Known Johnson

October 14, 2005

Piecing the puzzle of King Crimson together

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:40 pm

I’ve been doing a lot of really intense listening to King Crimson lately, having just created a “Crimson family” Smart Playlist for my Ipod. Being the die-hard, geeky fan that I am (proven by the fact that I make a playlist just for this) I was really intrigued to find out that I have around 1100 songs that relate in some physical way to the band King Crimson – whether they be actually by the band itself or they are other projects involving members of the band (of which there are many – so many I’m not even close to having all of them, nor am I even trying,) and, of course, many live versions due to the many official bootlegs. That’s well over 8 gigabytes of music surrounding one loosely structured group of musicians. To put it another way, I have 66 CDs of strictly King Crimson content, meaning the band known in, what, 8 or 10 incarnations at this point, as well as some direct offshoots (the four ProjeKcts have 9 discs just by themselves!) – this does not include many of the peripheral groups and just-plain solo recordings of the band’s members. I’m simply stunned.

In revisiting King Crimson this week, I became fascinated again with the opening track off of their 1995 album, Thrak, one of my favorite albums of all time. What’s so intriguing about this track is that it’s essentially two songs in one – one in the left channel and one in the right. This incarnation of King Crimson is the “double trio” – basically, two small bands that work together. The rumored original intent for Thrak was to be an album comprised of songs that featured one band in one channel and the other in the other channel. Alas, that was not to be, and “VROOOM” is the only song that really worked out well this way (as far as I can tell – there may be elements of other songs on the album that work separately in each channel.) Thus, the two halves of “VROOOM” are markedly different when you isolate them – having distinctly different beats and such, but functioning together as a perfect whole. Instead of having to change the balance or remove an ear plug, I decided to create a mono track for each channel. You, gentle reader, benefit, as for a short time I’m offering the fruits of my two minutes of work. I’m even including the original song, edited to remove a slow build at the beginning, for comparison. For those wanting to keep really good notes, the “left channel mix” showcases guitarist Robert Fripp, Stick player Trey Gunn (who is mixed very low, unfortunately, but if you strain you can make out his parts from Fripp’s – just think about what a low-tuned guitar would sound like) and drummer Pat Mastelotto. The “right channel mix” is guitarist Adrian Belew, bassist Tony Levin (whose upright bass work can be heard in the bridge of the song in both channels,) and drummer Bill Bruford.

King Crimson: “Thrak (original)” (5.82 mb, 192kbps mp3)
King Crimson: “Thrak (left channel mix)” (5.82 mb, 192kbps mp3)
King Crimson: “Thrak (right channel mix)” (5.82 mb, 192kbps mp3)

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