King Crimson - ProjeKct Two - Live groove - 1999


The first dish seems a simple one. Too light maybe? Not if it comes from the projeKct kitchen. We must not forget that experimental soup is cooking in this one. The truth is that the appetizer was quite strong, as the cooks have been carried by a brilliant idea.


This is a priori the more controlled part of the menu. A studio reference already existed over which to place a point of reference. "The Space Groove" of projeKct Two was recorded during a three-day session at the end of 1997 in Adrian Belew's studio. It supposed the first view of the projeKcts and the bewilderment on the future of King Crimson: tremendously spontaneous, colorful, flexible music, far from that of "Thrak". It is often absurd to describe the music, but it sounded somewhat like a water container covered with an opaque plastic, with a frog jumping inside from time to time and producing spasms in the surface of the plastic. It may appear to be absurd but it is necessary to recognize that the appetizer of the menu has been very strong and that it is not the first time that a meal produces hallucinations, maybe because of the pepper.

The formation continues being that of Adrian Belew playing electronic percussion and, as usual, Trey Gunn with the Touch Guitar together with Robert Fripp –of course- .Now they offer the live project from two brief tours in Japan and the United Kingdom. That Robert Fripp is certainly a lunatic is not a surprise for anyone, but he knows what he does and he has seasoned the dish with a spice that explodes in the mouth. It is called Sus-tayn-Z and it is touching, tense and melancholic at the same time. It consists of the more beautiful and brilliant Gunn-Fripp duo in the menu, creating a moment of absolute beauty in the anyone that listens to the CD. It defines the first plate quite well: enough improvisation, use of technology and more control on the music that the chaos of the first projeKct. That is to say, the premise of improvisation is still there, but the second project sounds more square, less convoluted. In spite of what may seem, it is not cold. Maybe the studio released suffered a little but in concert, as expected from K.C., it is full of power.

Being alone, Trey Gunn and Robert Fripp take the whole “non rhythm” weight of the band. Their understanding is so absolute that they seem as one. Sometimes we come to think who is playing what in each moment? We continue to notice the warm timbre of the Touch Guitar in front of the histrionics of Fripp, but sometimes everything is diluted in one. It is necessary to highlight that Trey Gunn is less concentrated in the bass registries or in the rhythm section, giving the quite clear impression that projeKct Two uses sampled basses, sequencers and rhythm patterns that Adrian Belew possibly controls with his "V-drums". It doesn't sound so “canned” as projeKct Three or Four but certainly there are not wood sounds anywhere. Trey Gunn processes his voice with the "talker", ideal to create environmental tension. Fripp uses his immense arsenal of harmonisers, "mega-delays" and effects to experience with sound (by the way, the marimbas and the MIDI pianos do not fit perfectly in the style of Fripp), to support his traditional expression, as well as to make his soundscapes, quite few in this case. The support to new technologies on the part of Crimson is clear. In fact, Adrian Belew's electronic set is the last best thing in electronic percussion with MIDI support. The truth is that Belew excels with the instrument. It would be absurd to compare him with Bruford or any progressive drummer because their work is very different. He uses electronic drums -that don't stick exclusively to the percussion but also to the melodic side-. He contributes a great originality and character to projeKct Two, having decided with courage not to use the guitar that is his native instrument –apart from the fact that in the projeKcts it is forbidden to sing. Finally, if he had not been willing to make this change in role, the projeKcts may have not existed, according to Fripp. Summarizing, he plays very well.

The CD moves amongst the indescribable lyricism of the "Sus-tain-z" (as a curiosity, in the guitar jargon, the quality that defines the maintenance of a note in time is called "sustain", so the name sus-tain-z is quite funny), the calm but sinister touch of "The Deception of the Thrush" -with a Robert Fripp filled with elegance giving lessons of harmony on real time-, the aggressiveness of "Heavy ConstruKction" (they are learning to use very appropriate titles) – the frog and the container of "X-chayn-jiZ" and "Light ConstruKction", lots of Fripp sound ("Contrary ConstruKction"), cacophonous moments.... and an amusing version of the famous instrumental fragment of "21st Century Schizoid Man" that some will hate and others will find funny, a small joke.


An enriching second plate, more informal and shameless than the appetizer. Can the projeKcts be included in the progressive or symphonic music genre? Maybe being a purist, even depending on interpretations about the suffixes of the words, they are the most progressive looking for the new things. Is that true? Does it continue being rock? What is clear is that K.C. continues being exquisite as much in the musical as in the gastronomic side of life. Maybe too exotic, but with a superlative elegance. A nice indigestion.

author - date - rating - label

César García - May 2000 -   - Discipline Global Mobile