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King Crimson - The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson Volume Two: 1981-2003 (4CD Box Set) CD (album) cover


King Crimson

Eclectic Prog

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1 stars There is one serious problem with this CD set: It is not by King Crimson. Robert Fripp's pretensions to the contrary, King Crimson has not existed since 1974. If, as Fripp claims, there is a special sort of spirit, a kind of "musical watermark" that makes a band "King Crimson", then it seems to me that taking a band called "Discipline" in 1981 and changing its name to "King Crimson", quite likely because of record company pressure, does not a "King Crimson" make. What happened, I wonder, what mystical revelation suddenly enlightened Fripp that "Discipline" was actually King Crimson? One would think that that should have been obvious from the beginning. Yet, that band was not called King Crimson. Fripp got it right the first time: It never should have been so called.

II would add that, for anyone who has truly experienced, felt, and understood the intensity of the real and only King Crimson, that of 1969-1974, it is almost axiomatic that no band that contains Adrian Belew could possibly be King Crimson.

Report this review (#68447)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Every once in a while you will hear voices going up, that any band with Adrian Belew at the helm, and calling themselves King Crimson, cannot be considered the real thing. Well, I'm sorry guys, but by now (as of July, 2007) this particular band has roamed the planet for over a quarter century, so perhaps it's time you faced up to reality. I've seen footage of both the 1972-1973 band and the 1995 band, and to all ends and purposes the classic Crimso spirit was as alive in the Nineties as it ever was in the Seventies! And for all I know, it is still going strong.

How good is this collection as a portrait of the post-1981 band, though?

To cut a long story short, the 1981-1984 incarnation has been represented fairly, but not necessarily better than on FRAME BY FRAME, an earlier box set which is still available secondhand, and which has the considerable advantage of including loads of 1960s/1970s Crimso.

Post-1994 KC has also been represented splendidly, but one wonders if it actually deserves two full CDs - the same amount of space that was allocated (on VOLUME ONE of THE 21st CENTURY GUIDE) to the 1972-1974 band, an incarnation which is far more important from a historical point of view.

Report this review (#130523)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Both this box set and Volume 1 were irresistible when I was first collecting King Crimson as it featured excellent live versions of their classics without having to buy heaps of separate live CDs. This second volume features the next wave of King Crimson but is nowhere as good as volume 1 featuring their classic first 5 albums.

The difference in the bands music is apparent when comparing this to volume 1 but it was a new sound they were going for with new themes and musicality. Having not owned any of the Krims CDs after their early years, I found this compilation very helpful to complete my collection. It features all of 'The Power to Believe' virtually and the best of Discipline, 3 of a PP and Beat. The live CDs are excellent and they sound great, better then original versions most of the time.

The exhaustive booklet is fascinating and laced with pictures and info on the Krims.

The box set is a nice addition to any Krimsonites collection and is very useful along with volume 1 to get a good solid understanding of the bands history.

If you are new to the band here is an excellent starting point along with volume 1. Not as good as the first volume, but still features some very good tracks from these legendary progenitors of jazz fusion and eclectic prog.

EDIT: Wow, I was harsh giving this only 3 stars, since then I have really grown to love this more recent era of the band and this features the best available from all those albums so 4 stars is warranted. Furthermore the live material is absolutely stunning, so this proves the band have the power to grow on a listener over a period of time. This is an excellent addition to any prog collection, though not the masterpiece material of volume 1 of course. King Crimson addicts can rejoice that these box sets are available!

Report this review (#224282)
Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Definitive collection for King Crimson's second string of incarnations

The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson was issued as a follow-up to 1991's 4-disc compilation Frame by Frame. The Guide consists of two 4-disc "volumes", each containing two discs of studio material, two discs of live material, and a comprehensive booklet on the band.

The tracks - handpicked by Mr Fripp himself - are not only representative of the band, they effectively replace the need for the individual albums. Discipline and The Power to Believe (considered the two best albums of KCs later years) are represented nearly in full. The better tracks from their hit-and-miss albums Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair are accurately culled as is the foray into the 90s material.

As with Volume I, the selection of live tracks is impeccable. Disc 2 of the collection is mostly pulled from Absent Lovers, the definitive live document for 80s KC (the remainder of the disc being a sprinkling of unreleased tracks). Disc 4 is a combination of live stuff from VROOM VROOM, Heavy ConstruKction, and EleKtriK, as well as a sampling of ProjeKcts One and Two.

Great collection, that, grouped with Volume I, covers the entirety of KC's career. An adequate replacement for the individual albums for all but the most die-hard fans.

Report this review (#232314)
Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | Review Permalink

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