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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

King Crimson - The ReconstruKction of Light

In the year 2000, King Crimson released their 12th studio album on the Virgin label entitled, The ConstruKction of Light, a follow-up to their 11th studio release, THRAK. By this time Bill Bruford and Tony Levin departed from the band. From a double trio to a double duo, Bruford formed a second mark of Earthworks in 1997 while Levin worked Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and John Pertucci on a project called, Liquid Tension Experiment (LTE) in the same year also.

The quartet during that time frame considered Fripp, Belew, Gunn, and Mastelotto. The album goes into some deep darker territories with nightmarish landscapes. When it was released in May of 2000, Robert wasn’t too happy of the way the album was completed. According to his diary on October 10, 2011 on the Discipline Global Mobile website, Robert believed that “it doesn’t convey the power of music, to a greater extent than any of the King Crimson studio albums.”

Both Robert and King Crimson’s manager David Singleton couldn’t find the original recordings of the album to make another 40th anniversary reissue. So Pat Mastelotto returned to re-record the material on both his electric and acoustic drumkit. Remixed by Don Gunn from the multi-track tapes, except the ProjeKct X track by Pat and Bill Munyon, The ReconstruKction of Light is a return to the forbidden wastelands once more.

And with an incredible artwork by P.J. Crook, it makes you want to go back and revisit this album once more. This was also my first time listening to this album. Around that time in the early to mid 2000’s, I was only focusing on their golden period from 1969 to 1974. But then I began to realize that it was more than just their golden-era, but moving forwards into the ‘80s, ‘90s, and early 2000’s.

But listening to The ReconstruKction of Light, it takes a few listens that might just knock your socks off. The opening track of ProzaKc Blues, sees Adrian Belew delving into the voices of Captain Beefheart, Howlin’ Wolf, and a robotic version of Tom Waits. The World’s My Oyster Soul Kitchen Floor Wax Museum sounds almost like a Monty Python sketch. But you could tell that Robert has a surreal sense of humor in the realms of Dadaism.

You have this militant section from Pat, intensive guitars from Adrian and Robert while Adrian sings through a megaphone about the dystopian ‘50s kitchen frame by honoring the Grand Wazoo. There are some elements of the Post-Rock structures from the ‘80s era as Crimson goes into uncharted waters as Fripp lays on some monstrous growling as if he had unleashed the Beast unexpectedly to reign more terror again before the piano goes into off-key section honoring a hay-wiring effect of George Gershwin’s concerto.

The ConstruKction of Light starts off with Trey’s incredible Warr chomp as he becomes this private detective by capturing the criminal by leaving more difficult clues that he’s left behind for him to solve more unexpected changes between Mastelotto, Belew, and Fripp. The second part is delving into the crunching melodies that crosses barriers of The Mars Volta’s Frances the Mute-era.

Belew sings back and forth in this chanting mode and sings once more for Fripp to climb up and down the ladder to see what Adrian will come up with next. FraKctured sees Robert returning back to the roots of the John Wetton period during the sessions of Starless & Bible Black by continuing by extending the classic, Fracture with a little twist of lemon.

Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part 4 keeps the engines revved up by increasing the intensity level up to 180 degrees by adding these click-clacking effects with another militant march on the first section. The second segment sees Fripp going into this gigantic tidal wave by delving into the world of the Red period before he closes the gate into the third and final section for the stomp to happen more with extending the nightmarish details that aren’t going to be pretty.

The closing track features one of the pieces by ProjeKct X entitled Heaven & Earth. Now the ProjeKct X recording took place during the sessions of The ConstruKction of Light. Now the ProjeKcts started back in the late ‘90s and as a spin-off to King Crimson right up into 2006. And this was one of the first times I’ve listened to one of the ProjeKcts and I thought it was very interesting to go beyond the structures of going from atmospheric, ambient, and industrial.

The DVD contains the full-length album of ProjeKct X’s Heaven & Earth, including the original mix of The ConstruKction of Light along with a PCM 2.0 New Stereo Mix, and the Surround Mix in 5.1. It also contains a 15-page booklet with liner notes by King Crimson expert Sid Smith, who will be releasing a forthcoming revised edition of his book, In The Court of King Crimson that was originally released in 2002.

It also includes in the booklet, photos of the band both performing and at Studios, concert poster for the German leg during their 2000 European tour, lyrics, and a digital audio tape with track sheets during the recording sessions of the album. Now The ReconstruKction of Light is a return to hear King Crimson of what was from their original release.

