Lee Speaks About Music… #125

The Power To Believe (40th Anniversary Edition) – King Crimson



King Crimson’s 13th and final studio album The Power To Believe finally gets the 5.1 treatment with the release of the 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition and this is something I was well pleased to get hold of and for me personally it’s an album that has always been up there with my favourite albums by the band. I think the very thing that made this album come out that much better than its predecessor The ConstruKction Of Light is down to the same line up of the band going out on tour with the the progressive metal band Tool in 2001 at first. Much of the material that winded up on the album had been played live beforehand and even appeared on a few other releases before the album was eventually launched. Although that was not unusual and they had done things like that before they released the album THRAK back in 1995.

The other thing that helped the album come out so well is that they decided to record the album in a studio rather than at Adrian Belew’s home studio and that was most likely down to Robert Fripp not being happy with how The ConstruKction Of Light came out. Though some parts were recorded at Belew’s studio and Mastelotto’s garage and even a church of all places. They also brought in the producer Gene Freeman known more professionally as the Machine. He was also known for his work in remixing and utilising the vocabulary of Hip Hop, Metal and Industrial dance rock. Though it was Pat Mastelotto’s idea to bring him in even though he may not have seemed the obvious choice for Belew and Fripp to go along with. It was also only the fourth time that King Crimson had embarked on working with an external producer.

Unlike the trouble they had in locating the master tapes to be able to do a 5.1 mix of The ConstruKction Of Light they had no problem with this album. But the other thing they never did with this particular album is do new stereo mixes like they did with many of the albums. However, it has been enhanced and they are now calling this the new master. It’s all crazy really and it’s just had a new production master by Fripp & Singleton and the only new mix it has had is the 5.1 mix which was once again done by David Singleton. They are also calling this new release an Expanded Edition because they have added 3 extra bonus tracks to the album which were remastered by Singleton too. It also comes with a really good couple of other bonus features on the DVD. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the albums packaging and artwork as usual.

The Packaging & Artwork…


Like all the 40th Anniversary King Crimson Editions they come in a 2-panel cardboard Digipak housed in a cardboard slipcase. The both discs are supported by plastic trays that hold the disc firmly in place and it also comes with a booklet. They are quality packages and my only real gripe is that it would have been better if the booklet was fixed inside rather than it being loose, or they could of used a 3 panel DigiPak so it had a pocket to store the booklet. Still at this price you cannot really complain.

The 14-page booklet contains all the linear production notes, glossary pictures and a few pages of an essay written by Sid Smith telling you about the time the album was made and a few other things. It does not go into great detail but is suffice enough and it does not come with the lyrics either for some reason. Overall it is a very good quality package.


Once again, the artwork comes from a painting by the English painter and sculpture Pamela June Crook known professionally as P J Crook and once again the artwork is STUNNING! Her paintings have featured on many of King Crimson’s albums and they have been using her artwork consistently since 1997. The Packaging Art & Design was done by Hugh O’ Donnell and the photography was done by Michael Wilson, Bill Munyon, Trey Gunn & Paul Brown.

The Power To Believe Release Editions.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of The Power To Believe was included in the Heaven And Earth Box Set that comprises of 24 Discs. 18 CD’s. 4 Blu Rays and 2 DVD’s and includes The ReconstruKction Of Light to which they have also used the artwork to that album for the box sets front cover and the other 2 individual packages you can purchase for less. The Box Set is the same size of a vinyl album and it also comes with posters and other memorabilia and can be purchased for around £130 or less.

Box set

From what I can gather by looking at some of the unboxing videos on YouTube all the discs in the box set come in 3 panel cardboard DigiPaks without the plastic trays to hold the discs in place and they are merely slotted into the side pockets of the Digipak. The artwork on all the discs features the individual band members instead of the original artwork that was on the original albums and the other 2 individual packages in the 40th Anniversary series. Strangely enough the Heaven And Earth Box Set does have the 50th Anniversary stamped on it and I guess they are going by the fact that this year is the bands 50th Anniversary.

It’s a neat package and I am sure it’s a GREAT! collector’s item for their fans but way out of my personal budget of what I would spend myself. But I am glad that King Crimson do not force you to buy the box set to get your hands on the 5.1 mixes like other artists do and for me that’s a Godsend so I can at least get my hands on what I personally want.

Thanks to a comment left by MK on my review of The ReconstruKction Of Light who informed me that there is a slight fault with some of the discs that are in the Heaven And Earth Box Set and it effects some of the bonus material by playing them at a slightly faster speed. It’s very hard to detect the fault and to be honest I cannot hear any difference at all on the CD/DVD package I brought. It does mainly affect the bonus material on the Blu Rays in the box set and not so much the DVD. You can read all about it here: https://www.dgmlive.com/news/Heaven_and_earth

The Power To Believe 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition was released on the 31st May 2019 alongside with the 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition of The ReconstruKction Of Light on the same day. These are the cheapest of the packages and can be purchased for around £14 or less. Both the Double LP Vinyl Editions of these albums will be released at the end of this month on the 27th September and have been pressed onto 200 gram vinyl and will be priced around £26 or less.

The Power To Believe In Review…

King Crimson’s 13th album The Power To Believe was originally released on the 4th March 2003. The album contained 11 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 51 minutes, 11 seconds. The new expanded edition comes with 3 extra instrumental bonus tracks making a total of 14 tracks and has an overall playing time of 64 minutes, 29 seconds. The album was destined to be called Nuovo Metal which is a term Robert Fripp used to describe the sound of the music they were playing; he had heard the term Nu Metal used to describe the music of metal bands like Korn and Incubus and so on which gave him the idea. Although the albums title The Power To Believe came from an haiku that Adrian Belew had lifted from his own work and he even used the words from one of his own songs “All Her Love Is Mine” from his Op Zop Too Wah album he released back in 1996.

Most of the recording and mixing for the album was done at the Tracking Room studios in Nashville in America. The studio was built in 1995 by the famed architect Tom Hidley. It’s also the largest studio in Nashville and the 6,500 sq. ft. space was designed for impeccable sound quality. Each room features unique characteristics, plus doors designed by NASA to eliminate sound leakage. One of the rooms has a reverb chamber called the “Stone Room” that is frequently used for percussion.


The Tracking Room

Many top artists have recorded their albums at The Tracking Room including Taylor Swift, The Beach Boys, U2, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Roy Orbison, Mark Knopfler, Megadeath and many more. It’s even recorded the highest selling country music album of all time. Fripp and Belew asked Gunn and Mastelotto to come up with a shortlist of studios whilst they were in Nashville. The Tracking Room in Nashville was Gunn and Mastelotto’s favourite from the four or five they presented. They never thought for one minute that Fripp would go for it especially has it cost $3,000 a day to record there.

Practically all of the material for The Power To Believe the band had played live at various venues during the years 2001 & 2002. The soundscape that was used for the final track on the album “The Power to Believe IV: Coda” was even recorded by The Vicar in a church in Cornwall, England way back in 1997. The Vicar is the persona name used by David Singleton and the name often cropped up on many King Crimson albums and ProjeKcts since 2001. The original idea came out of a conversation between him and Robert Fripp back in 1999 and from 2001 – 2013 his identity remained pretty much a secret to keep people guessing who it was.


Both Fripp and Singleton have been close friends for years and they are both joint owners of Global Discipline Mobile which is an independent label and record company they both set up in 1982 to stop them being ripped off for the copyrights of their own music. The name was derived from King Crimson’s 1981 album Discipline and from the name of Singleton’s previous recording business (The Mobile). It was also set up to help other artists record their albums on the label though today it’s mainly used for artists who are associated with King Crimson and many other musicians from that band have used it in the past too. David Singleton even records his own music on the label under the name of The Vicar.

As with all these CD/DVD Editions you get a lot more bonus material on the DVD. The CD contains the Expanded version of the album to which the 3 bonus tracks “Sus-tayn-Z I” “Superslow” and “Sus-tayn-Z II” that came from the sessions have been included. I think they are pretty decent enough bonus tracks though they do not really match up with the rest of the material on the album to really make this an Expanded version of the album.   So, let’s now take a look at what’s one the DVD.

The DVD.

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Just like we seen on the DVD that came with The ReconstruKction Of Light there is none of P J Crook’s superb artwork to be seen and all we get on all the menu screens is basically the text. Claire Bidwell was responsible for the Design & Layout of the DVD and in all honesty, she is a complete amateur and should not be let loose on such a job. This really is a poor presentation and it’s only the final 2 King Crimson albums in the 40th Anniversary series that have been presented this poor way. Thankfully the music does make things up for her incompetence.

The main menu (as seen above) gives you 5 options the first 2 give you the choice of listening to the main feature in either stereo or 5.1 surround sound both have been recorded with a high-end resolution of 24 bits 48khz. It’s also worth noting that both the stereo and 5.1 mixes do also come with an MLP Lossless track too and you do not just have the choice of DTS for the 5.1 surround and PCM for the stereo mix. But you will need a DVD player that plays DVD A (Audio) discs to get the MLP format. By clicking on your choice, it presents you with the following screen.

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The main feature also includes the 3 extra bonus tracks and it’s nice they have also been given a 5.1 mix. From this screen you can simply make your choice to ether select a track or play the whole album by clicking on the tracks. When this screen opens up it does not automatically play the album and you have to click on the 1st track to do that. The DVD also contains the original stereo mix of the album without the bonus tracks and comes with the choice of 24/48 PCM & MLP Lossless audio formats.

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A couple of EP’s are also included here on the DVD and the first one is Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With which was originally released in the year before the album was released and this was released on the 8th October 2002. As you can see from the track listing above it contains a couple of the tracks that made their way onto The Power To Believe album. Though they are different and the first of them “Happy With What You Have To Be Happy” is only slightly different in that its longer by one chorus. “Eyes Wide Open” on the other hand is an acoustic version.

Happy With What You Have To Be Happy is an excellent EP or more of a mini album with how it contains 10 tracks over an overall playing time of 34 minutes, 34 seconds. The EP contained unreleased studio and live material at the time of its release. The 11th track “Einstein’s Relatives” was a hidden bonus track on the original EP. It comes with the original stereo mix and an audio format of 24/48 PCM.

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The final piece of the bonus material is the EP Level Five well it’s more like an album rather than an EP and contains 6 tracks over some 45 minutes to which the 6th track “Improv: ProjeKct 12th and X” was secret hidden bonus track. The EP was originally released back in 2001 and contains various live performances during the Summer 2001 tour in the USA and Mexico and was released to give an insight or a glimpse into what the material would be like on their next album The Power To Believe in particular with the opening couple of tracks that did wind up on the album only in a studio form.

It also featured a live version of the selftitled track from their previous album and other material from the ProjeKcts series. This is another superb bonus feature to have and comes with the original stereo mix and an audio format of 24/48 PCM. The bonus material really is an extra bonus you are getting and well worthy of having. Now let’s have a look at the 5.1 mix.

The 5.1 Mix.

