King Crimson

Atmosphere

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    9
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A superb bootleg, both in terms of sound quality and performances, Atmosphere is a perfect sampler for the uninitiated. The CD provides a glimpse of the powerful, progressive 1974 quartet and its updated '80s counterpart. The live recording covers material from Starless and Bible Black, Red, Discipline, Three of a Perfect Pair, and Beat. Most of the compositions are performed much like the album versions, with the delightful exceptions of "Red" and "Indiscipline." In both cases, it is Bruford's electric/electronic percussion which makes all the difference. He has a featured role on "Indiscipline" with an introductory drum solo and upfront drumming throughout. The Pittsburgh tracks (1-4) show up on other discs, including the Great Deceiver box set. The Montreal cuts (5-14), which have superb sound quality, have been officially released on Absent Lovers (1998) in an expanded, two-disc form.