Alongside Lizard that Robert Fripp has reconciled over thanks to the incredible mix by Steven Wilson ten years ago, Don Gunn’s mix of The ConstruKction of Light is quite good and I think Robert has finally given a change of heart on a new light of King Crimson’s 12th studio album.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cedric Hendrix - I Can't Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears

Now it’s been a good while since I wrote another book review. On my blogsite, Music from the Other Side of the Room that has been going on for 11 years. I’ve done two book reviews which might be true or not. The first one I did was back in 2011 of Mark Powell’s Prophets & Sages: An Illustrated guide to Underground and Progressive Rock 1967-1975. And Anil Prasad’s book, Innerviews: Music Without Borders. So it’s time to do another book review. And this one is a real special treat for you.

Cedric Hendrix is a name you may or may not recognize. But for all of us, music has always been a part of the soundtrack of our lives. Cedric has always provided the music in his life also. For nearly four decades, Cedric is more than just a geek, but he’s always searching for real good music that will be his next cup of coffee.

And his new book released last year entitled, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, he takes us on a journey that makes us want to go through our CD/Record collection that has been with us for the rest of our lives. Published by Global Publishing Group, the book travels through 449 pages of the bands/artists he grew up on.

From the realms of XTC, King Crimson, Genesis, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, and Joni Mitchell, Cedric takes the reader through a trip down memory lane. Born in Arkansas and settling in St. Louis, Hendrix grew up with his parents collection of listening to the soul/R&B sounds of Motown, Stax, and the Philly sound they would listen to the radio and then buy the song from the stores after liking what they heard.

When he was five years old, after getting his first record player and listening to the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk and Rumplestiltskin, he discovered perhaps one of the true visionaries which was the late great David Bowie. After hearing Space Oddity, his life changed. But for him, its more than just a trip down memory lane. He talks to people including Radio DJ Randy Raley, and his discussion of various record stores and the subject matter on downloadable music.

Not only that, but he talked to musicians from Markus Reuter, Adrian Belew, Chick Corea, and journalist Anil Prasad. When you read some of the topics he talks about, you can understand why its been going on during the times now with commercial radio, his brief period working in a record store and the changes between Best Buy and F.Y.E., and what is happening now, you could understand that Cedric is giving the readers a chance to open their eyes right now.

And after reading the book, it shows that Cedric shows no sign of stopping of listening to real, real good music. So if you’re sick and tired of watching and hearing things that are on MTV, VH1, and on commercial radio nonsenual bullcrap, then this book is worth checking out. He also runs his own blogsite entitled CirdecSongs in which he does interviews, stories on the open road, and reviewing classics and new gems. So in the words of Jack Kerouac, “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.

Please check out his website CirdecSongs:

Friday, September 6, 2019

Travis Benson - Travis Benson

Travis Benson is a name you probably may not be familiar with. He was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He has a different way to write and compose his own music. It has this structure that goes beyond by pushing the envelope with the release of his sole self-titled debut album release this year.

And with a little help from Bent Knee’s Courtney Swain who appears on the opening track of Sun Song, it shows that Travis has got a long way to go. And throughout the four centerpieces that are on his debut release, shows that he can go as far as he can go.

On Sky & Weather Travis channels the late great Harry Nilsson during his Nilsson Schmilsson-era by going through this playground slide of his guitar the sounds like an arpeggiated carousel by making it lift through alternative routes that opens up various locations of these doors for Travis to embark on. Braindead Megaphone has thumping bass', harpsichord, punky chords, and eerie punches that give Benson real jolts of electricity.

The midsection goes through some Clockwork Orange territory as the sounds of TV’s showcasing the news, protesters rioting and running amok while showing the listener of what America has become. And it isn’t pretty. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the opening track of Sun’s Song has a happy-go-lucky unexpected rhythm that he does to go into some alternative, finger-picking fanfare’s, intensive, punchy, and going into the roots of Bent Knee’s music thanks to Courtney’s amazing background vocalizations.

There are some stronger elements that have some sort of dysfunction between happiness and insanity by showing us the darker side of the picture that the public aren’t allowed to see, but Travis goes in there by bringing us this glass onion-like globe to say “Look in here, this is what’s happening, this is what we’re dealing with.”

Reaping Memes have disturbing imagery of what is to come in the 22nd century that is continuing to grow with some electronic trip-hop beats on the drums with a dosage of the 8-bit sounds from the Nintendo system that swirls in unexpectedly. Travis Benson’s debut release may take a few listens.

But there is something special about this music. Is he the greatest singer of all time? No, but Travis has got a lot of ideas that he wants to bring in. And I hope the next release will be even more surprising than ever. So if you think he’s going to pull a Ariana Grande or sing a Justin Bieber ballad, think again. He’s got more doors to open, and they’ll be opened up very widely.