King Crimson - Heavy Construkction - 2000


A situation that nowadays can be normally seen is a group presenting a new studio album and a few months later a new live one. The first possible explanation for that is the commercial and financial side of their success, whereas the second one would be the exploitation of all possible live recordings on CD. However, knowing the large amount of King Crimson bootleg CD's on the market, DGM has followed the right strategy by issuing good concerts with nice presentations. It is also necessary to mention that most of the time those recordings are mainly focused on collectors rather than on people interested in studio albums.


Now, and after the irregular critics that Fripp and Co.'s last album, "The ConstruKction of Light", received, I think that there is something that is clear with the release of this new live album: we are in front of a renewed band with an own personality and sound. We won't make a discussion to see if the double trio was better or not, this lineup has to be judged on its own and not comparatively. Those who attended a concert during King Crimson's Y2K European tour may confirm why I don't make a mistake evaluating this CD the way I am doing it.

It is true that recording a triple album including only the material included on the last one would be quite difficult, and that's why we can find some songs from the band's previous albums in "Heavy construKction": "Sex, sleep, eat drink, dream", "Cage", "Vrooom", "One Time" or "Dinosaur". In every single case, the music does have great new energy. Nothing negative to say about it. As for the more recent themes, they are skillfully interpreted: "Into the Frying Pan", "Larks Tongues in Aspic IV", "Prozac Blues". Definitely, they seem to have a life of their own on stage, more vivid than in studio. There is just one detail that can be criticized and it is the fact that some pieces were included a few times, but I also think that there is another point that can explain this situation and it comes from the logic of the recordings themselves: there are several improvisations in the style of the ProjeKcts that make connections between the different parts of the album. That gives a different sequence to the themes and, thus, repeating songs can be part of this logic based on improvisational continuity. By the way, it is necessary to mention the inclusion of a great piece that was taken from the ProjeKcts and that is performed here: "The Deception of the Thrush".

There are some very important things that have to be said about this live collection: first of all, Adrian Belew's "unplugged" interpretation of "Three of a Perfect Pair" just with his acoustic guitar. Marvelous. I have always been impressed by the fact that this man plays some very difficult parts and sings at the same time. Second, there is a cover. In 30 years of existence, it seems to me that the only cover versions that King Crimson had done were just in concert and with the first group that included Lake and McDonald (Donovan's "Get thy Bearings" and "Mars", taken from Gustav Holst's oeuvre "The Planets"). This time we find David Bowie's "Heroes", a version that has a strong Crimson sound without ever losing its original Bowie feeling (remember that Fripp was part of the original recording of "Heroes" along with Brian Eno). Splendid version. Ah! And there is also a small fragment of Lennon-McCartney's "Tomorrow Never Knows". A third detail is Pat Mastelotto's presence. In concert he does confirm his membership to the band. Many people didn't appreciate what he did on "The ConstruKction of Light", they even thought that there was something missing. Indeed! What was missing was hearing Mastelotto live, it is there that he shows why he is part of King Crimson and that he makes an excellent rhythm section along with Trey Gunn.

Apart from the music, the second CD includes a 45 minute video taken from the concert that the group held in Rome on the 23rd of June. Personally, when I first saw it I had the impression that I had stayed for only 10 minutes in front of my computer. This is a very good example of what the group's 2000 tour was.


Before finishing, I think that if I had to define "Heavy construKction", I would do it the following way: "It is the point in which the ProjeKcts and King Crimson become one single entity and show the best part of each other at once". It is not an exclusivity for collectors or for die-hard fans as many other concert CD's, "Heavy construKction" is an excellent album from which I didn't expect that much and that truly amazed me.

author - date - rating - label

Enrique Gómez - June 2001 -   - Digital Global Mobile