Review Summary: The Beginner's Condensed Guide To King Crimson
In 2004, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary Editions re-releases of King Crimson's back catalog now all on the band's own label, The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson Volume 1 1969 - 1974 was released. In 2005, Volume 2 1981-2003 was released. Both these sets included two discs of studio recordings and two discs devoted to live performances. In 2006, The Condensed Guide was released. It does away with the live recordings and condenses the four studio discs down to two. One of the ways that they were able to shrink this down to two cds was by editing a few of the songs although even on the big sets, some of the songs are different edits as well. Each disc is maxed out to it's total playing time which means that you get about 2 hours and 40 minutes of music here.
The first disc covers the band's more Progressive 1969 - 1974 era while disc two covers the Adrian Belew era from 1981 - 2003. The 1969 - 1974 was actually covered pretty well on 1976's A Young Person's Guide To King Crimson although that release never made it to cd in this country. While this collection has things like 21st Century Schizoid Man which wasn't on A Young Person's Guide, A Young Person's Guide also had fewer edits. Songs were generally shorter in the Adrian era so there are fewer edits on disc 2. On the whole, this is a pretty good collection and gives a good overview of the band's career at that point. The only albums which aren't featured in this collection are Lizard and The ConstruKction of Light. All of the band's past members except drummer Andy McCulloch (Lizard) are featured as well.