King Crimson: Live At The Orpheum

Extracts from two live nights in LA in 2014.

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This is the first official release by the new Crimson line-up that features three drummers, as well as Jakko Jakszyk accompanying Robert Fripp on guitar and Mel Collins on sax and flute.

It comprises just 41 minutes of material but it’s busy and compact, as befits Fripp, drawing on material from across four decades. Following a shadowy, ambient walk-on piece, Monk Morph Chamber Music, the group thunder into One More Red Nightmare from Red, in which they demonstrate both their tightness and expansiveness.

The gamelan strains of Banshee Legs Bell Hassle are followed by The ConstruKction Of Light, featuring some fiercely elaborate polyrhythmic intrigue, topped with the bucolic flutter of flute – unashamedly prog fare, as impressive as it’s sometimes pointless. Better are the underwater, jazzy ruminations of The Letters from Islands.

A curiously curt selection with no obvious crowd-pleasers, but doubtless KC fans will rise to the challenge./o:p

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.