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

IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 2020 ratings

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Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars In reviews, "In The Wake of Poseidon" is often overshadowed by its predecessor, "In The Court of The Crimson King" and is subject to stinging criticism. The terms "carbon copy" and "plagiarize", among others, are thrown around unrelentingly and many are quick to judge it. After all, how could King Crimson possibly create an album MORE experimental, MORE provocative, MORE innovative than their pinnacle of a debut?

"In The Wake of Poseidon" reminds me in a way of Greek intellectual Eratosthenes. A brilliant man of his time, he was the first to accurately calculate the Earth's circumference and pioneered adding parallels and meridians to the world map, among other geographical and mathematical innovations. However, Eratosthenes has failed to remain encapsulated in the minds of the modern public because, while he was accomplished at the highest levels of virtually all fields, he only ever became the second most successful at anything he did. "In The Wake of Poseidon" is like that in the sense that its formulaic approach and second-place standing relative to "In The Court of The Crimson King" has made many listeners unable to appreciate its mastery.

Of course, to call "Wake of Poseidon" a copy of "Crimson King" is a stretch; many of the tracks on the two albums had been written around the same time and songs from "Poseidon" had already been incorporated into the band's live repertoire by late 1969. In all reality, the two albums probably could have been released together in 1970 as a double album and no one would have batted an eye, they just would have been mind-blown by the 85 minutes of pure, unrelenting fusion-tinged prog.

Even where similarities lie, they are quite limited. The first side of the album (save for "Peace - A Beginning") is quite similar to side 1 of "Crimson King", with "Pictures of A City", "Cadence And Cascade" and "In the Wake of Poseidon" drawing many parallels to "21st Century Schizoid Man", "I Talk To The Wind" and "Epitaph", respectively. Rather than copy their predecessors, however, these tracks actually improve upon them and perfect them, the chaotic moments more brutal and discordant, the gentle moments softer and sweeter. I've also found myself better able to empathize with the sentiments conveyed by the songs on side 1 of "Poseidon" than "Crimson King" and "Cadence And Cascade" takes me into an unmatched realm of nostalgia.

Side 2 is a whole other beast all together. The formulaic approach often criticized has been thrown out the window by this point. "Cat Food" is new territory for Crimson and "Devil's Triangle" offers interesting new arrangements on Holst. The two remaining "Peace" tracks, along with their side 1 counterpart, also offer a little something that "Crimson King" lacked (i.e. brevity). So to all who overlook "In The Wake of Poseidon", take another listen and think again on your judgements. Anyway, if Robert Fripp released 37 more Crimson Kings and Poseidon's Wakes, you can be sure that any prog lover would promptly march out to the record store and buy 38. Give Eratosthenes a chance!

Magnum Vaeltaja | 5/5 |

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