Wednesday, August 25, 2010

King Crimson - THRaKaTTaK


Yes, this is the infamous all-improv Crimson album. To tell the truth, when I listened to this for the first time, I was expecting something completely horrible, but ended up being disappointed anyway. You see, there's just enough interesting instrumentation here for a really unique sound- Fripp's soundscapes, Belew's screechy, scratchy guitar, Bruford's marimba, and even some piano- but the fact of the matter is that the players are rarely on the same page. It's not quite as cacophonous as I expected (you rarely hear all six musicians going at it at once), but it's pretty rare that the musicians' noodling coheres into anything interesting, and the fact that there are as many decent parts as there are is probably just a result of the infinite monkeys theorem.
All of these tracks except the opening and closing renditions of "THRAK" were improv sessions in the middle of live versions of "THRAK," it kind of reminds me of Frank Zappa's albums of guitar solos. However, Zappa's Guitar albums took their solos from a whole bunch of different songs, while the atmosphere on THRaKaTTaK doesn't change much from track to track (I refuse to call these improvs "songs"). Just like Islands two decades before it, THRaKaTTaK is a failure; a unique failure, but a failure nonetheless.

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