Category Archives: Music

Atomic Bitchwax

Atomic Bitchwax -II
(2000)

If you find a CD with a cover consisting of scantily clad girls, turbo-charged mustangs and skinny guys with long hair & guitars you may be able to assume this is rock music. You would be right and this trio of Ed Mundell (guitars), Chris Kosnik (bass) & Keith Ackerman (drums) make a lot of noise circa 1974 for three guys. Most reviews call this “stoner” rock. I’m not sure what this means, but to me it’s like an updated Deep Purple with minimal vocals.

From Aural Innovations #15 (April 2001)
This is the 2nd studio CD by Ed Mundell from Monster Magnet. The CD picks up where the last one left off with the band going for a different sound for the guitars as Ed really changed gear this time around. Again, the CD is half instrumental and half with vocals but mostly in the 70’s acid jamming style. The production is very raw and nasty and Ed rips it up all over the place. The opening song Ice Pick Freek is a killer.

I still don’t care much for the vocals of Chris Kosnik, but the guitar riffs are a killer on this release and Ed sure shows that he can play some great guitar. Play The Game has a guest organ player but you hardly hear him. Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule guests on the 4th track, Smokescreen, and plays some killer slide guitar. Ed told me that Warren was to play on two tracks but there was no time. The band seems to have a pretty constant approach to the songs with most songs starting with some heavy riffing, a little solo, vocals, small middle solo, and longer solos at the ends, sometimes fading out.

The Cloning Chamber is an excellent song with a great riff and organ line. Dishing out a heavy dose of tough love borrows a little bit of the riff rom Rock and Roll Hoochie Choo by Rick Derringer! Great song. Well, if you liked the first one, you will love this one. I think it is an improvement but does not break much new ground from the first one, still lots of great ripping guitar and good songs.

The Amazing Esther Stephens

Esther Stephens, who plays Kate Sheppard in the Court Theatre show ‘That Bloody Woman’ also plays Ngaire Monroe in the TV Show ‘Westside’, currently on TV3, Sundays 8:30.

She has a band with an excellent album:
https://estherstephensandthemeans.bandcamp.com/album/esther-stephens-the-means

and Videos on YouTube:
Light in You 
Under You
French Kiss


Also in ‘That Bloody Woman’ are:

Amy Straker sings as Amy Grace on
https://brotherandsistermusic.bandcamp.com/album/caught-in-the-clouds


Phoebe Hurst has a free album:
https://phoebehurst.bandcamp.com/


Tim Heeringa plays guitar:
https://timheeringa.bandcamp.com/releases

 

That Bloody Woman

That Bloody Woman

By Luke Di Somma & Gregory Cooper
Directed by Kip Chapman

song from the show

This is the best show I have seen for a long time (probably since Grease a few years ago). But don’t ask me.. here are a few more who agree….


In Association with Auckland Theatre Company A Christchurch Arts Festival Commission Suffragist, activist and cyclist Kate Sheppard transforms from a face on the $10 note into a feminist firebrand raising hell in this red-hot new rock opera.

Leading the charge to win women the vote, Kate takes on the patriarchy, public opinion and even Prime Minister Richard “King Dick” Seddon. The smash hit of the 2015 Christchurch Arts Festival returns to take a fresh look at one of Christchurch’s favorite daughters brought to life: loud, proud and in your face.


Reviews

Sheppard musical revival is a righteous, rocking instant classic

It all started in a Christchurch tent.

I first reviewed rock musical That Bloody Woman in August last year when it debuted in a speigeltent in front of a couple of hundred people during the Christchurch Arts Festival.

It was immediately obvious that this show was something very special that deserved a bigger life beyond its three-night run in Christchurch.

Since then, That Bloody Woman has been restaged and amped up for a nearly three-week run at the Auckland Theatre Company that attracted rave reviews and sold out houses. Now, it returns to Christchurch for a month-long run at The Court Theatre.

It is a spiritual homecoming for the punk rock musical about Christchurch suffragette Kate Sheppard and her battle to win women the vote in 1890s New Zealand.

I was curious and a little nervous to see how this punk-infused and hand-made musical would transfer to a larger theatrical stage from its speigeltent roots.

I need not have worried. The show is as righteous, witty, vivacious and moving as it was on its debut.