The 5.1 mix is pretty much AWESOME! and this is an album that does benefit and is more suited for a 5.1 mix and David Singleton as done a TOP DRAW! job of it I will say. To be honest I have always admired Singleton’s work as much as Steve Wilson’s when it comes to 5.1 mixes and both are capable of doing some pretty amazing work on them. There is a lot more width over the stereo mix and he has very well placed the instrumentation over the 6 channels very well making it quite an exciting and more pleasurable mix.

The percussion and effects that both Mastelotto and Belew play in particular have been very well placed and you can hear things behind you, over the top of your head and they have been utilised very well with their placement along with the guitars and bass and a mix like this puts you right in the frame and the picture of things. It really is DELICIOUS! and brings out all the dynamics and the clarity from all the instrumentation and he gets 10 out of 10 for this mix.

Musicians & Credits…


Music by King Crimson. Words by Adrian Belew. Produced & Mixed by King Crimson & Machine. Recorded & Engineered by Machine at The Tracking Room. Studio Belew and Pat’s Garage. Mixed & remixed by Machine at The Tracking Room, Nashville Tennessee and The Shop, Hoboken New Jersey. Additional Engineering by Jeff Juliano. Additional Programming by Machine. Haiku voice recorded at Studio Belew. Voice Source on Elekrik: Tim Faulkner. Track 11 produced by The Vicar & Robert Fripp, Soundscape recorded live in performance at Newlyn Church, Cornwall England on December 7th 1997. Cover Artwork from a painting by P J Crook. Photography by Michael Wilson, Bill Munyon, Trey Gunn & Paul Brown. Packaging Art & Design by Hugh O’ Donnell. DVD Design & Layout by Claire Bidwell. DVD Authoring & Assembling by Neil Wilkes.

Robert Fripp: Guitar.
Adrian Belew: Guitar & Vocals.
Trey Gunn: Warr Guitar.
Pat Mastelotto: Traps and Buttons.

The Album Tracks In Review…

The Power To Believe is very much an album that has a reoccurring theme with its 4 parts in much of the same way with how “Peace” worked on their 2nd album In The Wake Of Poseidon. In some respects, with how it has a softer subtle approach with how Belew’s voice is presenting the title tracks words via a vocoder and how it can at times use soundscapes in a subtle way. It’s like a more modern approach to that melancholic tranquil side of things that “Peace” presented us with on that much earlier album. But it’s also is an album that has the power and force we seen on albums like Lark’s Tongues In Aspic and Red and even reflects back to those albums too and still has the industrial side of things of their previous album The ConstruKction Of Light.

The major difference between this album and their previous album is down to the fact that it uses more soundscapes and much of the albums material is worked around them too. For me personally The Power To Believe is much more of a solid album and where it wins over their previous album is down to the fact that the band spent more time playing live improvisations beforehand to develop the material more for the album. The material here is much stronger both musically and lyrically. So, let’s now take a look at the albums tracks.

Track 1. The Power To Believe I: A Cappella.

The first of the 4-part suite that features throughout the album is merely a short introduction by an unaccompanied Adrian Belew presenting the words from one of his own solo songs “All Her Love Is Mine” and delivering them differently via the use of a vocoder. The same words feature in all four parts and all four parts may give the impression that The Power To Believe is some form of a concept album. Musically with how some of the tracks link to one another and how the album flows along it can also feel like there is a concept thingy going on, though there is not and and some of the other vocal tracks on the album go down other avenues.

Track 2. Level Five.


The first of the instrumental pieces on the album follows Belew’s brief introduction and this is where the albums kicks off and unleashes its power and force upon you. This piece reflects much of the power we seen on the 1981 album Discipline and contains some excellent interplay between Fripp and Belew and even Gunn gets into the action too whilst Mastelotto’s electric drum kit injects an industrial like groove to it all. It’s a very well worked out structured piece and is in fact the final part of the Lark’s Tongue In Aspic series and even though it’s titled as “Level Five” it is in fact “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Pt.5” and you can certainly hear how it’s been developed around that same structure of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Pt.2” which was done back in 1973.

Fripp originally intended for “FraKctured” to be the final part that was on the previous album The ConstruKction Of Light, but seeing how it bore closer resemblance to “Fracture” from 1974’s Starless and Bible Black, he changed the name. Though nothing in the original album’s packaging confirmed that it was part of “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” series the official confirmation appeared in the Elements 2017 box set, where it was included in sequence with the rest of the suite and called “Truly LTIA Pt V in all but name”. Fripp also confirmed that “Level Five” was indeed the fifth entry in the suite and had been renamed as such on 2018 setlists.

Personally, I think this is better than parts 3 & 4 and is better developed and worked out and has more going on for it. It really is a GREAT! track and one of the contenders for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 3. Eyes Wide Open.

The first of the vocal tracks on the album and what a truly GREAT! song this one is too. “Eyes Wide Open” if anything sees Belew back on form and at the top of his game. Personally, I think regarding the vocal tracks and the quality of them, that is what was missing more so on The ConstruKction Of Light album and this is more up there with “Matte Kudasai” from the Discipline album. It’s a very well written ballad of a song and easy to see why they used the title for their concert tour to promote and support the album, and why they also chose it for the title of DVD they released in the same year of the album.


The Eyes Wide Open DVD is an excellent purchase and contains 2 DVD’s. The first of which captures the band live in Tokyo, Kouseinenkin Kaikan, on the April 16, 2003. The 2nd disc captures them live at the Shepherds Bush Empire, London, on July 3, 2000 whilst they were on tour of The ConstruKction Of Light album. The DVD is also included in the Heaven And Earth box set although the original DVD release is still widely available and can be had for around £10 – £14 at most stores. It’s a DVD that has given me tremendous pleasure since I purchased it back in 2003 and David Singleton done an excellent job with both the 5.1 and Dolby Prologic mixes.

Lyrically the song pertains to not missing a thing and being aware of certain situations and opportunities that may arise, it could even be seen as a case of don’t let your chance go by sort of thing. The bright tonality and melodic rhythm lines from the guitars are really BEAUTIFUL! But even more interesting is how Mastelotto’s drums work in the piece and the bass sound of them is very much like a djembe knocking out a sort of African Jungle vibe pattern at first and I love how the drum kit really opens up more in the lead break. “Eyes Wide Open” is my personal favourite song on the album and I could easily pick two or three favourites on this album that would merit the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! and this is very much one of the three.

Track 4. Elektrik.


Another of the instrumental pieces on the album and a very strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! “Elektrik” is the longest track on the album and weighs in at 8 minutes. It’s a bit like “Elephant Talk” from the 1981 Discipline album in the way that is has an intro and outro and its main part meanders and weaves its way along a bit like Larks’ only at a more slower pace to which allows much more of the melodic lines to shine through. Trey Gunn uses more distortion on his Warr Guitar and it gives it a rattling effect and adds more power to more melodic lines coming from the guitars. It really is a GREAT! track and the voices you can hear in the background were lifted from samples of the American poet T. S. Eliot reciting his famous poem “The Waste Land” he wrote back in 1922 whilst he was living over here in England.

Track 5 & 6. Facts Of Life (Including Intro).

The band rev and rock things up a bit more with this next song and I am pretty sure Belew even gets the Black & Decker Drill out on his guitar for this one too :))))). The intro is a soundscape that very much sounds like they are portraying a desolate wasteland and Eliot’s poem may have inspired them to do this intro. The drums then come into play along with 6 billion Ants and it all kicks off very well indeed. The lyrics are fairly straight forward and are perhaps pertaining to right and wrong in how we choose to go about things. For example, “doesn’t mean you should just because you can” could be seen as a choice in how we go about things such as war and they are all facts of life.

The Facts Of Life” is a very powerful song were even Mastelotto’s drum kit adds to the distortion and mayhem here and it’s as if the guys are crunching on metal and they really are GRINDING! it out in a very good way.

Track 7. The Power To Believe II: Power Circle.


The 2nd part of the 4-piece suite features Belew on guitar synth playing a touch of the east and this is one of those pieces that he also helps out in the percussion department alongside Mastelotto and it features some fine Gamelan vibes. Although it’s classed as a vocal track there is very little words in it and it apart from the words Belew recited in the 1st part and it is mostly instrumental. The piece is also structured around Fripp’s soundscape on the guitar. Much of the Gamelan parts give the piece more of an oriental flavour and even though the 2nd part is titled “Power Circle” there is less energy utilised and it brings the album down a few notches from its previous more powerful track.

Part 2 of the suite I personally think is much better to see played live the will even say more to you than how it presents itself to you on this studio version. It is more of a meandering chillout track and works very well in simmering the album down a bit more from its boiling point here though. I would even say that the second part of the suite is the best of all the 4 parts that make it up.

Track 8. Dangerous Curves.

The instrumental track “Dangerous Curves” is a very well built up and powerful piece and is very cinematic and built up initially from a Fripp soundscape that gradually builds itself up and up. It’s quite intense and would suit a good haunting thriller and I quite like the live version on the Level Five EP too. The piece also harks back to the first part “Merday Morn” from “The Devil’s Triangle” from their 2nd album In the Wake of Poseidon though I personally think this track is better and is another contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 9. Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With.


It’s time to ROCK! things back up again and this is quite a powerful bit of distorted blues rock and is a song about writing a song. Belew as the knack of using repetitive words and repeating them and these can be quite tongue twisting lyrics, considering the lyrics are minimalistic it’s quite clever and the song has a refrain as well as a chorus. It’s another really GREAT! song and has quite an effective little lead break with Belew doing his normal thing and attacking the strings on his guitar :))))).

Track 10. The Power to Believe III: Deception Of The Thrush.

The 3rd part of the suite incorporates a small part of “Deception Of The Thrush” a piece that should of really made the album and was left off due to the fact that they could not get the permission to include T. S. Eliot’s voice reciting the words or so it states in the booklet. It does seem a bit strange how it was allowed on “Elektrik“. At most of the live shows it quite often followed the 3rd part of the suite too and they did record a version of it to do the same on this album, though without the permission they had to end the album off with another of Fripp’s soundscapes instead.

Belew utters a few words through the vocoder on the intro and the first part slowly builds up with heavy percussion and Fripp’s guitar and as it goes along the bass and drums play more of a part and it all winds down at the end to allow the final part of the suite to come in and end the album off.

Track 11. The Power to Believe IV: Coda.

The final part of the suite brings a very smooth ending to the album and features Fripp playing one of his soundscapes with Belew once again repeating the words from the intro through a vocoder. The soundscape Fripp is playing he recorded at St. Peters Church Newlyn Cornwall back in December 1997 and it fitted on here very well to ut an end to quite a very good album.


To sum up The Power To Believe by King Crimson. I would say it’s a very good album and one were some tracks stick out more than others although the rest of the material very well fits and sits in with them all. I personally could not fault any of the tracks that make up the album and as an album it works extremely well. It’s not the best King Crimson album but I do feel it’s up there with some of the best output the band have put out throughout their musical career. Just like some of the tracks on The ConstruKction Of Light they were better performed live although on this album most of the material is much stronger and holds up very well even in a studio form.

