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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 2040 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the album that had to do the dirty job of following the groundbreaking "In the Court of the Crimson King" - some album had to do it, anyway. I am amongst those who enjoy "Poseidon" more than " In the Court", mainly because it feels more cohesive as a whole, and also because there is a higher degree of musical diversity and frontal energy. Taking a closer look to details, it is obvious that Fripp, without McDonald by his side and Lake and Giles having become just session partners, took his chances with the first part of the "Poseidon" repertoire. He made it pretty much parallel to its "In the Court" counterpart, and in some ways the new stuff can't seem to stand the comparison. 'Pictures of a City' is not as nerve-cravingly incendiary as the emblematic '21st Century Schizoid Man', the poetic beauty of 'Cadence and Cascade' doesn't equal the eerie magic of 'I Talk to the Wind', and the title track is not as compelling as the ravishingly majestic 'Epitaph'. But on the other hand, the way I see it, the three following observations can't be disputed: 'Pictures' exposes a more mature approach into the realms of jazz rock; 'Cadence' displays a genuine glimpse of serene melancholy in its bucolic motif, creating an irresistible intimate ambience; and 'In the Wake of Poseidon' shows some of Giles' best drumming ever, a Lake possessed by passion on his sung parts, and a very brilliant Fripp on acoustic guitar, too. Generally speaking, Sinfield has grown as a lyricist, becoming more Baroque and multi-referential - a factor that helps the band to enhance and organize more properly its artistic ambitions. It was Lake himself who kicked off the album with his vocal solo version of 'Peace', approaching like a soft rivulet before 'Pictures' starts bursting out like thunderbolt. The same motif is picked up by Fripp's classic guitar for the start of the second half of the album: in this instrumental version, the evocation becomes less romantic and more solemn. Then comes a not so solemn jazz-oriented ode to fast food, which is ruthlessly regarded by Sinfield as "not even fit for a horse". The sensual mood provided by the instrumentation is given a burlesque twist by both the lyrics and the R'n'B melodic lines: pianist extraordinaire Keith Tippett displays his mastery in full swing, offering a top-notch companion to Fripp's guitar leads, while Giles continues to be as brilliant as always. This piece was co-written by McDonald, so you can tell for sure that the band was actually going toward the direction intended during the last half of 1969, regardless of the fact that the original line-up was slowly falling apart and became practically non-existent for the recording of "In the Wake". Next comes the instrumental master opus 'The Devil's Triangle', pretty much based by Gustav Holst's "Mars", but developed in a more dramatic way, becoming quite sinister, wicked, aggressive, and for the last section, massively dissonant and chaotic. Nowhere before now had the mellotron sounded so devilish: it's almost unbelievable how its magnificent, oppressive walls-of- sound make the martial rhythm pattern fade into obscurity in many passages, and also blanket a guitar solo or two. The final moments are a pure manifestation of sheer destruction and the mayhem that comes with it. But immediately after the concluding cascade of mellotron flutes, here comes a final moment of reflection: the second reprise of 'Peace', performed by the marriage of Lake's voice and Fripp's classical guitar, gives a message of hope for recovery and reconstruction. In conclusion, "Poseidon" manages to surpass "In the Court" by following partially in its footsteps and taking the band's ideology to a further level - 4-4 stars for this gem.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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