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King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (Deluxe Edition)

In the Court of the Crimson King has long been considered the first ever 'progressive rock' album, one of the most beloved and legendary rock recordings that still stands the test of time 40 years after its release. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the release of this landmark album, Robert Fripp and Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson have worked diligently to release this deluxe edition, containing a CD with a new mix of the original album (the original analog multi-tracks were transferred to digital, enabling them to work from the first generation tracks prior to sub-mixing) plus bonus tracks (full, backing, & alternate versions of tracks from the original album), and a bonus DVD with the album in various audio formats, including 5.1 Surround and a few stereo mixes. As you can imagine, it's a treasure chest of magnificent audio goodies for the KC fan, and the digipack also comes with a nice booklet packed with photos, the original album artwork, lyrics, and essays from Fripp and Sid Smith.

Who can argue that the album itself isn't one of rock's legendary releases, especially with songs such as the hard rocking, complex wonder that is "21st Century Schizoid Man", the dreamy, Mellotron soaked title track, or the haunting, also Mellotron drenched classic "Epitaph"? Quite frankly, you can't. Greg Lake gives one of his finest performances ever here (for "Epitaph" and the title track alone), and the band take the Mellotron even further than the Moody Blues on a few of the songs. The frantic drum work of Michael Giles and the laser-like guitar lines from Fripp on "21st Century Schizoid Man" simply marvel, and the soothing woodwinds from Ian McDonald on "I Talk to the Wind" and the mysterious "Moonchild" add a wonderful jazzy element to this otherwise adventurous and groundbreaking album. Sadly, this line-up of the band would stay together less than a year, and implode shortly after the release of the album and tour supporting it.

The extra tracks offer an alternate take on some of the much loved classics, especially noteworthy are the extended version of "Moonchild", the two takes of "I Talk to the Wind", one with just Fripp and McDonald, and the other an alternate take with some different solos being featured. As a huge fan of "Epitaph", I was intrigued to hear the song as a pure instrumental without Lake's vocal, but quickly missed his emotional delivery, which, along with the ominous waves of Mellotron, is one of the songs highlights. For those who love to play audio DVDs on their systems, the vast array of different mixes here is astounding, and gives you plenty of choices by which to enjoy this classic album.

In summary, an essential purchase for anyone with any passing interest in the history of progressive rock.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man
2. I Talk to the Wind
3. Epitaph
4. Moonchild
5. The Court of the Crimson King
6. Moonchild 2009 mix (full version)
7. I Talk to the Wind (Alternate take - Duo version)
8. I Talk to the Wind (Alternate Mix)
9. Epitaph (Backing track)
10. Wind Session (from album session recordings)
Original Album remixed in:
MLP Lossless 5.1 Surround
DTS 5.1 Digital Surround
Original album mix (2004 master edition)
2009 stereo album mix
CD bonus tracks and alternate takes in MLP Lossless Sereo & PCM Sterio 2.0
Video Content (audio/mono)-21st Century Schizoid Man (edit)

Added: April 16th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3819
Language: english

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King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (Deluxe Edition)
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-04-16 05:57:36
My Score:

The first incarnation of the legendary King Crimson was Robert Fripp (guitar), Ian McDonald (reed, woodwind, vibes, keyboards, mellotron, vocals), Greg Lake (bass, lead vocals), Michael Giles (drums, percussion, vocals) and Peter Sinfield (words and illumination).

With a prolific cover and the music to match, In The Court of The Crimson King (1969) was destined for immortality and I think it's safe to say that the recording has reached that lofty status. To think for a moment that this cornerstone of progressive rock was a debut boggles the mind. Now when you hear it in dazzling 5.1 surround or any other mix you prefer actually, it will most certainly reconfirm how important this work was. They decided to cover all bases on the special 40th Anniversary Edition offering several different audio versions, alternate versions of tracks and video footage along with an enjoyable booklet to accompany this well packaged set. I do not think you will find a better version this great album at this point.

I found once again with this series of releases that the DVD was nothing but full of frustrations and with many issues. I was able to listen to the tracks in 5.1 surround sound at one point but beyond that it gets to where don't want to bother so I ended up listening to the CD several times. Listening to In The Court of The Crimson King time after time is never a problem, just a joy. Greg Lake's voice is distinguishable amongst world class musicians and it always has been. I think people tend to forget that before he became a superstar with his mates in ELP he did a few other things including being a founding member of King Crimson.

"I Talk To The Wind" and "Epitaph" shows how Lake's vocal style and the backing instrumentation echoed the Moody Blues dramatic orchestrated classic sound. In this case familiarity did not breed contempt; in fact the opposite effect took hold and this album received elevated international recognition.

"The Court of the Crimson King" is a majestic and unforgettable amalgam of rock and progressive variations ranging from beautiful flute interludes that stop and jump back into cascading guitars, bass, and keyboards while Lake's significant vocals tell the story, and oh so well. This music and all its trappings took you to places that live in only the mind's eye. Even if you were never one that had a good imagination songs like "The Court of the Crimson King" would allow passage to a wonderland that is normally reserved for preschool children that have yet to be corrupted by outside influences. That kind of innocence and purity is lost all too soon these days. The music found on this outstanding debut challenges the infinite possibilities of the mind. Yes, it is that good and anyone that enjoys progressive rock fused with elements of jazz and classical will appreciate one of the bookends of the progressive rock genre. Even a "21st Century Schizoid Man" could find a place to live inside this music.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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