King Crimson – Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)

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It’s clear that this latest King Crimson offering from DGM/Panegyric is no normal live album. Based on their 2015 performances, the lavish packaging contains 3 audio cds, 2 dvds, a blu-ray disc and a 36-page booklet with tour photographs. This is the ‘Tour Edition’, also available is a 3cd/1 blu-ray standard version…………Review by Tim Darbyshire.

‘Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)’ is actually the third live offering since Robert Fripp reassembled King Crimson in its current incarnation in 2014. 2015’s ‘Live At The Orpheum’ (recorded in 2014) was a 40 minute mini-album taster, and this year’s ‘Live In Toronto’ (recorded in 2015) is described as a ‘full raw concert performance from a single night in Toronto’ in the ‘Radical Action’ press release.

Things are certainly different this time – this is King Crimson after all. The audio cds are presented as individually themed ‘virtual studio albums’ with no audible audience – featuring a representative example of every song/piece performed by King Crimson on its 2015 tours of the UK, Canada and Japan.

‘Radical Action’ is described by the band as  ‘the most fully realised audio and visual statement from this band to date’.  The visual content is taken from a complete filmed performance in Japan in 2015 and is offered in high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround audio. The blu-ray also features ‘picture off’ mode, allowing the listener to enjoy the hi-res stereo/5.1 surround versions without the picture and in one continuous sitting. For information, there is nothing on the dvds that isn’t on the blu-ray, but I guess they are included for those people who don’t own a blu-ray player.

So what about the actual music? The set list is expansive, full of classic Crimson – ‘Red’,
‘One More Red Nightmare’, ‘Epitaph’, ‘Starless’, ‘The Court of The Crimson King’ and ’21st Century Schizoid Man’, all perfectly executed of course – unsurprisingly the quality of the musicianship is peerless. Early versions of new songs are also aired – ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Radical Action’ – which are yet to be recorded. Only the 1980s era is ignored, with no songs from any of the three albums ‘Discipline’, ‘Beat’ or ‘Three Of A Perfect Pair’.

The three cds are ‘themed’,  CD1 is called ‘Mainly Metal’, CD2  ‘Easy Money Shots’ and CD3 is ‘Crimson Classics’. It’s a different approach, if you prefer some crowd noise you’ll need to watch the blu-ray/dvd. It also means the running order is tampered with  – again if you’re after a single concert from start to finish,  the double cd ‘Live In Toronto’ would fit the bill perfectly.

The video style of the performance (filmed in Takamatsu, Japan) is creative.  As there’s very little movement on stage, most of the time during the video we are treated to two or three images overlayed, presumably designed to make the film more interesting – see the video clip of ‘Easy Money’ included below.

Watching the three front-line drummers/percussionists interacting is fascinating at times…….Bill Rieflin in the centre of the three often seems to be in the eye of the storm as thunder and chaos in the shape of Pat Mastelotto and Gavin Harrison surrounds him. He also provides the much needed mellotron sounds for the likes of ‘Starless’ and ‘The Court Of The Crimson King’. The back-line is made up of bass/stick player extraordinaire Tony Levin,  Mel Collins (returning to the fold) on saxes and flute, Jakko Jakszyk providing vocals and guitar, and of course, Robert Fripp on guitar and keyboards.

It’s hard to fault King Crimson/DGM/Panegyric’s output these last few years. The super deluxe box sets they have been producing  – often running to nearly 30 discs – are a fan’s dream (if a little hard on the wallet) and are testament to Robert Fripp finally owning and controlling his back catalogue after a lengthy legal battle.

The entire product is superbly put together, both musically and in the way it’s packaged – even if the cyclops image isn’t to everyone’s taste! The discs are housed in 2 triple digipacks and fit neatly into the rigid outer case with the accompanying 36 page booklet. I’m sure if you were lucky enough (as I was)  to see any of the shows in the last couple of years,  ‘Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)’ will be a welcome addition to your collection.

Order now from Burning Shed (includes free cyclops postcard).

