FAQ - What Does It All Mean?

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On 'Haaden Two', from Robert Fripp's 'Exposure' album, there is some backwards material. What is it?

It's from a Monty Python sketch. Sampled, reversed, and played back, this section says:

"One thing is for sure. A sheep is not a creature of the air. Baaaahh!"

What does 'Heptaparaparshinokh' mean?

In the liner notes from The League of Gentlemen album, Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx, Robert Fripp (referring to la Grand Place in Brussels) writes:

"As we walked into the rectangular cobbled area at 23:30, where 14th century buildings on the long sides face off 16th century buildings on the short sides, he pointed out the 14th century town hall. This staggeringly impressive building has a steeple which gives me the impression that it is just about to take off and leave the rest of the building behind. The steeple is not in the middle of the building, but just to one side of the centre. Small Ears (a record company representative - FAQmaster) told me of the legend that the architect, who had spent his life building the town hall, came to see the work finished and when he discovered that the steeple was off-centre climbed to the top and jumped off. My reply was that the man who had built this would jump off and fly away. "The most striking feature of the town hall is its precise architectural expression of what Gurdjieff referred to as Heptaparaparshinokh, the Law of Seven. If one missed the clue of the steeple it would be impossible to overlook the rows of statues in sevens with pillars under the first and fourth of each:
C, D, E, semitone; F, G, A, B, semitone; C, etc. (The Major scale in Western music. -FAQmaster)
"La Grande Place, and the Christiani district in Copenhagen, were my two deepest experiences from last year's tour."

Marc Roemer wrote:

"Gurdjieff maintained that this law was universal applying to everything in the universe, and to really understand it, one would have to make a careful study of oneself. I don't understand it completely, only so far: "The law of seven states that every process takes 7 discrete steps, each requiring a certain energy to proceed to the next. At two points in the process, between the third and fourth steps (mi and fa) and between the seventh step and completion (ti and do), the process requires the introduction of finer energies from higher-level processes. For instance, in the human body, digestion requires energy from the process of aspiration at these two points. Another for instance, you are writing a paper and find yourself stalled in the middle, where you need to get over a "hump" before proceeding further (mi-fa). And as many have noticed, the final 5% of a project takes 95% of the time (ti-do). "Anyway, when you listen to the LoGs 'Heptaparaparshinokh', you will hear the critical points."

Robert Fripp replied,

"I wondered when someone would spot that."

What do the lyrics in 'VROOOM: Coda (Marine 475)' mean?

To begin answering this question, a quote from the THRAK Tour program from R. Fripp is appropriate.

"'Marine 475' (Coda to VROOOM) 1. An example of remorseless and unforgiving inevitability where one is called to honour one's liability without limitation. 2. A Lloyd's insurance syndicate which suffered catastrophic losses for 1989, 1990 and 1991 resulting from Hurricane Hugo, Exxon Valdez and Phillips Petroleum. Several Names involved were from the music industry - even honest, God-fearing family men and good guys that you could trust, who had nothing to hide and who were renowned for their probity and sound business practices."

Apparently, these "names" are companies and individuals who have signed liability agreements with Lloyd's of London, the insurance giant. In return for an interest in the massive premiums paid by industry, these "Names" agree to be liable, without limitation, in the event of claims made against the policies issued. When the losses claimed are catastrophic and frequent, as mentioned in RF's quote, the financial ruin of those liable is a distinct possibility. One can surmise that EG Records, RF's former label, may very well have been one of these "names."

Thanks to T.J. Mathews for his help with this question. - FAQmaster

What does 'Darshan' mean?

"The Sanskrit word for philosophy -- darshana -- also means seeing clearly. Philosophy does have much to do with clarifying matters -- not through specialized knowledge but through reasoning. It is possible, of course, to be wonderfully clear and dead wrong. But lucidity does not help the survival of baseless beliefs, silly deductions, groundless prejudice, or the justification of needless misery. Well, that's something for clear reasoning, even though it won't solve all our problems." -- Professor Amartya Sen, 1990

What does 'Matte Kudasai' mean?

Adrian Belew, who wrote the lyrics, replies:

"It means "Please wait for me". I found it in my Japanese phrase book and thought it sang well and made a nice title. As it turns out it's the one people most often ask about."

What does 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' mean?

This is an anagram for the phrase "Heat in the Jungle."

What is the first line in the chorus of 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' and what does it mean?

In the second of three special issues of ET, Adrian Belew answered questions submitted by ET readers. These were his answers, one to each of the two readers who asked:

"1). The line is "Qua tari mei". According to a revered African legend, if you chant this phrase over and over while several nasty- looking Rastas are preparing to skewer you, the Rastas will be moved to return your sacred Sony tape recorder to you unharmed. " 2). "Qua tari mei" which is a corruption of the ancient Sanskrit term "quarterly". According to legend this phrase was so powerful it was used to ward off quarter-tone tuning discrepancies before live t.v. performances such as The Old Grey Whistle Stop. The ancient ones later abandoned this belief with their discovery of the bronze God "Kahler" (pronounced K'-la) who promised "eternal intonation".

Both Taylor Sherman and Mark J. ran this phrase through a program called Anagram Insanity. Both came up with the following list of possible recombinations.

1. Quit era aim 2. Quit ear aim 3. Quit are aim 4. Aqua rim tie 5. Aqua ire mit 6. Aqua rime it 7. Aqua mire it 8. Quiet air am 9. Quite air am

Where did the title 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' come from?

The phrase seems to have originated in the studio when someone asked, "What shall we call the album?". Jamie Muir reportedly replied, "Why, Larks Tongues In Aspic, of course!". As far as any intrinsic meaning, "little bird tongues in tomato jello" may not be a profound concept, but the chosen title certainly has a lyrical sound to it. Perhaps it's best to draw your own conclusions....

Kathryn O. reports on the history of this phrase:

"... it (Larks Tongues In Aspic) is a real food, long eaten by decadent European and Asian monarchs/nobility (there are historical reports of thousands being eaten at Versailles in one sitting!), and during the 70's actually made a return to favor as a nouvelle cuisine delicacy, and was thus greatly mocked and derided as an indication of how silly the new cuisine was."

What is being said during the Coda section of 'Lark's Tongues In Aspic Part 1', and where does it come from?

George Khouroshvili, who maintains the David Cross newsletter, was kind enough to pose this question to David Cross on behalf of the ET FAQ. Here is David's specific response:

"As far as I remember, the text that was used at the end of LTinApt1 was a recording of a Scottish radio drama (whose name is hiding in an inaccessible corner of my mind). The last line was "....to be taken from this place and hanged by the neck until you are dead": this was the judge's sentence. The trick, as I remember, was to calculate the start point of the tape effectively so that the word 'dead' coincided with the D major chord that initiated the coda of the piece. Without hard disk editing this took some time to set up. Jamie, I am sure, was the source of the sound track. Maybe he can remember the name of the drama....."

Jamie had nothing to say about this drama, but RF, talking about the voices in LTiA Pt.1, recently wrote in his DGM diary:

"Now Scottish voices, with a judge pronouncing "and hang by the neck upon a gibbet until you are DEAD", the downbeat coinciding with the death sentence's final indictment."

Apparently the drama in question is called 'Gallowglass'. The particular quote in question, used in the coda for 'Larks Tongues In Aspic', is:

"The sentence of the law is that the court discerns and adjudges you Dennis Doolan, Patrick Redding, and James Hickie, to be carried from this place back to the prison of Glasgow, and to be detained there till Friday, the 14th day of May next, and upon that day, between the hours of eight and ten in the forenoon, at or near Crosshill, in the parish of Cadder, and shire of Lanark, or such other place within the said county as the Sheriff of Lanark shall appoint, and there by the hands of the common executioner you shall be hanged by the neck upon a gibbet, until you are, dead, and your bodies shall be buried within the precincts of this said prison of Glasgow. All which is pronounced for doom."

It should be noted that it is mentioned in the 'YPG' booklet that the whispering voices at the end of the coda are supplied by Bruford, Muir and Cross.

Thanks to George Khouroshvili for supplying the answer to this question - FAQmaster.

Is there an alternate live verse to 'Easy Money'?

