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King Crimson - THRaKaTTaK CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

2.77 | 232 ratings

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2 stars This can really get you out there...not.

While touring as a 'double trio', Crimson played at least one improvisation every night of the tour. On this album, they assemble a bunch of these improvisations into an almost continuous free-floating piece. Fripp is mostly playing guitar-synth, not of the old Roland style, which Fripp, Belew and Pat Metheny used for good effect in turning electric guitars into quasi-trumpets, but instead a new slate of wash-style synth sounds. That is, lots of atmospheric background noise, while the rest of the band improv in the more usual Crimson fashion. Of course, occasionally Fripp let's the old Fripp solo rip, but usually only for a short time. And with six musicians, free-style can get pretty muddy fast. The result is an album that doesn't satisfy. There are some great moments here, but for the most part those are just moments, soon to fade into mud, and much of it sounds like atonal noodling. It doesn't really evolve, doesn't build on itself. While some moments in the soloing are great, none of the solos as a whole blows you away. The best tracks are actually the versions of Thrak - the 'real' song that opens and closes this album. Indeed, the best moment on the album for me is the minute-long fade-out of 'Thrakkatak part II' (the second-last track on the album), which is so soft and lulling, followed by the jolt of the beginning of the last 'Thrak' which virtually gives you a heart attack (perhaps where they got the idea for the album name?). Bruford has said he thought Crimson were (or could be at times) a lot heavier than virtually any heavy metal band (whether Metallica, or whatever), and this version of Thrak helps prove it. It is quintessential heavy. But as for the rest of the album, it is tough to listen to all the way through, and not so rewarding, although at times I have done so and (almost) enjoyed it. Absolutely, this is a must for true fans and collectors. But if you played this for your not-yet-Crimson-fan partner, you will definitely scare them away. I give this 4.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to (high) 2 PA stars.

Walkscore | 2/5 |


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