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PETER SINFIELD

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Peter Sinfield biography
Peter SINFIELD is probably the best lyricist ever. Nobody has been able to transmit such intense emotions with words. Only his first work, "In The Court Of The Crimson King" deserves this title. It goes from the panic and history of "21st Century Schizoid Man" to the sadness and anger of "Epitaph", the criticism of the stupid ness of the Hippy movement in "I talk To The Wind", or the private and intimate love and passion of "Moonchild". An amazing and unbelievable work that he continued over the years, lets mention his irony in "Happy Family", the isolate ness of "Islands", the lascivity of "Ladies Of The Road". Just amazing how far away he has been able to go in the transmission of so many different emotions.

He was considered a member of KING CRIMSON (1969-1972) although he never played or sang a single note with them, he just take care of the lyrics and the lights at the live shows. Beside this he has worked with such important people in the history of Progressive Rock as EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, PFM or ROXY MUSIC. But his influence has trespass to other areas of music, as he has composed material for such known artist as CHER or CELINE DION too.

He has only edited an album, Still of his compositions and poems. He revisited twenty years after with some friends, and just watching the list of collaborators you will have a sharp idea of who Peter SINFIELD is.

: : : The Schizoid Winkler, SPAIN : : :

Other releases:
1979 In A Land of Clear Colours (with Brian Eno)

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3.63 | 45 ratings
Still
1973
3.30 | 26 ratings
Stillusion
1993

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PETER SINFIELD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Still by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.63 | 45 ratings

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Still
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by SonomaComa1999

2 stars REVIEW #7 - "Still" by Pete Sinfield (1973). 06/09/2018

Pete Sinfield is perhaps best known for being the chief lyricist on the first four albums of eclectic prog giant King Crimson, from 1969 to 1972. While he never had an on-stage presence with the band, opting rather to conduct the band's light shows from backstage, he is responsible for gifting us the masterful penmanship of songs such as "21st Century Schizoid Man" or "In the Court of the Crimson King." Going on to write lyrics for the prog super-group Emerson, Lake, & Palmer as well as Rock Progressivo Italiano icons Premiata Formeria Marconi, Sinfield's influence on mainstream progressive rock is profound, and for the most part he has received due respect for his contributions to the genre.

As the first generation of King Crimson came to an abrupt close, a power struggle had emerged between Sinfield and guitarist Robert Fripp, both of whom were considered the leaders of the band. Seeking new directions for the group's music, the ideas of the two musicians clashed most notably on the 1972 "Islands" album which fluctuated between delicate, artsy prog and chaotic, dissonant rock en route to one of the band's less well-received albums. Following the album's corresponding tour, Fripp opted to take the initiative and promptly fired Sinfield along with the rest of the band. While this move was brutal and severed the relationship between the two, it led to King Crimson's reincarnation in 1973 with the masterpiece "Larks' Tongues in Aspic." That same year, Sinfield pursued a short-lived solo career, which culminated in the album "Still", which features several Crimson alumni alongside a slew of other guest musicians backing up Sinfield, who indeed plays some music himself on the album.