You get quite a good deal for the money with this 40th Anniversary edition and the addition of the both EP’s Level Five and Happy With What You Have To Be Happy are really worth having if you never already had them. Although it’s the 5.1 mix that is what my money is on and it does not disappoint one bit and it really is an exciting mix that David Singleton has done here and very worthy of the 10 out of 10 I gave it. The 3 bonus tracks on the CD I can take with a pinch of salt and they are OK but not on par with the rest of the material on the album and they do not really do a lot to extend the album.

My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Level Five“. “Eyes Wide Open“. “Elektrik“. “Dangerous Curves” and “The Power To Believe II: Power Circle“. Though I will say the latter of that lot I do prefer live.


King Crimson’s final studio album The Power To Believe is quite a solid body of work with the material that eventually made the album, in many ways it has the some of the finer ingredients that we see on the 1981 album Discipline and the vocal tracks in particular are quite strong and very well written. It was not long after that Tony Levin did return back to the fold in 2004. However, it was a short-lived interim line-up and the band stayed on hiatus till 2008.

Since then the band have been going out with other various musicians joining the line-up every now and then and have been playing live shows all over the world and shown no real interest in making another studio album. They still continue to churn out box sets and live recordings of every venue they play at practically and are still continuing to do so. For some the number 13 might be an unlucky number. But in this case, I rather think their 13th album turned out very well and it was not as if they went out at a low point of their career and it’s a damn site better than some of their earlier albums too.

The 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition offers tremendous value for the buck and is well worthy of buying all over again especially for surround freaks like myself.

Because You Never Know What You Might See…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. The Power To Believe I: A Cappella. 0:44.
02. Level Five. 7:15.
03. Eyes Wide Open. 4:10.
04. Elektrik. 8:00.
05. Facts Of Life: Intro. 1:38.
06. Facts Of Life. 5:05.
07. The Power To Believe II: Power Circle. 7:43.
08. Dangerous Curves. 6:42.
09. Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With. 3:17.
10. The Power To Believe III: Deception Of The Thrush. 4:10.
11. The Power To Believe IV: Coda. 2:51.
12. Sus-tayn-Z I. 5:00.
13. Superslow. 3:38.
14. Sus-tayn-Z II. 4:16.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Bonus Material Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #124

The ReconstruKction of Light (40th Anniversary Edition) – King Crimson



During much of the earlier months I spent absent from my blogsite due to decorating and my computer breaking down I got to miss out on quite a few new releases. To be honest there is not a lot new out there in the mainstream world of music that entices me to buy it, especially when it comes down to a conventional stereo album put on a CD. I have nothing against that format and prefer it in relation to vinyl and both of those formats are going to give you the same quality at the end of the day, apart from the CD having way less surface noise and does not have the limitations of a vinyl record when it comes down to what you can comfortably fit on it without it deteriorating in quality. And that is really where the CD wins all the time for myself.

But regarding those formats these days (and ever since I got into the world of 5.1 recordings back in the mid 90’s) I very much consider both of those formats old hat. When it comes down to spending my money on music the real genuine value can be found in multichannel recordings and in most cases, they give you a hell of a lot more for the buck. Honestly it sometimes greaves me to spend £10 – £12 on a CD especially when you can buy something like this for a couple of bucks more and it comes with a CD plus a DVD with a 5.1 recording that is simply gonna leave stereo in the dust.

Quality wise 5.1 recordings for my ears are way more superior and when it comes down to buying music I would genuinely prefer to spend my money on an older album I already have, and buy it again with a 5.1 mix than spend my money on any artists latest album they have put out in stereo. For me the 5.1 mix would certainly be more of a priority to buy first no matter who is coming out with a new album and that is what gives me the most satisfaction in hearing your loud speakers give you something that not even no headphones on this planet could ever give you.

I only recently noticed that back in May of this year King Crimson had released the 40th Anniversary Editions of their 12th and 13th albums The ConstruKction Of Light and The Power To Believe. Both of these albums I had been hoping they would get released with a 5.1 mix so I could buy them again along with the other albums in the same series I purchased back in 2017. Though neither of these albums are anywhere near 40 years old and both are in fact less than 20 years old. There is also quite a significant difference with this particular new release of The ConstruKction Of Light and both the title and the albums artwork cover have been changed as you can see by the original artwork below.


But they are not the only things that are different here, and there is a reason for it being titled The ReconstruKction Of Light to which I will go into further on in my review. But first let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


Like all the 40th Anniversary King Crimson Editions they come in a 2-panel cardboard Digipak housed in a cardboard slipcase. The both discs are supported by plastic trays that hold the disc firmly in place and it also comes with a booklet. They are quality packages and my only real gripe is that it would of been better if the booklet was fixed inside rather than it being loose, or they could of used a 3 panel DigiPak so it had a pocket to store the booklet. Still at this price you cannot really complain.

The 14-page booklet contains all the linear production notes, glossary pictures, lyrics and a couple of the pages of an essay written by Sid Smith telling you about the time the album was made and a few other things. It does not go into great detail but is suffice enough and overall it is a very good quality package.


I have to say the new artwork done for this album is certainly a damn site better than that artwork that was on the original album back in 2000. The artwork comes from a painting by the English painter and sculpture Pamela June Crook known professionally as P J Crook. Her paintings have featured on many of King Crimson’s albums and they have been using her artwork consistently since 1997. To be honest it was only ever the bands debut album that came with impressive artwork until she came along and the biggest majority of their albums were pretty much basic and drab to look at.

The ReconstruKction Of Light Release Editions.

There is no doubt that trying to keep up with a band like King Crimson is going to cost you an arm and a leg with how they consistently more or less churn things out every month of the year. I have also noticed that the 50th Anniversary of their debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King will be released next month and instead of the CD & DVD we had with the 40th Anniversary Edition. It now comes with 2 CD’s & a Blu Ray and will cost around £30.

I have also noticed that Steve Wilson who did the new stereo and 5.1 mixes for the 40th Anniversary Edition that was released back in 2009, has been roped in again and done new stereo and 5.1 mixes for this new release. It would not surprise me if not long after the rest of the albums in King Crimson’s discography get the same 50th Anniversary treatment and one will be wondering when is it time to stop buying them, and is it worth buying them all over again.

I am sure there are many other albums out there that Steve Wilson’s mixing techniques would have been put to better use rather than do a different mix for an album he done a perfectly good job of mixing in the first place. Does In The Court Of The Crimson King need another mix? Personally, I certainly do not think so. However if Wilson was to do new mixes for the albums he never mixed in KC’s  back catalogue that would be of more interest to me and may entice me to buy them again.

As for the 50th Anniversary of In The Court Of The Crimson King I certainly will not be pre-ordering it or rushing out to buy it. I may buy it later on though just to see how good Wilson’s new mix is and make comparisons, but will hang on longer for its price to come down a bit. Though it’s price point of around £30 is still very reasonable but no doubt you are mostly getting what you already have with the 40th Anniversary and there will be very little here new at all.

The one thing I do admire a lot about King Crimson is the fact that they are not greedy like the BIG GUNS! such as Pink Floyd, The Beatles and The Eagles and they give you a lot more choice for your money with their packages. For example, to get your hands on the 5.1 mixes of those other artists you are gonna have to sell a kidney and all they will give you for 20 bucks is the basic double CD which is still well overpriced. This is where I do have a lot of respect for bands like King Crimson and they do have a lot more respect for their fans in the way they do release their packages and give you the very thing you are after at the right price and do not rip you off like those I mentioned. So, let’s now take a look at what you get for your buck with this new release.



As with all these 40th Anniversary Editions they generally get released with around 3 different packages at different price tiers to suit your pocket. The CD/DVD Set I brought was the first to be released on the 31st May 2019. It comes with quite a few extras and is very reasonably priced at around £14 or less in some stores and is the cheapest option out of the 3 packages you can buy.


Super Deluxe Box Set

The Super Deluxe Box Set Edition Heaven & Earth was released on the 7th June 2019 and is the most expensive package. This box set comprises of 24 Discs. 18 CD’s. 4 Blu Rays and 2 DVD’s. Much of the material you get in these type of box sets consists of a lot of live material played at different venues. It also includes the bands 13th studio album The Power To Believe along with much of the ProjeKct series which was a side project by the musicians that made up King Crimson playing a lot of live improvisations to which some of the material from that project winded up on the bands 12th and 13th albums The ConstruKction of Light and The Power To Believe.

For me personally a box set like this can be a bit like having too much of the same thing. It’s really aimed at those diehard fans and collectors to which no doubt comes neatly packaged and makes great presentation and an attractive thing to own. It can be obtained from around £130 or less and with everything you get here you cannot really quibble about its price point.


2 LP Vinyl Set

The vinyl edition has not been released yet but is set to be released here in the UK on the 27th September 2019 at the end of this month. The double album has been pressed onto 200-gram quality vinyl however you do not get any extras here like you do with the other 2 packages apart from 1 bonus track and the fact that you are getting the new reconstructed version of The ConstruKction Of Light. The vinyl album can be pre-ordered and is priced at around £26 or less.

The ReconstruKction Of Light In Review…

The original album The ConstruKction Of Light was released on the 23rd May 2000 and contained 11 tracks over an overall playing time of 58 minutes, 18 seconds. The new reconstructed version The ReconstruKction Of Light comes with 12 tracks over an overall playing time of 59 minutes, 53 seconds. The extra minute or so is down to the intro that has been added to “Into The Frying Pan” and that is not the only thing that’s new here either. Pat Mastelotto had to record most of the drums and percussion all over again from scratch. Hence the reason for this particular release having a slightly different title pertaining to the word “Reconstruction”.

By the time the last incarnation of the double trio had finished touring the bands previous album Thrak in 1997. Bill Bruford suggested to Robert Fripp that it would be a good idea to play some live improvisation shows. Though getting everyone together to play them was never gonna be that easy so the period between 1997 – 1999 is what Fripp called the FraKctalisation period which involved splitting the members down to smaller groups to work in various other projects or ProjeKcts as he called it. Fripp was the only member of the band to appear on all of the ProjeKcts and ProjeKct One was the only one of them that Bill Bruford played on before leaving to once again do something more with his Earthworks project.

Much of the material done for ProjeKcts 1 – 4 was experimental and recorded live at various venues and the band was split down to a trio or a quartet to perform them. ProjeKct Two featured Adrian Belew on drums Robert Fripp guitar and Trey Gunn on touch guitar and synth and this line up produced the only studio album Space Grooves. It was also during this period that Tony Levin had left to play bass on tour with Seal who was making a comeback. Though the tour got cancelled and even though Levin wanted to return back to the fold Fripp had more or less told him you’ve made your bed now lie in it and decided on a quartet for the next King Crimson album.

The ConstruKction Of Light is very much an album that still sounds and reflects the 80’s line up of the band and I guess that is down to Adrian Belew in particular with the vocal side of things on the album. But just like some of those albums from the 80’s some of the instrumental material even harks back to the 70’s in the way that they have written a continuation of “Larks Tongues In Aspic” and even reworked “Fracture“. Robert Fripp was not happy with how the album turned out and felt it was hampered by the conditions on which it was made and with his attention being more focused on writing and playing over recording and production.