In short, That Bloody Woman is an instant classic.

The transfer to a larger stage with bigger production values feels like a natural evolution for a show that is obviously going places. In the smaller venue last year, some of the rock numbers pinned you back in your seat a little, but in a larger venue the show is able to unfold its wings and really soar.

And soar it does. The infectious, urgent and catchy tunes gave me goosebumps several times, while some of the more moving numbers brought me to tears.

That Bloody Woman is an intoxicating mix of irreverent humour, heartfelt political righteousness and genuinely moving sentiment. Composer Luke Di Somma’s knack for a catchy and enchanting tune is equally matched by playwright Gregory Cooper’s talent for a pithy one-liner and ability to capture history in a respectful but entertainingly irreverent, and sometimes profane, manner.

These rocking tunes and smart lines are brought wonderfully to life by an incredibly talented cast, led by the enchanting Esther Stephens as Sheppard, and an awesomely tight four piece rock band called the Hallelujah Bonnets.

And Sheppard is given a perfect antagonist in the form of Geoffrey Dolan’s Richard ‘King Dick’ Seddon. He is every inch the strutting, bearded, beer-bellied embodiment of the patriarchy Sheppard was fighting to overcome.

This is a show that is unafraid to be both profane and profound as it brings to vivid life the powerful motivations and yearnings behind the groundbreaking suffrage movement.

This is a righteous rock musical with wit, verve, humour and heart. I urge you to see it.

I now look forward to seeing this show soar even higher. It feels ready to take on the world.

Review by Charlie Gates, The Press, Fairfax Media


Erin Harrington Review

Agent 22

Agent 22
(1999)

According to their website, they are opening for the California Guitar Trio.
Tom Griesgraber – Chapman Stick
Jimmy Patton – Two Guitars (at once)
Ryan Moran – Drums & Percussion

They owe it all to the the interlocking guitar themes of the 1980s version of King Crimson. The guitar could easily be Robert Fripp playing. But this group has more of a jazz feel. The production is excellent and reminds me of Manfred Escher’s ECM label. Combined with excellent instrumental compositions, this is a real gem. And all those who have borrowed the CD from me agree.

Djam Karet

Djam Karet – Collaborator 1994
Djam Karet – Still No Comercial Potential 1998
Djam Karet – The Devouring 1997
Djam Karet – The Ritual Continues 1987

This is my newest “find”, a band somewhere between Pink Floyd and King Crimson. The albums are either very ambient, spacey ones (Collaborator) or hard, angular and rockier.

Reviewed by: Stephanie Sollow, April 1999
This latest release by Djam Karet, Still No Commercial Potential starts off with slow burning guitar led track entitled “No Vacancy At The Hotel of Noise.” Guitar led is somewhat of a misrepresentation, because the simple drum rhythm sticks with you long after the track has ended. And throughout I found I was tapping to the same rhythm.

Which is both good and bad, as the next track begins with a subtle ambient passage which continues under another memorable drum rhythm.

This release is a limited edition of 750 containing six tracks of improvised Djam Karet, the longest of which is the closer “Strange Wine From A Twisted Fruit” at nearly 29 minutes. Not uncommon, of course, in progressive music.

This is more acoustic, more stripped down than last year’s The Devouring The pace here is more leisurely, more introspective.

“Twilight In Lonely Lands” (the second track) has a very “World Music” feel to it – which means, of course, that the rhythm track has overtones of either Native American or Aboriginal or African influences. But would we say that about any instrumental track that has drums up front, in a very non-pyrotechnic manner?

The now almost ubiquitous didgeridoo makes an appearance here as well, on the atmospheric “The Black Line”. This track brings to mind this image: all alone on a crisp, clear, pitch black night where the only light is from the pinprick of stars. In the distance you can hear these sounds – frogs and other water creatures gurgling, some strange animal (the didgeridoo) calling out in the night. When the percussion makes its appearance – sounds like kettle drums though I suspect either digitally produced or some other percussive instrument – you come to realize you aren’t alone, but that you are part of some activitiy – almost ceremonial.

