THE KING CRIMSON CONNECTION
David Cross and Andrew Keeling interview in Prog Magazine 128 (March, 2022)
David Cross & Andrew Keeling
Former King Crimson violinist David Cross and composer/flautist/guitarist Andrew Keeling met in London in 2007 to discuss a musical collaboration. Two years later they met again to play and record some music which subsequently became English Sun, a collection of improvisations released by Noisy Records. The duo went on to perform and direct improvisation workshops.
English Sun includes nine improvised pieces with two based on haiku by former-King Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield. It is available from www.noisy.co.uk
Cross and Keeling’s ‘English Sun’ was released in 2009 (followed by a handful of gigs) and the duo recorded much of ‘October is Marigold’ in the same year. These tracks lay dormant until 2020, when work recommenced on the new album.
Whereas ‘English Sun’ encapsulates the vibrance of summer, ‘October is Marigold’ portrays darker, melancholic autumnal atmospheres.
The music is again mostly improvised, the exceptions being a previously written organ part for the title track and two guitar loops. Although the performances are spontaneous there is a clearer sense of architecture here, with the ‘Marigold’ cello/piano theme arching in four incarnations across the album. Nature continues to be an inspiration, with field recordings of birds finding a natural place alongside pizzicato violin and fluttering flute. Cross demonstrates the full potential of the electric violin with, for example, a haunting, muted trumpet-like sound on the title track and the earthy, evocative use of cello pitched violin. Keeling’s flute seems to embody the human response to the realities of nature, breathing, tumbling and bending with the wind.
Throughout, there is an uninhibited flow across musical reference points - hints of folk, blues and romance are exposed as the duo travel through this stark autumnal landscape.