The musical approach of Sinfield is obvious; a delicate folky style seen on Crimson works such as "Formentera Lady", "I Talk to the Wind", or "Islands". He does not take any insane musical risks on this album, and I would consider it to be almost easy-listening in many places. That being said, Sinfield shows off his impressive lyrical talent on the opener "The Song of the Sea Goat", which is a reworked rendition of the guitar and string parts from Vivaldi's Largo from Concerto in D major. His way with words is to put it bluntly, impressive. From the beginning of the song the exotic and imaginative lyrics are extremely descriptive whilst being incredibly pretentious. Backing up Sinfield on this piece is a lineup which is taken straight out of King Crimson - the current Crimson bassist John Wetton makes an appearance, alongside session keyboardist Keith Tippett on piano, Mel Collins on flute, and Ian Wallace on drums. While this piece does not strike fear in a listener's mind, it is an altogether beautiful ballad which is the immediate highlight of the album. I am personally not a fan of the following piece "Under the Sky", which was in part written by multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald of King Crimson (and Foreigner!) and stays rather abstract and mellow. I could even consider it relatively psychedelic in the hushed vocal style of Sinfield - to be honest he does not make for a great vocalist, as we will see on the more active pieces on the album. His voice is only really geared to the very fragile ballads such as "Sea Goat". "Will It Be You" comes up next, and is a much more alluring European country-style piece which reminded me a bit of the shorter ballads that Pink Floyd put on their "More" and "Atom Heart Mother" albums. I've always liked this approach to prog, with the Stravinsky-esque guitar works of Yes guitarist Steve Howe being one of my greatest pleasures in the genre. I was left confused at the next track "Wholefood Boogie", which is a humorous piece that draws on Sinfield's healthy diet - it is a rather upbeat and rocking tune that exposes the weaknesses of his vocals. Both musically and lyrically this piece does not impress me; it feels like a really obvious filler track, so I quickly moved onto the title track, which opens up with some spoken word parts by Sinfield amidst a rather psychedelic background. I was almost ready to chalk this one off as another dud until the music broke out and the vocals of the great Greg Lake serenaded my ears. One of the greatest voices in prog, Lake can handle the higher ranges with ease, and combined with Sinfield's wonderful lyricism, it makes to save this track and end the first side of the record on a decently positive note. I wouldn't consider "Still" to be a highlight of the album, but Lake's guest vocals do a lot to keep me interested as we reach the halfway mark.

Side two opens up with "Envelopes of Yesterday", which is a retrospective diss track against Robert Fripp and the power struggle within King Crimson which ultimately resulted in the exodus of Sinfield from the band. Ironically enough, Wetton is featured as a bassist on this song, despite the fact that at the time he was an active member of Fripp's band. I believe that Wetton was also a session bassist for the band similar to Tony Levin before he became an official member, so there were some inherent ties to Sinfield present, but the circumstances of Wetton's featured appearance here are definitely strange. With all that said, "Envelopes" is a fine piece which is a bit on the long side at six minutes, and Sinfield continues to make use of fine lyricism to launch jabs at the eccentric guitarist. I do not think that he nor Fripp have been in contact since the first generation broke up in 1972, so I guess there is still some sort of bad blood between the two, but even then both musicians deserve their due respect. Moving on, "the Piper" follows as another brief folky intercalary - I view this piece as a fusion between "Sky" and "Will It" from the first side, with the former's vocal style and the latter's tempo being expressed here. Sinfield delivers his lyrics like a poet, but apart from the initial soft impression, there is not much else that this piece offers. "A House of Hopes and Dreams" comes up next as a longer and more interesting piece, while still retaining the rather mellow ballad theme, which I admit is starting to become tiring at this phase of the album. Sinfield made it clear that he intended his album to be soft and easy to listen to, and while it certainly has its moments, I can only truly stand so many similar ballads before it gets awfully repetitive. The music tries to erupt on this piece, and honestly it has a rather alluring instrumental coda featuring some sax - also reading the liner notes Greg Lake is also credited with playing electric guitar on this tune, which is an interesting tidbit. "Still" closes off with "the Night People" which brings back together some more Crimson musicians. This time future Bad Company bassist and former King Crimson vocalist Boz Burrell makes an appearance alongside Wallace. It is on this song where Sinfield's vocals sound most vulnerable, with it at some parts sounding something like the Wicked Witch of the West. It sounds like there is some element of distortion accompanying his voice, but it ultimately comes off as sounding very amateur. Maybe he was trying to be like Greg Lake from "Schizoid Man". That being said there is an uncanny amount of music going on here relative to the rest of the album, and alongside "Sea Goat" might just be the proggiest work to come off the album. It does not seem that Sinfield was targeting a strictly progressive approach, and therefore the "prog-related" moniker is frankly deserved here. Mel Collins makes one last hurrah on the album as the wind instruments help intensify the song. Another thing I noticed here is that Sinfield's music might just have too many vocals, which to me causes just a bit of an overload. Don't get me wrong, his lyricism is great, and perhaps is one of the best in the genre altogether, but at this point in the album I have been exhausted by it, and its delivery here is wrong. Unlike the rest of the album, this tune ends in a flurry of jazzy noise, which in turn concludes the entire album.

Pete Sinfield's sole studio album is an interesting listen. It definitely allows us to contrast the musical directions of Fripp and Sinfield as a means of seeing where King Crimson could have possibly gone, but ultimately Fripp's visions prevailed decisively, as "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is now considered a prog masterpiece and "Still" is left obscure and only tread upon by the most devout Crimson fans. It did not mean that Sinfield's career was over, as he was responsible for penning lyrics for other successful prog acts, but if there was any sort of competition between Sinfield and Fripp, the latter outright demolished the former. There are some sporadic moments on "Still" which might be worth listening to if you were a huge fan of the "Islands" album, most notably "Sea Goat" and "Envelopes", but otherwise there really isn't much to see here. Those good moments are really overshadowed by much more filler, which really does not warrant a good review of the album. It is definitely interesting to see the rest of King Crimson sic Fripp come together to help Sinfield produce an album, and there are some cool guest appearances, but I would only really recommend this album to fans of a very specific and obscure period in King Crimson's history. There are some okay takeaways which lurch the album into the two-star range, but "Sea Goat" is the only song really worth your time here. My ultimate review of this album is a two star (68% - D+), saved largely by the fact that it didn't get too mucked down with filler.

 Stillusion by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.30 | 26 ratings

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Stillusion
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars (Note: Stillusion is the same as Still (1973), only with changes in track order and a couple of unreleased but good songs.) As McDonald & Giles (1970), the only album by the ex-lyricist of King Crimson gives the listener glimpses of what that band could have sounded like without Robert Fripp. And indeed in Sinfield's case you can use the word curiosity: where else have you even heard him singing? For those who appreciate KC's darker and edgier side over the soft and romantic side (such as 'I Talk to the Wind' from the debut), probably consider this album spineless and dull. And if it's vice versa, you'll find a very charming pastoral work.

Sinfield's technically uncertain voice (approximately on the same level as Anthony Phillips but far better than Steve Howe as a singer) is warm and tender and it suits nicely to the calmer songs (ie. the majority of the album), but on the rockier ones its restrictions come disturbingly audible. The majestic track 'Still' features the strong vocals of Greg Lake which brings some spine and helps it to become one of the highlights. Album may have a couple of weak songs with a slight country rock flavour, but mostly it's very elegant, sort of feminine in nature, with beautiful, artistic arrangements comparable to that 'I Talk to the Wind' -style King Crimson. The guest list is impressive featuring many KC members (past or present), probably Mel Collins, John Wetton and Greg Lake (the co-producer with Sinfield) more important that over a dozen of others listed. Very recommended for friends of peaceful singer-songwriter stuff with art music elements. By the way, there's a song melodically based on the same Vivaldi concerto section that Steve Howe plays on his second solo album (1979); Sinfield's emotional adaptation works very well.

 Still by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.63 | 45 ratings

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Still
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Pete Sinfield - Still (1973)

This King Crimson related record is the sole album of lyricist Peter Sinfield who wrote the lyrics for the first four Crimson albums, some ELP albums and some Italian progressive rock bands. On this album Sinfield not only writes the lyrics, but also shows his more then reasonable vocal capabilities and he plays 12-string guitar and synth. He also wrote most of the material, being helped by McDonald (also ex-KC), Brunton, Jump and the well-known Mel Collins (who's wind-instrument are a great contribution). The line-up of 'Still' has some recognizable names, to name a few; Greg Lake, Mel Collins, Keith Tippet, Boz, John Wetton and Ian Wallace. Let's face it; this is almost like a King Crimson reunion (albeit without Robert Fripp himself).

With not much written about this album and little knowledge about what to expect I must admit I was seduces by the amazing sleeve and artwork of the record. The painting on the cover (by Salumith Wulfing) 'The Big Friend' is one of the best in my collection.