“Night, But No Darkness” picks up the pace a bit with its anxious rhythms, guitars skreech quietly here, though with frantic intensity. Not one to listen to if you’re a little jumpy, as this will only highten it. This is what confused fear sounds like. Actually, with a title like “Night, But No Darkness” one can image that the jitteriness of the track is similar to what those in climes north enough to have 24 hours of sunlight go through about halfway through that long period.

This is a very interesting album to listen to, well worth repeated listenings, as one can discover new things each time. As with nearly all – if not all – of Djam Karet’s releases, this one comes highly recommended.

[The Fall/Winter 1998 (#29) issue of Progression has an interview with Djam Karet, circa the release of The Devouring. -ed.]

More about Still No Commercial Potential:
Released: 1998
Label: self-released

Track Listing: No Vacancy At The Hotel of Noise (7:04) / Twilight In Lonely Lands (7:10) / Room 24, Around Noon (8:41) / The Black Line (10:01) / Night, But No Darkness (8:09) / Strange Wine From A Twisted Fruit (28:51) Total Time: 70:32

Musicians: Gayle Ellett – Guitar, E-bow, Organ, Percussion Mike Henderson – Guitars, E-bow Chuck Oken, Jr. – Drums, Digital Keyboards, Percussion Henry J. Osborne – Bass, Didgeridoo, Percussion

Website: www.djamkaret.com

Reviewed by: Stephanie Sollow, August 1998
If you are looking for cool, jazzy instrumental rock, then you need look no further than Djam Karet. The first half of The Devouring would fit the bill. And if you are looking for tight, precise, guitar playing, you’ve found that here, too. Each individual composition is worth an examination in its own right.

The Devouring is Djam Karet’s latest release and thematically it owes a lot to The X-Files. Whether this was intentional or coincidental, I’m not sure, but with track titles like “Night of the Mexican Goat Sucker,” and “Lights Over Roswell” there has to have been some thought of the cult series.

Regardless, The Devouring is a great album, and can truly be called progressive – both in execution and in spirit. “Forbidden By Rule,” the second track in, features some stellar guitar work, but that is really true for the whole album. There is a freedom in not having to following the pop formula and Djam Karet make good use of that freedom – each track here (and on their previous albums) is expressive – almost bigger than can be contained in the song format. There’s a feeling of movement in Djam Karet music, as if somewhere there are visuals to accompany the music – whether a movie or a PBS nature special. Therefore, listening to this, you need merely close your eyes to be transported where Djam Karet want you to go.

In both “The River of No Return” and “The Indian Problem” a dry Southwestern feeling is evoked. In the first, you can almost see and feel, towards the end of the track, sandstone canyons towering high overhead as you float along the…well, “The River of No Return” (I suppose, too, depending on your mood, you might think of the river Styx, or be reminded of Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness).

While guitars (Gayle Ellett and Mike Henderson) dominate this album – the sultriness of “Lost, But Not Forgotten,” or the elegant etherealness of “Myth of a White Jesus”, for example – the bass and drums (Henry J Osborne and Chuck Oken, respectively) provide a solid base from which the guitars can take flight. Even still, Osborne and Oken get chances to show their mettle, most strongly in “The River of No Return” and “Old Soldiers’ Disease”.

While stand out tracks are hard to pick out, at any one moment any of them would apply, as of this review, the ones that have stuck with me are “Lights Over Roswell,” which starts out atmospheric – not unlike Steve Roach, with whom they collaborated with on…um,… Collaborator, and strangely reminiscent of the Babylon 5 theme music – but soon morphs in to a rollicking, funky, bouncy sci-fi tune with just enough otherworldliness to earn its title.

The bottom line is this: go out and buy this album. It is the best thing to come out thus far for the 1997-1998 music year.

