Review by Gatot (Gatot Widayanto)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator
This boxset is a MUST for Crimson-heads even if you have all albums of King Crimson, you should not miss this compilation. This applies also to those who are new to the band also, because it really contains essential material in the band’s history. My chief reason to buy a box set is usually to get to know better the band – from the booklet provided – so that I know the background, the situations or the life dynamics of the band on albums they had made. I really love this compilation and it has become a precious collection altogether with The Great Deceiver – the live concerts boxset. I purchased “Frame By Frame” boxset in 1996 – it’s already twelve years with me and it’s really still in its mint condition. Because I like the packaging, I put the box (empty) on the wall and put the four CDs in my CD shelf. The great thing about the package, in addition to its deluxe box, is the large size booklet containing all narratives and photographs throughout the band’s history.
Informative and Comprehensive Boxset
This boxset covers the band’s history from its embryonic stage in 1969 until 1984. In terms of music direction, it covers both pre and post Belew (vocal, guitar) era. As you might have known that since Discipline album (1981) King Crimson changed its course dramatically from symphonic, mellotron-drenched type of music into those with a bit of new wave music due to largely the swept of punk music at the end of 70s and early 80s. The booklet and band’s family tree are really great and it’s a great joy reading them.
Disc 1 covers 1969-1971 era which starts with a track that inspired heavy metal bands in the world: “21st Century Schizoid Man (7:20) from the debut album that has been considered by most people as the birth of progressive rock genre (Classic Rock magazine, October 2008 issue). (Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield) – 7:20. The next four tracks were taken from the same album. With five tracks featured here, it’s basically the whole debut album tracks were featured in here, with the exception of abridged version of Moonchild. For newbie, this is great because the complete version of Moonchild is too long in silent part at the end.
The next track Peace: A Theme (1:16) was taken from the album “In the Wake of Poseidon” (1970) followed with great singles “Cat Food (2:45) and Groon (3:31). Cadence and Cascade (4:10) was taken from “In the Wake of Poseidon” (1970) but with a change of vocal from Gordon Haskell to Adrian Belew. It’s good also to feature the abridged version of Sailor’s Tale (7:27) from the album “Islands” (1971) followed with Ladies of the Road which combines mellow and hard drive music nicely, from the same album. Disc 1 ends with one track from Lizard (1970) album: “Lizard (Part II: Bolero – The Peacock’s Tale) (6:45).
Disc 2 covers the band’s era of 1972-1974. It starts with a great track with heavy metal riffs “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part I) (10:53). I like this track especially on parts where the rough guitar riffs meet with dazzling drumwork by Bill Bruford. It’s really great, especially when it’s combined with David Cross’ violin. Book of Saturday (2:53) is a track of my favorite followed by another great track Easy Money (7:55). Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part II) (7:09) concludes the “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” (1973) album. The next album “Starless and Bible Black” was represented by three tracks: “The Night Watch (4:40), The Great Deceiver (4:03), and Fracture (6:57). The next four tracks “Starless (4:38), Red (6:17), Fallen Angel (5:59), and One More Red Nightmare (7:09) from the album Red (1974) conclude disc 2.
Disc 3 covers the period of 1981-1984 and it represents the critical milestone for the band as the music shifted dramatically when Discipline (1981) was released and Adrian Belew joined the band as lead vocal and guitar player. Most people would be shocked with this third CD as the music is totally different with previous two discs. Disc 4 is basically live recordings from their performances in 1969 until 1984.
Overall, I am really delighted with this boxset and I consider this as a masterpiece compilation. Keep on proggin’ ..!
Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW