Where to Start With King Crimson

Source: Pitchfork.

Up until this month, King Crimson were among the final streaming-service holdouts from the classic rock era. And it made sense. Robert Fripp has famously stated that his pioneering prog outfit isn’t simply a band but also a “way of doing things.” Often, that way of doing things involves resisting the obvious path—sometimes at the expense of the band’s stability. The past 50 years of Crimson have been defined by restlessness, thanks to an ever-changing lineup and a sound that’s always searching (typically in odd tunings and time signatures). In one song, they’re a gnarly rock trio with tritone riffs; in another, they’re a gorgeous folk outfit with flutes and fantastical lyrics. Combine that tendency with their myriad spin-off projects (referred to as ProjeKcts), collaborative releases, and absurdly elaborate box sets, and you have one of the more intimidating bodies of work in rock history.