King Crimson guitarist/founder Robert Fripp's famous quote that "King Crimson is a way of doing things" has seldom seemed truer than on THE POWER TO BELIEVE. The group's second studio album as a quartet in the wake of old hands Tony Levin and Bill Bruford's departure fits fully into the ever-shifting but consistently regenerative Crimson continuum. "Level Five" and the multi-part title track are pounding, counterpoint-filled tunes that hark back to Crimson's oft-revisited touchstone "Larks Tongues in Aspic."
20 CDs of live material from the final USA & Canadian 1974 tours, 1 CD of studio material featuring a new stereo mix of “Red”…
The relationship between this EP and King Crimson's Power to Believe (2003) long-player mirrors that of the six-track Vrooom (1994) sampler and subsequent full-length release Thrak (1994). The music perfectly contrasts the primarily instrumental and live Level Five (2001) EP by honing in on the latest lyrical contributions from Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals). The disc begins with "Bude," the first in a series of short spoken verses incorporating an electronically manipulated and harmonized Belew. The result is similar to the voice box effect used by Peter Frampton on "Do You Feel Like We Do?."
How best to describe the performance here? One word: savage. Taken from the FOH tapes recorded by Greg Dean and mixed with audience mics from the Multi-track ADATS by Alex Mundy, this is a powerful testament to the latitude and grasp of the Double Duo in the live arena. Level Five squashes all before it, packing in more musical weight and density into seven minutes than many groups manage over an entire career. A high-powered and potent version of Facts Of Life makes for compelling listening – the revved up solo from Fripp is a joy to behold as is Belew’s rollercoaster solo on LTIA IV.
Whichever way you look at this is a significant show: the last time King Crimson played anywhere in mainland Europe. As such there’s a certain end-of-term aspect here - a rushing Dinosaur, a final flush in the cheeks of Red as it hits the finishing line. Humour plays its part as well when Belew quips to quell the photographers before a dazzling ConstruKction of Light.
“It’s been a bit of a strange evening” says Adrian Belew near the end of the show. What can he mean? Well, there are moments when things get shaky (Ade has a rather squelchy brown moment during Dinosaur) and there’s a slightly distracted quality to Crimson’s overall performance here, particularly through EleKtric. Yet a minute later The Power To Believe II sees them embarking on a sublime voyage that goes to bliss and back in a little over seven minutes; Fripp launches a solo that takes him clean out of city and off into inner space.