Touring the inner workings of the Mellotron on King Crimson's anniversary

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/13/touring-the-inner-workings-of.html

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Great video, thanks for posting it!

I think I’ll go listen to Larks’ Tongues in Aspic.

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Interesting tidbit from Daryl Easlea’s biography of Peter Gabriel: In 1970 Fripp sold one of Crimson’s Mellotrons to Genesis, to make its first appearance on Trespass.

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For more mellotron sounds, check out The Claypool Lennon Delirium.

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Zepplin’s “Kashmir” was the tune that really made me love the Mellotron. So grimy!

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Wonderful to see some Crimson after spending the weekend immersed in Rush. Also great to see Bruford and Wetton, probably my favorite version of King Crimson. So much great music from those days.

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A remarkable musical instrument, probably the first sampler, no?

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the instrument would again appear on David Bowie’s Space Oddity (played by future Yes man, Rick Wakeman).

wakeman also played piano on both the hunky dory album and cat stevens’ “tea for the tillerman.”

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It was preceded by the Chamberlin…

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Hooray to all King Crimson kontent. We want moar!

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Agreed - saw them at the Royal Albert Hall last summer for the 50th anniversary tour, stunning.

The Mellotron video was fascinating, then that Melody Starless vid - the Prof at his studious best, and Bruford wigging out - oh yes :wink:.

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King Crimson’s first show was in July 1969, opening up for the Stones at the free Hyde Park concert that served as Brian Jones’ memorial. The crowd had no idea what to make of THIS.

Rock n’ roll fun-fact: In Sept/Oct 1969, within a month’s time, Abbey Road was released, then Court of the Crimson King, followed by Led Zeppelin II. Yowza.

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For more wonderful Mellotron sounds, I feel it obligatory to recommend Odyssey and Oracle by The Zombies.

(A funny story is The Beatles had just wrapped up Sgt Pepper’s and left behind many of their instruments in the studio – which just so happened to be the studio that the Zombies were using to record Odyssey and Oracle. Those instruments that were left behind included John’s Mellotron. Rod Argent, the Zombies’ keyboardist took advantage of the situation and used it all over the album.)

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Thank you for that. Never heard of the thing before. While I’m here, I got to see Fripp once on the oddest of tours. He was playing at a record store in Austin. Just him and a couple of tape decks, looping stuff so basically, he was, erm, playing with himself :slight_smile: When he was done, he invited all of us to his room at the Driskill Hotel. Of course I went.

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Have we forgotten the Moody Blues?

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Hopefully.

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One of Mr. Fripp’s aphorisms: “Tuning a Mellotron doesn’t.”

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A medley of Mellotron on a Pi:

There was speculation that this was a hoax, but he’s using Fluidsynth, which is real. (It might need a special set of Mellotron SoundFonts.)

(Listening to the video again. It almost sounds too perfect.)

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Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues introduced the Beatles to the Mellotron (He had previously worked for the company). Love the sound of it.

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Not a word about the Mellotron successor, the Orchestron?
Instead of individual “strings” of tape, the Orchestron used just one plastic disc
I’m wondering how much of the Orchestron’s basic operation was appropriated by Philips for their forthcoming CD.
An estimated 40 Orchestrons still exist today, and replacement discs and new discs are being produced for the instrument.
Per Wikipedia there are some artists out there using this machine.