What does it sound like?:
‘Let’s make a hit waxing….’ Thus spoke Robert Fripp in June 1969 in the sessions for this seminal recording. Well, in the event they achieved something far better, producing music that is still as valid fifty years later as it was on the day he spoke those ironic words. But wait, wasn’t there a fortieth anniversary Steven Wilson edition of this ten years ago? Indeed there was, but as technology and Wilson’s skills have progressed, what better time to revisit this masterpiece. So what’s different about this new set, comprising three cds plus a bluray disc I hear you ask? Well, for a start there are completely new mixes by Wilson, in both stereo and 5.1 (including bonus material), plus a full set of very revealing instrumental mixes, that really highlight the intricacies and complexity of the playing.(Incidentally, this is the debut of this album in bluray format, and the disc’s capacity means all the three cds plus lots more material in various mixes is easily accommodated, along with the lone surviving film fragment of their debut Hyde Park show.) There’s also an alternate album with some different versions of the familiar….a hybrid 21st Century Schizoid Man combines the Morgan Studios instrumental take with vocals recorded by Greg Lake a couple of months later at Wessex Studios, together with 2019 overdubs by Mel Collins and Jakko Jakszyk. Really, there are just so many highlights it’s impossible to list them all, but I’d pick out an extended duo version of I Talk To The Wind, an isolated vocal take of Epitaph, showing what a great vocalist Lake was, and a June ’69 version of The Court Of The Crimson King. There’s also a super booklet with sleeve notes by Crimson scribe Sid Smith, whose exceptional 2001 biography of the band is soon to be available in revised and expanded form. Obviously a set like this isn’t aimed at the casual listener, and by the way, all this material will also be available on next year’s box set, The Complete 1969 Sessions, for those who want to hang on and get every last note that was recorded. However, while there is some considerable cross over with the 40th Anniversary edition, there are more than enough changes, new mixes and indeed new material, to make this a worthwhile purchase – overall it easily eclipses the previous versions.
What does it all *mean*?
On its release, Pete Townshend described the album as ‘an uncanny masterpiece’. He wasn’t wrong!
Goes well with…
Listening intently and absorbing every nuance of an album that still sounds as innovative and groundbreaking today as it did half a century ago.
Might suit people who like…
Definitely one for KC hard core devotees only!