More about The Devouring:
Released: 1997
Label: Cuneiform

Track Listing: Night Of The Mexican Goat Sucker (7:04) / Forbidden By Rule (5:55) / Lost, But Not Forgotten (7:45) / Lights Over Roswell (6:44) / Myth Of A White Jesus (4:19) / The River Of No Return (8:47) / Room 40 (8:36) / The Indian Problem (5:30) / The Pinzler Method (4:48) / Old Soldier’s Disease (11:04) Total Time: 70:28

Musicians: Gayle Ellett – Guitars, E-Bow, Organ, Keyboards, Mellotrons, Theremin, Wind Talker, Koto, Birds, and Percussion Henry J Osbourne – Basses, Guitars, Keyboards, and Percussion Chuck Oken, Jr – Drums and Keyboard Sequencing Mike Henderson – Guitars (#1, #2, #3 & #5) Judy Garf – Rhythm Violin (#4)

Website: www.djamkaret.com

The KC Suggestion

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From: “Saturday Saturday” <Saturday@radionz.co.nz>
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thanks – that’s taken me by surprise, must check it out. Chris Bourke

>>> “Nigel Baker” <bakern@inet.net.nz> 04/21/02 01:03 >>>

Here is my suggestion:

The opening to “People”
on the 1995 Album “Thrak” by King Crimson

Nigel Baker
Christchurch, New Zealand

The KC Expansion

Just in case you thought you were alone in liking Fripp & Co,

You can visit the comprehensive web site at :
http://www.elephant-talk.com/

Tony Levin has a web site at:
http://www.papabear.com/

and Trey Gunn at:
http://www.treygunn.com/

Most of Robert Fripps CD’s are distributed through :
http://www.disciplineglobalmobile.com/

And the KC related music I have :

King Crimson

King Crimson ABSENT LOVERS
King Crimson B’BOOM (Live in Argentina)
King Crimson BEAT
King Crimson DISCIPLINE
King Crimson EPITAPH
King Crimson FRAME BY FRAME
King Crimson IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
King Crimson IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON
King Crimson ISLANDS
King Crimson LARKS TONGUE IN ASPIC
King Crimson LIZARD
King Crimson RED
King Crimson STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK
King Crimson THE GREAT DECEIVER (LIVE 1973-1974)
King Crimson THE NIGHTWATCH
King Crimson THRAK
King Crimson THRaKaTTaK
King Crimson THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR
King Crimson V’ROOM

Then in the 1990’s

“The aim of these smaller Crimson projeKcts is to function as R&D for the greater Crim”
ProjeKct Four West Coast Live
ProjeKct One Live at the Jazz Club
ProjeKct Three Masque
ProjeKct Two Live Groove
ProjeKct Two SPACE GROOVE

From Members of the Band:

Belew, Adrian DESIRE CAUGHT BY THE TAIL
Belew, Adrian DESIRE OF THE RHINO KING
Belew, Adrian OP ZOP TOO WAH
Belew, Adrian YOUNG LIONS
The Bears RISE AND SHINE

Gunn, Trey ONE THOUSAND YEARS
Gunn, Trey THE THIRD STAR

Bozzio Levin Stevens BLACK LIGHT SYNDROME

From the God of the Gong :

Bruford, Bill FEELS GOOD TO ME
Bruford, Bill MASTER STROKES
Bruford, Bill ONE OF A KIND
Bruford, Bill (Earthworks) A PART, AND YET APART
Bruford, Bill (Earthworks) DIG ?
Bruford, Bill (Earthworks) EARTHWORKS
Bruford, Bill (Earthworks) STAMPING GROUND
Moraz and Bruford MUSIC FOR DRUMS AND PIANO
(Patrick Moraz of the Moody Blues)

and some of –
YES 90125
YES BIG GENERATOR
YES CLASSIC YES
YES GOING FOR THE ONE
YES UNION
YES YESSHOWS
YES YESSONGS
YES YESTERDAYS

From Robert Fripp’s Crafty Guitar Lessons was formed :

California Guitar Trio Invitation
California Guitar Trio PATHWAYS
California Guitar Trio Yamanashi Blues

Frippian albums by the Guitar God :

Fripp String Quartet THE BRIDGE BETWEEN
Fripp, Robert 1995 SOUNDSCAPES VOL 1: RADIOPHONICS
Fripp, Robert 1995 SOUNDSCAPES VOL 3: THAT WHICH PASSES
Fripp, Robert 1999 SOUNDSCAPES VOL 2: A BLESSING OF TEARS
Fripp, Robert A Blessing of Tears
Fripp, Robert EXPOSURE
Fripp, Robert GOD SAVE THE QUEEN/UNDER HEAVY MANNERS
Fripp, Robert NETWORK

