Lee Speaks About Music… #27

In The Wake of Poseidon (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King Crimson

KC - ITWOTP

Introduction…

After the very successful start with their debut album and a tour of America the band King Crimson were left with only 2 original members from its original line up. They were Robert Fripp and the bands lyric writer Peter Sinfield.

Many session players were called in to make their 2nd album In The Wake of Poseidon including 2 of the bands original members Greg Lake and Michael Giles who had left the band. Lake done all the vocal tracks for the album apart from one of them, and Giles played all the drums on the album. Fripp had even considered bringing in an unknown Elton John at the time to do all the vocals, but in the end decided not to ask Elton.

Other session players included Michael’s brother Peter Giles on bass and Keith Tippett on piano. Tippett was the only one of them at the time Fripp had asked to become a full time band member. But he turned it down and preferred to remain a studio collaborator and only ever played live with the band once.

Though both Mel Collins who played sax and flute on a couple of tracks and Gordon Haskell who sang on one of the tracks were session players on this particular album. They were made official members of the band afterwards.

The very fact that most of the bands members from their debut album had left, did leave the door open for Robert Fripp to take soul command of the band, to which he very much did do. He even wrote the biggest majority of the music for their 2nd album too, and the only tracks that he never solely wrote was “Cat Food” and “The Devils Triangle“.

The Devils Triangle” was in fact written by the classical composer Gustav Holst. It was a piece he composed for his works of The Planet’s and was entitled “Mars: The Bringer Of War“. It was very much a piece that Fripp had played with Giles, Giles & Fripp back in 1968 before King Crimson were born.

They even covered the piece later has King Crimson when they supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park back in July 1969. But it was during their American tour after the release of their debut album in the late part of 1969 that both Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald developed it further live on stage.

Although on all those early occasions when they covered and arranged Holst’sMars” from The Planets and even covered it under that title too. Holst’s legal estate forbid King Crimson to use the piece at the time. To get around it Fripp and McDonald put in a different staccato riff and they changed the title to “The Devils Triangle” for the release on their 2nd album.

It was very lucky that they both never got sued, because not only did they change the title of the piece, but it was also credited on the album to Fripp & McDonald writing the piece, and no way on this earth did that slight change make it that much difference to original piece by Holst. The BBC even used an extract of it in Doctor Who as well. So they was dead lucky I will say. Much later on in 1997 it featured on the compilation album Epitaph to which is was rightfully credited to Holst and arranged by Fripp & McDonald.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of In The Wake of Poseidon by King Crimson was released on the 4th October 2010. Has far as I know of unlike In The Court Of The Crimson King that had 3 releases, this one only comes in the form of the CD/DVD version. I also paid a bit more for this one too, and it cost £17.50 from Amazon.

Unfortunately also unlike In The Court Of The Crimson King not all the multi track tapes could be found for every track on the album and the one that was missing was “The Devils Triangle“. So for the 5.1 mix it had to be up-mixed to 5.1 to which that track was handled by Simon Heyworth whilst Steve Wilson done the 5.1 mixes on the rest of the album tracks.

Despite “The Devils Triangle” only having an up-mix to 5.1. I have to say that Heyworth has done an incredible job of it. There are also a couple tracks on Starless and Bible Black he had to do the same thing with as well, and whilst listening to the whole album in 5.1 just like this album, you cannot even notice any degradation in the sound quality and he’s done a bang on job with them.

Even though these tracks are not genuine 5.1 mixes they still sound remarkably good and a lot better than the Pseudo 5.1 mixes done by Ben Fenner on Steve Hackett’s Defector album I reviewed on the 8th of August.

Why on earth Barclay James Harvest could not of done the same thing on their 3 disc Deluxe Edition of their 1974 album Everyone Is Everybody Else I reviewed earlier back in July is beyond me. They chose to completely leave off the best track on the album just because they could not find the multi track tape for it. They really done a piss poor job of the whole thing. But no doubt they was working with novices and not the quality engineers who are doing the work here on the King Crimson albums.

The Packaging & Artwork…

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All of these new CD/DVD Anniversary releases very much are constructed in the same way and come in a box to store the slipcase that holds the discs. The slipcase is constructed out of 2 thin pieces of cardboard glued together to make it look a bit thicker. It’s very light and not as sturdily made. The box comes in handy to store the slipcase and is made of a slightly better cardboard. So it has been made on the cheap, but never the less does a reasonable job.

