The Right Honourable 2019
Wrapped in red tones and unplugged, instrumental tribute to most sanguine of prog ensembles looks for hidden enigmas in familiar melodies.
“An outstanding knack for a tune” hardly featured among many a characteristic heaped upon Robert Fripp whose band’s 50th anniversary made 2019 much brighter than it deserved to be, yet his six-string colleague Fernando Perdomo is able to look past the group’s signature sound to strip it of harmonic garb and occasional heaviness in favor of miraculous simplicity. Perdomo may seem immensely immersed in prog scene when going out to sea with the likes of Dave Kerzner but, prominently cameoing in “Echo In The Canyon” alongside Jakob Dylan, the American artist also has a folk sensibility, which is in play on this album where pieces from KING CRIMSON’s early period get distilled to essentials. Only there’s more to Fern’s arrangements than meets the ear.
Letting his acoustic guitar embrace vocal, rather than instrumental, lines, he doesn’t linger on the classics – only “The Court Of The Crimson King” and “Starless” successfully cross the 3-minute mark to demonstrate delicate developments – and doesn’t add a lot of what wasn’t there originally, so while Perdomo’s personality will rise to the surface on deeper tracks, such as “Erudite Eyes” from GILES, GILES AND FRIPP’s LP or “Peace (A Theme)” that opens this record, well-known cuts – including “Book Of Saturday” and “I Talk To The Wind” – remain a testament to their unplugged provenance. Still, baroque readings of “Islands” and “Prince Rupert Awakes” completely remap their emotional, and dynamic, coordinates to become chamber, non-cosmic, numbers, whereas the somber strum and upbeat thump take “Formentera Lady” from exotic shores to rural Albion, leaving “Moonchild” to bask in stark, sparse glory.
This is the humble beauty of “The Crimson Guitar”: an intimate album which must strike a chord with many a kindred spirit.