King Crimson

King Crimson

Absent Lovers

Discipline Global Mobile Recordings

Progressive, precision, world class master musicians playing layers of syncopation and polyrhythms, both musically and rhythmically percussive. This double CD set captures the last show (Montreal, July 1984) from the last tour of the four-piece ’80s Crimson lineup, and it shows throughout here. We’re showered with expansions, derivations, and extrapolations from their four years solid experience together, and my favorite personnel lineup (Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Bill Bruford). There are some of the older classics (“Red” and “Larks Tongue In Aspic” parts II and III) but mostly material from the three albums released 1981-4. If you’re familiar with that material, on Absent Lovers you will hear them having fun, especially Adrian, with the audience.

There’s lots of liner notes also. Very detailed lists, documents, essays, and observances by Fripp in the style of many of the similar sets released recently from various other Crimson eras and performances. In one section, Fripp describes the nature of live shows and the recording beast:

1. The sound at soundcheck bears no resemblance whatsoever to the sound once the audience appears.

2. Distrust any musician who claims to give you their maximum level at soundcheck.

4. Drum microphones record everything, … and sometimes record nothing at all.

5. Vocal microphones also record everything, except occasionally the singer.

Fripp also discusses with us “prog’s” place in music, music’s place in life, in business, and many other facets of life, music, and business. Quite intelligently, though not lasciviously.

Don’t be too quick to run away from the p word (progressive), since its meaning has become about as solid and definable as “alternative” and “jazz.” King Crimson itself stands for the outer edges questioning the outer limits, and sometimes their prog work goes beep and quirk, sometimes it even goes pop, with singing and choruses and stuff — try “Frame By Frame” or “Heartbeat” for that magical union.

If you are tired of excess mundane radio filth, this is a trip through past and future musics you’re not likely to experience on most other routes. or e-mail at

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