After a few years of limbering up in the strange and wonderful double trio, the newer rhythm section of Gunn-Mastelotto work wonders. To oust Levin and Bruford is probably the hardest task in the history of back lines. Especially as neither Levin nor Bruford ever stayed in the back line — given the Stick and the Simmons.
Fripp and Belew remain entirely in tune, and poor, berated Belew carries his multiple burdens as if they were thistledown — lyricist, singer, guitar front-man and polyrhythmic accompanist to Fripp’s exacting flights. Mostly all at the same time. They have spent almost a quarter of a century together — Belew somehow accomodating that withdrawn, logical, sulky powerhouse who has shaken so many less determined souls in his unflailing devotion to the Crimson King.
Sadly, I have been unable to play the free video concert on CD 2 of Heavy ConstruKction, because I cannot get into the King Crimson TV site for my free password. Darn. If I was Fripp, I would probably write a 16-page note complaining about this for the sleevenotes of my next album. Instead, this little grizzle. An email from DGM advises me that the secret password is < Rome >. Another tells me to try it in upper case. But the secret is still absolutely safe with them. Doubtless the ghost of the mellotron still destroying everything it breathes upon.
The ConstruKction of Light is an excellent studio album, fitting together neatly the two halves of this latest Crimson. As is often the case, however, the men excel themselves on stage. Pouring forth the studio material with gusto and gravitas, and adding fine takes from the former Crimson — peak versions of One Time and Dinosaur, for instance. FraKctured has all of the plaintive power of that old marvel Starless. T.S.Eliot would doubtless have invited his friends to tea, so that they could shimmy to this alternately clouting or sweetly caroling interpretion of The Deception of the Thrush. And to all this are added improvisations that allow the virtuosity of all concerned to shimmer forth. Here be guitar solos, undulating bass figures and percussive attack. Long may they reign!
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