Review Summary: What results from these experimental mixes is not rooted in King Crimson's deranged rock, nor in any electronica category you'd care to throw at it.
Whether anyone likes it or not, the 21st century Crimson output wears Pat Mastellotto's third eye on its sleeve. While so many O.G. fans busied themselves griping about Mastellotto's failure to act as a ghost drummer for Bill Bruford, they managed to miss exactly where Mastellotto was headed with his own vision. Sure, his transition into the Crimson consciousnesses-stream was a little rocky with The ConstruKction of Light
(2001), but by 2003's The Power to Believe
, he'd undermined the entire masterplan of Bruford's cerebral attack, morphing it into a new beast altogether with electric energy and a trippy, organic subsonic stomp. Along with visionary Stick player Trey Gunn, the new-millennium Crimso rhythm section exhibited a snake-like prowess; winding and turning with mind-numbing nuance, yet suffocatingly powerful.
This release is comprised of jams from The ConstruKction of Light
sessions. While that album's poor reception is understandable in regards to its repetetive nature and the obliteration of themes with odd approaches to melody and harmony, it is undeniably rich in vision. The sound is cosmic and futuristic, built with an unrelenting tension from manic electronic hits and driving rhythm pulses. That same vision is explored here in greater detail, where Mastellotto finally takes the reins and formulates a release so organically Crimson in spirit that any Crimsonite who scratches his head in response was probably missing the point from the beginning.
What really makes the key difference here is a lack of any attempts at structure. As labyrinthine as the roadmaps were for ConstruKction
, they were still roadmaps; and often laden with guitar parts recognizably descended from the same sort of sinusoidal dual terrorizing as the ol' 80s and 90s lineups. Here Fripp and Belew shed the calculated straitjackets and let roar like never before. It is a true window into the age-old Crimson manifesto of attempting to control chaos. Merged with the instrumental disarray, Mastellotto's inclusion of altered vocal samples from studio conversations in tracks like the disorienting "Conversation Pit" offer a peek into the chaos of the creative process for a band as agonizingly visionary as KC.
Mastellotto's performance is scarily propulsive and far more congruous with this style of the material than ever before. Instead of using an electronic kit to merely replicate the cymbal washes and snare pops of an acoustic kit, he uses sampled sounds to his advantage, using spontaneous studio jams to retrospectively create arrangements that embrace the dark, electronic trance pulse of the digital age, while at the same time retaining the angular improvisation. What results is not rooted in King Crimson's deranged rock, nor in any electronica category you'd care to throw at it. It simply is Projekct X. It simply is King Crimson.