King Crimson: The ConstruKction of Light (CD, 58:13) Virgin America 492612 Discipline Global Mobile P.O. Box 5287 Beverly Hills, CA 90209 CYBERHOME: http://www.disciplineglobalmobile.com Some folks think King Crimson leader Robert Fripp is a musical messiah preaching the metaphysical guitar gospel. Others (myself included) feel like he’s nothing more than a cantankerous malcontent that loves the sound of his own voice. However, both parties can generally agree on one thing – Fripp is one of the most influential and amazing guitarists in rock and roll history, and more so than other progressive acts that spend more time Regressing, Fripp generally steers his musical vessel - King Crimson – in the right direction. King Crimson has given us the classic Mellotron-heavy progressive rock on In the Court of the Crimson King to the heavy metal Red to the 80’s new-wavish Discipline. More recently was KC’s excellent turn as a six-piece band with THRAK, an album that mixed some incredible instrumentals from Fripp with Adrian Belew’s more Beatle-esque pop songs to great effect. However, due to various reasons two-thirds of KC couldn’t make the trip into 2000 with the band, so with the band’s latest release The ConstruKction of Light King Crimson has slimmed down to a four piece with Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto filling the huge shoes of Tony Levin and Bill Bruford. As if the loss of Levin and Bruford wasn’t discouraging enough, Fripp decided that he was also going to entirely with electronic drums with this release – a decision that brought groans from the KC community (and Bill Bruford as well). As things were stacking up, it seemed like maybe Fripp had finally steered Crimson off course. I personally was concerned that The ConstruKction of Light would mark the end of what in my opinion is the finest progressive band ever to grace the music scene. Boy… was I wrong… The ConstruKction of Light is quite simply the most emotionally jarring recording I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, and it is King Crimson’s finest recording to date. From the opening “Bizzaro-world” blues of “ProzaKc Blues” to the soul draining guitar work of “Larks’s Tongues in Aspic, Part IV” King Crimson totally succeeds in taking over your mind for the duration. I actually liken listening to this release much like being the losing participant in a boxing match – KC will set you up with Belew’s popp-ish jabs on “ProzaKc Blues” and “Into the Frying Pan,” daze you with Fripp’s “must be heard to be believed” guitar work on “FraKctured”, and delivers the knock out blow with Belew’s frenzied soloing on the third movement of “Larks’ Tongues IV”. The band then stands over you victorious during “Coda: I Have a Dream,” and the ProjeKct X contribution “Heaven and Earth” makes excellent background music for your pummeled psyche’s ride to the hospital. To say that The ConstruKction of Light is an intense recording is like saying that George W. Bush is a “little dense”. The fellows simply do not let up with their barrage of musicianship and creativity. Robert’s decision to go with the electronic “vDrums” rather than standard acoustic percussion is totally justified after listening to just one track – drummer Pat Mastelotto keeps the beats fresh throughout the entire CD, and adds a little more “funk” to the Mighty Crim’s proceedings. One thing that might take folks by surprise is Belew’s decision to distort his voice on almost all the vocal parts of the CD (on “ProzaKc Blues” his voice taken on the characteristics of a 250 pound African-American blues singer). However, after repeated listenings his vocals (and lyrics) will grow on you and fit perfectly into the music. And to say the guitar playing is top-notch is a heinous understatement – there are riffs and solos on this CD that will literally make your jaw hit the floor. I actually had to pull over my vehicle when I first heard Fripp and Belew’s solos on “Larks’ Tongues IV,” and was really blown away with Adrian’s work on “Kitchen Soup” as well. I certainly expect excellent musicianship on any of King Crimson’s releases, but The ConstruKction of Light truly outdid any of my expectations. Are there any weak points? Well, there are a couple minor problems – one is Robert’s decision to use a silly piano sample for his guitar solo in “Kitchen Soup”. The novelty of this decision wears off after one or two listens, I would have much preferred it if they threw in an actual piano solo rather than Fripp’s digitized guitar. Also, the first few minutes of “FraKctured” are a bit boring – but considering that they lead up to one of the most insane guitar solos you’ll ever hear its plodding pace is excusable. Other than those nitpicks, The ConstruKction of Light is as close as you’ll come to a perfect, forward-looking progressive release. So, if you’re up to the emotional challenge that Belew and Co. offer with ConstruKction, then by all means drop what you’re doing now and buy the CD. If you’re like me, the tracks on this release will patch directly into your mind and soul, and make you cringe with intensity at some parts and stare in amazement at others. This is a true musical journey, one that every fan of futuristic and progressive music should embark upon. Just make sure you bring a large supply of Prozac … - Michael Askounes (firstname.lastname@example.org) CREDITS: Adrian Belew: Guitar, Vox Robert Fripp: Guitar Trey Gunn: Bass Touch Guitar, Baritone Guitar Pat Mastelotto: v-Drums TRACKLIST: 1. ProzaKc Blues (5:27) 2. The ConstruKction of Light – I (5:49) 3. The ConstruKction of Light – II (2:50) 4. Into the Frying Pan (6:54) 5. FraKctured (9:05) 6. The World’s My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum (6:24) 7. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part IV – I (3:41) 8. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part IV – II (2:50) 9. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part IV – III (2:36) 10. Coda: I Have a Dream 11. (ProjeKct X) Heaven and Earth (7:46) More information on King Crimson can be found at: www.disciplineglobalmobile.com
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