Monday, August 21, 2017

King Crimson - The Elements Tour Box 2017 (DGMLive, 2017)

When the venerable progressive rock band King Crimson began their 2017 tour, they offered fans another helping of unreleased tracks and rarities, a two disc set containing a mixture of extracts from rehearsals, new live recordings, clips from studio recordings, alternate takes and studio tomfoolery. It's an interesting and compelling set, not one for the uninitiated, but the cognoscenti will be pleased if occasionally flummoxed by the selections. A brief clip of Greg Lake's vocal track from the original "21st Century Schizoid Man" segues into the most recent edition of that band playing an edited version of that iconic song in 2015. Instrumental edits of "In The Wake Of Poseidon" and "Islands" show some rethinking of the band's past, while a crushing live versions of "Easy Money" and "One More Red Nightmare" also from 2015 shows how the current band is reinterpreting the music of the groups past and bringing it fully into the present. There is a nice balance between historical recordings like a manic run through of "The Great Deceiver" and scalding improvisations like an edited version of "Asbury Park" from 1974 and some highlights from the Adrian Below period of the band featuring Steven Wilson's alternate mix of "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and live versions of "Heartbeat" and "Sleepless." The second disc goes into a different direction entirely, featuring all four parts of the "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" composition, and presenting the four in live performances that date from 1975 - 2015. These tracks are interspersed with extracts from a session reel entitled "Keep That One Nick" that show snippets of the band in the studio experimenting with motifs and arrangements. Rounding out the second disc is a pounding version of "THRAK" and a fine contemporary version of "Level Five." I found this to be a very interesting and enlightening compilation, with some excellent examples of the band throughout the years although it is not meant to be a historical compilation (that might best be served by the Frame By Frame box set. While it may feel a little little dated, it is a fine overview of the band's work 1969-1991.) But this particular album should please the fanbase, with a mix of unreleased tracks, live recordings and studio chatter, it goes a long way in helping you understand this most inscrutable band. The Elements Tour Box 2017 - amazon.com

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