsy from much too little sleep. As I remember, the weather was
pleasant for December and after I found a hotel I spent the rest of
the day on my feet winding through central London.
I arrived at the Jazz Cafe a good hour before the show. If my memory
serves correct, I believe that adjacent to the club there was a ticket
service where I picked up my tickets for nights three and four. With
tix in hand I strolled into the Jazz Cafe and was pretty surprised to
see how small it was. Also, being inside wasn't that much toastier
than outside. I ordered a beer and eavesdropped on conversations
around me that all seemed to center on tricky time signatures, concept
albums and other items of prog interest. At one point, Robert Fripp
made a hasty unmolested walk through the crowd and hustled on
downstairs. After a coupla beers, I needed to find the bathroom. This
very funky loo was downstairs. It was even colder and various pipes
leaked. Also downstairs was the merchandise table. I remember that
there was a lot of soundscape stuff on the table and that a lady of
Asian decent was in charge of selling the goods.
The program began when Robert sauntered on to the stage, plopped down
on his stool, picked up his guitar, dug up a guitar pick, fiddled with
his effects rack and than struck the first note. After fifteen or so
minutes of increasingly layered soundscapes, Robert got up from his
stool, took off his guitar and the notes gradually faded.
After a short break, Robert came back to the stage and was accompanied
by three other Crims. It's been a while, so I can't remember exactly
who initiated the musical proceedings, but I do remember that for the
most part, Mr. Levin deferred to the other three and would be the last
to join in. That said, it was interesting to observe T-Lev, as he
always seemed to be listening very intently, absorbing the unfolding
ProjeKct doodles, plotting his own musical contributions, than joining
the rest of the gang.
During the Double Trio tour, one of the main criticisms I kept hearing
was, "What exactly is it that Trey Gunn brings to the group?". Well,
at the Jazz Cafe those two nights, it seems that I heard a lot of, "So
that's what Trey sounds like!". Trey finally got a chance to stretch
out, and took full advantage of the opportunity.
Veteran KC percussionist Bill Bruford sat behind a small acoustic kit.
Next to that sat a vibraphone. A confidant and frequently smiling
Billy B seemed to always be on top of the moment. He seemed to be
having a really good time with shows, and this gave me great hope for
the Double Trio's future..........
Another frequent complaint from the Double Trio tour, was that Mr.
Fripp was too restrained and rarely let 'er rip. It seemed that Robert
caught wind of those criticisms and let the fingers fly along the
fretboard with unusual frequency those evenings. Unfortunately, Robert
was turned down in the mix. This problem has plagued most of the dozen
or so times I've seen Fripp. For the life of me, I don't know why this
Both evenings were incredible. Although, this music was improvised on
the spot, my attention was never less than full for the three or so
hours of ProjeKcting. I talked to several people who attended the
first two nights and they said the shows were much more tentative.
From the two documents of that stand, I recognize some material from
the disc on the ProjeKct box set, but the material on the KCCC 22
release is mostly foreign to me.
As the last night was winding down, Robert got up to use the
microphone. He started off with the "With my legs like whip
cords....." thingy that I've heard him use several times. Robert was
smiling and appeared to be greatly enthused by the run of shows.
Unfortunately, the snowballing good vibes melted with a flash of
light, which came from no more than 10 ft behind me. When I turned to
look, the culprit had already discarded all visible items of guilt.
After that sour incident, Billy B stepped up to the mic and with his
elegant accent spoke a few comments about the show. He also mentioned
the far away lands, which people came from to attend the gigs. I
remember after he mentioned Florida, I shouted out with, "And
Chicago!". Bill repeated my phrase. Hopefully that won't be cut from
the KCCC release! :)
After the last note from ProjeKct one ceased to vibrate, the band
bathed in the very warm audience applause and Robert made a quick
exit, while the remaining three band members got to taking apart and
packing their equipment. For this audient, it was pretty amusing to
see such veterans tackling this task, which I had assumed that they
dispensed with long ago.
I got a chance to talk a little with both Tony and Trey. They were
friendly and both signed my ticket stub. Now all of a sudden, Bill who
was in the process of packing his drums, wondered out aloud, where his
condenser microphone was. During the performance, his mic was hanging
from the small catwalk in back of the stage. As his search grew more
futile, the F bombs started to appear. They grew louder and more
frequent. I didn't realize that this seemingly refined Englishman was
capable of out swearing a sailor. Tony and Trey both interrupted their
packing to discreetly turn their heads towards Bill and silently
observe his tantrum. After a quick look, they both went back to their
packing. Meanwhile, a young man, who I remember was from a group of
Japanese who flew in for the gigs, quietly approached the stage,
completely oblivious to Bill's rage and asked him for an autograph.
This shook Bill out of his anger. You could tell by the look on Mr.
Brufords face that he couldn't believe that this autograph hound was
asking for a sample of his penmanship at this most inopportune time.
Bill kind of shook his head in disbelief and agreed to scribble
something down on the item handed to him. One thing I remember about
Bill's rant, was in between some of the F bombs, he'd throw in a barb
about Bob, blaming him for letting the thieves get away with his
expensive audio device. I'm not sure if this Bob was Bob Fripp or some
employee of the Jazz Cafe named Bob.
I hung out for a bit more. During this time most of the Crim heads
filed out and some regular bar patrons were beginning to overtake the
club. My lack of sleep was finally catching up to me. As I exited the
club, I walked down the few stairs outside the front door, looked to
my left and along with the several cabbies waiting beside the
vehicles, there was an odd lil' fella sprinting down the sidewalk. It
was Robert Fripp. Eyes squinted tight, posture perfectly upright and
fanny pack in place. He hustled back into the club. I just stood there
with a wry smile on my face, than continued towards the tube, where
I'd wait along with a coupla rats scampering about, for the next
train. I always wondered, did he come back to the club because of the
condenser microphone fiasco? Neither Tony, Trey or Robert ever
mentioned anything about this in their online diaries.
The next day, I took the train up north to Birmingham to see the
mighty Black Sabbath on their second (and much better than the opening
night) performance at the NEC. m/ 0 m/ This show was recorded and
released the following year as Reunion.
Robert Fripp April 19, 2005
Written by Stewart Lee
íSince 1992 it has again been possible
to discuss without whispering the music of 1969-1976," writes King
Crimsonís Robert Fripp in the sleeve notes to the recently issued
early-1970s live collection The Night Watch. "But I offer no apology
for the transparently pratty music played by young dopes wearing
satin." Who does he mean, exactly? After all, though the current
Crimson look like a fashionable firm of New York lawyers, they once
epitomised the Tolkienesque fashions of the post-hippie era. But Fripp,
50 now, and the perfect softly spoken Dorset gentleman, wonít name
names. "Iím loath to be drawn into making comments about other
musicians, but I donít think I was really part of the progressive
scene," he elaborates, "I was just playing music in that period."
Crimson began recording and touring again in 1994, to the delight of a
hard core of fans big enough to fill the Albert Hall, but can they ever
escape the stigma of progressive rock, with its Mellotron-toting,
Tory-voting, tax-evading practitioners and their Page Three wives?
Remember now and wince at Yesís Tales From Topographic Oceans, at
Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and at Rick Wakemanís King Arthur and the
Knights of the Round Table...on Ice. To add psychological credibility
to the insane anti-hero of American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis makes him
a rabid fan of the Phil Collins-era Genesis, and the preface to Paul
Stumpís recent and disarmingly frank history of Progressive Rock, The
Musicís All That Matters, is defensively entitled Author "Not Mad"
But the cultural embargo on all
things progressive increasingly smacks of hypocrisy. The post-punk
history of the world ignores John Lydonís love of Van Der Graaf
Generator, accommodates progís more experimental German counterparts
Can and Faust as "crazy dadaist Europeans", and tolerates arrogant
follies of U2 that are every bit as embarrassing as Yes at their most
vain and absurd. The current critical favourites Spiritualised, playing
alongside the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican last month,
conjured up memories of Soft Machineís big-band/art-rock fusion; and
the much-lauded Radioheadís more sublime moments sound like nothing so
much as mid-1970s King Crimson. Just, from Radioheadís album The Bends,
lifts the guitar part of Crimsonís Red wholesale.