 

 

 

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King Crimson:

Mel Collins: Saxes & flute
Robert Fripp: Guitar & keyboards
Gavin Harrison: Drums
Jakko Jakszyk: Guitar & voice
Tony Levin: Basses & stick
Pat Mastelotto: Drums
Bill Rieflin: Drums & keyboards

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CD 1: Mainly Metal

Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)
Meltdown
Radical Action II
Level Five
The Light of Day
The Hell Hounds of Krim
The ConstruKction of Light
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Two

CD 2: Easy Money Shots

Peace
Pictures of a City
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
Easy Money
VROOOM
Suitable Grounds for the Blues
Interlude
The Letters
Sailors Tale
A Scarcity of Miracles

CD 3: Crimson Classics

Red
One More Red Nightmare
Epitaph
Starless
Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row
The Court of The Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man

Blu-Ray and DVD 1/2: Audio/Video performances:

Two DVDs featuring a complete filmed concert performance in stereo and 5.1 surround

Blu-Ray featuring a complete filmed concert performance in high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround audio.

Threshold Soundscape,
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
Pictures of a City, Peace
Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)
Meltdown, Radical Action II
Level Five, Epitaph
The Hell Hounds of Krim
The ConstruKction of Light
Scarcity of Miracles
Red
VROOOM
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
Easy Money, Interlude
The Letters, Sailor’s Tale
The Light of Day
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Two
Starless
Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row
In the Court of the Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man
Suitable Grounds for the Blues
One More Red Nightmare

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King Crimson are currently on tour in Europe:

King Crimson – Sep. 03, 2016 Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre
King Crimson – Sep. 05, 2016 Aylesbury Friars at the Waterside Theatre
King Crimson – Sep. 08, 2016 Stuttgart Beethoven-Saal
King Crimson – Sep. 09, 2016 Stuttgart Beethoven-Saal
King Crimson – Sep. 11, 2016 Berlin Admiralpalast
King Crimson – Sep. 12, 2016 Berlin Admiralpalast
King Crimson – Sep. 14, 2016 Prague Forum Karlin
King Crimson – Sep. 15, 2016 Prague Forum Karlin
King Crimson – Sep. 17, 2016 Zabrze House of Music & Dance
King Crimson – Sep. 18, 2016 Zabrze House of Music & Dance
King Crimson – Sep. 20, 2016 Wroclaw National Forum Of Music
King Crimson – Sep. 21, 2016 Wroclaw National Forum Of Music
King Crimson – Sep. 23, 2016 Copenhagen Falkoner
King Crimson – Sep. 24, 2016 Copenhagen Falkoner
King Crimson – Sep. 26, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 27, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 28, 2016 Oslo Sentrum Scene
King Crimson – Sep. 30, 2016 Stockholm Filadelfiakyrkan
King Crimson – Oct. 01, 2016 Stockholm Filadelfiakyrkan
King Crimson – Oct. 03, 2016 Hamburg Mehr! Theater

King Crimson – Nov. 02, 2016 Antwerp Stadsschouwburg
King Crimson – Nov. 03, 2016 Antwerp Stadsschouwburg
King Crimson – Nov. 05, 2016 Milano Teatro degli Arcimboldi
King Crimson – Nov. 06, 2016 Milano Teatro degli Arcimboldi
King Crimson – Nov. 08, 2016 Florence Teatro Verdi
King Crimson – Nov. 09, 2016 Florence Teatro Verdi
King Crimson – Nov. 11, 2016 Rome Auditorium Conciliazione
King Crimson – Nov. 12, 2016 Rome Auditorium Conciliazione
King Crimson – Nov. 14, 2016 Torino Teatro Colosseo
King Crimson – Nov. 15, 2016 Torino Teatro Colosseo
King Crimson – Nov. 17, 2016 Monte Carlo Opéra Garnier
King Crimson – Nov. 18, 2016 Monte Carlo Opéra Garnier
King Crimson – Nov. 21, 2016 Madrid, Madrid Palacio de Congresos
King Crimson – Nov. 22, 2016 Madrid, Madrid Palacio de Congresos
King Crimson – Nov. 24, 2016 Barcelona, Catalonia Auditori del Forum
King Crimson – Nov. 25, 2016 Barcelona, Catalonia Auditori del Forum
King Crimson – Nov. 27, 2016 Marseille Le Silo
King Crimson – Nov. 30, 2016 Vienna Museumsquartier
King Crimson – Dec. 01, 2016 Vienna Museumsquartier
King Crimson – Dec. 03, 2016 Paris Salle Pleyel
King Crimson – Dec. 04, 2016 Paris Salle Pleyel

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