The booklet comes with very little information on this release unlike the others I have got so far. The labels on the discs are also better printed on this release too, unlike they was on their debut album. The artwork for the album cover comes from a painting done in 1967 by Tammo De Jongh. It depicts The 12 Archetypes or The 12 Faces of Humankind.

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The 12 Archetypes.

In The Wake Of Poseidon (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of In the Wake Of Poseidon by King Crimson was released in a CD/DVD package on the 4th October 2010. Although the original album only contained 8 tracks. The original tracks add up to 10 on this release due to them making “The Devils Triangle” into 3 parts. I have to say once again I am impressed with this release and the quality of the contents that are on both the CD and DVD.

The CD.

The CD contains a new 2010 mix done by Steve Wilson and Robert Fripp from the original album from the 1970 master tapes, apart from “The Devils Triangle” to which is the original stereo mix as the master tape had been lost. The new mixes of the 7 other tracks are very good and there are no additions added as far as I can make out.

The sound quality is well good and I cannot fault anything here, though I dare say some purists may complain even if I myself think this is much better. But for those who do not, the original album is included on the DVD.

CD Bonus Tracks.

The CD comes with 3 bonus tracks the first of them being “Groon” which was the B’ Side of “Cat Food” that was released as a single back in the same year the album was made. We also get and alternative mix of the last album track “Peace – An End” and finally we get a version of “Cadence & Cascade” with Greg Lake singing the song instead of Gordon Haskell.

The bonus tracks are very good I have to say and to hear Lake singing one of the classics on the album is a real bonus and it was recorded back in 1970 too. I still prefer it sung by Haskell though and that would be down to hearing it sung by him in the first place.

The DVD.

SS 1

So far out of the 6 albums I have of these 40th Anniversary Editions the menu screens for this release has to be the worst I have seen. There are no animations when the DVD loads apart from the usual Global Discipline Logo, and nowhere on the DVD have we even got a picture of the albums artwork. Instead it just shows this background picture of some clouds.

SS 2

The DVD comes with many extras has we can see by the picture above, and includes the 2004 release of the 30th Anniversary Edition from the original master tapes. It also comes with the 2010 new mixes done by Steve Wilson and Robert Fripp and includes the bonus track “Groon“. Other bonus tracks on the DVD include the original single release of “Cat Food” as well as its B’ Side “Groon“.

It also has a Cadence & Cascade Versions where you get 3 different version of the song. An unedited master. A Greg Lake guide vocal version and an early instrumental take. There also Groon Versions which features 3 takes of it. Take 1, 5 & 15. You also get a rehearsal version of “The Devils Triangle” and the alternative mix of “Peace: An End“.

All of which comes with high end audio of a choice of MLP Lossless Stereo  24/96 and PCM Stereo 24/48. But the best thing for me are the 5.1 mixes which I will discuss next.

The 5.1 Mix.

The 5.1 mix of this album was done by Steve Wilson. Out of the 6 I have so far this is the only 5.1 mix that was done by Wilson on his own and Robert Fripp was not involved in the mix. Maybe he was away and unavailable at the time, but I have to say Wilson has done a superb job of the mix and once again it does sound stunning. It’s also great to see that they included “Groon” also with the rest of the album tracks with a 5.1 mix.

The only track that does not have a 5.1 mix is “The Devils Triangle” down to the fact that the original master tape was lost. But once again the up-mix done by Simon Heyworth sounds really great and even effective, but will not breathe the life and fresh feel of it like the 5.1 mixes will do. But I take my hat off to Heyworth as well because you cannot hear any gradation between the tracks and it does not even sound out of place for doing it the way he has so superbly managed to achieve it.

For surround freaks like myself these 5.1 mixes are pure heaven I will say, and are well worthy of getting. It brings out the best of the album by far and it’s purely awesome.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by Robert Fripp & Peter Sinfield. Cover Painting by Tammo de Jongh. Sleeve Design & Inside Painting by Peter Sinfield. Equipment by Vick & Dik. Recorded at Wessex Sound Studios, London. Engineer Robin Thompson. Assistant Engineer Jeff & Tony.

Personnel:
Robert Fripp: Guitars/Mellotron (Tracks 2,3,7)/Electric Piano (Track 7)/Devices.
Peter Sinfield: Words.

Former King Crimson Personnel:
Greg Lake: Vocals (Except track 3).
Michael Giles: Drums.

Future King Crimson Personnel:
Mel Collins: Saxophones (Track 2)/Flute (Track 3).
Gordon Haskell: Vocals (Track 3)

Additional Personnel:
Peter Giles: Bass Guitar.
Keith Tippett: Piano.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

The original album was recorded between January – April 1970 and released on the 15th of May 1970. The 8 tracks on the album had a total playing time of just over 41 minutes. The album reached number 4 in the UK album charts and it was the bands highest charting album ever. Most of the tracks on album was written very quickly and some come from way before work started on the album that were performed live at earlier concerts.

Track 1. Peace – A Beginning.

The album starts off with a short 50 second acapella with Greg Lake singing Peter Sinfield’s words written about peace. It’s a piece that features in the middle and end of the album, and perhaps done in the way one would make a concept album. Even all the tracks run into each other to give it the sense and feel of a concept album as well, though I would not say that In The Wake Of Poseidon is one at all.

I like the way they have applied reverb to Lake’s voice on the beginning and it takes it away towards the end, it’s quite effective and even has a couple of notes played by Robert Fripp at the end to bring it into the next track.

Track 2. Pictures Of A City.

This is where the album kicks off properly and in great style too. “Pictures Of A City” is perhaps your “21st Century Schizoid Man” with some of its jazz fusion elements it has about it and also Fripp’s fast guitar work. It’s not got the same raving energy by any means, but never the less has some really great progression in the piece. For me personally this is a much better song than that opener on their debut album. It has by far a greater style about it all and Lake’s voice still has that hard edge about it without the distortion applied to it.

The addition of Mel Collins on the sax adds an element of power very well to it all, especially to the jazz vibe. Collins was still in the band Cirkus at the time and Fripp had bumped into him before awhile back has both King Crimson and Cirkus used to share the same nights at the Marquee Club in London. That’s also were he bumped into the pianist Keith Tippett. Though Tippett’s piano was not needed for this track both of the Giles brothers Michael on drums and Peter on bass certainly was, and they do a superb job.

Pictures Of A City” the band had played live on a number of occasions back in 1969. Though it had another title to it back then which was “A Man, A City” and quite often played over the longer 10 minute mark. It was further developed for their 2nd album and given the new title. It’s a superb song and one of my personal contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 3. Cadence And Cascade.

There is no doubt the tracks on the first side of this album were carefully placed to represent the same feel and mood we got with their debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King. “Cadence And Cascade” is another King Crimson pure classic just like “I Talk To The Wind“. It has the same refined sweetness about it, and I have to say I can see why Fripp chose his old mate Gordon Haskell to sing it, and feature this version on the album rather than Lake’s version.

I am by no means saying Lake could not sing it. But for me personally it was better suited for Haskell’s voice. Even though Haskell went on to become the bands main singer over the next 2 albums that followed. I have to say I did miss Lake’s voice a lot on the album’s Lizard and Islands. Overall I would certainly say that Lake was the better singer out the two here, but different singers can bring along something else to add to the pot, and it does work extremely well here.

Fripp’s acoustic guitar work on this beautiful song contains loads of overdubs to get it to sound as good as it does on this track. But it works superbly for it. Listening to the stripped down version on the early instrumental take on the DVD is another thing. Because it only has one guitar, backed up by bass and drums only. It sounds entirely different. Parts of it also are very reminiscent to Sandy Denny’sWho Knows Where The Time Goes” as well.

This is the only other track Collins featured on the album, and here he plays the flute and it’s gorgeous. it’s almost like Ian McDonald has not left the band and they are both truly excellent woodwind players. Tippett’s piano also works superbly on the song and the whole band do it justice.

Once again I have fallen in love with the melancholy side of things we got from their debut album, and just like that album, the classic melancholic song is my favourite track on the album and merits my top spot award.

Track 4. In The Wake Of Poseidon.

The self titled track of the album is perhaps your “Epitaph” from the debut album. Though they are not the same of course but they do both feature lashings of mellotron and dramatics about them. In some respect you could quite of easily of made a double album out of In The Court Of The Crimson King and In The Wake Of Poseidon with how the material is very close and works so well. I would of personally threw off a couple of tracks though :))))).

This is another superb piece of work the band do so well on and no doubt another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 5. Peace – A Theme.

