Saturday, February 2, 2013

Absent Lovers - King Crimson

From the booklet:

Performance notes
The last four shows of the 1981-84 King Crimson took place over the two nights of July 10th and 11th 1984 at Le Spectrum in Montreal. The performance on these albums are drawn from the final night, shortly after which King Crimson ceased to exist. Crimson was reborn on April 18th 1984 in Woodstock, New York; but that is another, and ongoing, story.

Production notes
Mixing a recorded studio performance is always a translation. Mixing a live performance is even more a translation, because it attempts to represent a wider event than can be contained within the studio.
David Singleton and I don't mix as such. Probably, a Ton Prob production presents a particular world-view. We are not neutral, nor purely responsive, nor can we quite direct the action: but all three are involved. Essentially, our aim is to be true to the musical event in its moment.
The key word to the Ton Prob production of Absent Lovers and one to which we keep returning, was 'definition'; not in the sens of limitation, but of clarification: by delineating the edges and containing the boundaries, spaces between are more clearly illuminated and the players thrown into the greater relief.
Generally, with regard to the presentation of live performances, this is not necessarily welcome to musicians whose idiosyncrasies  conceits, illusions and failings may be revealed to the case of a critical ear. As one of the four musicians under  present revelation, I am sympathetic; but responsibility to the larger translation holds my greater loyalty.
If, as in much recorded rock music, the studio album is viewed as a definitive text or score, then live performance is an interpretation of that text; and an album of live performance is only one particular translation of one specific interpretation, and that in a given context of time, place and person. So what is 'definitive'?
Firstly, the live performance of music is in its nature ephemeral. This, it shares with gardening. However, our experience of what is, on the surface, a relatively brief event may resonate in our lives to profound and continuing effect. Simply put, music can reach over and change our lives directly and immediately. Our experiencing takes place in sequential time, but is not always governed by it.
Secondly, if the continuing regard by members of a listening community for a particular performance, or performers, is worthy of attention, -and how could it not be?- then the curious may be willing to heed the interests of that community. Absent Lovers continues to be available as a bootleg thirteen years after the radio broadcast.
Thirdly, in a post-mortem world there is no one privileged position, translation nor interpretation. This necessarily implies that there are indeed privileged positions of translation and interpretation. This dictum applies, and otherwise, to the material interpreted by this incarnation of Crimson one evening in Montreal during July 1984.
If these comments seem to obscure the clarity which definition claims, I reply that clarity reveals a depth of perspective, a richness of potential, and a spectrum of experiencing within the material which may elude a surface examination. Or not.
Eitheer way, here it is.

The Group
There have been five different personnel configurations of the live King Crimson. The members of Lineup Four (1981/84) are:
Adrian Belew: guitar, drums and lead vocal
Robert Fripp: guitar
Tony Levin: bass, Chapman stick, synth & vocal
Bill Bruford: acoustic and electronic drums & percussion
The first performance, at Moles in Bath, was on April 31st 1981; the last at The Spectrum, Montreal, on July 1984. Live, the Tony, Ade, Billy & Bob Crimson were more song based than earlier versions of Crimson, but could also tear out and flatten ear hairs within a mile.
Each live Crimson has featured some aspect of new or current technology. This Crim featured two Roland GR300 guitar synthesisers, Chapman Stick and Simmonds electronic drums.
We recorded three studio albums. The material presented on this set is drawn from:
Discipline (1981): Elephant Talk, Frame By Frame, Matte Kudasai, Discipline, Indiscipline, Thela Hun Ginjeet
Beat (1982): Heartbeat, Waiting Man, Sartori in Tangier
Three of a Perfect Pair (1984): Three of a Perfect Pair, Sleepless, Man With An Open Heart, Industry, Dig Me, Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part III)
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (1973): Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II)
Red (1974): Red

DGM King Crimson Archive Series
The Great Deceiver (1992): a 4 volume set of KC live in 1973/4, originally released through Virgin. This is currently out of print (February 1998) and has now reverted to DGM. We are planning to release a second edition of this in 1999.
Epitaph (1997): a 4 volume set of KC, mainly live, in 1969.
The Night Watch (1997/8): 2 volumes of KC at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw on November 15th 1973.
Absent Lovers (1998): 2 volumes of the final show of the 1981-4 Crimson at The Spectrum in Montreal on July 11th 1984.
DGM plans to release other archive material, if there is sufficient expressed interest.

General Comments
The aim in presenting this live performance is to reflect the spirit of the group in a moment of its appearance. Live recording is not a precise art. But then, neither is recording.
Here are some reflections on live recording, drawn from many years of experience:
1. The sound at the soundcheck bears no relationship whatsoever to the sound once the audience appear.
2. Distrust any musician who clams to give you their maximum level at soundcheck.
3. Microphones move from their original positions.
4. Drum microphones record everything, are occasionally used as percussion accessories, and occasionally record nothing at all.
5. Vocal microphones also record everything, except sometimes the singer.
6. The audience is a featured performer.
7. The foot is not an exact instrument of calibration when placed upon a volume pedal.
8. If a lighting person tells you their lights can't don't and won't cause buzzes on amplifiers or the sound system, spit on one, or both, of their feet and bite your thumb while shouting: 'The fig of Spain'
9. Tuning a guitar with whammy bar, but no string lock, can lead to a quarter-tone exchange between duetting guitarist-buddies. And if it might, it will. On live television.

Image taken from Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment