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King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon CD (album) cover

IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 1446 ratings

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sealchan
3 stars In the Wake of Poseidon - King Crimson (3.14 stars) Original Release: 5/15/1970

Songs:

Peace - A Beginning (2 stars) Short a capella song with lyrics either steeped in profound mysticism or bad poetry (the lyrics irritate me actually). The song sets a tone of mystery, in any case, and is extremely quiet which is a set up for the loudness of the openning of the next song.

Pictures of a City/42nd at Treadmill (4 stars) Lyrics paint terse collages of city experiences. The musical phrases sound like themes for a detective-crime story which, then, aptly reflects the lyrics. The images the lyrics paint are direct and unapologetic like our supposed big city crime detective would seem them. There is horror, vice, violence and all those things that a criminal investigator might contemplate. Even the title of the instrumental section, 42nd at Treadmill, sounds like the address given to an officer from the station over a police radio. The instrumental section is introduced via an escalating siren. Next to its brother song "21st Century Schizoid Man" this song is less extreme, more a look at things without interpretation, less angry. The instrumental section dips into the quiet and as it regains volume sounds more like later progressive instrumental passages of King Crimson.

Cadence and Cascade (3 stars) As gently sweet as this song is, the lyrics are absolutely lurid. Apparently this song is about two individuals of unknown sex (I'm guessing a man and a woman) who hire a male prostitute and the various erotic experiences they have as a result. This brings a whole new dimension to this song and also sets it apart from its "sister" song "I Talk to the Wind".

In the Wake of Poseidon/Libra's Theme (4 stars) This song harkens back in musical tone to "In the Court of the Crimson King" with its strong mellotron. Also in the lyrics there is a sense of some strange court where things have gone extremely wrong and order is doomed to decay. The song is similar to both "Epitaph" and "In the Court of the Crimson King" and looks back where as the other songs of length look forward. I am not able to make much sense of the lyrics. But I do enjoy the ITCOTCK- like intense passion that the mellotron helps to bring. The chorus as instrumental and choral combo comes at the end and provides that great catharsis that only symphonic prog can provide. This chorus gradually progresses until it fades away; passionate, sad and powerful.

Peace - A Theme (3 stars) A pleasant acoustic guitar passage as interlude that drains out some of the drama from the passionate tsunami of "In the Wake of Poseidon" and was probably meant to tie together the companion songs at the beginning and ending of the album.

Cat Food (4 stars) Interesting piano, played in a frantic style but with great skill. This complex piano work is the highlight of this dense but light-hearted song. The lyrics seem to describe crazy women and the unfortunate food that they prepare. This song, perhaps, introduces the next original sound for King Crimson since the previous album.

The Devil's Triangle: Merday Morn/Hand of Sceiron/Garden of Worm (3 stars) The song takes almost a full minute before it becomes audible. There is a mellotron progression with march theme on bass. Very reminiscent of Gustav Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War" as I'm sure many have noticed. The mellotron is effective at invoking a mood of fear and despair. Listening to this long progression is a bit like hearing a monster movie theme that was made a bit too scary. The progression ends with a satanic horn blast. There follows a spooky ticking clock, then a return to a manic form of the earlier progression where various sounds arise and fall like the daydream of a madman. The musical circus begins to loose form until a sound effect like a ripple of sunlight reflecting off of water or that sound that you hear when someone awakens suddenly from a terrible nightmare and brings you back safe in familiar surroundings. I imagine that the song as a whole is divided into its three named sections around the clock ticking section which I suspect corresponds to "Hand of Sceiron". Like "Moonchild" on ITCOTCK this song is probably best appreciated with the volume turned up and one's imagination turned on. This song is an intense, laborious journey and not suited for casual listening.

Peace - An End (3 stars) As part of the release from "The Devil's Triangle", this song brings vocals and acoustic guitar together to conclude the album proper. The lyrics are cheesy but annoy me less than those for "Peace - A Beginning". It is also the longest part of this three part ornamental song. If this set of songs was meant help tie together the album as a whole, to help make of it a concept album, then I feel that this effor was unsuccessful.

Cat Food [Single Version][Edit] (2 stars) Merely a shorter version of the album song that sounds unnaturally clipped off at the end.

Groon [Single B Side] (2 stars) Manic guitar and bass and drums; relaxes a bit into a bizarre stroll. Parts of this song reminds me of 80s King Crimson and it is interesting to contemplate how they have more successfully approached this kind of dense composition later. The song seems to loose itself in the middle with some more filled out "Moonshine" like antics. The song is technically interesting instrumentally, but I don't buy into it emotionally at all.

Album: Given some of the struggles that the band was apparently going through around the time of this album, it is not surprising that it seems less coherent, less satisfying. Besides side A being a seeming mirror reflection of side A on ITCOTCK, the album seemed to struggle with three themes, failing to tie them together at all:

1. "In the Wake of Poseidon" theme which harkens back to the fantasy-like mood of ITCOTCK. "The Devil's Triangle" probably also fits best here.

2. The "Peace" cycle, which comes off as random mystical, flower-power fluff.

3. "Hard, crazy life" which features naked, unapologetic views on the real world showing it up to be twisted and violent and bizarre. This is the theme that King Crimson would seem to focus on going forward and was captured well in songs like "Pictures of a City", "Cadence and Cascade" and "Cat Food".

MP3 recommendation:

Four Stars (4 stars) 1. Pictures of a City (4 stars) 1. In the Wake of Poseidon (4 stars) 2. Cat Food (4 stars)

sealchan | 3/5 |

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