The result is a symphonic folk album with some compositions leaning towards jazz (think of Cat Food). Sinfield has a high-pitched an vulnerable vocal sound, but his voice sounds quite majestic with the reverbs and symphonic land-scapes. The King Crimson influences are all over the place, mainly the dedicated ballad style (think of I talk to the Wind) and long symphonic chord progressions. 'Still' is however a less confronting record and on songs like 'Will it be you' and 'Wholefood Boogie' there's some space for humor and country vibes. Songs like the opener 'The song of the Sea Goat' (and many more) represent the beauty aspect of the album, which for me is the main attraction. It's all about that majestic symphonic beauty that's so easily disrupted, luckily this album has a nice amount of successful tracks.

Conclusion. A nice album I can recommend to fans of early King Crimson and symphonic folk (with that majestic feel). I think of it as the rightful celebration of Peter Sinfield's lyrics inspiring the whole progressive rock community. Three and a halve stars.

 Still by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.63 | 45 ratings

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Still
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Peter Sinfield is best known as early King Crimson's member (even if his contribution was only their song's lyrics, some covers design ideas and light during their live shows). But he was involved in some unknown musical projects still before his collaboration with King Crimson as well.

This, his only solo album, was recorded with help of many present and future King Crimson musicians - Greg Lake, Mel Collins, and John Wetton between others. Peter Sinfield is not only lyrics author, he sings and plays keyboards and guitars.

Whole album is very melodic, dreamy and folksy one. Sinfield isn't a great vocalist, but his lyrics and participation of great musicians build a nice atmosphere. Keit Tippett ,Mel Collins and brass section gave a jazzy feeling on some songs. More prog-folk, than Crimsonian music, this album is really pleasant addition to serious King Crimson collection. Could be interesting to early folksy prog lovers as well.

My rating is 3+.

 Still by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.63 | 45 ratings

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Still
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Peter Sinfield - the only member of KING CRIMSON no-one ever saw on stage !!! Peter's role in Crimso was manifold - not only providing the vivid and imaginative lyrics/poetry to go with the amazing music, but also handling the stage sound and lighting and was up-to-date with the (then) contemporary fashion trends (now don't you think every band should have a 'Sinfield' in tow ?!!....) Sinfield had left the Crimson King sometime in late '71, and in 1973, recorded and released this magical slab of vinyl, 'Still', on E.L.P.'s Manticore label. Featuring well known Crimsoners Mel Collins, Boz Burrell, Ian Wallace, John Wetton, along with Greg Lake and avante pianist Keith Tippet and a roster of lesser known compatriots, the album offers a wide array of ideas and styles, never sticking to any set genre. Sinfield's thin and nasally vocals are as accessibly polite as they are eccentric. Going through, what I consider as the choice tracks - 'The Song of the Sea Goat' is a lovely string-synth driven symphonic piece based on a Vivaldi composition (Four Seasons, I think) and is one beautiful crescendo lasting 6 mins to an emotional finale. Tippet's tinkly piano runs feature on this track. Title song 'Still' is a Sinfield and Lake duet that's nothing less than magnificent, ranging from the atmospheric sections of Sinfield's poetic recitals, to the uplifting verses sung passionately by Lake. 'Envelopes of Yesterday' (where Wetton contributes some Fuzz-Bass) and 'The Night People' (with the Wallace/Burrell rhythm section) are longer cuts that are reminiscent of 'Islands' era Crimson. The remaining songs are all lyrically descriptive, and musically light and enjoyable - 'The Piper' is full of Fairy-Tale imagery, 'Wholefood Boogie' is quirky and fun, 'Under the Sky' is dreamy and innocent, 'A House Of Hopes and Dreams' is as close to a 'normal' Rock-Song as the album gets and on 'Will It Be You?' Pete throws in a good dose of C&W, with its upfront slide guitar and the cheezy tones of a 'Woolworth's Organ'. In 'Sounds' magazine, Sinfield speaks of 'Still' - 'People should have realised I was doing something that was very unviolent and very unsurprising..........I wanted to do something that was not exactly muzak but was something pleasant on the ears'. I think he succeeded. 4 stars.
 Stillusion by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.30 | 26 ratings

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Stillusion
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Even if some Crimson friends were joining for this single and only Sinfield album, this can hardly be compared to the work of the band.