The album itself was recorded at Belew’s own studios and parts were recorded in his and Mastelotto’s apartments and garages with Ron Latchney at the helm of the recording using Pro Tools on parts but the original master tapes were recorded on an Alesis ADAT machines so was many of their albums back then and as they changed to newer ADAT machines over the years quite often it was hard to get them in sync. When it came to see if they could remix The ConstruKction Of Light they could not find none of the original master tapes.

Latchney passed away in 2006 and died of a heart attack and he would of most likely of had them so they gathered together whatever generation copies of the ADAT Tapes they could find and the only ones they could not locate were the ones for most of the drums and percussion. Hence the reason why Mastelotto had to record them all again so the story goes. But regarding of the drums being missing that could all very well be an excuse for all we know simply because Fripp was never happy with Mastelotto not using his preferred hybrid acoustic/electronic kit in the first place. He was also not happy with the fact that none of the material for the album had been performed live beforehand either.

The ReconstruKction Of Light does present the album in a new light with the new drums and it gives you something different. In some respects, it’s more of a new album even if it’s playing the same original material though other things have also been tweaked. I personally think it’s a bit busier with the new drums in parts and it’s perhaps on the thin side of things in a lot of respects. But before I go any further let’s now take a look at the extras you get with the DVD that comes in this package.

The DVD.

SS 1

The DVD’s main menu came as a bit of a shock to me to see that they could not even be arsed to include the album cover. In all honesty this has to be the most boring presentation I have ever come across on a King Crimson DVD and it’s so unlike them not to include any pictures at all. All the other 40th Anniversary Editions have them so why they never put P J Crook’s superb artwork on the thing defies all belief. The main menu is the only menu that does include a bit of graphic art as well with the owl on the bottom of the screen. It’s most likely down to the fact they are churning that much material out these days that they are making cutbacks to save on time in getting it out there.

The main menu gives you 4 options the first 2 give you the choice of listening to the main feature in either stereo or 5.1 surround sound both have been recorded with a high-end resolution of 24 bits 48khz. It’s also worth noting that both the stereo and 5.1 mixes do also come with an MLP Lossless track too and you do not just have the choice of DTS for the 5.1 surround and PCM for the stereo mix. But you will need a DVD player that plays DVD A (Audio) discs to get the MLP format. By clicking on your choice, it presents you with the following screen.

SS 2

As you can see from the screen above on the DVD there are only 8 tracks instead of 12. But there is nothing from the album missing here and all they have done is titled tracks 2, 3 & 6 without the additional parts. From this screen you can simply make your choice to ether select a track or play the whole album by clicking on the tracks. When this screen opens up it does not automatically play the album and you have to click on the 1st track to do that.

SS 4

As you can see by the screen above as each track plays it displays the title of that track only and there are no pictures or a slide-show you can focus on whilst the musics playing. You will have to use your remote to go back to the previous screen or wait for the album to finish for it to return the main menu.

SS 3

The final couple of options in the main menu present us with the bonus material. The first of which is that it also includes the original 2000 stereo mix of The ConstruKction Of Light and as you can see by the screen above you also get The ProjeKct X album Heaven And Earth. Both albums are in PCM stereo and come with high quality formats of 24-bit 48Khz bit it’s only The ConstruKction Of Light that also comes with an MLP Lossless format out of the two here.


Heaven And Earth is an experimental instrumental rock album that was made and recorded during the rehearsals and recording of The ConstruKction Of Light. It was also released in the same year 2000 and contains 15 tracks over an overall playing time of 72 minutes, 28 seconds. Both albums sound excellent even in stereo and are genuine quality recordings, and for the price point you are practically getting them for next to nothing. Though they are only really going to be seen as more of an extra bonus if you never had these albums in the first place.

The 5.1 Mix.

The 5.1 surround mix was done by David Singleton and he’s done a pretty decent job of it. I don’t think it’s an exciting mix but where this mix works better for me personally is how well the multitrack tapes have been balanced across the 6 channels. The stereo mix does sound more lighter in comparison to the original mix done by Bill Munyon back in the year 2000. However, it does feel a bit cluttered and busy with the new drums in parts and the extra separation with the 5.1 mix does help the mix a lot and projects everything more clearly and brings out far more detail with the other instrumentation. Though the stereo mix can bring out a great deal of details too with its thinner sound.

There a few points where the vocals may have been a bit over the top by panning them in the rear speakers at times, but they do help bring them out especially some of the lower spoken words by Belew that do feature a lot throughout the album and they do work to very good effect on some of the tracks. Personally, I cannot really fault the 5.1 mix and I will give it 8 out of 10 for a very good effort.

Musicians & Credits…


Music by King Crimson. Words by Adrian Belew. Original sessions recorded by Ken Latchney at Studiobelew 1999. New drums for tracks 1, 4 & 7 recorded by Mike McCarthy at Antonio Cincinnati Studio 28th & 29th October 2015. New drums for tracks 2, 3, 6, 8.9.10 recorded by Pat Mastelotto at various times between 2016/17. Stereo Mix by Don Gunn. Stereo Mix for the bonus track 12 by Pat Mastelotto & Bill Munyon. 5.1 Mix Plus Stereo & Production Mastering by David Singleton. Executive Producer Robert Fripp. Additional Engineering, Sound Design by Bill Munyon. Adrian Benavides & Machine. Cover Artwork from a painting by P J Crook. Photography by Michael Wilson & Pat Mastelotto. Packaging Art & Design by Hugh O’ Donnell. DVD Design & Layout by Claire Bidwell. DVD Authoring & Assembling by Neil Wilkes.

Robert Fripp: Guitar.
Adrian Belew: Guitar & Vocals.
Trey Gunn: Touch & Baritone Guitars.
Pat Mastelotto: Drumming.

The Album Tracks In Review…

In many ways what’s been done with the new mix we have here on The ReconstruKction Of Light is nothing like the engineer shuffling the original stems around in the mix to try and improve the sound like we get with most new mixes. The very fact that we do have a new element here with the new drums in the mix, does make this a lot different in comparison to the original album The ConstruKction Of Light. The very fact that those new elements have been added to it all certainly does not improve or make this version better than the original, and they are not by any means going to replace the original either.

To be perfectly honest what has been done here does not give The ConstruKction Of Light a new lease of life like many new mixes would do either and effectively it’s a bit like having a different ball game with how things have been reconstructed here. So, let’s now take a deeper look to see how it all turned out as I take you through all the tracks on the album.

Track 1. ProzaKc Blues.

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A heavy stomping song about how or how not to treat manic depression depending how low and obsessive and how much of the blues you have. Speaking of the blues lyrically the words Belew wrote here without doubt do pertain to the blues and he’s even thrown in a little bit of that “Chit Chat” from “Elephant Talk” and this is one of those songs that does hark back to what the band were doing in the 80’s. Musically they do rock it out more and like many of the songs they did back in the 80’s they are verging and leaning more towards the industrial side of things with weight and the percussion.

Speaking of the weight and the density in particular. That is something that the original mix had a lot more of and it pounded at you like a ton of bricks in relation to the new mix we have here. Even if you were to play both mixes on a tin box you would easily distinguish the difference between the two, and it’s pretty much like that throughout the whole album with how lighter and thinner the new mix is with the new drums. I think regarding this new mix in particular it’s really a case of horses for courses regarding your preferable way of listening to music.

For example, if you are one of those who likes a lot of bass and closed back headphones. This new mix is certainly not gonna be for you. But regarding any new mix there can also be a lot of give and take to make it stand out that much more and you cannot always have the best of both worlds to be able to achieve it either. You will certainly hear a lot more in the new mix in relation to the original and it even sounds as if Trey Gunn has re-recorded the bass, and it most certainly never stood out and presented itself to you like it does now. But to achieve that it’s like a ton of bricks have been removed from it and the new mix does have more of a spring in its step.

ProzaKc Blues” is far from the best thing on the album and even though Belew does his best to put a bit of GROG! in his voice and you can hear the vocals have been tweaked even more so on this new mix. Though no matter how far you tweak his voice he would never make a blues singer either :)))). It’s perhaps a bit of mediocre start to kick off the album with but is fairly OK! and most of the material on this particular album has seen better days done at their live shows in Japan back then too.

Track 2 & 3. The ConstruKction Of Light (Parts 1 & 2).

I decided to cover the both parts at once like they have been placed on the DVD and effectively the 2 parts do work as one piece and the 2nd part is only where the vocals come into play. The albums self-titled track is very much my personal favourite track on the album and merits my TOP SPOT AWARD!

In many ways the only difference between this song and the material that ended up on the album that was to follow The Power To Believe is very much that it does not need any keyboard scape to make it work. Much of the way the song is structured out of interlocking counterpart rhythmical melodies lines that are interchanged and exchanged between Belew and Fripp work superbly. Both Gunn and Mastelotto also work their socks off and the lighter mix with the new drums works very well and you are perhaps not gonna be getting that great deal of a difference between the new and old mix most likely down to its more melodic structure.

Not only does this form of structure go back to the 80’s but also very much reflects some of the structures we seen on the album Red from back in 1974 and how well constructed some of the worked-out pieces in Robert Fripp’s Quartet.

I think Belew has also done a really GREAT! job with the lyrics too and it even has a counterpart verse section that is verging along the same lines of how Jon Anderson done the same thing with the counterpart lyrics he wrote for “Siberian Khatru“. The vocal lines are of course completely different and it’s really down to how they both chose words to more or less rhyme or fit one another rather than making any real logical sense. However the lyrical content we have here does make a great deal of sense on the grand scheme of it all and they do pertain to how the creator constructed the earth with light and how mankind has took control and supervised it not in a bright way by adding a darker side of hate to it all.

Track 4 & 5. Into The Frying Pan (Parts 1 & 2).

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This is where things do get more different and this newer version not only includes an intro but also has a few other changes and tweaks. These were all done by Pat  Mastelotto and with the help of Bill Munyon who happened to  be with him whilst recording the new drums for the track. Mastelotto never did like how the original song started and took some liberties and decided to not only change that part of it, but to make a new intro for it. To make the new intro he took a part of the soundscape at the end of the song and Munyon helped him retune it. They also did a few things with Belew’s voice and guitars in the middle and added various little fragments from various other samples and parts from “Level Five” and “Dangerous Curves“.

Overall, I quite like the new additions and they work pretty well. I think the intro also helps soften the blow with how heavy this song originally was on the original album. Like the opening track on the album it was never a strong song in the first place and was better performed at their live shows, lyrically it never had a lot to say either but at the end of the day it is what it is and was not too bad either.

Track 6. FraKctured.

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Next up we have the longest track on the album “Frakctured” weighing it at 9 minutes, 20 seconds. This instrumental piece is very much worked around the original 1974 piece “Fracture” originally from the album Starless and Bible Black and is played at a much faster accelerated pace putting the band through its paces. The new mix gives it more of a glossy coating and is less dense and much lighter almost to the point of even slightly transposing the key up half a semitone. It’s also one of the better tracks on the album and has to be a contender for the TOP SPOT!

Track 7. The World’s My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum.

A weird title and even more stranger lyrics that Belew wrote for it and I am not for the life of me going try and make anything from them either, they are very much like the title and complete GIBBERISH! and I guess Belew was playing with word association like Jon Anderson did back in the early 70’s. This is one of those songs that many dislikes and it’s most likely down to the nonsense lyrics but then again Belew was always one for mincing words even with Talking Heads and could speak Elephant Talk at times. Personally, I quite like it and it can be quite funny when they perform it live too, and I am sure at the end of the day it was all done in fun too.

It was originally an instrumental track entitled “Demolition” which is from the Project X album Heaven And Earth they was working on at the same time and is included on the DVD. To be honest this was perhaps the only track on the whole of that album you could put a vocal line too with how the music was structured. As an instrumental track I would even say that it was the odd track on that album in relation to how much of the material lack any real structure or composition at all. It really is more of an experiential album and I personally think by adding words to it as bizarre as they are here, it works a damn site better on this album.

Tracks 8, 9, & 10. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic: Part IV (Parts 1, 2 & 3).

Another flash back to the past and Larks’ continues to solder on once again with its 4th part and here it’s split over 3 sections though effectively its all one piece. Just like “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 3” from the Three Of A Perfect Pair album this is once again structured around “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2” from the 1973 album of the same title and there is not an awful lot of difference between them. It’s only really the much lengthier first part of that 1973 album that is really different. It’s still a very powerful piece of work though even on with this new mix and is another contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 11. Coda: I Have A Dream.

The (coda) “I have A Dream” is really the final track on the album and musically it’s like a cross between the previous track “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic: Part IV” and “Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With” even though that song was not out until a couple of years later. The other interesting thing to note is that it also has a soundscape running behind it which was more familiar with the material that was written for The Power To Believe to which none of the other tracks on this album really have at all.

Belew recites all the terrible things that have happened in the world in a way to tie it in with the albums self-titled track “The ConstruKction Of Light“. Even though the track is 4 minutes, 55 seconds long the final minute is of silence to make way for the secret bonus track which is no longer a secret because they included it’s title on the CD along with the rest of the tracks. To be honest I would of thought that they would have done away with the minute silence rather than include it for this new release, after all with how the album has been remixed its not as if its an album for purists.

Track 12. Heaven And Earth (ProjeKct X).

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The self-titled track from the side project album Heaven And Earth was included as a bonus track. It is without doubt one of the better tracks from that album and to be honest it’s a very strange album to say the least and is more on the jam and experimental side of things. As a bonus track it works pretty well because of the soundscape they put in the final track of the album. It makes me wonder if that was done intentionally to include this track in the first place. I was glad they included it and done a 5.1 mix of the track too and it rounds off the album very well.


Overall The ReconstruKction Of Light by King Crimson is far from anything disappointing with how the new mix presents itself to you, it will never replace the original but it will give you something in the way of a reimagined version of it. I am pretty sure most devoted KC fans will buy it regardless and most may already have the bonus material you get on the DVD. For myself the 5.1 mix is where the real value of a package like this lies and that is what I originally brought it for. But even though I already had the original album on CD I still see the 24-bit master as a good bonus to have and it does sound better than my CD.

The other album Heaven And Hell by Project X that you also get here I never had. Though I had heard much of the material from it before. I have given the album a couple of spins but the biggest majority of the material is very experiential and more of a jam and there is not a lot of structure to the music at all on the album unlike the material that made up The ConstruKction Of Light which to me is way more superior. It’s really a matter of preferable taste and I see some of the music on it would be more suited to a film and much of it is really only playing an instrument for the sake of it and not really do anything that constructive with it.

Oddly enough some of the tracks even sound like trance even though they was not using keyboards or computers, and others have a bit of a dub step feel about them. It’s certainly most unusual for a band like this to even venture down that road. It is quite good how they have managed to achieve those tracks to sound like that, but they are not my cup of tea at all I am afraid. Overall, I think there is a good 25 to 30 minutes out of the 72.5 minutes you do get and they would of been better off making an EP out of the best material on it, which would of made it way more exciting and interesting.

My personal highlights from The ReconstruKction of Light are as follows: “The ConstruKction Of Light“. “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic: Part IV“. and “FraKctured“.


To conclude my review of King Crimson’s 40th Anniversary Edition of The ReconstruKction Of Light, I personally think they have done a very good job reconstructing the album with the new drum parts and obviously a lot of time as been spent putting the album back together for the new mix with how they had to relocate all the ADAT Tapes and get everything to sync up and piece back together. Although it’s never really going to be an album for purists. But in saying that with this particular package you are still getting the original album and a lot more besides for a couple of bucks more. So, you cannot really go wrong with this package and it’s only really the vinyl album when it gets released that will really not be for the purist.

In many ways I would say the new mix sheds more light over the original album, the fact that it is less dense and heavy weight does bring out things a lot more clearly and you will get to hear a lot more of how well the original instrumentation really works so well. It’s not all about the new drums that have been added to it that make it work that way either. Some people may prefer the new mix over the original recording and for those who never liked the album in the first place this new reimagined version may very well help you to appreciate it a lot more.

Personally, I have always liked the original album though it’s not up there with my favourite albums of the band. But it does have some really GREAT! tracks on it and is a damn site better than a lot of the garbage they churned out on that experimental album Heaven And Earth that they made whilst making The ConstruKction Of Light. The material as always stood out good performed live as well. Overall the package offers AMAZING! value for the money with all you get and you simply cannot go wrong at its price point.

 If Warhol’s A Genius, What Am I…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. ProzaKc Blues. 5:26.
02. The ConstruKction Of Light. 5:47.
03. The ConstruKction Of Light. 2:57.
04. Into The Frying Pan Intro. 1:10.
05. Into The Frying Pan. 7:01.
06. FraKctured. 9:20.
07. The World’s My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum. 6:23.
08. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic: Part IV. 3:41.
09. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic: Part IV. 2:50.
10. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic: Part IV. 2:36.
11. Coda: I Have A Dream. 4:55.
12. Heaven And Earth (ProjeKct X). 7:47.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Bonus Material Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee’s 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 7/10.


Lee Speaks About Music… #123

Black Bead Eye – How Far To Hitchin



The latest “How Far To Hitchin” album has arrived and it appears that the man behind it all Paul Dews is going on more of an adventurous journey judging by the FANTASTIC! artwork he has done once again himself and the albums front cover does look quite AMAZING! I stated in my recent review I wrote for his debut album Easy Targets that everything about Paul Dews is a work of ART! whether it be his music or his artistic drawings. There can be no doubt this guy does have one hell of a creative mind and is an extremely well talented musician, songwriter and artist. The form of ART! you are getting here is something that is hardly likely to fall out of the sky and land on your lap, it takes a lot of hard work and time, but no doubt the end result I am pretty sure makes it all worthwhile and satisfying.

I think what would make it even more satisfying is if people went out and brought his music, and there is no doubt in my mind that this is one artist who is very well deservingly worthy of a lot more recognition for his GREAT! music, especially with all he has put into making it. Paul Dews has mastered the art of song writing no matter what genre he decides to create and work in with some respect. To many people a pop song can be seen as more of a basic thing to do, but if you can skilfully craft a song like this here, I am pretty sure there is damn site more to it than being simple.

To skilfully craft out a song like “What Everyone Wants” is like having the heads of both Lennon & McCartney on your shoulders along with the arranging skills of George Martin and it’s far from an easy thing to do at all. This is also a song that never even made it onto the debut album Easy Targets. I can also see in some respects how it would not of fitted along with the material he wrote for that particular album as well. But I do feel that in the future at some point it might be worth him remastering his debut album and including both this song and the acoustic version of “Helpless” as bonus tracks on it.

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To be honest as a rule I never buy singles and am very much an album man, but I just had to buy this one and as you can see, I tagged up the both tracks and stuck them on the end of the digital download of the Easy Targets album. Every time I play the album on my computer and smartphone, I always play the bonus tracks too and I personally think they work very well as bonus tracks for this particular album.

Dews released “What Everyone Wants” back in 2017 the following year after the album Easy Targets was released in 2016. I am not entirely sure but I am guessing that he wrote this song before he even started to work on the material for the Easy Targets album back in 2011 and it was most likely written much earlier. The song sounds very familiar to me and it’s as if I heard it many moons ago on the radio. It really is a SMASH HIT! and superb song.

The other thing I also stated in my review of Easy Targets was that I personally felt it was an album that was that special that it would be very hard for Dews to beat or even come up with another album like it even if he was to try for the rest of his life.

Well his latest album Black Bead Eye is very much now here and, in this review, we shall find out if he managed to make me eat my words. No doubt if you have the song writing skills, he has anything is possible I would of thought. But for now, the only thing I shall tell you about the latest album to hit the shelves is that it is different, and it’s a bit like an album that has two halves. I shall go further into it later on in my review here, but as always let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork first.

The Packaging & Artwork…


Just like his debut album the latest CD also comes in a standard plastic jewel case and it was made by himself to save on the expense of having them mass produced in large quantities by a media manufacturing company. It makes a lot of sense especially when it comes to shifting them out, and it saves on having a box of CD’s cluttering up your own space doing nothing at all.

Making The CDs_Fotor

Music is very hard to sell these days especially for unknown artists which is really a shame, because in reality the artwork and the music is without a doubt worthy of being presented in a more professional way and done by a professional media manufacturing company. It would look superb if it was put on a 3-panel cardboard DigiPak with a plastic tray inside to hold the CD and a pocket inside to hold the booklet. But as you can see from the photo above, he’s doing a pretty darn good job of making the CD’s himself and it can be a costly mistake having them done by a professional media manufacturing company unless you are sure you can sell them all.

Speaking of the booklet depending on which CD package you buy will have a bearing on how many pages it comes with. Dews has done things a bit differently with this release and it comes in 4 different packages if you count the digital download of the album to which I will go into more detail in the album release editions section. I myself have the limited Deluxe version (pictured above) which comes with a 12-page booklet with a lot more artwork plus other goodies. The booklet also comes with the usual lyrics and linear production notes like the other CD packages will have too. I was also lucky enough to have this package GIFTED to me by the man himself for doing the album review to which I am extremely grateful for.

Though in all honesty I still would of brought and reviewed the album regardless, and the fact that I had the album given to me will not make the album score any extra points. Every album I review is based on how the music and the package speaks to me and I have always spoke back to it in honesty.


All the artwork was done by Dews himself and there is quite some exceptional pieces of art in the 12 page booklet, a lot more than what was in the previous album Easy Targets too. I also noticed that the artwork he has done for the individual tracks are not just close up shots taken from the main picture he had drew for the albums artwork cover either. This video shows you him hard at work making the limited prints for the Deluxe package. You can hear some of the 5th track on the album “Compression” playing along as he’s making them too.

You can see how much passion Dews puts into his work and no doubt it takes a lot of time and passion to make too. I’ve said it many times already and everything about Paul Dews is a work of ART! and there is more of it in the way he has released the album too. So, let’s now take a look at the many different ways you can purchase the latest album.

