The Heavy ConstruKction of Light

King Crimson - The ConstruKction of Light
As the grand old men of Crimson merge fluently with antiquity, it is a wonder to hear that they refuse to simply fade away. I too was born into a world where rock and roll was here to stay, but none of its idols was expected to reach 28 years of age. King Crimson — a collective only ever personified by Robert Fripp — show that innovation can continue with age, and that what is great and good in rock and roll can climb beyond adolescent angst and express both the genuine terror and the very real joy of our dizzying world.

After a few years of limbering up in the strange and wonderful double trio, the newer rhythm section of Gunn-Mastelotto work wonders. To oust Levin and Bruford is probably the hardest task in the history of back lines. Especially as neither Levin nor Bruford ever stayed in the back line — given the Stick and the Simmons.

Fripp and Belew remain entirely in tune, and poor, berated Belew carries his multiple burdens as if they were thistledown — lyricist, singer, guitar front-man and polyrhythmic accompanist to Fripp’s exacting flights. Mostly all at the same time. They have spent almost a quarter of a century together — Belew somehow accomodating that withdrawn, logical, sulky powerhouse who has shaken so many less determined souls in his unflailing devotion to the Crimson King.

King Crimson - Heavy ConstruKction
Fripp has been with the projeKct from its inception over 36 years ago. He is one of the most compelling and recognisable masters of the electric guitar. Belew adds to this a truly Hendrix-like appreciation of sound, and a matching ability to construkct it. He is also one of the great rock vocalists, with a fine timbre and immense musicality. Like John Wetton before him, he can rival the saxophone just by shaking his vocal cords. Damn him, he is also one of the very few lyricists who actually writes poetry, and manages so to do in an ever modern idiom.

Sadly, I have been unable to play the free video concert on CD 2 of Heavy ConstruKction, because I cannot get into the King Crimson TV site for my free password. Darn. If I was Fripp, I would probably write a 16-page note complaining about this for the sleevenotes of my next album. Instead, this little grizzle. An email from DGM advises me that the secret password is < Rome >. Another tells me to try it in upper case. But the secret is still absolutely safe with them. Doubtless the ghost of the mellotron still destroying everything it breathes upon.

The ConstruKction of Light is an excellent studio album, fitting together neatly the two halves of this latest Crimson. As is often the case, however, the men excel themselves on stage. Pouring forth the studio material with gusto and gravitas, and adding fine takes from the former Crimson — peak versions of One Time and Dinosaur, for instance. FraKctured has all of the plaintive power of that old marvel Starless. T.S.Eliot would doubtless have invited his friends to tea, so that they could shimmy to this alternately clouting or sweetly caroling interpretion of The Deception of the Thrush. And to all this are added improvisations that allow the virtuosity of all concerned to shimmer forth. Here be guitar solos, undulating bass figures and percussive attack. Long may they reign!

Find out more about King Crimson from their website:

March 2005