Thursday, May 7, 2009

Song of the Day: 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson)

This is an amazing song. I was introduced to progressive-rock band King Crimson by Woger, the bass player in that band I was in, and I'd never heard anything like this before.

"Schizoid" is on Crimson's 1969 debut album "In The Court of the Crimson King"

The lineup for this track is

vocals--Greg Lake (later of Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
guitar--Robert Fripp
bass--Greg Lake
drums--Michael Giles
sax--Ian McDonald
keys--Peter Sinfield

I can't really hear any keyboards in the song, aside from some wonks and whoooshes at the beginning before all hell breaks loose.

The song's "A" part is played "straight"--everyone's in tune, and in harmony, and Lake's distorted vocals sound appropriately demented.

The "B" part sounds more jazz-like, with a brittle, angular guitar solo (typical of Fripp's style) and screeching double sax (one for each ear) solo that loses any semblance of tonality while still being cool as hell.

The "C" part still cracks me up: the entire band plays the same riff--guitar, sax, bass, and drums. They're utterly tight! They throw in random stop-time, tease you with more of the riff, stop cold, go, stop. I don't know why it affects me this way, but it's hysterically funny.

The "D" part reprises the "A" and gets us to the ending, where they pull out any remaining stops and do their level best to make it sound like the band is self-destructing. Twice.

Awesome song.

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