Grunge has its roots in “Red,” King Crimson’s seventh album. Kurt Cobain said that the platter was an influence on “In Utero,” which turns 20 on Friday.
It’s hard to hear a connection between the two after the self-titled opening track, a heavy rocker that holds itself to a level of time-signature-shifting challenge that few bands ever hold themselves to.
A lot of the rest of the record is classic prog weirdness. Saxophone flourishes fill up “One More Red Nightmare,” which stumbles brilliantly from one idea to the next.
“Providence,” recorded live, is mostly discordant ambience until the bass guitar shows up halfway through and turns the track from doom into full-fledged mayhem.
It’s all prelude to “Starless,” a John Wetton piece that grew into a 12-minute group number. The closing track is a sprawling epic that ranks among the best prog tracks ever recorded.
It was a heckuva way for Robert Fripp to wrap up the first iteration of King Crimson, which happened months before “Red’s” release in ’74. If it reached all the way into grunge, “Red” has earned a legacy that lasts for generations.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013 and are updated to reflect the passage of time. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.