Sylvian and Fripp DAMAGE
Sylvian and Fripp DARSHAN
Sylvian and Fripp THE FIRST DAY
(David Sylvian ex Japan)

Summers & Fripp BEWITCHED
(Andy Summers from The Police. 1 of 2 albums from the 1980s)

Bob also contributed contributed to :

Bowie, David Heroes
Grid EVOLVER
Rimitti Sidi Mansour
Rieflin Fripp Gunn THE REPERCUSSIONS OF ANGELIC BEHAVIOUR
Ten Seconds TEN SECONDS

Even his wife sings :

Sunday all over the World KNEELING AT THE SHRINE
Toyah (Wilcox) LOOKING BACK

The KC Experience

—————— A I V I R T S I N I M D A ———————

Date: Sat, 01 Dec 2001 22:29:21 -0600
From: “Toby Howard” <moderator@elephanttalk.com>
Subject: NEWS: Sid Smith’s new Crimson book is out

Sid Smith’s new book, “In The Court Of King Crimson” is now out, published by Helter Skelter, ISBN 1-900924-26-9.

That’s the news.

This is my comment: I bought my copy two days ago and am REALLY enjoying it.

Toby


Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 22:07:36 +0000
From: “Nigel Baker” <bakern@inet.net.nz>
Subject: Starting KC from 1981
I’m but 17 years old, and got introduced to KC when I was 16 ….
>Ive always wondered what it would be like to discover KC late in the game and THEN discover the rest of the catalogue, especially coming from an 80s/90s frame. I wouldn’t even know how to pose the question as to what the experience is, as, having heard and seen them from the start, amidst such a hugely differing environment (physically and mentally), I’m not even sure comparative grounds exist.
Well, this has prompted me to write my first email to ET.
I’m slightly older than 17… OK a LOT older, and I started
with the 80s material.

It all happened one fateful day in the early 1980’s when browsing
through the bargain bin at a record shop. There was a plain blue LP
with the name of a band I had never heard of. I was curious to know
what a “stick” was and already knew of Bill Bruford.

I was already aware of YES, having purchased the “Classic YES” LP
several years before. This was thrashed to death on a cheap LP player and at a volume sure to annoy the neighbors. It was probably also purchased on a whim due to the Roger Dean cover art.

At the time I thought of YES as just another rock band. I was not aware of “progressive rock”. In fact NO progressive rock was played
in New Zealand that I can recall. To this date, the only KC I have ever heard played on radio was “In the Court of the Crimson King”, and that was years ago.

Anyway, I got “Beat” for $4.99 (about half the price of a normal LP) and immediately loved “Sartori in Tangier” as until then I had never heard of anything quite like it. I spend years trying to find music of bands like KC. I eventually gave up. Around the same time I found Discipline and 2oaPP which I immediately liked.

I found out more about KC from books and discovered they had a past life. Over several years of scouring used record stores I managed to find all the previous studio albums. But I’m still kicking myself for not getting Earthbound and USA when I could.

These LPs tended to stay on the shelf and not get played much. I didn’t like the 1969-74 stuff as much as the 1980s trio. Strangely, it was not until I heard Frippertronics and the ProjeKcts that I could appreciate the earlier material. Now Red is one of my favorite albums.

On reflection, I think it is easier to approach KC from the 1980s albums.
They have the “Belew” songs that at least sounded like a conventional popular song, with a steady beat and verse/chorus/verse structure, a more familiar type and understandable by a non-musician like me. And the rest of the songs were a starting point to atonal music, dissonance and just plain weirdness.

For me, KC were the start of a musical journey back into the past that would end at the beginning of the 20th century with Stravinsky and Edgard Varese.

After 3oaPP and the breakup of KC I assumed it was all over (this was before the influence of the internet) and Fripp had retired. Then, about 1994-95 I was browsing a music magazine when I spotted a review of Thrak. I didn’t know of the reunion, and checked out the record store. I immediately got Thrak, Vroom and B’Boom. Since then I found ET (read every single issue) and now have just about everything Fripp has been involved with.

There is one thing I have always found constant with KC. Usually when I get a new album, I don’t immediately like it. But the more I play it, the more I like it.

