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King Crimson - The Elements (2014 Tour Box) CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.89 | 43 ratings

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4 stars King Crimson lovers ...Try Cirkus (live). It's wonderful!!!

This box set is nothing at all for those who are not familiar with songs of King Crimson both era: before Discipline (1981) album and those era of Discipline onwards until now. It serves as an excellent stuff if you understand King Crimson. If this is your first experience with King Crimson, do not ever try to have this one. For me personally it's something like when I wrote Gentle Giant "Under Construction" set couple of years ago where I gave full four stars rating for this site. It's simple, because I love Gentle Giant and familiar with almost all songs of the band. King Crimson is by no exception is one of my favourite legendary bands from the seventies as Gentle Giant, Yes, genesis, Van der Graaf, ELP and the like. So ...for me this ELEMENTS of King Crimson means a lot for me personally.

The boxset contains extracts of studio recordings, alternate takes, mixes with one or two instruments isolated, live recordings and rehearsals or in other words it contains versions of songs that I have never heard before. I almost cry really when I heard Cirkus (live) featured right here which was performed really wonderfully! Oh my God .. I could not believe with my ears the first time I listened to this version of Cirkus live. It's full five stars rating for this song as it's performed differently compared to other versions. In fact, the studio version I love it already. But this live version is totally different. The major difference is on the exclusion of guitar work! Can you imagine the song that was originally very great in its acoustic guitar work and it's originally very innovative and full of improvisation but when it's removed totally here in this live version still sounds wonderfully! This was taken from Live at the Marquee 1971 10/08/1971 and it's really prog to the bone man!!! I like the vocal line which was performed like there was no passion to sing but it sounds really great to my ears. And of course the entrance of drums followed with the legendary eerie mellotron-drenched sound that follows with loud volume makes the song sound really great! Oh my God .... I keep repeating this track over and over as I really love it very much. Thanks a lot Mr Fripp ...! This is really cool! The non-existence of guitar and the improvised saxophone work makes the song wonderful. There is also improvisation piece in a jazzy avant-garde mode that makes this version is invaluable! In fact, I also love the guitar extract which was featured only 15 seconds prior to this Cirkus (live) track.

Sailor's Tale from Islands album (1971) is also another wonderful piece that I love from this boxset. It sounds also differently. It's basically the version where guitar solo was the early take and you can see the difference. It's not just the guitar but the impact to the overall music is tremendous as I can sense the difference vividly. I bet you, if you love Crimson you would love this track as well.

This time we can have the luxury of enjoying legendary The Talking Drum mixed by the prog master Steven Wilson. I can not spell out clearly the difference with studio version but I am very sure that if you listen to this track you can feel the different taste than the original version. Of course this sounds raw but with the mind and hands of Steven Wilson you can enjoy the great sound subtleties of this version. The rest of the tracks under CD 1 are all interesting ones to enjoy especially Fallen Angel as well as 21st Century of Schizoid Man.

CD 2 offers also great alternative tracks starting with Discipline which heavily consists of great combined work of stick bass by Tony Levin, repetitive guitar work by Fripp and Adrian Belew. This opening track sounds the same as its studio version. The sort drums work under Three Headed Doom (Part 1) (0:44) is a great shot, followed with the live version of Neurotica (Manhattan) (live) (6:12). This time also we can enjoy the new mix of Sleepless by Steven Wilson which sounds much wider than the original version. One of my favourites on CD 2 is THRAK which was performed live at Shepherd's Bush 1996 30/06/1996, Shepherd's Bush Empire. It's exploratory in nature and more improvisational. I like the duo drums solo which sounds really great. The other one is Level Five which was performed live at Park West 07/08/2008, Park West. Last but not least is the session with Jakko represented by the last two tracks Separation (edit) (2:40) and A Scarcity of Miracles (7:32). I think the collaboration with Jakko has given new birth of new Crimson music even though the roots of Discipline is still there, of course.

Overall, this is a very special excellent boxset for me personally. But I do not want to be so biased and becomes very subjective - that's why I put four stars (SOLID) as actually I can put five personally. But it's not fair for those who are not quite familiar with King Crimson. Therefore I think four stars is sufficient. Crimson lovers would definitely love this boxset, for sure. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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