This 2-CD set was recorded back last year on April 10th in Tokyo, Japan at the Billboard in which they did two shows with special guest, King Crimson violinist David Cross. Originally the live recordings were released as a double set in Japan only. This year, it is now released via MoonJune Records and produced by Markus Reuter for Unsung Productions with a limited release of 1,000 copies.
When you put the CDs on, it is for me, imaging yourself being at those shows in Japan being in awe of the trio and Cross himself as they embark in sinister territories that will send shivers down your spine and bringing memories back of the golden-era of King Crimson. Stick Men launched back nine years ago by bassist/stickist Tony Levin, drummer Pat Mastelotto, and Chapman Stick player Michael Bernier in which it was part of Tony’s solo album simply entitled Stick Men. Michael left and Markus Reuter on Touch Guitar, Soundscapes, and Keyboards joined.
They have released four albums, one EP, an anthology compilation, and now the live album of Midori. This here is a special treat to delve into the waters of the band’s music and honoring the legacy of the Crimson sound. Listening to this album, as I’ve mentioned again earlier in my introduction, makes you feel that you are at the Billboard for those two shows being in awe of Stick Men and Cross himself being completely in awe of what they are giving the audience a big special treat.
There are moments where it’s ambient/atmospheric, world music, heavier, raw, electronic, and eruptive volcanic beats. Shades of Starless resembles this crossover between the Wish You Were Here-era of Pink Floyd, early Tangerine Dream, and the homage to the Red-era also. It is all combined into one as if it set in a dystopian futuristic wasteland with the soundscapes and violinist Cross do before the haunting melody comes in and he is nailing his improvisation on his instrument as you can the imagine the dry ice setting the eerie vibration on the stage to capture the breeze of you being in the middle of a warzone.
The 12-minute eerie dystopian Industry, sees Reuter going into the darker atmospheres that resembles a wasteland gone horribly wrong of corruption, greed, and inmates running the city as if it the monsters have taken over the city. Reuter adds the effects of gunfire, clicking noises, seagulls, and crashing effects before the militant drums and bass kick in by Mastelotto & Levin. Then, Stick Men go into the jump for light speed with Breathless and the heavier forces to Hide the Trees.
Reuter brings an innovative blast that gives both eerie and eruptive sounds on the touch guitar to a whole new scenario. He, Tony, and Pat go into experimental roars with their instruments that channels the future as if you are skydiving into amazing world of mountains, trees, and landing at the right momentum. And again, there’s a futuristic quality to it also where the ascending haunting melodies fit right into the stratosphere with some unexpected time changes on where they headed into.
Improv: Moon, is a continuation of King Crimson’s spacey jazz voyage of the 12-minute piece, Moonchild but adding the electronic nightmarish scenario’s between Reuter and Cross himself adding the darker tones of the outer limits that sends shivers down the audience’s spines as David Cross carries the mysterious middle-eastern Egyptian sounds to his violin with twilight zone-sque organ on Sartori in Tangier.
This is my twelfth time listening to Midori. I’ve always wanted to delve into the swimming pool of Stick Men’s floating in my ears and enjoy the spirituality and essence of the force of Crimson’s music and staying true to the legacy of the band’s music. I hope to check out more of Stick Men’s sound later on. If you are new to their music or if you are a King Crimson fan, this 2-CD set is worth checking out.