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King Crimson - The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson (Vol. Two 1981-2003) (4 CD book-style boxed set)

The aim of The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson is to replace the Frame By Frame 4-CD compilation (1991), taking advantage of technological advances, ten years of additional live and studio Crimsonising, and twelve years of archiving live material. Frame By Frame?s 3 studio + 1 live albums are being replaced by this two-volume 8-CD Guide, a comprehensive overview for new ears of all that is necessary in the Crimson corpus. Old-generation completists might disagree with some choices, but material not included in the Guide is available for new-generation completists, should they wish. The Guide can only exist now that the complete King Crimson recorded work (live and studio) is, for the first time, in one place: DGM; and a place where, arguably also for the first time, it is not being driven to serve the interests of business.

Robert Fripp
Wednesday 21st. July, 2004 (edited from the booklet introduction to the set)


The companion to last year?s well-received box set ?which covered the years 1969-1974 - Volume II of The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson includes material from the classic 80s quartet, the 90s double trio lineup, the more recent double duo lineup & The ProjeKcts spin-off R&D groups drawn from the periods 1981-1984 & 1994-2003. Two CDs each of remastered studio & live material assembled from the best source tapes to the highest HDCD standard, packaged in a fold out book containing the CDs & booklet housed in an outer slipcase. The booklet features a diary style timeline of the band detailing complete concert listings, recording dates, archive photos, posters, reviews, memorabilia & an introduction by founder member Robert Fripp.


With the current fascination for ?post punk? 80s rock music, the timing of this release could hardly be more apt. The 80s King Crimson?s role as one of the definitive bands of the era is every bit as deserving of the sort of reappraisal their influential 72/74 lineup has enjoyed in recent years. The passage of time seems to help ? in particular with bands such as Crimson who always insisted on looking towards the future rather than the past ? however rich their musical legacy. The 90s double trio lineup was one of the most powerful bands of the era ? perhaps the most powerful Crimson of all the varied lineups, while the subsequent double duo & ProjeKcts groups continue to test the boundaries of contemporary rock. Constant change & musical reinvention has helped the band maintain a loyal audience while building a fresh fan base with each new release. Elements of Crimson?s sound & influence seem to be everywhere at present - from Tool (with whom Crimson toured) to Muse, from Radiohead to Dream Theater.

How ironic that King Crimson, the first group saddled with the term ?Progressive rock?, and equally, the first to reject the term, should be the only band of the era still actively making musical progress more than 35 years after their 1969 recording debut. The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson is the essential document of that musical journey. Volume Two is the latest installment.

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