King Crimson, Heroes

by Rick Krueger

“Studio and live are two worlds. Would you, the audience, prefer to have a love letter or a hot date? Each have their value. Crimson were always a band for a hot date. From time to time they could write a love letter, too, but for me they were better in the clinches.”  (Robert Fripp)

In advance of King Crimson’s upcoming US tour (starting June 11 in Seattle), Discipline Global Mobile has released Heroes, a low-priced live EP of recordings from last fall’s European excursion.  Blending the best of Fripp’s two worlds, it shows the Seven-Headed Beast that was 2016’s Crimson in fine fettle and ready for the clinches.

The main attraction is a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” an encore from Crimson’s Berlin show last September.  All seven players drive this beauty forward — Fripp soaring on top, Tony Levin & Mel Collins blowing out the low end, the threefold drum line laying down a stylish unison groove, and Jakko Jakszyk rising to the occasion with a first-class vocal.  But don’t take my word for it — see for yourself.

The other live recordings are no less stellar.  Paris’ “Easy Money” lurches forward, nearly disintegrating into sparse polyphony, then gathering itself for a final, lethal pounce.  “Starless” only excerpts the first part of the song, but it’s a rich, tasty teaser for the entire Vienna concert (currently planned for fall release).  “Hell Hounds of Krim” — well, it’s surprising how much fun Pat Mastelotto, Jeremy Stacey and Gavin Harrison can make what’s ultimately a set of variations on a drum doodle.

For me, Heroes does the job, whetting my appetite for the eight-man Crimson heading our way this summer and fall.  I can’t wait!

If you need further evidence, Heroes and last year’s live Crimson set Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind are now streaming on Spotify.


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