King Crimson

A Beginner's Guide to Projekcts

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After the six-man double-trio incarnation of King Crimson disbanded in the spring of 1997, rather than simply go their separate ways, Adrian Belew (guitar/drums), Bill Bruford (percussion/drums), Robert Fripp (guitar), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar), Tony Levin (bass), and Pat Mastelotto (percussion/drums) splintered into a series of sequential ProjeKcts. The subgroups provided active research and development of new material and performance techniques in front of audiences and would ultimately serve the next manifestation of the greater Krim. Released in 2000, the appropriately titled A Beginner's Guide to ProjeKcts offers a variety of instrumental works from each of the four initial fractals. ProjeKct Three commences this sampler with Fripp, Gunn, and Mastelotto unleashing some industrial-strength improvisations during the sprawling seven-movement "Masque" suite, which clocks in at over 20 minutes. Of the four subdivisions, these three players arguably create the heaviest and most progressive music of the lot. Not surprisingly, when King Crimson reconvened for 2000's ConstruKction of Light, the trio brought with them a similarly aggressive countenance. Although the first to be formed, ProjeKct One was actually the second to be implemented. Membership included Bruford, Fripp, Gunn, and Levin. Their three-part contribution is exceptional, with the rhythm-centric unit blazing through "4 i 1" with a fervor recalling the "further-out" expeditions of the mid-'70s band. By contrast, "2 ii 3" presents a languid and melodic soundscape from Fripp as a prelude to "4 ii 4"'s jazzier tone probe. "Sus-Tayn-Z" is the only entry from Belew, Fripp, and Gunn, aka ProjeKct Two. The multiple layers of sound begin with a bagpipe-like resonance as the piece provides Belew an opportunity to shift his attentions from the guitar to the drum kit -- which he pulls off with considerable aplomb. "Deception of the Thrush" became one of the more specific pieces to have been the direct product of the ProjeKcts. Not only did the third and fourth installments groom the composition for use, but they continued to craft it upon the reinstatement of King Crimson circa the ConstruKction of Light release. Fripp, Gunn, Levin, and Mastelotto made up ProjeKct Four. The five segments of "Ghost" that conclude A Beginner's Guide to ProjeKcts allow the musicians to interact with the indomitable freedom and sheer abandon that have become the calling cards of King Crimson since their debut in 1969. While seasoned enthusiasts are encouraged to give this disc a spin, curious consumers may find it too demanding.

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