Black Bead Eye (Album Release Editions)

As I mentioned earlier, he has released the latest album in the form of 4 individual editions all of which come with different price tiers to suit your pocket. The digital download is no doubt the cheapest way to purchase the album and its only really the physical CD side of things where he has done things a bit different and given each of these editions a different name and presented them on his website with different artwork covers. Though I am pretty sure the different album covers are only for display purposes to go along with the names of each package, and they all come with the original artwork on the albums front cover. So, let’s now take a look at all 4 ways you can purchase the album Black Bead Eye starting from the cheapest to the most expensive option.


The digital download can be obtained for £7 and it comes in the form of a high-quality MP3 format of 320kbps and comes with the front cover of the album. Unlike Bandcamp there are no other choices of formats you can choose from but 320kbps is the highest quality you can get in this particular format and to be honest I myself only ever use this format on my computer myself to save on hard drive space. Both Flac and Wave formats are higher quality but they will take up a lot more of your hard drive space.

I generally find that MP3’s at 320kbps are very good and do a decent enough job of presenting the album to you. Though I am more for the physical format and prefer that side of things myself though I do listen to albums on my computer and my smartphone in this format and it’s more of a convenient format for those devices. I dare say if you were to get in touch with Paul, he would be willing to send you the album in Flac or Wave format if you prefer that higher quality.


The Jackdaw version is the cheapest way to obtain the album in a physical format and the CD is very well priced with its price tag of £10. This version comes with an 8-page lyric booklet and the price is for the CD only, it does not come with a free digital download of the album. But if you’re willing to wait a few days for the CD to arrive this is quite a good option and you can always listen to the album on website whilst you are waiting for it to arrive.


Next up we have the Rook version which is priced up at £15. With this version you get a signed copy of the 12-page booklet plus it also comes with the digital download. To be honest it does seem to be a bit steep charging an extra £5 for it to come with a digital download and that is something that you would find free on most sites. But where the added value of this package lies is really with the extra 4 pages of artwork you get in the booklet rather than the fact that it is also signed by the man himself.

No doubt if Paul Dews was to suddenly become a lot more popular in the way of being more of a celebrity status. His signature would add value to it. But I myself would not personally pay an extra 5 bucks just for somebody to put pen to paper and scribble their name on it. I am also pretty sure that when I met my God of the keyboards Rick Wakeman and asked him to sign my copy of his album The Six Wives Of henry VIII. If he would have asked me for money to sign it. I would not have paid and refused :)))))). The 4 pages may not seem like a lot, but the artwork is superb and is worth spending that little bit extra even if that little bit happens to be 50% more in this case.


Finally, we have the Raven version and this could be seen as the Deluxe version and costs the most with its price tag of a WHOPPING! £20. This particular package is limited to 50 copies only and they have now all been sold. With this package you get the same 12-page signed booklet and the digital download like you get with the Rook version plus you get an extra 3 things for the extra 5 bucks here. 2 of the extra things you can see in my display of the package above in the packaging and artwork section. They are the extra two limited hand prints and a badge with the HFTH logo on it. The other thing you get is your name included on the back of the booklet in the supporters list as you can see in this picture below where I have highlighted my name.

back cover snip_Fotor

I think it’s quite a nice touch having your name on the supporters list printed in the booklet, the badge is a nice little trinket and the extra artwork hand made prints can be put to good use too, just like these couple of examples by James Griffiths and Cliff Proctor with how they have displayed them in the pictures below.

James Griffiths Display_Fotor

James Griffiths Display

Cliff Proctor Display_Fotor

Cliff Proctor Display

I am sure I will find a place for my prints too eventually. The other thing I have just noticed about the prints is that they are also numbered and mine is numbered 36/50.

Was the Raven package worth the extra money? I think it boils down to how passionate you are about the artists you support and some folks are more passionate than others and it shows with the couple of examples by James and Cliff here which is GREAT! to see. I myself have always believed in supporting the artist by buying what speaks to me the most about them and that is the music. I am not the type of person who would generally as a rule spend more money on a CD because it was signed and came with some other goodies.

I suppose it depends on what extras you are getting in the package that will entice me more to buy it, and those things in general are extra discs and those type of packages that come with the 5.1 recordings on a DVD or Blu Ray included in them, rather than anything else. But all those things I just mentioned come from many of the more well-known mainstream artists I buy and not the lesser unknown artists like we have here. And sometimes I will spend that bit extra on those more unknown artists simply because they are hardly likely to generate that much money from their music like those many more well-known artists can.

I do appreciate art as well though and as much as I would like to frame it and hang it on the wall in my house, I do not think my wife would be that pleased. For example, if it was not for her, I dare say I would have many prints by Roger Dean hanging on my walls by now :)))). But she’s not into music like I am and even thinks I waste my money on buying music. I am forever telling her that least I have something to show for my money which is a damn site more than what she would spend her money on :))))).

In many ways I feel guilty in receiving the Raven package for free. Not because I cannot put the artwork in a frame and hang it on the wall, and like I said I will find a spot somewhere for those prints most likely where I store my CD’s. But because even though I paid for the album Easy Targets he still never got any money from it because he lost his old email which was tied to his PayPal account. That is also the reason why his music is no longer available on Bandcamp and the only way you can buy it now is directly from his website.

I am without doubt a fan and his music certainly ROCKS! my boat and sometime in the near future I dare say I will even buy both albums again even if they are only in the form of a digital download to give away to others, I know that will appreciate them. But right now, let’s press on and get on with the review of the album.

The Album In Review…

Black Bead Eye by How Far To Hitchin was officially released on 5th August 2019. However, the release date did not get off to a flying start because Dews had to sort out his website and even though the album was released nobody could actually purchase it. I did get to hear the whole of the album on that day as Dews was uploading the tracks one by one up to his website and I also purchased his debut album Easy Targets on that very day from Bandcamp. It was not until a couple of days later on the 7th August that things got sorted out and you could purchase the new album.

The album was recorded and mixed once again at Studio One-Seven-Two which is in the basement of the house he lives in Huddersfield. Although this will be the final album to be made there due to the fact that he has now sold his house and is moving to the Orkney Isles. So, he will soon be waving goodbye to the Peacocks of Birkby.

In The Studio_Fotor

Things have been done a bit differently with the new album and it’s been mastered by Russ Sinfield. He is also credited with the production with Dews too and the album does sound GREAT! for it. I’ve come across many artists on Soundcloud that Sinfield has produced and mastered albums for and he does a GRAND! job of it. I also think it helps to sell records when you have someone else onboard and right now, and I am glad he managed to sell all 50 copies of the Limited Raven Edition so quickly. It shows people have good taste too.

The latest album comes with 8 tracks all of which are vocal tracks and there are no instrumental tracks. The 8 tracks are spanned over an overall playing time of 53 minutes, 50 seconds which is quite lengthy but more of the common time slot that has been associated with the CD format since it was born and brought in to replace vinyl back in the mid 80’s. To be honest I still prefer the old vinyl album time slot of around 30 to 40 minutes basically because you can squeeze in more albums in a day to listen to and they make it much easier to give the album more spins and get into a lot faster. When you have a large record collection like myself that old time slot really does make a massive difference and, in some aspects, can reflect on how often an album will get played as well.

I think since the birth of the CD it’s so easy for artists to cram as much information on them as they can squeeze onto them, and sometimes it can be too much food for thought. Some albums work well for it whilst others don’t depending on how good the material they wrote for the album in the first place. Solid albums are very much a minority and to make a double albums worth of material you very much have to have the right amount of good material to make it work in the first place.

Sometimes good material can take that much longer to manifest itself upon you, and until it does it’s not really going to say a lot to you at all over the first couple of spins. It can take many more spins for things to become more clearer and much of the material upon the album Black Bead Eye started to speak to me a lot more after further spins than the first 2 or 3 spins I gave the album.

In many ways the album Black Bead Eye is a different breed in relation to his debut album Easy Targets and that was an album that was even a good 13 minutes longer than what have here. Nothing about that debut album presented me with a problem and even with its overall time slot of 67 minutes, 34 seconds I even stated myself that “I have no complaints simply because this is one very well skilfully crafted and woven piece of fine ART! that has been so skilfully put together”. It is without doubt a solid album and one that is easy to get into and grab you straight away.

Paul Dews has gone about things a bit differently on his latest album Black Bead Eye and he has stepped a bit deeper into the realms of prog rock to which the album Easy Targets only had a few elements of prog rock about the material that was wrote for it. There are the odd glimpses on a couple of the tracks of his debut album but mostly this is an album that presents him in a different light, and I shall reveal more later in the album tracks section of my review here. But first let’s take a look at the album credits.

Musicians & Credits…


All songs written by Paul Dews. Recorded & Mixed by Paul Dews at Studio One-Seven-Two.  Produced by Paul Dews & Russ Sinfield. Mastered by Russ Sinfield. All Artwork & Design by Paul Dews.

Paul Dews: Vocals/12 & 6 String Acoustic Guitars/12 & 6 String Electric Guitars/Nylon Guitar/Mandolin/Ukulele/Chapman Stick/Electric Bass Guitar/Flute/Keyboard & Synth Programming/Drums/Percussion & Bass Programming.
Emma Gee: Female Voice (Track 4).

The Album Tracks In Review…

So far, I have mentioned that the album Black Bead Eye is a different breed in relation to the debut album Easy Targets. I also mentioned that it’s a bit like an album that has two halves and that Paul Dews is stepping a bit deeper into the realms of prog rock. There is no doubt that Dews has done things more differently on his latest album even with how he has approached it with the material he has written for it. For example, even his own voice sounds different on some tracks in relation to how it sounded on that debut album of his. I most likely expect that the new material gave him a new challenge in which he had to express his voice in another way to make it work in some parts.

Regarding the album having two halves I first seen as two things. The first being that he has made it to look like a vinyl album with how it has a side one and side two printed on the back of the CD. Plus, he has also made it sound like a vinyl album by adding the sound of the needle being placed onto the record at the beginning and end, even where it comes to the point of turning the album over to play the other side. The second part of how I see it as an album of two halves is a bit more confusing, and basically it really boils down to if Dews was working with the tracks having some form of a concept of stories going on or not with the album.

It does have me thinking that his original intention was to make side one of the album into a concept of fantasy stories and the second side more of a bunch of collective songs. However the way the album tracks have been placed do not seem to work like that and have been shuffled about a bit which would suggest that he gave up on that idea. For example, looking at the tracks “Queen Of Malice“. “Woman Screaming At Trees” and “The Crow” these 3 tracks are certainly more of your fantasy story sort of thing.

I suppose you could of also have thrown in “Compression” although that is perhaps not a fantasy sort of story like those other 3 tracks are. But in reality if you were to put this album onto 1 Vinyl LP you would have to juggle the tracks around to make them fit and you would need one of the shorter tracks on each side of the album and not both of them on the same side like they are placed here. No doubt 53 minutes, 50 seconds is way over the limit of vinyl restrictions though that amount of time has been squeezed onto them in the past.

