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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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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Background - This album was a follow-up after the band's groundbreaking debut album "In The Court of The Crimson King". The making of "Poseidon" was remarked by the wave of change in the Crimson line-up. Greg Lake was ready to accept an offer from Keith Emerson to form a band that later we know it as ELP. Lake was asked to fill the vocal line in the recording of this second album. Ian McDonald (sax) and Peter Giles (bass) left the band and created a collaborative effort under McDonald & Giles. For the sake of recording "Poseidon", Peter Giles was asked to contribute in the album. On sax and flute, the band hired a session player Mel Collins - a gifted musician who in 1969 helped Circus as font man. After the recording of Poseidon Collins was offered by Robert Fripp as permanent member of the band. The band also added jazz piano player Keith Tippet. [1] So, even from this second album, it seemed that King Crimson is like Fripp, Sinfield and friends instead of a group.

Album Review

For me personally, this album's musical quality is at par excellent with its predecessor. The music is dark with a combination of rock, jazz, classical influence and avant-garde. The album opens with an ethereal voice of Greg Lake in "Peace - A Beginning" that also ends the album. The voice is that soft so that when the intro of "Pictures of A City" comes into play, it created a shock impact - volume wise - as we tend to put high volume due to quiet voice of opening track "Peace - A Beginning". This second track comes suddenly with a hard driving rhythm, full of energy music, in the vein of "Schizoid Man". All music instruments, dominated by sax and guitar, form a complex musical textures but they produce excellent harmony. Lake's "almost" distorted vocal - as in the tradition of "Schizoid Man" - enters the scene energetically. I observe how powerful the drumming work of Michael Giles in this track. I absolutely agree with the quote in Record Mirror 16 May 1970: ".,some really incredible drumming - Mike Giles must be one of the best rock drummers around." [2]. The guitar effects created by Fripp create a distorted sound and drastic move from low to high register. Amazingly, this effects have even made the song much stronger in term of sounds and composition. No doubt, this track is a masterpiece!

The band brings us to quieter music with "Cadence and Cascade" in mellow style with classical influence. This time the voice is filled by Gordon Haskell. It opens with a simple acoustic guitar fills followed with Lake-like vocal line. The melody of this track is so catchy and memorable - it reminds me to "I Talk To The Wind" of ITCOCK. Noticeable instruments used despite acoustic guitar and piano is flute. The flute sound played during solo and as accompanying sound of voice line is really catchy. Some vibraphone sounds are also used to accentuate end of the bars. Top notch composition!

The title track "In The Wake of Poseidon" starts of with a subtle sound of mellotron accompanied with acoustic guitar. Again, the band has created a killing melody thru this track. Try to observe how Lake voice enters the music right after opening mellotron sound. Wow! It's so catchy, my friend! It touches my heart really. The soft mellotron sound at background with dominant acoustic guitar and powerful drumming have made this track so great. This track reminds me to "Epitaph" of ITCOCK album. It's not the same. But, the musical nuances created by both of them share similar soul (of Crimson's music). By the way, on drumming, I like the rough sound it produces. Another great composition by the band.

"Peace - A Theme" demonstrates an acoustic guitar work that provides a solid laying ground for the next hard driving rhythm track "Cat Food". Composed in a strange manner, this track projects a perfect marriage between rock and jazz but not in the vein of typical fusion music we've heard frequently. Lake delivers his voice with power accompanied with improvised guitar work and unique piano sound. The bass line is also dynamic and characterize the soul of this track. The music is very original. "The Devil's Triangle" is a relatively long instrumental piece that is suitable for film scoring. The mellotron is used in subtle way combined with piano and sax in an avant- garde style. This is probably the least accessible track compared to other tracks of this album.

Overall Conclusion : It's a masterpiece album. As far as rating I would give a 4.5 out of 5 rating considering the wave of influence this album has created on later development of progressive music. Keep on progging! - GW, Indonesia.

Personal Note : With a current situation of national disaster of tsunami in Banda Aceh city of Indonesian Archipelago where the city has totally ruined; 80 thousands people have lost their lives, the song Pictures of A City seems like a perfect outfit of the situation. It was exactly what the song was all about: "Sinfield maps out a dystopian vision of the modern city, riven with chaos and inevitably down into ruin and loss." ([1] page 89). If last week "Epitaph" was the theme, this week is colored with "Pictures of A City" and "In The Wake of Poseidon". Very sad situation. Sorry for connecting this review with our situation down here in South East Asia. Personally, music (especially prog and classic rock) has always colored my experience through a passage of time in my life. Of course, it's different with your situation.

Reference:

[1] "In The Court of King Crimson", Sid Smith, Helter Skelter Publishing, 2001 (reprinted 2003). [2] Sleeve note of album CD, 30th Anniversary Edition, HDCD, 2000, Virgin Records Ltd.

Gatot | 5/5 |

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