Monday, September 6, 2010

Taking more time off

I'm having a lot of trouble getting inspiration as of late, so I'm going to take another hiatus- this one indefinite. It's just like I have a sword of Damocles over my head with my blog updates, and I'm just worrying about them all the time. I feel like I need some more time off so I don't go crazy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

King Crimson - The Power to Believe

7/10

The Power to Believe, like some of the albums that preceded it, is a bit derivative of Crimson's earlier albums, but it's still a decent listen. Level Five is another reincarnation of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, but this one has a lot of interesting sounds that weren't in any of the other versions, while The Power to Believe II evokes the gamelan songs from the band's 80's work. Some parts of this album are startlingly effective, though- the a cappella intro is amazingly good, with its effective use of a vocoder, and Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With is a laugh riot, poking fun at the formulaic verse-chorus-verse patterns that make up so much of popular music. (It's also one of the few times since the Sinfield era that I've felt that the lyrics in a King Crimson song weren't just a throwaway.) Dangerous Curves is a pretty duff track- it's all buildup with a less-than-enthralling denouement- but what really prevents this album from getting a higher grade is that nothing here sounds that new. Most of the stuff here is fine, but just like Three of a Perfect Pair and The ConstruKction of Light, it's pretty much a rehash of earlier Crimson albums.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

King Crimson - Level Five

6/10

This is a live album that was only released at merchandise booths on Crimson's 2001 tour. It contains two songs that would show up on the band's next studio album, an orphaned improv session called "Virtuous Circle", two old songs, and a hidden track at the end. It's not too surprising that this was a minor release, as there's a definite stopgap feel to it- that said, it's perfectly enjoyable, but it's hardly an essential live album, especially given the scale of most of Crimson's live documents (in particular, this seems small and insignificant next to Heavy ConstruKction).
Unless you really want to hear the early versions of "Level Five" and "Dangerous Curves" or are a total Crimson completist, this album can be safely skipped. There's nothing really wrong with it, but there's really no compelling reason for its existence.