Yes. The LTiA album version of 'Easy Money' has the following verse:

And I thought my heart would break
When you doubled up the stake
With your fingers all a-shake
You could never tell a winner from a snake

This verse has been replaced on various (recorded) live versions as:

Well I argued with the judge
But the bastard wouldn't budge 
Cause they caught me licking fudge
And they never told me once 'you were a minor'

It is not known if this was an impromptu ad lib by Wetton, or alternate lyrics supplied by Palmer-James.

Where does the phrase 'Starless and Bible Black' come from?

David Cross, quoted from a Circus-Raves article from 1974, states,

"The title is a phrase from Dylan Thomas, from 'Under Milkwood'. . . we have two songs called 'Starless and Bible Black'. . .The one on the album (S&BB) is a long instrumental. . .but the idea for a song was still very much alive in our lyricist, Richard Palmer-James. . .so he came up with something quite exciting, which is a different 'Starless' with lyrics."

Here is the Thomas quote:

"To begin at the beginning: "It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea."

Also note the phrase "Acknowledgement to D. T." on the cover of LTiA.

What was the phrase Bill Bruford liked to use in place of 'Starless and Bible Black'?

"Braless and Slightly Slack," apparently a reference to a memorable audience member.

What do the lyrics in the 'The Great Deceiver' ("Health Food Faggot") refer to?

The lyrics to this song have always been controversial. Fripp wrote the "Cigarettes, ice cream, figurines of the Virgin Mary" verse - the only King Crimson lyrics he has ever authored - in response to the commercialization of Vatican City. The rest of the words were written by Richard Palmer-James.

In an entry in Robert's diary at the DGM website, Mr Fripp wrote about the "Health food faggot" verse:

"At the DGM Playback for 'The Night Watch' (London 1997) I asked Richard Palmer-James, the lyricist for that and several other Crimson songs of the 1972-74 period, what he had meant. Richard had no gay reference in mind: his notion of "faggot" was the health food version of a meatball. The insulting gay connotation only occurred to him later."

What does "this night wounds time" refer to?

Tom Phillips, the cover artwork artist for 'Starless and Bible Black', created this word-canvas for the gatefold sleeve. Philips also created the cover art for Brian Eno's 'Another Green World'.

One of Philip's most intriguing techniques was to use the Victorian novel 'A Human Document' as a canvas, painting over selected portions of the printed page in order to exhibit only sentence fragments. "This night wounds time", therefore, is the result of taking several random words from four different lines of text, as the illustration in 'Starless and Bible Black' shows.

What are the 'The Night Watch' song lyrics about?

In an interview in the David Cross newsletter, lyricist Richard Palmer-James responded to this question about the song that appears on the album 'Starless and Bible Black':

"Nobody understood the song at all when it appeared. But there's nothing mysterious about it, it's just a brief historical commentary on Rembrandt and his situation in 17th-century Holland. This is probably not an ideal subject for rock music. More people seem to realize what the song's about nowadays. Rembrandt's supreme genius has enriched my existence since schooldays."

Perhaps seeing the painting itself will help us all to understand....It's available for viewing at http://www.artchive.com/artchive/R/rembrandt/night_watch.jpg.html. Also, the full text of the Richard Palmer-James interview

ETer Michael Russell also provides this analysis:

"The topic of the song is Rembrandt's 1642 painting Captain Frans Benning Cocq Mustering His Company, a canvas colloquially known as The Night Watch. For almost 80 years starting in 1566, the Dutch fought for independence from Spain. After decades of sporadic warfare and truces, lasting peace was secured as part of the general settlement reached at Westphalia in 1648. The lyrics to the Crim song are filled with references to 17th Century Dutch bourgeois life and experience, including the Spanish conflict."

What modern references are in the 'Lizard' album?

The gatefold sleeve artwork for the 'Lizard' album, despite it's medieval motif, has many modern allusions. In addition, much of the artwork refers to songs on the album which, in turn, also have modern references.

For example, the "I" in "Crimson" features a drawing of the Beatles. The drawing is a direct reference to the song 'Happy Family', which Peter Sinfield stated was about the breakup of the Beatles. In the song lyrics, "Judas" is Paul, "Jonah" is John (who drew a wife), "Rufus" is Ringo, and "Silas" (grew a beard, drew another flask of weird) is George, a devotee of the Maharishi. Also, in the line "Cheesecake, mousetrap, Grip-Pipe-Thynne cried out "We're not Rin Tin Tin"", Grip-Pipe-Thynne was a character played by Peter Sellers from the Beatles favorite radio program, 'The Goon Show'.

