On November 15, I attended the Hard Rubber Orchestra's King Crimson tribute at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, BC. The theatre was packed, largely with older couples who appear to have followed the band since the 70s. One of the guest vocalists, Leanne Dunic, is a friend from high school; she's someone I've lost touch with, but I've followed her artistic escapades through social media for years. It was a good show overall, and the arrangers certainly had lots of fun with their arrangements of King Crimson classics like "Starless," "Frame By Frame," and "In The Court Of The Crimson King."
I've listened to King Crimson since high school, when a couple of my friends had copies of their debut album and THRAK, one of their most recent albums at the time. We often listened to them straight through, laying inbetween the speakers in order to fully experience the delicately-produced songs in stereo. We'd sit and talk about the perfection of "One Time," the absurd timing in "21st Century Schizoid Man," and the Mellotron-laced, despairing tone in "Epitaph." These are good memories for me, since the music seemed both passionate and interesting, perfect for someone like myself. Over those years, I collected a few more of their albums and enjoyed them immensely, even as my friends seemed to let them go.
There are plenty of songs I could talk about, but there's one that's been running through my head for the last few days, one I keep going back to despite its comparative simplicity: "Prozakc Blues."
"Prozakc Blues" follows a blues progression as closely as King Crimson can, despite numerous time changes and near-atonal solos. It's a wonder that one can hear the traditional blues format through it, particularly when it's so intensely dissonant. Despite the song's overall intensity, Fripp adds moody, airy fills throughout, and they inexplicably fall into place.
Lyrically, the song follows the blues pattern as well, but takes it to a ridiculous place. Sometimes King Crimson's lyrical humour can come off as a little too smart to even laugh at, but in "Prozakc Blues" it fits just fine. It's a narrative blues song that tells a story, that satirizes numerous classic blues tropes: "Woke up this morning," going to the Pearly Gates, etc..
When I hear "Prozakc Blues," I mainly think about the year I lived in Egypt. I had the song on shuffle on my Blackberry and spent a lot of time walking around the streets of 6 October City, trying to memorize it, trying to make sense of the time signatures, trying to hear the push-pull of the guitars and the drums. The song made me smile a lot because its humour, musically and lyrically, was pretty tough to come by in Egypt.
So last night I took my recording stuff to my restaurant gig and recorded a couple videos. Here's what the shows are like.
Half of the recordings below are pretty loop-heavy. But most of last night was taken up playing requests from the audience, sans loops. I still need to get a couple good recordings of some of that sort of stuff.
I play covers at the restaurant because they keep the customers happy. But I hope to sneakily incorporate a few originals over the coming year as my confidence in my own work returns.
An unnecessary video.
So I wanted to see how the S5's built-in microphone sounded on the video setting. So, using the front-facing camera, I made this video of me noodling away to a JamMan loop I'd recorded a couple minutes earlier.
Am I playing my best? No. Does the microphone sound ok? Enough, considering the dull, sloppy performance.
So there. Enjoy a few seconds of messy guitar solo.
Today I recorded a performance of "35,17" at Tractorgrease Studios.
I don't really want to write about the performances until I hear which one Jeff chose for the video. I'll be sure to post the video here, of course, and I'll be more willing to write about it then.
I played somewhat well. It was a little rough around the edges, of course, but I feel as if I turned on the charm and played a few good riffs. If anything the performance was unique, I hope. I look forward to hearing how a Jeff-live-performance sounds when it's professionally recorded.
Also, yesterday I learned that my mix of "Pound of Flesh" was accepted for the Michael Knott Tribute CD. I sent a mixed wav file and look forward to hearing how it gets mastered.
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