'Larks' Tongues In Aspic', from 1973, is widely regarded as one of the truly great King Crimson albums. With its raw tone, inspired improvisations and hard hitting odd-metered rhythms, the album marked a radical departure for this most forward thinking of groups and was the first to include Bill Bruford and John Wetton as band members. This 40th Anniversary edition features new mixes by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Robert Fripp.
Commissioned by the city of Mannheim (Germany) for its 400th anniversary, UTP was co-composed by Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto) and Ryuichi Sakamoto. The work, whose title is deducted from the word "utopia," is scored for electronics, piano, and chamber ensemble, the latter being Ensemble Modern. It consists in extremely slow-paced tableaux of stretched out octaves and skeletal motives, a Butoh-like performance. The piece is solemn and entrancing, like Morton Feldman's music – more elegant, perhaps. It marks a new step in the evolution of Nicolai and Sakamoto's music, together and apart, as neither of them had yet concocted something this sparse, this naked.
Sporting the cover of the CD/DVD set is a very strange looking Ian Anderson with a typically normally looking Martin Barre. Anderson looks like he is getting ready to do something perverted with his flute again. Glad to know 31 years on nothing much has changed in that respect. Live At Madison Square Garden (CD/DVD) is one of several live Jethro Tull DVD's that have become available over the last few years. I am glad that I didn't miss this one because it's a real gem. It contains a 93 minute concert recording in 5.1 DTS (96/24) surround sound (+Dolby Digital 5.1 & LPCM 2.0) and within all of that is 50 minutes of video footage from the groundbreaking (an often over used term in music but in this case true) of an international broadcast via satellite on October 9, 1978. The CD is a 78 minute edited stereo version of the concert. The only difference in tracks between the two is the "Bagpipe Intro" on the DVD and obviously the visual impact of a live Jethro Tull performance that is so strikingly brought to life again.