King Crimson The ConstruKction of Light

The ConstruKction of Light, King Crimson's 12th studio album proper and its first since '95s intense THRAK, now finds the group, with the absence of long-time rhythm section Bill Bruford and Tony Levin, reduced to a quartet. This time out, band founder and guitarist Robert Fripp is joined by guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew, drummer Pat Mastelotto and bass/baritone guitarist Trey Gunn, all of whom appeared in Crimson's previous incarnation. In between studio recordings, much experimentation in free form improvising has taken place in the Crimson camp, during both the THRAK tour and in the side-ProjeKcts that the various members participated in. The end result of these experiments is a collection that, while technically sound and sonically rich, lacks any real notable moments the way in which past Crimson offerings have. The majority of ConstruKction focuses on the interplay between syncopated guitars, snaky bass lines and triggered drums, thus sadly under utilising Belew's inimitable vocals. Whereas previous Crimson releases over the past 20 years have found a balance between tight instrumentals and Belew's neo-pop mentality, this latest album has a decided lack of memorable songs to temper the instrumental explorations. While there are definite moments of power contained throughout the disk, notably during the heavy groove of "Larks' Tongue in Aspic Part Four," and the musical pedigree of its performers unquestionable, The ConstruKction of Light would have benefited from the presence of more melody and a little less noodling from all involved. (Virgin)