King Crimson

Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With

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The relationship between this EP and King Crimson's Power to Believe (2003) long-player mirrors that of the six-track Vrooom (1994) sampler and subsequent full-length release Thrak (1994). The music perfectly contrasts the primarily instrumental and live Level Five (2001) EP by honing in on the latest lyrical contributions from Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals). The disc begins with "Bude," the first in a series of short spoken verses incorporating an electronically manipulated and harmonized Belew. The result is similar to the voice box effect used by Peter Frampton on "Do You Feel Like We Do?." This slams headlong into the thrashing title track, which is not too far removed from the angst-ridden alternative metal from the likes of Therapy?, Tool, and Rammstein. In true Belew style, he incongruously twists the subject matter into a sonically aggressive backdrop, cleverly dissecting his craft as a singer/songwriter, exemplified in the lyrics: "And when I have some words/This is the way I'll sing/Through a distortion box/To make them menacing." "Mie Gakure" is a two-minute meditative soundscape interlude from Robert Fripp (guitar). While the necessitation for brevity is duly noted for this release, interested parties are emphatically encouraged to seek any of Fripp's full-length soundscapes -- such as Blessing of Tears (1995), November Suite (1996), and Gates of Paradise (1998). She Shudders -- another of Belew's harmonized haikus -- prefaces an acoustic version of a second new tune, "Eyes Wide Open." This is without a doubt one of the most lyrically poignant and musically refined tunes in the King Crimson repertoire, taking its rightful place alongside tracks such as "One Time" or "Frame by Frame." Belew's vocals hang ethereally over the languid, inspired instrumentation. "Potato Pie" is a moody and dark blues containing angular chord structures as well as some symbiotic fretwork from Fripp and Belew. A live version of the fourth installment in the "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" saga concludes the ensemble endeavors on this disc. These tracks are couched between the final pair of Belew's brief vocalizations. Likewise, there is a hidden and untitled cut-and-paste pastiche consisting of incidental musical and spoken-word odds and ends taken from the recording sessions. Sandwiched between rehearsal snippets of the title track and "ConstruKction of Light" there is a bit of Belew doggerel titled "Einstein's' Relatives." These sonic scraps conclude with the final strains of "In the Court of the Crimson King," performed live by an uncredited vocal chorale.

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