More Great 2016 Reissues and Finds: David Fricke's Picks

Expanded classics, unearthed obscurities and other historical gems

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King Crimson, 'On (and Off) the Road: Studio, Live, Audio and Audio-Visual 1981-1984'
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King Crimson, 'On (and Off) the Road: Studio, Live, Audio and Audio-Visual 1981-1984'

"King Crimson has a life of its own," founder-guitarist Robert Fripp wrote in a 1981 press release announcing the unexpected resurrection of the British progressive-rock dreadnought seven years after it broke up – this time as a rhythmically nimble, subversively sleek, New Wave dance band. Where other recent Crimson box sets have thoroughly examined shorter windows of experiment (the group's 1969 debut, the Larks' Tongues in Aspic and Red albums and tours), this 19-disc set, despite its size, is a breezy audio-visual chronicle of the Eighties quartet – Fripp, singer-guitarist Adrian Belew, bassist Tony Levin and drummer Bill Bruford – and its compact but vigorous time in the studio and in concert. One disc is an audience recording of the group's first club date in 1981, under its original name Discipline; two more feature this Crimson's last-ever show, three years later, in Montreal – literally a life from beginning to end.

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