(Thanks to Terrence Marks for contributing the Goon Show info - FAQmaster.)

All the musical pieces of the album, from 'Cirkus' to 'The Battle of Glass Tears' are represented in the cover artwork. The song lyrics consistently create a setting from the middle ages, then ironically juxtapose modern references and imagery.

What does the 'Beat' album title refer to?

'Beat' is a reference to the Beat Generation, "post-WWII artists, writers and musicians who seek spiritual fulfillment through sensual experience, disclaiming social responsibility to a hostile and materialistic society" (F&W). The song 'Neal and Jack and Me', for example, is a reference to writer Jack Kerouac, author of 'On the Road', and his friend Neal Cassady. 'The Howler' may be a reference to Beat poet Allen Ginsburgh's 'Howl'. It has been said that Robert asked Adrian to read 'On the Road' in preparation for this album.

What does 'Sartori In Tangier' refer to?

'Sartori in Tangier' is a play on the title 'Satori in Paris', a novel by Kerouac. The 'Beat' album is full of such references to Kerouac.

What does 'VROOOM' stand for?

'VROOOM' is *quite possibly* an acronym: the label information on the 'THRAK' CD shows 'THRAK', 'VROOOM', 'VROOOM VROOOM' and 'VROOOM VROOOM: Coda' to be all in capital letters, unlike the remaining tracks. If 'VROOOM' is an acronym, then what does it stand for? Here are some possibilities from ET readers.

  1. Virtual Run-time Object Oriented Memory Manager
  2. Virtual Reality Room
  3. Virtual Reality Object Oriented Music

Some non-acronymal suggestions include the following:

  1. Victor Vrooom and P. W. Yetton constructed a decision tree to aid managers in deciding whether to allow group participation in decision-making and to what extent.
  2. 'VROOOM' describes the remorseless, unforgiving inevitability with which the repercussions of our actions (seen & unseen) follow and hunt us down. 'VROOOM VROOOM' suggests that seeking to evade the repercussions is hopeless, but we might stand up in front of the consequences anyway, acknowledge them, and try to cut a deal (alternatively expressed, attempt to negotiate a settlement). - RF, exact quote source unknown.
  3. An inevitable and remorseless forward motion which carries all before it. - RF, 1995 THRAK tour programme.
  4. VROOOM conjures up the sound of an engine being revved up, very much in line with the harder-edged sound of the double-trio.

With regard to the latter suggestion, it's interesting to note that if you remove the 'THRAK' artwork insert from the CD case and look at the side with the lyrics, you can see various onomatopoeia in faint white letters (THRAK, Crash, Wallop, etc.). If you flip over the panel that says 'VROOOM', there is a picture of a car on the other side. Specifically, the CD insert shows us that:

  1. VROOOM is the sound a car makes.
  2. Snap is the sound of a bone breaking.
  3. Bang corresponds to the picture of the cowboy shooting his pistol.
  4. Pop goes the lightbulb.
  5. Wallop is the sound made by the boxer when he throws a punch.
  6. Crash corresponds to the helmet and goggles.
  7. THRAK refers to the album cover!

Note that, with the exception of THRAK and VROOOM, all other onomatopoeia listed on the THRAK CD insert are in small-letters (not Caps), again suggesting that these other two are possibly acronyms. For more information on the related matters of B'Boom and THRAK, see the questions below.

What does 'B'Boom' refer to?

Although 'B'Boom' may be just another sound-effect creation like the others mentioned in the above question, it may also be a reference to the jazz percussion ensemble 'M'Boom', founded by Max Roach. Another possibility, from a quote found at http://www.swepett.pp.se/crimson/:

"I don't think there's anything at all precise about say, the Drummers of Burundi. It's the sound of lots of hands hitting drums at roughly the same time. Indeed, the definition of Thrak, as I read in one magazine, is the sound of one hundred and seventeen guitar players all hitting the same chord at approximately the same time." - Bill Bruford 1995

What does 'THRAK' mean?

