Thursday, July 9, 2015

KING CRIMSON – Lizard (LP-1970)




Label: Atlantic – SD 8278
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1970
Style: Prog Rock, Free Jazz
Recorded at Wessex Sound Studios, London, 1970.
Artwork [Inside Marbling] – Koraz Wallpapers
Concept By [Sleeve] – Peter Sinfield
Engineer – Robin Thompson
Mastered By – GP
Painting [Outside] – Gini Barris
Producer, Written-By – Peter Sinfield, Robert Fripp

A1 - Cirkus Including Entry Of The Chameleons ......................................... 6:28
A2 - Indoor Games ....................................................................................... 5:38
A3 - Happy Family ........................................................................................ 4:15
A4 - Lady Of The Dancing Water ................................................................. 2:43
LIZARD       
B1 - Prince Rupert Awakes ......................................................................... 4:34
B2 - Bolero - The Peacok's Tale .................................................................. 6:30
B3 - a) The Battle Of Glass Tears Including Dawn Song
        b) Last Skirmish
        c) Prince Rupert's Lament .................................................................. 10:55
B4 - Big Top ................................................................................................. 1:05

Words By – Peter Sinfield

Line-up / Musicians
- Robert Fripp / guitar, mellotron, electric keyboards & devices
- Mel Collins / flute & saxes
- Gordon Haskell / bass guitar & vocals
- Andy McCulloch / drums
- Peter Sinfield / words & pictures

with:
- Keith Tippett / piano & electric piano
- Mark Charig / cornet
- Nick Evans / trombone
- Robin Miller / oboe & cor anglais
- Jon Anderson of YES / vocals on "Prince Rupert Awakes"

_1         LIZARD is perhaps the most "difficult" of the early King Crimson albums, yet, for that very reason, it is also ultimately one of the most rewarding. The third release from Robert Fripp and company sees the band moving in a new and radical direction. The classically-inspired sweeping grandeur and controlled cacophony that typified the first two Crimson LPs has been here largely (but not entirely) replaced by a sound that has its roots much more deeply embedded in jazz.



LIZARD was highly avant-garde and demanding of its audience when it was released in 1970, and it remains a powerfully unique, almost disquieting listening experience today. While IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON's sardonic "Cat Food" may have hinted at the path about to be explored, nothing could have fully prepared fans for the truly bizarre, almost eerie colours of abstract sound paintings like LIZARD's first three songs: "Cirkus," "Indoor Games," and "Happy Family." Much of the credit for the feel of these tracks must be accorded to new vocalist Gordon Haskell, who had supplied the almost ethereal vocals for Poseidon's lovely "Cadence and Cascade." With Greg Lake departed for ELP, Haskell gets the space to reveal a voice of power and depth, which is by turns intimate, theatrical, scornful, fey and raving. The end of "Indoor Games" finds him cackling like a madman, but the delicately pretty "Lady of the Dancing Water" (the disc's most immediately accessible song) sees him don the guise of a sensitive poet-troubadour, paying court to his lady-love on the bank of a laughing stream.

The second half of the vinyl is given to the title suite. The first section of this masterful three-part song cycle features Jon Anderson of Yes on vocals, providing yet another savory flavour for LIZARD's exotic musical mélange. There is less of the jazzy experimentation which was heard on previous tracks; the direction here is more conventionally "progressive rock," with grandiose mellotrons, courtly subject-matter, and classically-oriented arrangements -- at this point almost a welcome respite from (or counter-balance to) the overt strangeness of the first half. The final installment, "Big Top," fades up to repeat the "Cirkus" theme, before diminishing hauntingly away, thus neatly framing this unique work of art. (Indeed, as art, this album is the total package -- the cover artwork is breathtaking, and the Pete Sinfield lyrics, with lines such as "Night, her sable dome scattered with diamonds," are some of the best poetry he has ever written.)

LIZARD may be an acquired taste, but it has stood the test of time as a lustrous example of early progressive rock at its most inventive. It is decidedly not for the faint-of-heart, but it is well worth taking the time to appreciate!
(Review by Peter)

 Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield, Greg Lake & Robert Fripp - King Crimson 1969

