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King Crimson – Improvisations (Reel Masters – 002)

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 Improvisations (Reel Masters-002)

 New Theater, Oxford, UK – November 25th, 1972

Disc 1:  Intro, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part I, MC, sound check, Daily Games (Book Of Saturday), improvisations, Exiles

Technical College, Hull, UK – November 10th, 1972

Disc 2:  Intro, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part I, Daily Games (Book Of Saturday), MC, sound check, improvisations, Exiles (intro only)

Both of these tapes were made by the same Japanese taper on a trip to England in the autumn of 1972.  The November 25th Oxford tape has been released before as Walli Elmlark on Highland and The Ultimate Rarities Vol. 2.  The second disc containing the Technical College in Hull tape is the point of interest on this release, never having been circulating before.  The importance of the Hull tape lies in the overall scarcity of documentation from the Jamie Muir King Crimson line up. 

The story is well known:  after the collapse of Crimso III, Fripp formed the Lark’s Tongues line up of Bill Bruford, John Wetton, David Cross and Jamie Muir to bring King Crimson back to the vibe of the first line up.  After recording the LP and a few warm up dates in Frankfurt and Bremen, the band set out on its first UK tour.  Muir decides before the London dates to join a monastery leaving the band as a four piece.  His improvisations on “all sorts” are fodder for legend.

Both tapes have the same issues that most have from this Crimso era:  far from the stage and not very dynamic.  They are clearer than most, certainly more clear than the last KCCC release from this era from Guildford and are enough for the dedicated collector to hear and appreciate.  “Lark’s Tongues” is played straight in the Oxford concert. 

After a few brief announcements which crack up the crowd (sounds like Fripp is reciting the coming attractions) and a mellotron tuning, they launch into “Daily Games” which leads into a fifteen minute improv sounding much tighter than on the Bremen tape (for a point of comparison).  David Cross gets in a nice duet in about the ten-minute mark. 

Side one ends with “Exiles” (the remainder not present).  The Hull tape, the first night in England for the band, begins with a very loud crowd waiting in expectation.  After the band appear onstage (and many “hushes”) the trip begins with “Lark’s Tongues.”  The improv is twice as long in this show reaching thirty minutes that features fantastic interplay between Muir and Wetton, Fripp and Cross.  “Exiles” is only the opening notes before it is unfortunately cut.  Another nice job by Reel Masters.  It even comes with a picture of the actual reel-to-reel tape.

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If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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