Last month Mike Keneally offered us his earview of his favourite Crim track and now January sees vocalist Tim Bowness offering up an equally interesting choice of material.
Tim’s breathless croon will be well known to many DGMLive visitors for his work with in the trio version Centrozoon and more widely, with Steve Wilson in no-man whose albums, Flowermouth and Wild Opera feature contributions from both Robert Fripp and Mel Collins.
Tim in Turin 2005 - mean, moody and already working on his list of favourite Crim tracks.
Photograph by Yvonne Rogers
If you haven’t heard it, Tim’s last solo album, My Hotel Year is well worth grabbing a hold of (here’s a link to my review) and you can catch up with Tim’s current musical activities which include work on a new solo album over on his website.
Of course, in addition to being absurdly talented in projects like Henry Fool Tim also runs the very excellent Burning Shed specialist label. Quite how he finds the time to be this creative and listen to King Crimson is beyond me. However, while I ponder such mysteries of life, these are a few of Tim’s favourite Crims.
1) Cadence And Cascade (In The Wake Of Poseidon, 1970/Frame By Frame, 1990)
Admittedly, it’s an ITWOP take on I Talk To The Wind and a track that Gordon Haskell has subsequently dismissed as meaningless, yet to me the combination of Haskell’s distinctively smoky, fragile, delivery and the delicate interpretive playing makes for something very special.
The miracle of the later, slightly extended, Belew version is that it’s just as good.
2) Cirkus (Lizard, 1970)
It may be disliked by both the band and the majority of KC fans, but personally, I find Lizard an underrated, unsettling and quite unique album. Effortlessly combining elements of psychedelic pop with chamber Jazz and Classical influences, it still sounds like nothing else I’ve ever come across.
Although Lady Of The Dancing Water’s delicate ’weird folk’ sensibility is perhaps more to my tastes, Cirkus’ unclassifiable blend of murmured melodies, Jazzy shuffling and psychotic, dissonant, riffing still surprises me as much today as when I first heard it over half a lifetime ago.
3) Sailor’s Tale (Islands, 1971)
Along with Starless and One More Red Nightmare, this is probably my favourite slice of ’Crimson Apocalypse’. Some of the brittle chord guitar chaos hints at what RF was going to do with Bowie nine years later on the equally brilliant Scary Monsters.
4) Islands (Islands, 1971)
A beautiful, hymnal, song with a heartbreakingly lovely coda.
Simultaneously evoking the spirit of the late 50/early 60s Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaborations, the stripped-down, then current, Plastic Ono Band sound, while also foreshadowing the Jazz-inflected atmospheric ballads of David Sylvian and Talk Talk, this is the sort of piece that makes me wish RF would arrange for larger, more acoustic, ensembles again.
5) Starless (Red, 1974)
An ideal summary of the modus operandi of early Crimson and a great farewell to a particular way of doing things.
A stirring mellotron-laden ballad torn apart by a slow-building, blistering, coda, it’s as if the essence and innocent idealism of the original Crimson is being crushed by the energy of another, more brutal time.
6) The Sheltering Sky (Discipline, 1981)
Featuring a peerless and subtle (solid yet constantly shifting) Bruford rhythm track and some emotive and melodic soloing, this is a personal highlight from what I consider to be one of the band’s most consistently inventive recordings.
7) Waiting Man (Beat, 1982)
A wonderful fusion of ethnic rhythms, Minimalist repetition and modern rock dynamics, that along with Frame By Frame and Thela Hun Ginjeet typifies the most vital elements of this particular KC incarnation for me.
8) Requiem (Beat, 1982)
Alongside Trio this is my favourite of the many KC improvs.
Requiem is a supremely balanced and brooding piece that is by turns elegiac and downright scary.
9) Nuages (Three Of A Perfect Pair, 1984)
The sound of grace under pressure.
10) The ConstruKction Of Light (The ConstruKction Of Light, 2000)
Something of an update of the 80s-era Crim, I really like the claustrophobic and hyper-electronic assault of TCOL.
TCOL is an album with a very distinct ’love it or hate it’, relentlessly modern, sound, and an approach that comes across like an excited and excitable band of musicians chasing after the same goal, to reignite an old flame. The ascending intensity of the two part title track, to these ears, suggests they did.