The way I seen the album Easy Targets is very much like how I mentioned it in my review of the album. I did see it has a 12-piece jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces fit perfectly together to make it up. The 8 pieces we have here on Black Bead Eye are never gonna fit perfectly together like that previous album. Regarding the track placement I do feel there are some pieces that have not been cut right to make them fit perfectly enough, and they have been placed in the wrong place. I very much feel if you play a game of mix and match here and juggle the pieces around to make them fit. You will have an album of two halves, the first half being in the way of a concept of fantasy stories, and the second half in the way of a collection of songs.

But of course this is all speculation on my part and for all I know Paul Dews may have not have had any intention of making a concept with the material he wrote here and they were just a collection of songs he wrote for this particular album. He may very well have done exactly the same thing with Easy Targets and to be perfectly honest many people would not see that album having any form of a concept. I only related a concept to them based on the subject matter of the lyrics and what all the songs were pertaining and relating too with them.

The other major difference between the both albums is that Black Bead Eye certainly has a lot more in the guitar department whereas in many ways the album Easy Targets was more deprived of guitar solos and could be a lot more keyboard oriented. I would also say that this new album is also very much more influenced by Steve Hackett whereas the last album had more of a cross between Roger Waters and many other artists about it. The one thing both albums do have in common is a nice cup of tea and Paul Dews certainly likes a nice cup of the stuff :)))). So, let’s now take a deeper look into the albums 8 tracks.

Track 1. Queen Of Malice.

The needle is placed on the record and the album kicks off at first with a mini orchestral overture to set the scene for the opening story about the selfish and mean sister of King Merry who was chosen to be the Secret Kingdom’s ruler. His ugly sister was evil and the greedy one who plotted out a plan for revenge at least that’s what I am presuming this story is pertaining too. There have been many Queens of Malice including Malice in Wonderland and they are all pretty damn evil. Some of them will have your head on the chopping block in no time at all :))))) and others are even connected with Halloween and speaking of Halloween there may well be a connection with some of the other stories here on the album.

Track 1

The mini overture makes quite a majestic entrance with the kettle drums rolling and is as bold as brass with the brass too, I like how it winds itself down with the strings at around the 45 second mark and allows a sequence on the keyboard to fade its way into the action and allows Dews to count in 1,2,3,4 which is panned to the left and how he expresses the number 5 with his voice more boldly and is panned to the right. It’s precisely at the 1-minute mark that the band instrumentation kicks in with the drums, bass, guitars and keyboards and it starts to ROCK! out more in a meandering and menacing style and runs along for 55 seconds. Then at the 1:55 mark that Dews bring in the vocals to take the story along its way.

Much of the material on the album is quite lengthy and range between 6 – 9 minutes apart from the last couple of tracks on the album. This particular track is the shortest of the three 6-minute tracks on the album and weighs in at 6 minutes, 17 seconds, it also goes through some lovely transitional changes.

I have to confess when I first heard this opening track it was not really grabbing me at all and it took me at least 4 or 5 spins to get to see everything ring out in a different light for me to really appreciate it. I think what threw me off more than anything was how Dews voice was projecting the vocals differently and it took me that much longer to get used to his voice.

As I mentioned earlier there is something different about his voice on this album and this particular track over its first few spins had me thinking of some of the light weight songs that both Steve Hackett and Steve Howe played with the band GTR. Although Paul Dews voice is not as high as Max Bacon’s for some reason it was giving me the impression of that light weighted song “When The Heart Rules The Mind“. Musically it’s nothing like that song and neither is the vocal line, but somehow that is how this song was speaking to me until a few further spins. The only part of his voice that had any connection with his debut album was when he counted in the numbers 1,2,3,4 – FIVE!

Although the GTR side of things had disappeared after 6 or more spins it was still plain to see that the Steve Hackett side of things had not. Instead of it reminding me of material by GTR it was speaking to me more along the lines of the material Hackett wrote for his 1984 album Till We Have Faces or around that time in particular. There is a difference between Hackett’s own material in that it can be a bit denser and darker in relation to what he did with GTR. For example, by me calling “When The Heart Rules The Mind” lightweight. What I really meant is that the song was written with a more commercial approach to it, very much like the material that the band Asia presented to us when they first started. It’s lighter and airier and is aimed to attract a wider audience by verging on the boundaries of pop music.

Even though the song “Jekyll and Hyde” from that same album may have a darker aspect to its lyrical content. The way Max Bacon sings and delivers it with his high vocal range does tend to throw more light on the song than it should have in reality, and that is what I was getting  from the “Queen Of Malice” at first with how Dews voice projected the lyrics and that was throwing me off. To be honest I was quite surprised how well he is stretching out some of his vocal chords on this song and reaching the highs more or less perfectly on some of the more stretched out sentences.

Though somehow what I am not getting here is that special fresh new presence I got with the way the vocals and harmonies were expressed on his debut album Easy Targets. Instead the vocals and harmonies on this song in many ways is like listening to Steve Hackett with the many other vocalists he has backing him up in his band. Don’t get me wrong I think the song is GREAT! but I cannot even after a zillion spins get this Steve Hackett vibe out of my head, and this album is certainly going down the road of Hackett’s music in parts where as I felt the album Easy Targets was more special, unique and more original even with its many other influences.

Musically things are different and it’s not so much like Hackett at all apart from the chords played on the keyboards that support the vocals. Around the half way point there is nice little synth solo and after the final chorus the song runs along once again in its meandering and menacing style we got earlier. Dews does work the electric guitar very well into the piece and then around the 4:35 mark we get this lovely translational change with a lovely acoustic guitar section that brings the song down a TREAT! He then winds up the last few verses repeatedly to bring the song down to its ending.

Overall the “Queen Of Malice” is one of the more powerful up tempo paced out songs on the album, to be honest there are very few songs on the album (including this one) that really run along at this faster pace. There is without doubt some Steve Hackett influences here just as there are on other parts of the album and I personally do not have a problem with that and we all are influenced by many of our idols to some extent. It’s a really GREAT! track to open up the album and does without doubt get the album off to a flying start. I think for many this would also be one of the tracks in contention for the albums TOP SPOT! too with its pace and feel.

Track 2. Desensitised.

Track 2

This fine ballad of a song is very much more like Dews getting back on track of being who he is with his own originality and I have to admit once again this took me several spins for it to really sink in and get to appreciate just how good this song really is. Actually, when I listen to many of the songs on this album Dews is being more sensitive with how he delivers them with his voice. In many ways I would even say that he is going around things in the opposite way of how he would have approached many of the songs on Easy Targets especially with how all the anger and explicit lyrics are no longer present. For a ballad this is quite a long song over 7 and half minutes, it could also be seen as too long. But the way Dews can skilfully carve out a song like this and how he can so masterfully build it up with his arranging skills does make it that more interesting even to the point of lifting the pace up and gradually lifting it out of its ballad mode to raise the game up a bit more.

To be honest the way the song opens up with its sequenced intro it gives you the impression that you were gonna get something different in relation to how it settles into its ballad mode on the piano. It’s perhaps a bit of an unusual intro and my guess is that it was used for the purpose of a news reel to reflect the lyrical content we have here. Speaking of the lyrical content it relates to those who are less likely to feel shock or distress at scenes of cruelty or suffering by overexposure to such images. I think when you look at all that does go on in the world on the TV nothing does really shock or surprise you anymore. I suppose in some way even I can desensitize myself from it all by not watching the news, although when I do catch glimpses of it can get my goat up and no news is hardly ever good news.

The lyrical content is without doubt speaking about the reality of it all and this is a song that starts off sensitively with the keys and vibes supporting the vocals over the first couple of minutes. Around the 2:26 mark the bass, acoustic guitar and drums kick in to lift it up more and there are some LUSH! bass lines throughout that takes us into the little change just over 4-minute mark. A nice little lead guitar solo further on around the 5:18 mark comes into play and the song falls back in and gets wonderfully rounded off with the keys and a fine oboe sound. It’s a really GREAT! meaningful song that speaks a lot of truth and is very much another contender for the albums TOP SPOT!.

Track 3. Instant Gratification.

A more modern approach to things and a modern look at how society these days go about wanting instant gratification on media sites such as the likes of Facebook, Instagram and so on by wanting you to click on the LIKE! button. Dews takes in the cynical side of things with the lyrical content we have here and it’s funny in a sort of way. This is perhaps a song that could hark back to his debut album in some respects with how he’s structured the music around the bass line and the synths.

Track 3

However, I do not think it would have worked that well on the album Easy Targets and its perhaps not quite up there with the material that was written for it. That’s not to say there nothing remotely bad about this song either and it even has some really GREAT! little lead guitar spasm bursts in it too. I also think it’s quite clever how he’s worked on the lyrics. It is perhaps my least favourite track on the album though considering it’s 6.5 minutes long it only seems like half of that time when playing it. So, he must be doing something right and I do like how he’s gone about it all and it can make me give a chuckle. I also can still certainly give it a LIKE! LIKE! LIKE! :)))))).

Track 4. Woman Screaming At Trees.

Track 4

It’s story time and this is quite a haunting story as the title may suggest. It’s also the longest track on the album and weighs in at precisely 1 second over the 9-minute mark. Some of the songs on the album were worked out over a good few years back. This two and half minute rough sketch video preview of the track was put out on his YouTube channel back in 2016. The drums that come into play towards the end are not even on the finished track. Though there is a lot more been put into the track than just the drums and piano with how well it’s been built up and how further developed it is today.

You can also see that the title was slightly different back then too and was still at it’s early stage of a working title with it having the word “Shouting” instead of “Screaming”. Either way you can see something is not right with this woman, and she is either off her head or barking up the wrong tree, or just barking mad :)))))).

The video only really gives you an idea of how the story gets put over and it does develop into more of a song as it progresses along. Paul Dews makes a fine story teller and apart from the noise effects he recites the first part of the story unaccompanied over the first 1 minute 55 seconds. From here on he is accompanied by the piano and other elements of instrumentation such as orchestration, percussion and the odd touch of slide guitar in parts gradually come into play with how it all builds up. It also features his other half Emma Gee whose voice works very effectively panned across the speakers at around the 4:26 mark for a few seconds.

Most of the words are presented with Dews spoken voice right up to the 6:42 mark where the drums kick in to drive it all home in the way of more of a song. It’s very clever how it’s all so well built up for the transitions to take place and once again it’s does have a Steve Hackett feel about it and also features a very TASTY! Hackett like guitar solo from 7:34 – 8:04. The drums pound in harder for the final stretch to drive it home and it ends off very well with the final words unaccompanied quite abruptly to end off side one of the album. I also like how you hear the crackling of the vinyl and his other half asking him if he’s going to put the other side on and do want a cuppa tea? To which Dews replies YES! and no doubt he loves his cup of tea :))))).

Woman Screaming At Trees” is an excellent piece of work and a GREAT! track with a masterful build to it all. I also noticed that on the back of the CD it does say it has 2 parts though it does effectually work well as one long story portrayed with voice and singing vocals. Once again I also get an Halloween connection as I do with the 1st track and track 6. “The Crow” and that is also what gave me the impression that all of these 3 story tracks do have a concept connection. I would also consider it to be another contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 5. Compression.

