King Crimson is a rock band founded in London, England in 1969. Although often categorised as a foundational progressive rock group, the band has incorporated diverse influences and instrumentation during its history (including jazz and folk music, classical and experimental music, psychedelic rock, hard rock and heavy metal, new wave, gamelan, electronica and drum and bass). The band has been influential on many contemporary musical artists, and has gained a large cult following despite garnering little radio or music video airplay.
The band's lineup (centred on guitarist Robert Fripp) has persistently altered throughout its existence, with eighteen musicians and two lyricists passing through the ranks. A greater degree of stability was achieved later on in its history, with current frontman Adrian Belew having been a consistent member since 1981. Though originating in England, the band has had a mixture of English and American personnel since 1981.
The debut lineup of the band was influential, but short-lived, lasting for just over one year. Between 1970 and 1971, King Crimson was an unstable band, with many personnel changes and disjunctions between studio and live sound as the band explored elements of jazz, funk and classical chamber music. By 1972 the band had a more stable lineup and developed an improvisational sound mingling hard rock, contemporary classical music, free jazz and jazz-fusion before breaking up in 1974. The band re-formed with a new line-up in 1981 for three years (this time influenced by New Wave and gamelan music) before breaking up again for around a decade. Since reforming for the second time (in 1994), King Crimson has blended aspects of their 1980s and 1970s sound with influences from more recent musical genres such as industrial rock and grunge. The band’s efforts to blend additional elements into their music have continued into the 21st century, with more recent developments including drum and bass-styled rhythm loops and extensive use of MIDI and guitar synthesis.
King Crimson's existence has been characterised by regular periods of hiatus initiated by Robert Fripp. The current status of the band is ambiguous due to recent online diary posts from Fripp suggesting that he is not currently (or no longer) interested in working within the King Crimson context, without directly confirming the end of the band.
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