THRAK, which is the name of a 1995 studio release by King Crimson , has also been described as:

  1. 56 minutes and 37 seconds of songs and music about love, dying, redemption and mature guys who get erections. - RF, 1995 THRAK tour programme.
  2. A sudden and precise impact moving from intention, direction and commitment, in service of an aim. - RF, 1995 THRAK tour programme.
  3. The sound of 117 guitars almost striking the same chord simultaneously. - RF, 1995 THRAK tour programme.

It's also interesting to note that, in 1991, the League of Crafty Guitarists were performing a live rendition of a piece called 'Lark's Thrak', perhaps a predecessor to the KC instrumental.

What does Formentera (as in 'Formentera Lady') refer to?

'Formentera Lady' is the name of the mournful, melodic song that opens the 'Islands' album. Appropriately, "Formentera" is the name of an island in the western Mediterranean sea, off the coast of Spain.

What is the significance of the symbol on the front cover of 'Discipline'?

ETer Jeffrey Chaplin relates, in ET#562, the content of a letter he received from the symbol's creator, John Kyrk:

Thanks for writing about my knotwork mark. I am its designer, and, as a matter of fact, I do have a copyright on it, as it is quite popular. I got interested in the Fourth Way around 1970. I once saw a demonstration of movements in Boston narrated by Mr. Bennett. I was on the fourth course at the Claymont Society in West Virginia that started in 1978, and later was a resident, and I know Larry Altman from there. All of the FourthWay people I know seem to be in the Bennett line. When I started hand letterpress printing in 1975, I designed a printer's mark for myself. I modied an ancient Celtic knotwork pattern so that it alluded to the enneagram. At small size it also looks like a lion's face. When Claymont started its journal Impressions in 1981, my knotwork was printed with permission on the cover. Robert Fripp says that, when saw it, he thought it was an ancient mark, and erroneously put it on the cover of the King Crimson album 'Discipline', where it was copyrighted. Robert apologized, paid me a token of appreciation, and promised to stop using the mark. I discovered last year that it is still on the cover of 'Discipline'. A few years after the appearance of my mark on Impressions and 'Discipline', Robert's new recording company sported the knotwork logo that you see on the Discipline Global Mobile website. At the outset of this saga I copyrighted my mark, and I continue to use it. It still reflects my interest in Gurdjieff as well as the things I've gotten into because of him. I'm glad you noticed.

What is the origin of 'Deception of the Thrush'?

'The Deception of the Thrush', in addition to being a compilation ProjeKcts CD, is also a reference made by T.S. Eliot in his 'Four Quartets'. The passage:

"Other echoes Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow? Quick, said the bird, find them, find them, Round the corner. Through the first gate, Into our first world, shall we follow The deception of the thrush? Into our first world."

'Four Quartets' consists of 'Burnt Norton' (1935), 'East Coker' (1940), 'The Dry Salvages' (1941) and 'Little Gidding' (1942), first published together in 1943. The "Thrush" quote begins on line 19 of 'Burnt Norton'.

(Thanks to Tero Valkonen for suggesting this Q/A - FAQmaster.)

Where did the title 'Three Of A Perfect Pair' come from?

Crimso biographer Sidney Smith posed this question to Robert Fripp, who responded:

"Dear Sid, Adrian's title. My explanation would be more technical: the progression from dyad to triad, from opposition to reconciliation, from man + woman to family: father - mother - child. The artwork is a reduction from a painting of my essence brother Peter Willis, which is his presentation of a reconciliation of Western & Eastern Christianity. At a very difficult time in my life I was visiting him in Cornwall, and the painting was on the bedroom wall. It spoke to me. The painting is now in Dorset. Front cover has the two elements, representing the male & female principles. The back cover has the third element drawing together & reconciling the preceding opposite terms. In a sense, this is a continuation and development of the Tantric cover art to LTIA which presents the male & female principles. The geometry behind the sun & moon, if you draw it out, is precise and formal. The form behind Peter's painting is more intuitive, rather than prescribed by a tradition. However, Peter's icon painting is defined by the formal prescriptions of that tradition."