What Pete Townshend Thinks About King Crimson
The always on point Babylon Falling blog dusts off another absolute gem from their archives…
Here’s the transcript for those playing at home who (like us) struggle reading fine print…
An uncanny masterpiece. An uncanny masterpiece. Title? Song titles? You might know more than I, but I’ve got the ace card cos I’ve the album weeks before release to review no less. What depths one has to stoop to to hear new albums before everyone else. How marvelous is the feeling when I walk in a room and say, “you haven’t heard it? More’s the pity!” Cos I’ve heard it and it’s incredible.
But it’s also over careful, cautiously rampant guitar solos scream all over you but never miss a note. Silent drums drum and a million bloody mellotrons whine and soar like sirens down a canyon. Endless, or at least seemingly endless passages through extemporised classic non-effervessant secret-keeping become boring. Drums click and sniff, mellotrons breathe, unidentifiable woodwind multiplies, a voice reminiscent of a Zombie sings. It’s time consuming and expensive but somehow, even if you don’t get into their complex musical fantasies and indulgences you have to stand and straighten your back when out of all that comes THE COURT OF A CINSONGKRIM. (“The Ultimation” says Plum) Bob the roadie comes round, he is already a fan of KING CRIMSON and is extra eager to listen. He doesn’t leave his seat until the album is finished, then after hanging around for about two hours decides to leave. I know when he’s had enough.
You must have gathered it’s good. Undeniably. But in some ways too good too soon if that’s possible. You will only know what I’m getting at when you hear it for yourself, it’s akin to being a ritual it really isn’t. The ritual is future worship. The adulation of unnecessary perfection. I hear it, and I know it had to cost at least ten thousand pounds to make. If they chucked out as much as I think they did in order to embrace the remainder it could have cost twenty thousand. I can’t tell if it’s worth it.
A friend listening to the album from a room below says, “Is that a new Who album?” Deeply I’m ashamed that it isn’t, but I’m also glad somehow. That kind of intensity is music not Rock.
Twenty first century schizoid man is everything multitracked a billion times, and when you listen you get a billion times the impact. Has to be the heaviest riff that has been middle frequencied onto that black vinyl disc since Mahler’s 8th.
An American chick comes round with a friend and tells me, “They’re all real musicians.” I don’t know where to look. I was never more aware of any other single fact.
Oh well. YINGYANGYINGYANGYINGYANGYINGYANGYINGYANGYINGYANG-YINGYANGYINGYANGMYGGGGGGGGENERATION OOH and by the way, THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN. Same to you.