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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 44 - 05/18/00

King Crimson
The ConstruKction of Light
DGM (Discipline Global Mobile)

Somewhere in the musical Bermuda Rectangle between rock, jazz, classical and avant garde, there exists a ship called King Crimson. It is not lost in the Bermuda Rectangle, it is there by choice, and its passengers rather enjoy the ride, which has now lasted for more than 30 years.

With The ConstruKction of Light, Crimson is again down to a four-man lineup, this time leaving Bill Bruford and Tony Levin to work on their respective solo careers. So the new lineup consists of Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals, Robert Fripp on guitar, Trey Gunn on touch guitar (a two-handed tapping instrument) and Pat Mastelotto (yes, the Mastelotto, formerly of 80s pop band Mr. Mister [as well as adding drums for the fab XTC - editor's note]) on electronic drums.

King Crimson 1995 was a six-man strong noise-fest, with lots of polyrhythmic mayhem and other such nice things. One should think that King Crimson 2000 is somewhat calmer, given that Bruford and Levin aren't in this lineup, but instead, this band is wilder than they have ever been before. Mastelotto and Gunn are redifining what a rhythm section can be in a rock group. Among various "normal" drum sounds, Mastelotto pounds the listener with all sorts of weird stuff - and the rhythmic variations are out of this world. Underneath this, holding it together, is Trey Gunn and his touch guitar. With one hand he can tap out the intricate bass lines, while the other hand plays chords to accompany Fripp and Belew in their melodic frenzy.

Ah, yes... Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew! Since King Crimson's Discipline era, these two have worked together, creating incredible guitar magic. On The ConstruKction of Light the focus is mostly on the interlocking and intricate guitar lines that flavoured the three King Crimson albums of the 80s. There's also some incredible solo work here, mostly from Belew, although Fripp also gets a healthy workout, particularly on the "spider fingers" section of The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum (brilliant title, isn't it?). And for those who really want to hear Fripp in all his glory, check out FraKctured, at the same time both a flashback to - and an update of the 70s classic Fracture. The playing is incredible fast - frightening, in fact - not at all bad for a 54 year old!

Other delights include what I believe is Crimson's first ever blues. Yes, Crimson plays the blues, although with the sonic mayhem that they're capable of, don't expect Robert Johnson here! ProzaKc Blues is Muddy Waters on some really bad acid. The before-mentioned Oyster Soup is notable for providing the ultimate in wacky lyrics, and Larks' Tounges in Aspic, part IV provides another update of an old classic.

As always, King Crimson is not for everyone. The music is very demanding of its audience, but whoever is willing to spend some time with it will eventually "get it" - if they don't go insane first, that is.

(Filed under England in our archive, where KC originated. Today Fripp is the only Englishman left. These days the members reside in Dorset, England, Seattle, WA (Gunn), Austin, TX (Pat M.), and Nashville, TN (Belew) - editor's note).

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You may also want to check out our King Crimson articles/reviews: In The Court Of The Crimson King, Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Power To Believe Tour Book, Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind, Red.

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