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King Crimson - Three of a Perfect Pair CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.28 | 1395 ratings

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4 stars This is the third of the 3 King Crimson albums from the 80s that everyone likes to lump together into a series. "Three of a Perfect Pair" however is almost as different from any of KC's albums as any of them. With "Discipline" you got the new KC sound, and even though it experimented around with the new sounds which was actually a conjoining of the different styles and sounds the artists had been exploring on their own. You get a more metallic sound with that album and Fripp and Belew are working out their new almost industrial style with their twin guitars. With "Beat", you got a more accessible sound, thought it was still new and unique, the band was getting comfortable with their sound. But with ToaPP, everyone was comfortable and ready to expand and experiment.

ToaPP starts with the side of the album called "Left Side", which is the more accessible part of the album that was a bit more like the previous album, but with the band feeling more secure in their sound. The beginning track, which is the title track, is the best of the tracks on this side with a sound close to "Neal and Jack and Me" from the previous album, and a perfect song to open the album with. There are 4 songs in a row here that are of the more accessible style, but you can hear the band itching to really show off what they had been experimenting with even though there are tastes of this sound in these four tracks. Finally, when it comes to "Nuyages", the experimentation really starts. You can hear the Frippertronics meshing well with Belew's monster sounding guitar and it works well. This track is the first instrumental on the album and is more of an ambient sound with minimal percussion and more atmospherics.

The next side of the album is called "Right Side" and starts right where the "Left Side" left off. Atmospheric noise and more Frippertronics, but this time it all comes together as Levin's bass starts calling everything together and it finally touches off a rhythm this time around as the whole band joins in full force. The track is also an instrumental and once the rhythm settles in, it takes off quite nicely. "Dig Me" is the only track on this side with vocals, and it is rather noisy and disjointed (on purpose) as it beings with Belew doing spoken vocals with the lyrics until he gets to the chorus and starts to sing and that is when everything suddenly fits together, that is until it falls apart again. "No Warning" is another instrumental, but is quite noisy with Fripp's monstrosity guitar playing against Belew's screeching guitar and we get to hear them be tortured of a bit over 3 minutes, but its all good noise. Levin and Bruford improvise also and it is nothing like an automatic rhythm section as they both go crazy on their own. Also, if you listen closely, you will hear what sounds like the guitars repeating the words "No warning". Last but definitely not least on this side is "Lark's Tongue in Aspic, Part 3" which takes the idea from the previous two episodes and melds it all together with the new style, and it works well. Almost halfway through, the beat gets heavy and drives everyone into a frenzy of amazingness and ingenuity. This is great stuff and I love it as much as any of the KC albums. The organized noise and experimental sound is actually what drove me towards exploring KC in the first place.

Those that got the 2001 reissue were pleasantly surprised by some bonus tracks, enough music here to make up what would be know as "The Other Side". To start this one off, you get the "King Crimson Barber Shop" which sounds like Fripp, Bruford, Belew and Levin singing accapella barber shop music which is funny in and of itself, but it is actually just Levin doing all the voices with the help of a harmonizer. After this brief silliness, there are two very experimental noise tracks that are a foreshadowing of where the band was going to go with the upcoming Projekcts. I still love these tracks because it is amazing the sounds they can get out of the twin guitars. These are not melodic tracks at all, but are in reality avant-garde and experimental. The last three tracks are 3 different remixes of "Sleepless" which are all okay, but quite similar sounding, and were added against the wishes of the band.

I know there are many opinions of this album, some great and some not, but that is understandable. This sound was quite a bit different from anything the entire band had been involved with before, but it served as an introduction to the Projekcts, mostly improvised and experimental music and sound collages, which I still find quite interesting because I love the sound that can come out of their sessions. Anyway, I give this a 4 star rating. I like it better than the other 2 80s albums, but the 3 remixes tend to bring down the entire album, even if they are bonus tracks.

TCat | 4/5 |


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