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King Crimson - Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind album review

King Crimson unleash some more live majesty

Cover art for King Crimson's Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind

The key to this live artefact from their critically lauded career-spanning tour that started in 2014 and is still running lies in Robert Fripp’s simple description: “King Crimson… re-imagined”. The seven-piece line-up, featuring three drummers plus Mel Collins (sax, flute) Tony Levin (bass) and Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals), who all have doctorates in Crimsonology, bring the band’s catalogue back to life, producing fresh twists while remaining loyal to the original.

It’s vividly apparent on Red, featuring some inventive bass playing; a Starless that twinkles with uncovered possibilities; and The Letters, where the song’s original elements re-emerge with bristling clarity. There’s also nearly half an hour’s worth of new material, not to mention mellotron samples unheard since the mid-70s.

Fripp presides over it all, seated in front of banks of gadgetry, locked away in headphones, showing his pleasure with a raised eyebrow or the hint of a smile.

Radical Action comes in various permutations, all of which include a three-CD set that has been specially re-sequenced and had the audience noise removed. The Blu-ray disc also has a sound-only option if the somewhat static visuals prove too distracting.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.