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King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon (40th Anniversary Series)

John Kelman By

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Considered a poor cousin to In the Court of the Crimson King (DGM Live, 1969), 1970's In the Wake of Poseidon may possess superficial similarities to its groundbreaking predecessor, but as a 2005 All About Jazz review of an earlier edition suggested, ..."Poseidon also hints of changes in the wind." Part of the second round of 40th Anniversary Series CD/DVDA remasters/expansions of the King Crimson catalog along with 1971's Islands, Poseidon deserves reconsideration for its transitional music, Porcupine Tree founder Steven Wilson's remarkable remixes, and 50 minutes of bonus material which sheds light on the recording process.

Sure, the aggressive electricity of "Pictures of a City," pastoral, flute-driven "Cadence and Cascade," and symphonic expansiveness of the title track—sequenced as the original LP's first side—mirror the same side of In the Court. But side two's funk-tinged blues, "Cat Food," and, most importantly, the epic "The Devil's Triangle," assert a growing improvisational freedom that would expand further, later that year, on Lizard, and on Islands—thanks to the recruitment of British jazzers by Crimson's co-founder, now primary composer, and guitarist/mellotronist/effects man Robert Fripp; in this case, pianist Keith Tippett. Poseidon also marks the debut of saxophonist/flautist Mel Collins, the only member to survive numerous shakedowns to become part of the Islands touring band—Crim's first since the dissolution of its initial lineup in late 1969.

Co-founding Crim, Greg Lake—by this time gone to Emerson, Lake & Palmer—sings, but is replaced by fellow founder/drummer Michael Giles' brother Peter on bass to create a more consistently inventive improvising trio, especially on the four versions of "Groon" included on the DVDA—Fripp's free tune with a convoluted head, living in the same continuum as John McLaughlin's Extrapolation (Polydor, 1969), while still sounding like nobody but the emergent Fripp. Three versions of "Cadence and Cascade" demonstrate a recording studio process of building songs from the bottom up.

But it's the three-part, 12-minute "Devil's Triangle" that is Poseidon's greatest triumph. Using a 5/4 rework of Gustav Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War" as its foundation, Fripp gradually deconstructs and reconstructs it over the course of nearly 12 minutes; its sometimes swirling, sometimes thundering mellotrons creating some of the most nightmarish music in progressive rock history, turned even more chaotic with Tippett's jagged, reckless abandon, and musique concrete devices including a snippet of "In the Court of the Crimson King." Swirling electric piano leads to a reprise of "Peace," a gentle miniature opening the album as an a capella vocal track; later, an acoustic guitar solo before "Cat Food"; and, finally, the two together at the album's conclusion.

Unable to locate the original multi-track tapes for "The Devil's Triangle," the original mix is retained, and and up-mixed to 5.1 Still, between Wilson's remastering, remixing of all but "The Devil's Triangle," and additional bonus material that includes a less instrument-dense rehearsal of "The Devil's Triangle, In the Wake of Poseidon: 40th Anniversary Series is the definitive version of King Crimson in flux.

Track Listing: Tracks: CD: Peace--A Beginning; Pictures of a City; Cadence and Cascade; In the Wake of Poseidon; Peace--A Theme; Cat Food; The Devil's Triangle (part I); The Devil's Triangle (part 2); The Devil's Triangle (part 3); Peace--An End; Groon (2010 mix); Peace: An End (alternate mix); Cadence & Cascade (Greg Lake guide vocal). DVD: MLP Lossless 5.1 Surround and DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Original Album: Peace--A Beginning; Pictures of a City; Cadence and Cascade; In the Wake of Poseidon; Peace--A Theme; Cat Food; The Devil's Triangle (part I); The Devil's Triangle (part 2); The Devil's Triangle (part 3); Peace--An End; Groon. MLP Lossless Stereo (24/96) and PCM Stereo 2.0 (24/48) 2010 New Mix: Peace--A Beginning; Pictures of a City; Cadence and Cascade; In the Wake of Poseidon; Peace--A Theme; Cat Food; The Devil's Triangle (part I); The Devil's Triangle (part 2); The Devil's Triangle (part 3); Peace--An End; Groon. Original 1970 stereo mix, 30th anniversary remaster: Peace--A Beginning; Pictures of a City; Cadence and Cascade; In the Wake of Poseidon; Peace--A Theme; Cat Food; The Devil's Triangle (part I); The Devil's Triangle (part 2); The Devil's Triangle (part 3); Peace--An End. Bonus Tracks: Cat Food (single version); Groon (single b side); Cadence & Cascade Versions: Cadence & Cascade (Unedited master), Cadence & Cascade (Greg Lake guide vocal), Cadence & Cascade (Instrumental take from Wessex studios); Groon Versions: Groon (take 1), Groon (take 5), Groon (take 15); The Devil's Triangle (Rehearsal version from Wessex studios); Peace: An End (alternate mix).

Personnel: Personnel: Robert Fripp: guitar, mellotron, devices; Greg Lake: vocals; Michael Giles: drums; Peter Giles: bass; Keith Tippett: piano; Mel Collins; saxophones, flutes; Gordon Haskell: vocals (Cadence & Cascade only); Peter Sinfield: words.

Title: In the Wake of Poseidon (40th Anniversary Series) | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: DGM Live


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