week four current core members of King Crimson assemble incognito to
offer four nights of live improvisations at Camdenís Jazz Cafe, under
the moniker of Projekct One. A press release cites "expectations from
audiences of established King Crimson repertoire" as a restric-tive
factor in the bandís deve-lopment. Fripp has responded by forming
Crimson "Projekcts" on both sides of the Atlantic, which he describes
as "research and development fractals of King Crimson", after a recent
Polish tour, where he realised that not playing the 1970s hits to an
audience for whom the ticket price would be a monumental expenditure,
was simply unfair.
Such perversity has
always been part of the Crimson working method. Asked how he plucked
the drummer Bill Bruford from Yes in 1972, where his talents perhaps
werenít being exploited fully, Fripp diplomatically answers: "The muse
descends on a group briefly, and takes them into its confidence and
moves on, but time allows them to digest and apply the confidence that
has been given. What usually happens is that the group tend to move
towards obsolescence following success, and then droll repetition,
whereas Crimson would take the information, deal with it, and then
split up, as a response to the industry and the demands of its public.
We break up, shake off all expectations and move on."
its three decades King Crimson has shed more expectations than a
reasonably healthy snake might shed skins. Formed in 1969, their first
four albums offered a baroque jazz rock, alternately hobbled by a
pre-ELP Greg Lake singing Pete Sinfieldís sword-and-sorcery fantasy and
sleazy groupie-sex lyrics and elevated by Frippís distinctive, restless
guitar playing. The live quadruple CD Epitaph, issued earlier this
year, "shows the 1969 Crimson was not this monolith of received
wisdom", says Fripp, "but actually a cracking little outfit for whom
improvisation was a major part of what we did". Appropriately, a 1970
edition of Top of the Pops saw the future 1970s superstar Greg Lake
playing alongside the then unknown jazz pianist Keith Tippett on
Catfood, Crimsonís sole hit single.
In 1972 a
new Crimson, including the free jazz percussionist Jamie Muir, fresh
from Derek Bailey and Evan Parkerís Music Improvisation Company,
recorded a definitive triumvirate of albums culminating in Red, whose
angular, uncompromising and occasionally quite terrifying music was
often pasted together from the more inspired moments of live
recordings. A leanness and economy, and a big improvisatory group
sound, rather than strings of virtuoso solos, differentiated Crimson
from their flashy contemporaries.
In 1981, Fripp re-formed Crimson again after a
lengthy US sabbatical, with American vocalist Adrian Belew on board to
free-associate about urban living over Brufordís increasingly complex
polyrhythms, the band abandon-ing their off-beat jazzy playing for a
tight, machine precision derived from the New York No Wave symphonics
of Glenn Branca and the minimalism of Steve Reich. "The vocabulary of
rock music had changed," Fripp offers, "and if you were a musician who
was at all involved in speaking with the accent and dialect of the time
to people listening at that time, you had to know that. The
1981-to-1984 Crimson had absorbed and noted some of these lessons and
did not refer very much to the vocabulary of 1972 to 1974."
So why reassemble Crimson in 1994? What has the
band to offer now? How does Fripp know when the time is right? "How
could you not know?" he splutters, breaking for the first time out of
the considered calm that has hitherto characterised his answers. "You
just know! When I met my wife I was a happy bachelor, and I proposed
within a week. Why? Because she was my wife! I didnít know this was
Toyah Wilcox the star, because Iíd been in America, but I instantly
knew her as my wife. Likewise, when music appears that only King
Crimson can play, King Crimson appears to play the music."
Finally, Fripp breaks off - "to give my beautiful
wife a kiss and a cuddle before she goes off to London" - and retires.
"Iím looking forward to listening to Radiohead," he says, genuinely
curious. "Iíve just got back from the States and thereís a copy
upstairs waiting for me."
This article originally appeared as a curtain-raiser to ProjeKct Oneís residency at the Jazz Cafe in London.
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