 King Crimson 1970 – Lizard

_2         In 1970, King Crimson was an unstable band, that surprisingly managed to produce excellent albums, landmarks in progressive rock. At this point, much of the original band had departed, with the exception of band leader Robert Fripp and lyricist Peter Sinfield. Luckily, they bring in many talented musicians in to round out the band. This lineup only lasted for the recording of LIZARD and never toured. Gordon Haskell is brought on as vocalist/bassist to replace Greg Lake, and does an admirable job. His raspy, brooding vocals fit the material perfectly. Andy McCulloch is competent as drummer, and his presence is felt, giving pace to the often chaotic jazz interludes. The addition of many woodwind and brass players gave King Crimson a much richer, jazzier sound. Keith Tippett's strongly Jazz flavored keys are an added plus (Keith was asked to join the band, but passed). The material found on LIZARD also has a much jazzier edge than its two predecessors, and is also much darker and complex. While it does mark a step towards Jazz-Fusion, that's not to say this is The Soft Machine style free- Jazz; LIZARD is much more composed, and it is still very much in the Progressive Rock camp, with prominent guitars and stereotypical 'epic' progressive lyrics. One gets the feeling Robert Fripp and Sinfield carefully orchestrated this whole album, and it successfully builds a certain (creepy-demented) theme throughout.
LIZARD opens strongly with Cirkus, a frightening track featuring Crimson at their most insane. This track features excellent acoustic guitar from Fripp, as well as dramatic vocals by the underrated Haskell, and wonderfully arranged horns and keyboard flourishes. It alternates perfectly between soft vocal segments, and cacophonous jazz flavored instrumental bridges, creating a true circus atmosphere, with a sinister twist. This is a near perfect early-Crimson track, and shows just how scary these guys could be. The next piece lightens up a bit, featuring a wonderful jazz introduction from the brass section. Haskell's distinctive vocals give the song it's Crimson touch. Overall, it is quite good, but not nearly as interesting as the other tracks found here, and follows a more straight-jazz approach, with occasional Fripp Guitar breaks. Happy Family resumes the dark feel of Cirkus, with eerie distorted vocals, and more guitar and keyboards than on the previous tracks. It also has great flute touches. (note: It is rumored that this track was written by Sinfield about the Beatles' breakup, and many further contend that the figures found on the elaborate record sleeve under the 'I' are the Beatles...This is also one of the best cover's ever on a Crimson album, designed by Sinfield). Side One closes with Lady of the Dancing Water. This represents the obligatory, light acoustic piece on a King Crimson album, and is much in the vein of Cadence and Cascade and I Talk to the Wind. It is very enjoyable and light, providing a brief respite from the insanity surrounding it, but by this point, the formula was getting old for this sort of song. Side Two features the side- long epic, Lizard. The title track is a twenty-three minute suite, with four distinct movements. This piece is one of the most ambitious songs ever attempted by Fripp and Co. It opens with Prince Rupert Awakens. Surprisingly, Jon Anderson of Yes sings vocals on this piece, as Gordon Haskell never finished. This is an excellent touch. Anderson's light, ethereal vocals give the folksy-traditional prog song a definite boost. This song has beautiful melodies, and it is nice to hear Anderson sing semi-coherent lyrics, as oppose to his Yes work. The next two sections, Bolero and The Battle... are Jazz pieces, and feature impressive playing from all members. McCulloch's drums are especially good, giving The Battle... a warlike feel. The horn section is also excellent. These pieces are well done, but a bit drawn out and longwinded. Lizard closes with Big Top, a short reprise of Cirkus, giving the album a fitting close and a cyclical feel.

Many fans do not like this album, and it is not easy to define. LIZARD is King Crimson's darkest, and least accessible album. It is also their farthest removed from traditional rock. It is a progression over their last album, IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON (1970), and it is a shame that this potent lineup didn't last.
This is one of those albums that rewards repeated listens, a definite essential for fans of King Crimson or Jazzier Rock.


Note:
All the tracks on the album are connected, there is no break in between, so I decided not to spoil well blended whole. Now you only have two tracks, the first and second side of the vinyl.

Enjoy, my friends!



If you find it, buy this album!

12 comments:

  1. KING CRIMSON – Lizard (LP-1970)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC+Artwork

    1fichier:
    https://1fichier.com/?7zabqwtk6p

    ReplyDelete
  2. hm-hm... GP (Mastered By) means George Piros?
    adorable and cherishable item...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes ... yes ... well you smelled, it is famous mastering engineer George Piros.

      Delete
    2. Another small note:
      Known to have engineered at Fine Recording Studios, and at Atlantic Studios, New York City.
      On recordings mastered at Fine Recording Studios, he can be identified by an etched "F" in the runouts.

      Delete
  3. Chiquilicuatre y ZappaJuly 10, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    the most famous groups of prog UK generally do not interest me much , about 10 years ago I heard two of his most famous albums of this group , I did not like much except some track , watching the musicians on this album (especially the great Keitt tippet and other jazz artists ) is possible that I like , thank you.
    By the way, not if you know some important pieces of Italian prog : Bambibanda and Melodie , Bella Band, Campo di Marte , Osanna ( first albums ) ...

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    Replies
    1. Sure, I have some of their more important albums from the early seventies, except Bella Band, LP is from 1978.

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  4. Chiquilicuatre y ZappaJuly 10, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    Complete information sessions Atlantic:

    http://www.jazzdisco.org/atlantic-records/
    Atlantic Records Discography Project

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  5. No matter the incarnation, Fripp manages to keep King Crimson interesting. Long live the King! Thanks Vitko.

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  6. Not the best KC album (I would vote for Lark's Tongues on that) but probably my favorite. This introduced me to British jazz, one of my favorite sub-genres. I have it in all it's incarnations (LP, CD, 30th, 40th & box set). Loved reading your comments.

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    Replies
    1. This Atlantic album sounds different from the British edition or the German copies, and for a specific sound is responsible mastering engineer Mr. George Piros.

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  7. my favorite crimson album! side 2 is the best!

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  8. thanks for the Crimson, my all times fave Rock band...regards...

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