The mood is very tranquil, almost folkish at times. This version is a re-edition of the original album released some twenty years before and for an unknown reason, the sequence of the songs has been almost completely changed.

Two bonus tracks are available as well: the opener "Can You Forgive A Fool" which is very much pastoral and features some pleasant keys. The second one "Hanging Fire" is a candid and folk acoustic song. Not really what one could have expected while looking at the musicians performing here.

Some jazzy atmosphere for "The Night People" which is the longest track of the album. It features a fine middle part and ends up in some sort of Crimsonesque section. The worse track here being the country style "Will It Be You". Absolutely dispensable. And the rocking "Wholefood Boogie" is no better.

I far much prefer "The Piper" which definitely relates to the soft moments from "In the Court.". Which is also to be noticed in the following track "Under The Sky" featuring some fine fluting and light sax work.

It seems that the best numbers have been placed right one after the other, but late in this running order. The third one in a row being the crescendo-type "Envelopes Of Yesterday". But the best of this album is IMO the very melodic "The Song Of The Sea Goat". A beautiful and sweet piece of music with magnificent flute and superb keyboards. A poignant number. Just as "Still" featuring Lake on vocals.

There are some pleasant moments but nothing from the other world on "Stillusion". No real highlight either (except "Sea Goat"). The album is really saved thanks to its second part.

Three stars.

 Still by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.63 | 45 ratings

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Still
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The word charming comes to mind everytime I hear this lovely recording, understanding very clearly that this is not for everyone. In fact, many dislike Sinfield's lyrics as being way too quirky and overblown : "The Seagoat casts aquarian runes through beads of mirrored tears" does definitely stretch the boundaries for those you are comfortable with "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" or "da, da, da" or "life is Life, dada dadadada". But in retrospect , his penmanship was unique, different and luxuriant to say the least. "Song of the Seagoat" is an alltime fave with a beautiful melody inspired by Vivaldi's Four Seasons and with Keith Tippett's cascading piano. "Under the Sky" evokes KC's "I Talk to the Wind" both gentle uplifting ballads both co-penned by Ian MacDonald. The next two cuts are tinged with a pseudo country feel with a lyrical nod to KC's "CatFood". The title cut is an achingly memorable power ballad where Sinfield's delicate poetic voice is overtaken by Greg Lake's majectic segue, perhaps one of his most imperial vocal performances ever ("Ceasars and Pharaohs"). Goosebumps every time. "Envelopes of Yesterday" evokes hints of the "Islands " period and "Piper" remains in a very folkish vein. "House of Hopes and Dreams" is another winner with a great brass propelled finale. The final cut is more mercurial with Mel Collins putting in some memorable blasts on sax augmented by "gargoyles chewing on wet cigars" . Though not as musically accomplished as In The Court, In The Wake , Lizard or Islands, this one-shot personal musical postcard has withstood the test of time nicely and remains a mystical companion forevermore. 4 prophetic heroes
 Still by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.63 | 45 ratings

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Still
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by freebird

