Music

King Crimson

Formed 13 January 1969.
King Crimson

Biography

King Crimson are a progressive rock band. Formed in London in 1968 (but featuring a transatlantic line-up since 1981), the band are widely recognised as a foundational progressive rock group (although the group members resist the label). The band have incorporated diverse influences and approaches during their five-decade history (including jazz and folk music, classical and experimental music, psychedelic rock, hard rock and heavy metal, new wave, gamelan, electronica and drum and bass) as well as balancing highly structured compositions against abstract improvisational sections and an interest in pop songs. The band has a large following, despite garnering little radio or music video airplay.

With guitarist Robert Fripp (considered to be the band's leader and motive force) as the only consistent member, King Crimson's line-up has persistently altered throughout its existence. Eighteen musicians and three lyricists have passed through the ranks, although the tenure of certain members has sometimes extended for decades. King Crimson's sound has varied according to its instrumentation - earlier line-ups featured prominent saxophone and keyboards, while subsequent line-ups replaced this with (variously) violin, innovative acoustic or electronic percussion, interlocking guitars or touch-style instruments. The band are notable for continuous engagement with contemporary music technology - in addition to Fripp's extensive work in loop music both in and out of the band, King Crimson pioneered the use of Mellotrons in 1968; Roland guitar synthesizers, Simmons electronic drums and the Chapman Stick in the 1980s; dense MIDI processing and the Warr Guitar in the 1990s, and Roland V-Drums in the 21st century. King Crimson's existence has been characterised by regular periods of hiatus (each of which have been initiated and concluded by Fripp). From 1997 until the present day, various subdivisions of King Crimson have continued to pursue aspects of the band's work and...

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of The Power To Believe

    The Power To Believe 2003

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    The title comes from a haiku...repeated at intervals throughout...What occurs in...
  2. Review of Ladies Of The Road

    Ladies Of The Road 2002

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    When it comes to unstinting devotion to exploring and making available archive...
  3. Review of VROOOM VROOOM

    VROOOM VROOOM 2001

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    Fripp's measured noise, here comes across as far filthier than the norm.
  4. Review of Earthbound, USA & Thrak

    Earthbound, USA & Thrak

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    These three CDs represent three totally different bands, doing totally different...
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