ProjeKct Three

Masque

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For the uninitiated, here's the story again: Robert Fripp decides to break up the six-man, "double-trio" configuration of King Crimson into smaller units to improvise in a live setting around the country in various permutations of membership. ProjeKct Three, which existed for a one-week tour of Austin Texas in 1999, included Fripp on guitar, Trey Gunn on touch guitar and talker, and Pat Mastelotto on "electronic traps & buttons," i.e., electronic percussion and loops. As represented on Masque, they were quite a beast to behold. Combining the space of ProjeKct One and the full-on rage of ProjeKct Four (both featuring Tony Levin, natch), Masque starts out with the skronk of "One" and then navigates through 12 more untitled but numbered tracks, through the furthest reaches of improvised rock music. Truly, these three individuals, working as a unit, produced some of the most revelatory live rock & roll being produced in the late 1990s. Incorporating Fripp's patented soundscapes and gentle, searching bass from Gunn, "Two" is a subtle groover with an excellent solo from Fripp. While the aim of the ProjeKct was to research new material for Crimson to use when it reunited (as it did, in 2000 for ConstruKction of Light), Three does not appear to contain much that turned up on that album, except for "Nine," which is an embryonic version of "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum." Compared with the final live show of ProjeKct Three that was released as part of the King Crimson Collector's Club series, this CD must fall a little short, but only for the reason that Mastelotto edited together aspects of different performances to create new tracks. As such, the album is not a true representation of what the band sounded like live, but is still excellent.

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