The Essential King Crimson: Frame By Frame

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Originally released: 1991


  • Various



CD One: King Crimson 1969-71

  • 7'20 21st Century Schizoid Man (Fripp, Sinfield, McDonald, Lake, Giles)
  • 6'05 I Talk to the Wind (Sinfield, McDonald)
  • 8'44 Epitaph (Fripp, Sinfield, McDonald, Lake, Giles)
  • 2'26 Moonchild (Fripp, Sinfield, McDonald, Lake, Giles)
  • 9'25 The Court of the Crimson King (Sinfield, McDonald)
  • 1'16 Peace - a Theme (Fripp)
  • 2'45 Cat Food (single version) (Fripp, Sinfield, McDonald) => Reviews
  • 3'31 Groon (Fripp) => Reviews
  • 4'10 Cadence and Cascade (remix) (Fripp, Sinfield) => Reviews
  • 7'27 Sailor's Tale (abridged) (Fripp) => Reviews
  • 5'31 Ladies of the Road (Fripp, Sinfield) => Reviews
  • 6'45 Bolero (remix) (Fripp)

CD Two: King Crimson 1972 - 4 => Reviews

  • 10'53 Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part One (abridged) (Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir)
  • 2'53 Book of Saturday (Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James)
  • 7'55 Easy Money (Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James)
  • 7'09 Larks' Tongues in Aspic: Part Two (Fripp)
  • 4'40 The Night Watch (Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James)
  • 4'03 The Great Deceiver (Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James)
  • 6'57 Fracture (abridged) (Fripp)
  • 4'38 Starless (abridged) (Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Palmer-James)
  • 6'17 Red (Fripp)
  • 5'59 Fallen Angel (Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James)
  • 7'09 One More Red Nightmare (Fripp, Wetton)

CD Three: King Crimson 1981 - 4
Music by King Crimson; words by Adrian Belew (except The King Crimson Barber Shop)

  • 4'42 Elephant Talk
  • 5'08 Frame by Frame
  • 3'48 Matte Kudasai
  • 6'26 Thela Hun Ginjeet
  • 3'54 Heartbeat
  • 4'22 Waiting Man
  • 4'48 Neurotica
  • 6'36 Requiem
  • 4'11 Three of a Perfect Pair
  • 5'22 Sleepless
  • 5'05 Discipline
  • 8'16 The Sheltering Sky
  • 1'31 The King Crimson Barber Shop (Levin) => Reviews

CD Four: King Crimson Live 1969 - 84
Plumpton Festival, England; August 9th, 1969:

  • 9'33 Get Thy Bearings (Donovan, / variations Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles)
  • 4'30 Travel Weary Capricorn (Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield)

Fillmore West, San Francisco; December 10th, 1969:

  • 8'42 Mars (Holst, arranged Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles)

Amsterdam Concertgebouw; November 23rd, 1973:

  • 8'29 The Talking Drum (Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Muir) => Reviews
  • 9'19 21st Century Schizoid Man (Fripp, Sinfield, McDonald, Lake, Giles)

The Casino, Asbury Park; June 28th, 1974:

  • 6'50 Asbury Park (Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford)

Le Spectrum, Montreal; July 11th, 1984:

  • 2'35 Larks' Tongues in Aspic: Part Three (excerpt) (Belew, Bruford, Fripp, Levin)
  • 4'13 Sartori in Tangier (Belew, Bruford, Fripp, Levin)

The Arena, Frejus; August 27th, 1982:

  • 7'02 Indiscipline (Belew, Bruford, Fripp, Levin)


Reviews are listed in chronological order within each section. Please retain a chronological order when adding new reviews.

Entire Release

Date Submitted: 5-Aug-96
By: Greg Smith (gsmith at tiger dot avana dot net)

"No KC collection is complete without this one! Even if you have all of the early studio albums, you get a few bonuses. Most notably is the superb 'Groon' instrumental. A few of the abridged songs work out well. The Sailor's Tale or Larks' Tongues I, for instance, which leave out the 'tedious if I'm not in the right mood' parts. Unfortunately, though, Starless is cut in half.

"The fourth CD, a live collection of songs from all 3 incarnations of the band, is worth the price of the set alone. The CD accurately represents King Crimson in all of its raging splendor. On 'Mars', some huge sonic beast steps forward and crushes all of these so-called heavy metal bands of modern days. The music is unbelievably heavy and aggressive. To the unconvinced reader: Give this music a try and you will see Heavy Metal for the silliness that it is."

Date Submitted: 5-Aug-96
By: Heinisch (Heinisch at rsrz14 dot hrz dot Uni-Marburg dot DE)

Frame by frame
Death by drowning
In your, in your analysis.

Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your, in your analysis.

"So what to expect of a collection of Crimso tracks which mostly have been featured and released in a (superficially complentated) similar way in the more or less recent past, was my very first thought after having read the tracklist of this 4-CD-Set. Well, it's quite too simple to put a label like "Deja vu" on the package and ignore it further, `cause it definitely isn't this way. In the (excellently made) booklet included in the set, which continues the story as told in `The young persons' guide to KC', Fripp explains that he put `Definitive Edition' or `Definitive Edition Enhanced' remastered versions of all of the tracks onto the shiny little babies. This presents us the uncritized offer to finally get those remastered editions (at a quite better sound quality) in one piece, as the 1989 remasters had been sold only (at that time) in America and Japan, omitting the Europeans (continent and British Isles); so I for my part simply got to know the slightly worse `normal' releases on CD (or just LP). Furthermore Fripp decided to `enhance' some of the older numbers by re-mixing them, "Bolero" e.g., which now features Tony Levin on bass for the first time, or "Cadence and cascade", with Ade Belew on vocals (my, what a fine copy of ol' Haskell he does!). Additionally RF and Tony Arnold, the tech wiz (for the Def Eds), and likewise David Singleton (for the Def Ed Enhanced) came up with some `abridged' variations of the longer crimso material stuff, which gives us an opportunity to exercise a little critique: IMHO they kind of shredded one or the other lovely tune ("Fracture"; "The sailor's tale") and didn't do a good thing on removing the intestines of my most favorite piece, "Starless", which now quite suits the car radio to play without sending your neighbor in a traffic jam to hell. On this one I'm really disappointed for it hasn't got an ending anymore! So I'm not too much enlightened by the attempt to squeeze the `essential parts' of the most essential tracks on CD - we'd have done better without them, I think. Now, except for the really nice KC-family tree, which of course ends in 1988 (it was drawn in 1989), we are at least granted with some mind-bursting stuff, which the most of us are sure to have never caught an ear of. I especially think of "Mars", a piece of pulsating rhythm bearing resemblance of "Merday morn" (out of "The devil's triangle") and the `USA' featured "Asbury park", I had no knowledge of up to the heavenly day I finally acquired this marvelous instrumental. "Get thy bearings" isn't quite the street sweeper I naively expected it to be, and it also has the worst sound quality of the whole compilation. Remarkable are furthermore the incredible "Schizoid man" version of 1973, the "Talking drum" (of the same year, but why does the CD & booklet read 29'04 length?) and "Sartori in Tangier" (1984) of the last public performance of the eighties KC. A final note to the `89 Def Eds, the engineer who worked on the back catalogue, at that time missed out to add the `invisible track' (at the end of Islands), where Fripp talks to the band about repeating the played stuff for the last time before finishing. But now, we find it again - at the very end of CD No. 1! How could an evaluation of this whole giant dinosaur look alike? I guess, most people should consider buying it, except for those who don't care too much about superior sound quality, dug out treasures from the past or who simply have got enough bootlegs covering the whole range of multi-crimso-appearances of the last 27 or so years. Enjoy - I like it!"

Date Submitted: 19-Jun-97
By: Nick Paluzzi (leprakahn at sprynet dot com)

"This is this the first release I ever got that made me completely obliterate my inhibitions as a guitarist, I had previously purchased 'Sleepless' out of curiosity and because of it's (relative) accessability, I wrote KC off as just a "really good prog band" but when I received "F by F" as a gift, my 17 year old ears were knocked on their ass! No longer did I think that songs had to be composed with familiar themes, cliches, and "rules" and once a musician learns that, the sky's the limit. This release also showed me that rock need not always be confined to a set of 3,4, or even 5 chords to be exciting, passionate and ballsy, and K.C. work themselves into a such a passionate frenzy, that it's breathtaking. And another thing, most Rock guitarists can't discuss a desire to make their music a statement of fine art without sounding pretentious, and so reading the various entries by Robert Fripp, one might assume he was being pretentious, but then listening to the music, you find that he isn't, you'll find that creating long, complex works isn't some sort of ego thing for Mr. Fripp but instead a passion, and isn't that what rock is about, passio, well anyway it's hard to understand why my peers can't listen to 'serious' rock because it lacks 'passion', but as King Crimson have proved in this set, they exhibit a sort of passion that would completely blow away anything by the modern 'alternative' or punk set."