Some have mentioned a link between Fripp and Miles Davis. For me there is a definite historical link. I can remember when one of our music shows played the video of “Sleepless,” it was just once, but I still remember it. At that time (mid 1980s) I was interested in searching for different music. When they played the Sleepless video, they also played the video for “Decoy”.

Until then, to me jazz was of two types :
– Big band swing jazz
– smaller bands with lots of meaningless solos where everyone goes
“yeah – right on” before the soloist returns to the group effort (BORING)

Miles Davis’s Decoy was a revelation. At last jazz had a “rock attitude”
and could be appreciated. I am also a Miles Davis fan and have just about all his albums since Bitches Brew.

Question:
I can vaguely remember hearing the opening chords of “Matte Kadusai” used in a BBC production many years ago. I think it was a nature, or possibly a travel TV program. The music was played over a scene on a beach. I cannot find any reference to it in the FAQs. Maybe my memory is fading. This would be 10-15 years ago. Anyone remember ?

Some of you have bean moaning on about getting email on ET, what you can and can’t say etc etc. I have a gripe with some of you out there (I’m not blaming the moderators for this). I just HATE it when someone writes a block of text 40 lines long without double line breaks. A solid block of text is difficult to read. PLEASE break your text up so paragraphs are no more than 4-5 lines long

BTW – are there any other ETers in ChCh, NZ ?

Nigel Baker
Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Heaven and Earth

Projekct X – Heaven and Earth (2000)

Adrian Belew — Guitar and additional ‘V Drumming’
Robert Fripp — Guitar and Soundscapes
Trey Gunn — Bass Touch Guitar and Baritone Guitar
Pat Mastelotto — Traps and Buttons

This release is comprised of jams from The ConstruKction of Light sessions. It’s much better than Thrakattak (1996) which is just a lot of guitar wankery and silly noises.

The main reason it really works is drummer Pat Mastellotto, taking the attitude of ‘get out of the way or follow’.

The sound is cosmic and futuristic, built with an unrelenting tension from the manic electronic driving rhythm pulses.

He contrasts Bill Bruford’s cerebral attack, creating a new KC that’s has an electric energy and trippy, organic subsonic stomp. Stick player Trey Gunn, really anchors the bottom end with a snake-like prowess; winding and driving against Pat’s dominating beats.

Mastellotto’s performance is scarily propulsive and far more congruous with this style of the material than ever before. Instead of using an electronic kit to merely replicate the cymbal washes and snare pops of an acoustic kit, he uses sampled sounds to his advantage, using spontaneous studio jams to retrospectively create arrangements that embrace the dark, electronic trance pulse of the digital age, while at the same time retaining the angular improvisation.

Everyone else is just there to fill in the void.

As labyrinthine as the roadmaps were for previous albums, they were still roadmaps; and often laden with guitar parts recognizably descended from territory of the 1980’s lineup.

Here Fripp and Belew shed the calculated straitjackets and let roar like never before. It is a true window into the age-old Crimson manifesto of attempting to control chaos.

‘Superbottomfeeder’
Is a big blast of Pat and Trey hitting the low end while Fripp & Belew riff over it all.

“Heaven and Earth”
Is the best track, having a more composed form and structure. It begins quietly, but soon morphs into a strong groove by the rhythm section.

This a favorite album of mine because of it’s unrelenting crazy crackling energy.

 

Three of a Perfect Pair

King Crimson – Three of a Perfect Pair (1984)

Left side:
1. Three of a Perfect Pair
2. Model Man;
3 .Sleepless
4. Man with an Open Heart
5. Nuages (That Which Passes)

Right side:
1. Industry
2. Dig Me
3. No Warning
4. Larks? Tongues in Aspic III

Other side:
1. The King Crimson Barber Shop
2. Industrial Zone A
3. Industrial Zone B
4. Sleepless (Tony Levin mix)
5. Sleepless (Bob Clearmountain mix)
6. Sleepless (Dance mix – F. Kervorkian)

Adrian Belew – fretted and fretless guitars, lead vocals
Robert Fripp – guitar, frippertronics
Tony Levin – bass, backing vocals, stick, synth
Bill Bruford – acoustic and electric drumming

This is the KC album I remember waiting for. Checking the music store weekly until its release in NZ.

To coincide with the release, the band set off on a Japanese tour (as can be seen on the Neal and Jack and Me DVD) at the end of the same month, followed by a lengthy tour through the US and Canada, culminating in a pair of concerts in Montreal in July (immortalized on the Absent Lovers album). The album and tour were the final recorded and live statements for the 1980s band, with the various members returning to their solo interests immediately afterwards.

It’s an experimental and unique album that brings 80s contemporary influences into the mix, while also staying true to King Crimson’s legacy of unforgiving vision.

Three of a Perfect Pair
One of the most radio-friendly song by the band to date. The guitars lock in together rather than teetering on the edge of falling apart. There is a steady beat and some of Adrian’s best lyrics.

She is susceptible
he is impossible
they have their cross to share
three of a perfect pair…
he has his contradicting views
she has her cyclothymic moods
they make a study in despair
three of a perfect pair…

one, one too many
schizophrenic tendencies
keeps it complicated
keeps it aggravated
and full of this hopelessness
what a perfect mess…

Model Man
Might be an eighties new wave ballad. It pulses along nicely with minimal frippertronics and a great chorus.

Look at the signs
Look at the symptoms
Look at the slight
Calm before the storm

I feel the silence
I feel the signals
I feel the strain
Tension in my head
Well, what more can be said…

Not a model man
Not a savior or a saint
Imperfect in a word
Make no mistake
But I
Give you everything I have
Take me as I am…

Sleepless
Another great Belew song will a nice call/response between the string players. It is best known for its distinctive opening bass-line which features Tony Levin slapping on the strings to create its pulsating beat. It came from Levin’s habit of tapping the strings in rehearsal as well as at sound-checks. The 2001 re-release features several different versions of the song. The opening bass-line has been used as the show theme for Australia’s RAGE program, since 1987. There was a video made of the song for MTV.

In the dream I fall into the sleepless sea
with a swell of panic and pain
my veins are aching for the distant reef
in the crush of emotional waves…

alright, get a hold of yourself
an’ don’t fight it, it’s over your head
it’s alright, the rumble in your ears
it’s alright to feel a little fear
an’ don’t fight it, it’s over your head
it’s alright, you wake up in your bed…

silhouettes like shivering ancient feelings
they cover my foreign floors and walls
submarines are lurking in my foggy ceiling
they keep me sleepless at night…

hey, can you picture the sight
the figures on the beach in the searing night
and the roaring hurt of my silent fight…
can you pull me out
of this sleepless night
can you pull me out?…

Nuages
brings with it a shift. Building off a beat with electronic pads from Bruford and some Frippertronic noises, it gradually builds into a darkly ambient, floating piece with odd guitar solos from Belew.

Industry
rolls in slowly. Frippertronics take centre stage over a barrelling low end from Levin and Bruford’s shifting rhythm. More modal experimentation, with outbursts from the rhythm section that seem uncertain, sudden, jarring. A distorted guitar fades in threateningly, moving inside and out of the pounding rhythms, now completely maniacal. The piece builds and builds, slowly, but soon all tentativeness is lost. It is marching right out of the speakers at us, coming for us. Soon even the guitars begin to hide in the shadow, screeching and sliding away from the madness.

Dig Me
hearkens to days of yore, with a whacked out guitar rhythm and a rhythm section that sounds like it’s just struggling to keep up, with metric and modal shifts uncertainly off-centre with one another, a disturbed vocal melody that swings in all the chaos, a song on the verge of falling apart completely.

Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part III closes the album well, opening with frenetic Frippian guitar work and moving into an updated interpretation of the old theme from the classic 70s album of the same name, Bruford’s rhythms feel at home in this twisting instrumental, menacing in the right ways but more willing to have fun than the previous versions. More interlocking guitars create off-balance harmonies. Still, it’s just not quite as powerful as the 70s conceptions.

The 80s lineup had lasted less than four years – recording three studio albums and undertaking numerous tours.

This final piece of that studio output is augmented with extra tracks including all of the mixes of Sleepless, two slabs of electronica and the band’s only recorded excursion into barber shop quartet vocals complete with humorous lyrics “We’re the King Crimson band, we don’t do 21st Century schizoid Man..’ Ultimately, a King Crimson lineup including all four members of the 80s band, would perform Schizoid Man, but that would have to wait for another decade.