King Crimson

EleKtriK

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This audio-only companion to the Eyes Wide Open double-DVD package features King Crimson performing at Kouseinenkin Hall in Tokyo, Japan, on April 16, 2003. The quartet of Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals), Robert Fripp (guitar), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar/fretless Warr guitar), and Pat Mastelotto (drum traps/buttons) is a neo-progressive and practically industrial-sounding force to be reckoned with, emerging from the fraKctionalization of the double-trio version of the group -- which also included contributions from Bill Bruford (percussion) and Tony Levin (bass/Chapman stick). Now pared down to its essence, the band is leaner and able to effortlessly maneuver through some of the most challenging material to bear the King Crimson moniker. There is an undeniable and virtually palpable sense of drama that becomes magnified by the reserved and respectful Japanese audience. This becomes all the more pronounced during Fripp's "Introductory Soundscape" solo, which is an opening prelude to Belew's "Power to Believe I (A Cappella)" haiku. The arrangement provides several new angles and narrow aural slipstreams during "ConstruKction of Light" and "Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With." The quartet also momentarily reaches back to the double trio for a strikingly intimate "One Time." The instrumentals "Level Five," "Dangerous Curves," and the fourth installment of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" are among the highlights as they demonstrate the seemingly psychic powers and singular thought processes that unify this aggregate into equaling, if not in some ways besting, previous incarnations with their imaginative interactive improvisations. Belew is once again impressive as he trades licks with Fripp, cajoles some stellar solos, and, as always, complements the unit as a solid, versatile vocalist and equally inspired lyricist. EleKtrik serves both new and well-versed listeners with an accurate portrayal of King Crimson in performance circa 2003, and is recommended for all interested parties.

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