The needle is placed back on the record for side two of the album to commence and just like the first half of the album got off to a flying start so does the second side with “Compression“. This is my personal favourite track on the album. To be honest it was a very hard decision to make especially with the track coming up that’s about to follow it “The Crow“. If anything, this is one of the couple songs on the album that are the closest to the songs that was written for his debut album Easy Targets.

Track 5

Paul Dews made a video for the song in the way of a single release to showcase how the new album was coming along and posted it on his Facebook wall only back in April of this year. For the purpose of my review I did ask Paul if I could nick it from his Facebook wall and upload it to my own YouTube channel unlisted so you could get to hear the song for yourselves.

I like how the lyrics put you behind the eyes and the state of mind Dews is portraying with the character in this song. Here we are looking at a consummate liar who has the skill to lie both consistently and artistically in his profession which in this case he may very well of been an architect or the chap responsible in getting the work done that the architect has designed. In many professions they can present you with many ways of cutting corners and getting things done a lot cheaper. Though there can be many pitfalls in going about things this way especially when it comes down to durability with how long things will last.

Compression is the action or state of being squished down or made smaller or more pressed together. In medical terms it can also be a force on a bodily part such as compression of an artery by forceps or compression of the brain by the bones of a depressed fracture. Dispassion is an undisturbed state of mind that prevents one from being able to think clearly or make good decisions because of not being influenced by emotions and all of these things are tied to the character we have in this song.

In many ways the lyrics to this song reminds me a bit like how I see how the lyrics could possibly relate to in today’s world that Peter Gabriel wrote for the Genesis song “Get Em Out By Friday“. Now obviously Gabriel did write those lyrics pertaining to how they could make humans smaller genetically in the future and fit twice as many people in the properties they built. Another money making scheme and to many conniving greedy bastards in this world money is all they can think about, and where they can cut corners, they will to make it. In some way the words that Gabriel did write all those years ago have come true if you look at the way things have become smaller in another light.

I first noticed this a few years back when the council in my own town decided to knock down many of the houses around the area  I live in to make way for new regeneration plan they had put into operation. No doubt the Winkler called upon all those who owned and had brought their houses from the council and offered them a measly sum on top of what their houses was worth to move out. The counsel tenants were offered 5 grand to move into smaller properties such as tower block flats and maisonettes. Once every one had moved out in the designated areas, they intended to build new houses and after they had bulldozed them all to the ground. They did in fact nearly build twice as many houses on the same building site. Honestly, they were like dolls houses and you could not sling a cat in the things :))))).

Both musically and vocally “Compression” is as good as any song on the Easy Targets album I think the only way it would stick out on that album is down to how it does have more guitars than any track on that album. Both the acoustic and electric guitar work on this song is GOLD and worked in with the keyboards and everything else it works a TREAT! It’s a song that has GREAT! progression throughout it all and both the lead guitar and keyboard solos are quite AWESOME! with how they work with each other and run along in unison with one another. It very much merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 6. The Crow.

Track 6

The albums self-titled track to which “Black Bead Eye” is contained in the lyrics and was used for the album title. This song relates to the Corvid and if you never spotted the Steve Hackett influence earlier on you will soon spot it here, especially if you are familiar with the Genesis song “Blood On The Rooftops” that Hackett & Collins wrote for the bands 1976 album Wind and Wuthering. Although this song does not contain the same melody on the nylon guitar to that particular song, the sound and GORGEOUS! job Dews has done and his playing certainly gives you the impression of Hackett playing the piece.

It’s quite a lengthy 2-minute intro that has bags of chord progression and movement and goes through a few changes before the vocals come into play. Supporting the nylon guitar we have some orchestral flute, harp, and mini moog over the first 90 seconds which brings in another change with the electric guitar and keyboards for 15 seconds and then the 12 string acoustic comes into play and and introduces the main melody to support the vocals that enter in at the 2 minute mark.

This video shows you just one of the main melodies on the nylon guitar that enters at around the 44 second mark of the intro. It really is a beautiful piece and so skilfully played and he posted this rough take of it on his Facebook wall in July 2018. He titled this small part of the larger piece ‘Corvidance‘ and Paul told me it’s a piece that has been kicking around since 1984 and he has been playing it ever since. It makes me wonder how many other pieces he’s been playing over all these years that are still to be put out and see the light of day.

The Crow” is the second longest track on the album and over its 7 minutes, 36 seconds and it tells a short haunting and harrowing story about some chap coming face to face with a crow that to his surprise speaks and tells him his time is almost up which instils fear into the poor chap. It’s enough to make you want to stone the crows :)))))) but is interesting how the chap replies to the crow questioning its small insignificant tiny brain has to how it could possibly know that fate was upon him. So too is the crows reply.

The nylon, 12 and 6 string guitars feature very well throughout the story and it builds up very well and takes another path to present the final part of story adding more power with other elements of instrumentation that comes into play from 4 minutes onwards. The Egyptian/Moroccan orchestration that comes into play with the drums and bass remind me of Led Zeppelin’sKashmir” a bit.

To be honest the way this song did transcend into the second part did take me awhile to get used to all the other things that Dews had put into it. In many ways they did seem a bit more minimalistic in relation to the GORGEOUS! acoustic melodic melodies we got over the first 4 minutes. Though they do work in building the piece up and taking the it somewhere else for the final part of the story.

Overall “The Crow” may not be quite the classic song “Blood On The Rooftops” that Hackett & Collins wrote for Genesis but that was something quite special. There is something that still niggles me a bit of the how the second part of the song was constructed, and I do feel that it needed that bit more to match up to the quality that the first 4 minutes presented us with. That is most likely why it never got my TOP SPOT AWARD! but it is without doubt a very much a strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 7. Bumsurfing.

It’s time for a complete change of mood and “Bumsurfing” is another song that reminds of some of the material that was wrote for Easy Targets. This is another one of those jolly bouncy songs much like how “Flowers From Burma“ from that debut album. Though regarding the instrumentation that was used for both songs there is quite a margin between the world of 80’s keyboard-oriented electronica to what we have here with this song. This song packs in a host of goodies in the instrument department and utilises the mandolin and ukulele superbly along with the bass, guitars and other goodies.

Musically the “Flowers From Burma“ was much more minimalistic and a lot more easy to construct in relation this song, though they both have some quirky percussion elements thrown into the pot to make them bounce along. For me personally it was the strong lyrical content I liked about the “Flowers From Burma“ that made it such a good song, whereas the instrumentation we have on “Bumsurfing” is much more to my taste. I also like the holiday carefree lyrics we have here too and they are quite comical. I noticed Dews had to get the kettle in there too :)))))).

Track 7

In some way a song like “Bumsurfing” may feel a bit out of place on album like this, but I was quite happy for its inclusion and it is so skilfully done and all well put over with the vocals. lyrics and bounty of instrumentation. It’s really GREAT! fun song.

Track 8. Giraffe.

Track 8

The final song is the shortest track on the album though only by 5 seconds did it merit that spot. I have to confess I have no idea whatsoever how the lyrics relate to the title we have here and even spent a good hour doing some research on giraffes and came up with ZILCH! The only logical explanation for the loving meaningful and caring lyrics must of come from some place he had visited and are what he visualized. They could of also could have come from a dream judging by the artwork he done above for this final track, or the work they are making here is a bit of a tall order :)))))).

There is quite a serene feel of sensitivity with how Dews delivers the fine words and it’s a lovely song that was structured and built up around the piano. It has some wonderful orchestration, bass and ambient Hackett like lead guitar supporting it all and a nice sequenced synth works well in the piece too. I also like how it washes it’s way in on the intro with the sound of the sea and seagulls, you can also hear Dews scribbling out something on a sketchpad, he might be carving out his next masterpiece or sketching out the picture above whilst he is sitting in a field by the sea. This subtle and serene song ends off the album in GREAT! style and closes the chapter of another GREAT! album he has very well crafted out here.


To sum up Black Bead Eye by How Far To Hitchin I would certainly say that this album is more along the lines of prog rock in relation to his debut album Easy Targets. I think much of the material he wrote for this new album is very strong and I like the fact that there is more of a finer balance with the guitars and keyboards and that is where I personally feel it is better than his debut album in some respects. I think there is much more guitar work on this album too and it’s not so much keyboard orientated in relation to that debut album of his either.

To be honest when I weigh up all of those advantages that the album Black Bead Eye has presented to me, you would think that it has made me eat my words in stating that I do not think Dews could beat or even come up with another album like Easy Targets. Personally, I still stand by those words and for a guy who is more into prog rock and not a fan of keyboard orientated albums. It’s very unusual but that album still has something very special about it. It has too if it can do that to me.

When comparing the both albums I would say that much of the material on Black Bead Eye is more subdued in that it can be soft and restrained throughout many of its parts. The album Easy Targets does also have those qualities about some of its material, but it also contains more excitement I personally feel. I did say that it was a bit like a Greatest Hits album too, and it is an album where the material will hit you more or less instantly in relation to a lot of the material on his latest album that do meed more time to sink in.

But if you were to ask me what album should I buy of How Far To Hitchin? My answer would be simple just get them both. Simply because they are both really excellent albums that will give you plenty of pleasure and my personal highlights from the album Black Bead Eye are as follows: “Compression“. “The Crow“. “Queen Of Malice“. “Woman Screaming At Trees” and “Desensitised“.


To conclude my review of the Black Bead Eye. I would say its an album that contains a strong body of work and I cannot fault any of the material that was written for the album either. It’s also highly original material even if It does have quite a strong Steve Hackett influence in parts. I personally feel that it is a album that will sit well with many who are into prog rock and those who have a good taste for good music. It’s also an album that comes with a GREAT! production and you are without doubt getting quality for the buck. It’s very much something that will give you GREAT! listening pleasure for many years to come and an album I would highly recommend adding to your collection.

It will be interesting to see what Paul Dews comes up with for his next album. But whatever it is I am sure it will be without doubt another fine work of ART! He is working on a new album already but my guess it will be another couple of years at least before it materializes. To carve and craft out the music he makes it does take time and a lot of skill. Everything about this man is a work of ART! and no doubt I will be on the look out for his next creative adventure and I am pretty sure whatever he comes up with it will ROCK! my boat so to speak.

You can listen to the album for free or even purchase the album in the form of a digital or physical format from his website store page here: http://www.howfartohitchin.com/store

Warning: Compression can take your breath away and If you should happen to come across a talking Crow. Make sure your Life Insurance Policy is up to date.

Compression Takes My Breath Away, And Once Again I lose Control…

The album track listing is as follows:

01. Queen Of Malice. 6:17.
02. Desensitised. 7:30.
03. Instant Gratification. 6:31.
04. Woman Screaming At Trees. 9:01.
05. Compression. 6:58.
06. The Crow. 7:36.
07. Bumsurfing. 4:58.
08. Giraffe. 4:53.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.