3 stars I first heard this album many years ago, I was a big fan of King Crimson, so I thought I would try it out, but its more like pure Folk than Prog. Unfortunately Pete Sinfield is better at writing the words than the music, so it is alot softer & simpler than KC. I am not sure why this album rates higher than the CD release "Stillusion" which is the same except for a different order + 2 extra tracks. (I've heard the CD re-release, the 2001 version does not seem to have the EQ problems) Tracks #2 & 9 are the best on the album, more prog than the others. #2 "Under the Sky" was co-written with Ian Macdonald, former Keyboardist with King Crimson, while #9 "Night People" had Mel Collins, who played Sax in KC, co-writing. Tracks 3 & 4 are more jaunty folk numbers, with "Wholefood Boogie" sung about Pete's dietary beliefs (he's a vegetarian). The title track is good but a little unusual, with Pete reading Poetry in the beginning then Greg Lake singing Vocals at the end. Pete Sinfield got many of his old bandmates & associates to help him, with Keith Tippet playing piano or bass on some tracks & John Wetton, Boz Burell played bass on some others. On the whole not a bad album, but only for those who like more mellow folk music. If you want to read Pete's poetry check out his website songsouponsea.com
 Stillusion by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.30 | 26 ratings

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Stillusion
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by jim_coctea

4 stars I first came upon this LP very many years ago; I was enthralled then and remain to this day (and most likely far beyond). I have quite a few pressings of this; the Pink LP, Blue LP, Stillusion CD and now the Japanese CD Gatefold 24bit Remaster (these disks are bloody excellent). So one would think that from this list I do have some affinity to the music. My first listen was as a very young impressionable hippy type back in 73, as I had been a King Crimson person I could not believe my luck. This is a gem, one of those rare moments back in the times of real music (don't know where the Prog thing came from) when the convergence of themes times and artistic development, just was there...

This does take some concentration but then what music Peter was involved in does not. Some might think this music lite, I can assure all that this is not the case; Sinfield was (is "Still") an accomplished musician. This music takes time but very worthwhile.

Get the 24bit RCA Victor and just go with it. jim

 Still by SINFIELD, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.63 | 45 ratings

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Still
Peter Sinfield Prog Related

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It was interesting to listen what kind of result comes from the musical vision of King Crimson's court lyricist and its musicians without the presence of Robert Fripp. Peter had left the group in bad circumstances, and I believe the lyrics of the fine song "Envelopes of Yesterday" are about this event. John Wetton also played bass on that song, so maybe during the touring and recording breaks of Larks' Tongues in Aspic he secretly visited Command Studios and played on song criticizing Mr. Fripp. I had slightly contradictory feelings about this album, as it has many really wonderful tracks in it, but also some quite terrible among them. Luckily there's only three in my opinion poorer songs against six really excellent tracks, so the scales turn to favorable direction.

The A-side of the album begins with the "Song of The Sea Goat", which is an arrangement of Antonio Vivaldi's "Largo" movement on the famous concerto for guitar & string orchestra in D major. Also Steve Howe has been playing this tune on his solo record and at concerts of Yes. The arrangement here is also successful, and Peter's lyrics are truly astonishing; He is really a master in creating intelligent metaphors and beautiful poetry, and it's a pleasure to even just read his lyrics from the gatefold sleeve without listening to the music. The following "Under The Sky" is also a nice song, tumbling carefully upon ethereally shimmering divine pastures. The album's title song has Peter dictating a poem and Greg Lake singing in the verses, these gentlemen uniting in deep philosophical contemplations.

The B-side starts with earlier mentioned "Envelopes of Yesterday", a minor key moody piece growing with power, perhaps even frustrated anger. Following "The Piper" is a quiet folk music oriented pastoral, painting a portrait of kind little elf with an acoustic guitar and a flute. "A House of Hopes and Dreams" is also a fine and emotional song with great lyrics, which synthesizing perfectly to the dramatics of the music. The last track "Night People" sounded quite irritating to my own ears, though the message of it possibly has a point. Peter is not a very good singer, and especially this tune shows it up quite clearly. But his voice fits well on the more tender tracks, and I admire his courage to put himself front honestly to his creation. "To sleep calmly with confidence among the jaws of the beast", like it could be seen from the album cover illustrations.

I would recommend this to the fans of the jazzy phase of King Crimson, and I consider it a worthwhile album to check out for those with different kind of tastes too. I got my vinyl copy of this with blue colored borders. I have read somewhere that Peter changed his mind on the original pink color when the pressings had already begun, so there are copies with both colors in the markets.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Eetu Pellonpää for the last updates

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