Projekct Two

Live Groove

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This title -- which is also available as part of the four-disc ProjeKcts (1999) box set -- features the second fraKCtal of the mid-'90s six-person incarnation of King Crimson captured during its six-month lifespan. The larger group included Adrian Belew (guitar, drums), Bill Bruford (percussion, drums), Robert Fripp (guitar), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar), Tony Levin (bass), and Pat Mastelotto (percussion, drums), while ProjeKct Two centered on the trio of Belew on the digital V-drums, Fripp as always on guitar, and Gunn credited as playing "touch guitar." With the notable exception of the hip-hop-inspired solo extracted from "21st Century Schizoid Man" -- sporting sampled finger-snaps and DJ-esque "scratching" effects no less -- the remaining nine entries are completely improvised instrumentals. The wide range of performance styles and sonic visages might take listeners by surprise, although King Crimson enthusiasts are by and large an adventurous lot. "Sus-tayn-Z" turns into a sprightly tempoed and melodic affair, with Fripp's glorious droning wafting between the unrelenting pulsations of Gunn and Belew. The latter proves himself to be quite a remarkable percussionist on "Heavy ConstruKction," a good example of how some of the grooves developed during these outings would have a profound influence on the next generation of the larger Krim. Another such piece follows with the languid and dank "Deception of the Thrush," as it lumbers shrouded in mystery and perpetual uncertainty. There are shades of the 2003 King Crimson's track "Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With" in the energetic hurdy-gurdy of "X-chayn-jiZ," while elements of "Light ConstruKction" would resurface on "The ConstruKction of Light." Listeners should keep their CD spinning after the "21st Century Schizoid Man" excerpt, as there are nearly ten minutes of ambient audience noise preceding an announcement that in part states once a flash photographer -- spotted in the crowd by a bandmember -- surrenders his camera and film, the concert would continue. He obviously did, as the show went on a few moments later.

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