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King Crimson - The Night Watch  CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.46 | 308 ratings

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4 stars What a special thing it is to hear this band perform. So much has been written on these men, the classic line-up here of Cross, Wetton, Bruford and Fripp, that a reputation precedes of such magnitude one wonders if the music will satisfy in its raw form. To the delight of fans everywhere, it not only satisfied but is a set of songs that virtually defines this group. And they in turn define Progressive Rock with capital letters as demonstrated on this 2-disc package taken from an evening in Amsterdam, November 23rd 1973. The pound of 'Easy Money' and Wetton's mournful wailing get right to the matter, and the band rocks alive. Fripp's jazzy side and a mellotron ease open 'Lament' and features a small taste of their penchant for spontineity, a watery guitar for 'Book of Sanctuary' has David Cross' sensitive viola, and this first half is highlighted by the powerful 'Fracture', a mainstay of heavy works, awkward angles from Fripp and precise but joyus playing. Not to mention a brain-burning middle improv section. 'Night Watch' drags a bit but the creepy 'Improv: Starless and Bible Black' abandons all sense of time and finishes the first disc with style. The sounds of the Orient are featured in the pretty and romantic 'Improv: Trio', more a work of modern chamber music than rock, and deep string sounds pull apart 'Exiles' on the open and moody disc 2. Less distracted a performance than, say, 'THRaKaTTaK', this is live King Crimson at both its most glorious and digestable, though the intriguing 'Improv: The Fright Watch' may cause drowsiness. But 'Larks Tongues' Part lll wakes us up and is calmingly familiar after the din, and the crazed sea chanty '21st Century Schizoid Man' ends this essential document from an essential band. Dynamic, unorthodox and mixed perfectly, if you like the mid-era Crims you will love this and for those virgins to this band's true potential, it is a real find.
Atavachron | 4/5 |


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