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King Crimson

Thrak

Review by Gary Hill

When King Crimson reformed after the 80s period, there were definitely elements of that period still present in their sound. This was heavier, though and almost heavy metal at times. It was often bombastic and even more often dark. This is a great album with various musical themes running through the disc, coming back here and there. This isn’t your father’s King Crimson, but it’s every bit as good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Vroom

Weird old soundtrack music starts this. Then around the thirty second mark it works out to the rocking sounds. Smoking hot guitar merges with the driving rhythm section. Some of this seems related to the music that makes up the basis for “Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream” which appears later on this album. A melodic interlude is heard mid-track and then again near the end. This segues straight into the next piece.

Coda: Marine 475
This showcases the same musical elements and sounds as the previous piece did. It’s another instrumental. The extended outro is a real powerhouse, working through some great sounds while some spoken bits are barely heard over the top.
Dinosaur
Combine this era of King Crimson with The Beatles and some psychedelia. You’ll have a really good idea of what this sounds like. It’s catchy and yet meaty and a little on the odd side. There is a drop back later in the track for some symphonic soundtrack type music. A return to the song proper gives way to a weird little section where guitar makes dinosaur sounds. Then we get more soundtrack type stuff. A little burst of classic Fripp ends it, but some soundtrack music is the real final sound.
Walking on Air
There is really an airy quality to this. It is melodic, mellower and feels quite dreamy in a lot of ways. Yet, it is also intricate and has some great instrumental work. The whole piece is another that calls to mind The Beatles just a little.
B'boom
A weird sonic tapestry serves as sort of a back-drop for a percussion work out. At times that soundscape vanishes to leave just the drum soloing. Even when it’s there, though, this is really a drum solo.
Thrak
Pounding, hard rocking and rather crazed, this is intense stuff. It’s crunchy and incendiary. It’s also trademark modern Crimson.
Inner Garden 1
Mellower, melodic and mysterious in texture, this is slow moving and quite lush, but dark.
People
There is a bit of a funky edge to this cut. I’d almost think of it like a cross between King Crimson and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s high energy and very cool. Yet, it’s also melodic. There are some particularly powerful melodic sections later in the piece, too.
Radio 1
This is just a short bit of atmospheric weirdness.
One Time
I love this melodic modern Crimson piece. It’s so pretty and so powerful.
Radio 2
Here we have another short atmospheric thing.
Inner Garden 2
This dark sounding balladic piece is just a little over a minute long.
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream
I love this song. Parallels to the music from “Vroom” makes up some of the musical concept. Rather than the instrumental modes of that piece, though, this has vocals. It does have more of a rock and roll vibe to it. This is also more melodic and less crazed through part of its duration. There are some seriously screaming sections, though.
Vroom Vroom
Mellow old time music starts this. Then they fire out into one of the coolest jams of the whole disc. This thing rocks like crazy and is very dramatic. We get a repeat of the music themes from “Vroom.” We’re taken out into a cool section from there that makes me think of “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” a bit. This thing gets more of that energized rocking sound from there.
Vroom Vroom: Coda
As one might guess, this is an extension of the same themes heard on the previous piece. It also serves as a good book-end with the opening of the album.

 

 
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