Letter to The Wire, January 2010

Thanks to Joseph Stannard for his comprehensive King Crimson survey, although he showered a little too much love on the 1981-84 incarnation of the group for my liking. Where Stannard hears “a hive of small sounds in constant motion”, I just hear Adrian Belew needlessly emoting over pallid jackets-with-sleeves-pushed-up funk, all the while playing guitar to sound like an elephant – and not in a good way, either.

Crimson don’t need a second guitarist, as is amply demonstrated by the ProjeKcts albums (on which Belew played V-drums). Stannard could have said more about these releases, which showcase Fripp’s most satisfying and avant-garde work since the 70s. According to Fripp, the ProjeKcts were supposed to serve as “research & development” for Crimson, but given that so few of the resultant approaches made their way into later Crimson albums the validity of this statement must be in doubt. Fripp could easily have gone against the grain of his audience’s expectations by keeping up with the mix of volatile Improv and irresistible electronic dance beats that characterised the ProjeKcts sessions. What irks me is that he chose to play it safe the next time he went out as Crimson – discarding the innovations of the ProjeKcts and retreating instead into a greasy rehash of former glories.

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