King Crimson: Thrak

1995 album featuring three of the current line-up.

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For the absolute KC completist, this album will also be issued as a 12-CD box set with additional DVD and Blu-Ray discs, featuring single edits, concert material, remixes, etc. This edition is the standard one, remixed by bandleader Robert Fripp and current KC frontman Jakko Jakszyk, providing a boon for old-school stereo buffs.

Even in the newer-school tinny MP3 format, the power of Thrak is evident. It features the “double trio” line-up: Adrian Belew and Fripp on guitars, the latter also casting nets of Mellotron across tracks like Coda: Marine 475, Tony Levin and Trey Gunn doubling up on Stick, and Bill Bruford and Pat Mastelotto on percussion, duking it out entertainingly on B’Boom.

Dinosaur is among the standouts, its sarcasm presumably intended; prog could hardly have been less fashionable in the mid 1990s. But Fripp & co make no attempt to pander to the mores of the Britpop/grunge era, rather plough their own, fierce furrow on the likes of VROOOM VROOOM, interlocking and interacting with formidable discipline rather than gratuitous frills (actually, Fripp was strangely anti-prog in his emphasis on a certain compact density).

There are pleasing balladic interludes also; Inner Garden I is like chancing on an atrium in a modernist skyscraper, while Walking On Air hovers somewhere between Bryan Ferry and Hendrix’s Little Wing.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.