The 2nd part of the opening track on the album is a lovely acoustic guitar instrumental version played by Fripp. It’s slightly longer than the first track and it’s another fabulous piece on the album.

Track 6. Cat Food.

“Cat Food” was released as a single a couple months before the albums release in May 1970. Although it never reached very high in the charts it did however get the band broadcast on Top of The Pops on the 25th of March where they filmed themselves miming the song the night before the show was put out. It was also King Crimson’s first ever TV appearance.

There is no doubt that this is another superb song and for me personally it’s the 2nd best track on the album and very high contender for the top spot. In many ways “Cat Food” is another song the original line up of band did earlier, and Ian McDonald contributed to the writing with Fripp and Sinfield. The song also reminds of the type style we got from the great classic songs they did later on like “Easy Money” from Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and “The Great Deceiver” from Starless And Bible Black. No doubt these 3 songs are all King Crimson classics.

Track 7. The Devils Triangle.

The longest track on the album happens to be an arranged cover of “Mars” from Gustav Holst’s Planets. A piece that was worked on mostly live on stage by Fripp and McDonald before it found its way here. They even credited themselves as the writers at the time, and to be honest I do not know how on earth they got away with it.

OK there is no doubt they added their own things to it but there is also no doubt that they plainly focused the piece on Holst’s classic and even worked around his melodies on the piece. No way on this earth does that give you the right to say you wrote the bloody thing :))))))))))).

The piece builds up well with the drums and bass in the style of Ravel’sBolero” oddly enough :))))))))))). It uses lashings of mellotron and no doubt it’s centred around Holst’s great piece with its melody lines. Then it all comes down to an halt before unleashing it’s power before going into a very Avant Garde way with Fripp thrashing it out on his guitar, and Tippett doing a mad frenzy on the piano keys. They are all having a ball by the sounds of it and then it finally winds down with some swirls on the mellotron and a few odd notes coming from the guitar.

There is no doubt the band do a superb job of it all here and in reality it also has to be a contender for the top spot on the album. However I feel that it’s perhaps slightly out of place on this album, and feel it would of been better suited on either of their 3rd or 4th albums.

Track 8. Peace – An End.

The album ends off where it started with the 3rd and final part of “Peace“. It’s the longest part of them all and this time they make more of a song out of it with how it develops. It’s a very subtle way to put an end to another remarkable album by King Crimson.

Summary…

The 2nd album In The Wake Of Poseidon by King Crimson is an album that perhaps replicates and lives up to the same standards of their debut album. To be honest I even think it’s very slightly marginally better.

I have to say that Robert Fripp done a remarkable job holding it all together after more or less the whole band had left him, and bringing some of the guys back to work on it as session players, and bringing in the other session players to make it all happen.

The other superb job Fripp done was with how close he managed to maintain the written material we had here on the 2nd album, especially has the biggest majority of music on In The Court Of The Crimson King was in fact written by Ian McDonald. The written material on both albums are more or less a carbon copy with how the tracks present themselves.

It’s very much like I said earlier you could easily make a double album with the 2 albums. I also think if you was to take away “Moonchild” and “The Devils Triangle” from both albums and put “Groon” on instead it would of been a solid double album.

Conclusion…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of In The Wake Of Poseidon by King Crimson is a splendid package to have. Without a doubt this is best recording of the album I have encountered with its new mixes, and Steve Wilson’s 5.1 mix is purely awesome. The DVD does not come with any video content like some of them in these editions do, but the quality audio and extras that are on it make it well worth the price tag.

No doubt in my book In The Wake Of Poseidon is very much amongst the very best of albums King Crimson ever made, and I very much fail to see anybody who liked their debut album not liking this one.

Never Need To Worry With A Tin Of ‘Hurri Curri’…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Peace – A Beginning. 0:50.
02. Pictures Of A City. 8:01.
03. Cadence And Cascade. 4:37.
04. In The Wake Of Poseidon. 8:25.
05. Peace – A Theme. 1:14.
06. Cat Food. 4:53.
07. The Devil’s Triangle (Part I). 3:46.
08. The Devil’s Triangle (Part II). 4:00.
09. The Devil’s Triangle (Part III). 3:45.
10. Peace – An End. 1:54.
11. Groon (2010 Mix). 3:32.
12. Peace – An End (Alternate Mix). 2:05.
13. Cadence & Cascade (Greg Lake Vocal). 4:32.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 8/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 9/10.

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