King Crimson – In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969)

It’s rare that we find a recording so enjoyable. The debut album by King Crimson is an absolutely wonderful and beautiful album to listen to. It’s a snapshot of a generally better musical time where music was considered true art. This album, although only having five pieces on it, is truly a majestic listen. You won’t be able to find it online, so make sure you order it in from your music store.

The leadoff 21st Century Schizoid Man (including “Mirrors”) starts with some train noises before crashing into the song itself. It has a variety of interesting textures with some squealing sax riffs, awesome drum rolls, and excellent processed vocals. It’s a quirky take on pop music but just fits the bill nicely.

Following up we have the flute let ballad I Talk To The Wind. Greg Lake’s brilliant delivery holds this piece together nicely. It’s just so beautiful that it’s one of the best things that this album has going for it. Majestic. Greg Lake later left King Crimson and joined Emerson Lake and Palmer which were also successful in their own right.

Epitaph (including “March For No Reason” and “Tomorrow And Tomorrow”) is a tearjerker ballad led by wonderful mellotron and acoustic guitar. It’s delivered so well here in its various sections that you will be blown away by the pseudo-classical nature of the song here. Truly awesome to hear to this day.

Moonchild (including “The Dream” and “The Illusion”) is an extended piece going for well over 10 minutes which discusses the astrology sign Cancer and is fantastic in delivery. When the song finishes, you are surprised with an instrumental improvisation that is very quiet in nature, perhaps alluding to jazz master Miles Davis’s In A Silent Way. It’s so well done that it deserves eager listening in this regard.

The album concludes with The Court Of The Crimson King (including “The Return Of The Fire Witch” and “The Dance Of The Puppets”) is just an awesome way to finish the great journey we have here on this record. We are placed into said place in the title of the track and we learn the tale of the said Crimson King. It’s a medieval scenario that refers to the king, queen, courtiers, and jester as well. It also has a very surprise ending to conclude the piece.

This album is a perfect fusion of psychedelic and progressive rock music and has a fusion of classical, jazz and rock sounds that are futuristic. In fact, it kick-started the 1970s progressive rock movement and many bands likewise have been inspired by this wonderful recording. It’s truly artistic and surprisingly fresh. Although many bands followed in the wake of King Crimson, very few had the ability to match this effort. If you are curious about the music of the late 1960s or just wish to hear the best of an LSD trip style setting in music, start here. It’s also frequently rated as one of the greatest albums of all time too.

9/10

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