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King Crimson - THRAK CD (album) cover

THRAK

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.67 | 1078 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars OK, I must admit that I always overlooked a bit the official Mk4 line-up debut album, because I had the Vrooom preview and thought it was enough, until I recently chanced on this album and scored it very cheaply. Ok, the main frame of Thrak is included in Vrooom, albeit in different versions, and a lot of the 9 tracks not included in the "EP" are mostly eery instrumental interludes like the Inner Garden and Radio pieces, but there is indeed more to it than that. With such an abstract artwork as these, there isn't much that can be said about the album peripheral informations since the line-up is exactly the same

Opening on the Vrooom track (almost half as long as in the EP) and continuing on the Coda Marine with some whispering vocals, we're definitely more in the LTIA (the track) soundscape than in the 80's Discipline sonics, but with the 90's line-up including the typical Levin bass and the percussion/drum duo. The always apt Dinosaur track is the first sung track, and again is more in the 70's than 80's mould, despite Belew's unmistakably recognizeable voice. Of course there are many 90's moments as well, and the mid-tempo title-Thrak (also almost half as log as ts EP counterpart) is the living monster proof with some screechy guitars and occasional huge bass surge. A bit surprisingly (or not, depending), the soft ballad Walking On Air doesn't sound very Crimsonesque except for the typical Frippian guitars. The drum-dominated B Boom is a lengthy interlude where eerie screechy string-scratching emerge once in a while the Inner Garden vocal interlude is an intro the rapid People, which is one of the more recognizable track of the band's 90's repertoire. The two short Radio electronic interludes sandwiches the One Time tune (this time longer than its EP counterpart), which is a rather delicate ballad, but not quite as soppy as Walking On Air. The Drink Dream piece is more of a mix of the 90's heavy soundscape with their 80's nonsensical pop-rock, but is also one of their harder-sounding track of the present album. Of course, you'll have guessed that the two closing Vrooom tracks are reprises of the opening theme, the latter coupled with Coda.

Sooo, now having had time to analyse both versions, it's quite obvious that the official album is more complete, but the EP version has its undeniable arguments, so if you're a Crimsonoid creature, you'll have to jump on both versions. Personally, while the Mk4 line-up is in great part an augmented version of the Mk3 of the 80's, I much prefer the present version, with an greater amount of sonic possibilities, especially with (and despite) the double-trio format, which I think wasn't fully exploited. (See what Ornette Coleman did with his double rhythm section, for ex). Anyway a very solid album, especially if you liked LTIA. .

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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