Date Submitted: 3-Nov-97
By: Rojas de la Parra Francisco J. (frojas at telmex dot net)

"King Crimson is by far the best musical working unit of all times, so the edition of the 4 CD box set Frame by Frame is pleasure on the ears, heart soul and sight, I've seen some boxed sets before and this is just the best in all senses, Fripp understand the need of good look, not just good play. The selection of songs is nothing short of perfect so Fripp shows once again his tact and taste in his own work. The first disk reflects the first era on KC life, not only the first incarnation, he chooses almost all of the first album, ITCOCK, a couple of ITWP, again some of Islands and one from Lizard. This songs are the cornerstone of modern music, do you hear a little resemble of Stairway to heaven in Moonchild??, and 21'st Century S.M. is the blueprint from everything from Larks to Red, also Fripp give us Cat Food and Groon i think the last is the second best song ever recorded by KC, just behind Red, in the second half of the disk we find A sailor's tale, i think this is a major influence in groups to come, specially Camel. The second disk paint us the second an best incarnation of KC and the most influential in the modern recording artist, if you heard Nirvana at least once you can hear how they tried to make Red again and again. The third disk gift us the third and most stable KC line up, this disk end whit a little song called King Crimson Barber Shop where Tony Levine makes all voices, i took the song as a joke and as an example of what KC can accomplish. The fourth an last record is a live album that covers all KC eras, i have no words to describe this record, what i can say is that this disk covers the value of the entire set, so if you some of the albums but you like to try something new try this one and discover a new face of KC. By the way the little book included in the box is the best i seen in any boxed set. Don't miss it."

Date Submitted: 17-Jan-98
By: Bill Nicholas (thekid at cybernex dot net)

"This box set has always gotten almost flawless reviews, and for the life of me, I can't understand why. I make this cry of distress not as a critic, but as the most die-hard of fans. Several points arise:

"1-Like Led Zepplin, Crimso championed the album as art, so, inharently, anthologizing this music is antithetical to the Crimson asthetic.

"2-Fripp tries to break down the music into distinct periods, which, given the band's constant state of flux (and in no way do I view that as a negitive) are really artificial constructs. It shows.

"3-Can you find one section of this box set that gives you an idea of what an entire Crimson album is like? I can't.

"4-Fripp EDITS the songs, sometimes chopping off endings and splicing. Crimso's albums were on FM so AM TOP 40 stations wouldn't chop this wonderful music into bits. Why is Fripp doing it 25 years after the fact?

"5-The tracks really don't meld into one another too well.

"Well, at least the included book is cool. Maybe that represents KC's history. This set doesn't.......Thank God."

Date Submitted: 18-Apr-99
By: Kevin Patrick MacNutt (kevin.macnutt at england dot com)

"After buying Red (my third Crimso purchase) I bought this wonderful set with money I got from driving the neighbor kid back and forth to school with me every morning (and I must say that this box made up for that pain in the ass)."

Cat Food (single version)

Date Submitted: 18-Apr-99
By: Kevin Patrick MacNutt (kevin.macnutt at england dot com)

"I do not like the cut version since it ends so abruptly. Maybe connecting it closer to Groon would of made this a little more palatable."


Date Submitted: 5-Nov-96
By: Michael Zink (dpgumby at csd dot uwm dot edu)

"This piece blows me completely away. The fact that RF actually sat down and wrote this alone proves this man's genius. Being that the FbF box is the only place to get this track (I'm seriously considering it as the best Crimson track, ever) is reason enough to own this masterpiece. I'd really like to hear it live (no, I mean, really live, not "Earthbound" live). Can you imagine Fripp-Wetton-Bruford-Cross doing this one?"

Cadence and Cascade (remix)

Date Submitted: 18-Apr-99
By: Kevin Patrick MacNutt (kevin.macnutt at england dot com)

"I am partial to this version since it was the first I heard and have always been a fan of Belew's vocals and have never been to keen on Haskell's crooning."

Sailor's Tale (abridged)

Date Submitted: 18-Apr-99
By: Kevin Patrick MacNutt (kevin.macnutt at england dot com)

"Of course this is the other half of all the Islands you'll ever need."

Ladies of the Road

Date Submitted: 18-Apr-99
By: Kevin Patrick MacNutt (kevin.macnutt at england dot com)

"One half of all of the Islands album you'll ever need."

CD Two: King Crimson 1972 - 4

Date Submitted: 18-Apr-99
By: Kevin Patrick MacNutt (kevin.macnutt at england dot com)

"A nice overview of this material, but the albums from this period must be heard in the entirity."

The King Crimson Barber Shop

Date Submitted: 8-Apr-00
By: Al Kemmerer (peach at knownet dot net)

"The first time I heard this track, I couldn't help but play the track over and over again. I love it! I can't believe that's Tony Levin singing all those parts! This should've been released on one of their full length albums instead of those collection cds."

The Talking Drum

Date Submitted: 3-Jul-96
By: Pawel Swirek (king_crim at irc dot pl)

"There's a fragment of improvisation before 'The Talking Drum'. The same improvisation is on bootleg 'Book Of Saturday' before 'The Talking Drum'"