'Suite No. 1' ... should dispel any notion that the Wimborne wonder was anything less...
Chris Jones 2002
Already partially unleashed on vinyl earlier this year under the name of Metaphormosis, this timely CD release fills in a sizeable hole in the enigmatic career of the mighty Fripp and pals and their part in the creation of the Crimson King. Mainly consisting of demos recorded at the titular address, this document is amazing for two reasons. Firstly, as the splendid sleeve notes demonstrate, this was far more than a couple of mikes fed into a Revox set-up. The sound quality of these pieces is a testament to the precision of artists forced to work under primitive conditions while developing a profile which their first album (The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles And Fripp) - with it's bland production - failed to deliver. Secondly, with its addition of key players such as Ian MacDonald on wind instruments and Pete Sinfield, this shows how a year of hard work away from the limelight could turn a jokey little trio into a powerful musical unit, ready to take on the post psychedelic music scene.
It is fascinating to finally hear all of the tracks that featured the criminally underrated Judy Dyble, the original vocalist with Fairport Convention. Committed King Crimson fans will already be familiar with her rendition of "I Talk To The Wind", but on the evidence of the other material on offer here, she should have stayed for longer than the mere two or three months it took to record them. "Drop In" by Fripp, which became a Crimson live staple the following year, makes its first appearance here as does a re-versioned "Suite No. 1" which should dispel any notion that the Wimborne wonder was anything less than a young genius of the fretboard.
Lush harmonies, assured, jazzy instrumentation and a sense of humour (check out those Pythonesque photos!), all wrapped up with most scholarly and amusing sleeve notes from Pete Giles. This is both a lovingly prepared historical document and a well-prepared argument in favour of a band who have, for too long, languished in the shadows as a mere precursor to greater things. Why don't you just drop in?