46 years ago today, on the 6th of October 1974, King Crimson released their seventh studio album, simply called “Red”. It was the last album before Fripp temporarily disbanded the group, saying that King Crimson was “over forever and ever”. It also is the last album of the band from the seventies, and in a way, the hard rock feel of the album brings a good closure for the era from Crimson’s perspective. Upon its release, it received low charts but was critically acclaimed.
Much of the material on the album was improvisation, the motifs used were originated from very early recordings. Like some guitar work in “Fallen Angel”, and the distinctive opening of “One More Red Nightmare”. “Providence” itself is an improv, taken from the group’s show on June 30th in Providence, Rhode Island.
The title track was a Fripp composition. Speaking about it in the book accompanying the Larks’ Tongues in Aspic: The Complete Recordings box set, he says, “After we had just recorded the track “Red” in [Olympic Studios] … we played it back and Bill said, ‘I don’t get it, but if you tell me it’s good, I trust you.’ … I said, ‘We don’t have to use it.’ John was in no doubt: ‘We’ll use it.’”
But maybe the band’s combined efforts can be best seen from the last track on the album: Starless. Originally written by John Wetton (with only the vocal section), the song was at first disliked by Fripp and Bruford. But after the addition of the middle section in 13/8 and the marvelous breakdown, the song turned out to be a perfect example of what King Crimson is and what it represents musically.
It is one of those albums that no matter how many times you pressed repeat, there will always be another time in your life when you desperately want to return to it.