These haphazard bits and pieces were recorded during a two-week confab held by King Crimson in early 1983 between the Beat (1982) and Three of a Perfect Pair (1984) albums. The quartet regrouped in a portable recording facility at C.V. Lloyd Music Center in, of all places, Champaign, IL, some four months after concluding a final European leg of the Beat tour. The stated purpose was to examine the possibilities of developing new ideas for the next collective King Crimson project. Almost two decades (to the day) after these sessions were aborted due to lack of progress, DGM is offering the best of those previously unearthed tapes as the 21st installment in the King Crimson Collectors' Club. Many of the tracks contain early motifs that would be reconfigured and developed on later recordings. The cut "Fragmented" develops rhythmic staccato patterns that prominently feature Tony Levin (bass/Chapman stick) and Bill Bruford (drums) in much the same progression as "Industry" on Three of a Perfect Pair. Parallels can also be drawn from "Robert and Bill" to "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 3." Other pieces, such as the techno-thrash of "San Francisco" or the tight funk developed on "Not One of Those," are frustratingly good snippets that, simply put, lack the direction of a fully realized King Crimson performance. Then there are tracks in between, such as "ZZZZ's," containing a well-defined groove similar to what the quartet developed on "Sleepless." Yet, the melody seems to hearken back to "Thela Hun Ginjeet" from Discipline (1981) as well as to the title track for Three of a Perfect Pair. Of these schizophrenic fragments, "Robert's Ballad" is perhaps the most tragic loss of the lot. The absolute and stunning beauty of Fripp's lyrical fretwork foreshadows his tone-probing "Soundscapes." The 12-page liner notes booklet includes an essay from Fripp discussing why these sessions were not more thoroughly examined. He also delves into the band's psyche and the perpetual inequities inherent in the equitable division of funds versus the decidedly imbalanced responsibilities of the band, staff, and crew.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer