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King Crimson - Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct) CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.52 | 39 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I was privileged to see the so-called Crimson ProjeKct in concert, before they adopted their current and more obvious composite moniker. At the time it was actually Tony Levin's STICK MEN supporting the ADRIAN BELEW POWER TRIO, with the two groups joining forces only during the extended 'Crimtastic Encore', quoting the breathless ad-work for the gig I attended, in October of 2011 (this set was recorded eighteen months later, and half a world away).

On paper the conglomerate band presented a lo-calorie update of the King Crimson "THRAK"-era double trio, combining two drummers (one acoustic, and the other Pat Mastelotto, plugged into his usual battery of digital traps and buttons); two bass players (assuming the Chapman Stick qualifies as a bass guitar); and two lead guitarists (neither one named Fripp). But in practice the ersatz ProjeKct was little more than a high-salary covers band, devoted exclusively to KC live repertoire from the '80s and '90s, right down to the expected fan-favorite encores of "Red" and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part II".

All good stuff, to long-standing Crimhead like myself. And yet there's lingering whiff of exploitation conflicting with the more adventurous KC "way of doing things" (in Mr. Fripp's oft-stated words). A cynic might even accuse the new band of cashing in on the Crimson King's name and reputation in order to attract more customers.

The original fractal ProjeKcts of the late 1990's were all about research and development, two objectives conspicuous by their absence in these recordings. Earlier Crimson gigs were notorious for sailing deep into uncharted waters, with the musicians daring the audience to follow. This new ProjeKct never takes the same risks, individually and/or collectively making no effort to adapt, interpret, or even remotely re-imagine the material.

But maybe that wasn't the point. Maybe, instead of thinking forward, the band was only configured to celebrate its legacy, while packing as little creative baggage as possible. Likeminded fans can certainly enjoy the album on the same, skin-deep level. But those of us with higher expectations for all things Crimson would rather see a group of this caliber stretching their musical tightrope a little higher off the ground.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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