Red - King Crimson
Red is the seventh studio album by progressive rock group King Crimson, released in 1974. It was their last studio recording of the 1970s and the last before the lead member Robert Fripp temporarily disbanded the group. Though their lowest-charting album at the time, spending only one week in the UK charts, Red has received critical acclaim.
Tours in 1974 had seen King Crimson’s musical approach becoming louder and more brutal, an approach primarily driven by bass player John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford (guitarist and group leader Robert Fripp once compared their powerful playing to “a flying brick wall”). This had had the effect of drowning out the band’s fourth member, violinist and occasional keyboard player David Cross, and led to tension within the band. Deemed not strong enough as a musical personality, Cross was ejected from King Crimson after the end of its tour in summer 1974, reducing the group to the trio of Fripp, Wetton and Bruford. Having already begun to record Red with Cross, King Crimson finished the album with the help of former band-members Ian McDonald and Mel Collins.
While musically similar to its predecessor Starless and Bible Black, Red was produced very differently from previous King Crimson albums. For instance, while the acoustic guitar features prominently in previous releases, on Red it is heard only for a few bars in “Fallen Angel”. Also, unlike previous King Crimson albums, Red features extensive use of guitar overdubs. Later albums lacked acoustic guitar entirely and reverted to a minimum of overdubs (perhaps partly because every lineup of the band after this one has included two guitarists).
During the recording process, Fripp decided to take a “backseat” from the sessions’ decision making. Although plans were considered to add McDonald to the lineup again for the next tour, Fripp abruptly disbanded King Crimson on 24 September 1974, and the album was released the following month with no accompanying tour.
Released: October 1974
Recorded: 30 June (live) July–August 1974 at Palace Theater, Providence, Rhode Island Studio Olympic Studios, London, England
Genre: Progressive rock
Label: Island (UK), Atlantic (North America)
Producer: King Crimson
No Singles released from the Album