All songs written by King Crimson.
- THRA THRAK
- Fearless And Highly THRaKked
- Mother Hold The Candle Steady While I Shave The Chicken's Lip
- THRaKaTTaK Part I => Reviews
- The Slaughter Of The Innocents => Reviews
- This Night Wounds Time => Reviews
- THRaKaTTaK Part II => Reviews
- THRAK reprise
Reviews are listed in chronological order within each section. Please retain a chronological order when adding new reviews.
Date Submitted: 11-Jun-96
By: Peter Zlotkowski (userid at sgh dot waw dot pl)
"This album is simply impossible to hear. I wonder, whether the musicians cannot see that probably no one but them likes such a stuff. Maybe some of them dislike this kind of... music, too. Very boring album, it's not worth any money. Well, I think that some medieval alchemists' dream: transforming money into - excusez le mot - a piece of shit, is now a reality - just go to the nearby record shop and spend your money buying THRaKaTTaK. It's really hard to write such heavy words for me, 'cause I AM King Crimson enthusiast - but I must say that their last album that is really worth hearing is - "Red". Oh, I've almost forgotten "THRAK" - yeah, that's quite good, too. I've got an advice for the group members, especially Mr. Fripp - hey, make some orchestral arrangements, change your name for The Stravinskis and perform these pieces at the Warsaw Autumn Festival with the Kronos Quartet or something even more MODERN and hard to understand. I'd say that this album is their greatest mistake - even greater then "Discipline", "Beat" and "ToaPP"."
Date Submitted: 19-Jun-96
By: Michael Parrott (parrot19 at sefl dot satelnet dot org)
"Anybody who thinks Crimson is'nt up there with the others in Improv listen to Thrak Attak..."
Date Submitted: 20-Jun-96
By: Gerard Coughlan (MBSFT-0V at carraig dot ucd dot ie)
"I wouldn't agree that the album is impossible to hear but it's definitely for true fans only. It basically contains an hour of crimson improvising or "thraking" as Fripp calls it. It's definitely interesting from a fans point of view as some of their best stuff comes from improving in the studio or onstage. However I feel it's harder to do so with six musicians on stage as regards coherence and sometimes the music is not very coherent. Still, we get a poster of the band with the CD so it's not all that bad........"
Date Submitted: 3-Jul-96
By: Thomas Poisson (poisson at speedy dot grolier dot fr)
"Speaking of Thrakattak five months before its release, Fripp said he would like to see how many fans the band would lose with this new album. I won't be among them, as this piece of work is IMO as strong and dark as SABB, just a bit more difficult to delve into, and much more satisfying than THRAK. Don't buy it if you have a linear conception of music."
Date Submitted: 10-Jul-96
By: Neputnya (neptunya at fishnet dot net)
"This recording is not impossible to hear! I put it in my CD player, heard the quiet little scapes, raised the volume to a audible level, and dangit, Fripp got me again! He did it to me with Cat Food, Cirkus, Sailor's Tale, Lark's Part 1, Fracture, Indiscipline, THRaK, and now THRaKaTTack! Only this time it didn't send the cat into a curtain-climbing upholstery-shredding seizure. It sent me into a mad-dash-from-the-other-room-turn-it-down-quick-hope-my-neighbors-don't-call-the-cops frenzy!.
"Jeez, I heard it just fine. I've been waiting 27 years for this album! Oh, wait, I'm so sorry! You meant impossible to listen to? Were you expecting maybe 'Cadence and Cascade'? or possibly 'Heartbeat'? Or maybe you thought you were buying 'The King Family'?
"This is a simply fantastic testament to creativity. King Crimson has the cajones grande to release this seamlessly edited work, and proclaim 'here we are without our clothes on, for all to see and judge'. Consider these remarks: 'disagreeable eccentricity', 'an enigma, almost a hoax', 'an incomprehensible union of strange harmonies', 'stupid and hopelessly vulgar music'. What work are these critics lambasting? The debut of Beethoven's Symphony No 9 (Choral), now considered one of the greatest if not the greatest symphony of all time.
"THRakaTTaCK? BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!"
Date Submitted: 14-Jul-96
By: Dylan Strzynski (DStraz at aol dot com)
"I've only been into King Crimson for a very short time (maybe a month) and have but a few albums, as a fan of many other "prog-rock" bands (Rush, Genesis, ELP. . .)I was always aware of KC but never really sat down and listened to it until recently. But any way, I really like thrakattack it's just very weird and a relief to hear some one jamming in some thing other than twelve bar blues."
Date Submitted: 14-Jul-96
By: Jason Curnutt (jasonc at texas dot net)
"This album ranks right up there with the Sun for life-sustaining vitality. I give Fripp and Company an A+ for creativity and fearlessness and I give them an F for commerciality. The kids just can't dance to it and the critics can eat it without some sort of dairy topping!"
Date Submitted: 21-Jul-96
By: (BurntGiraf at aol dot com)
"I have a theory concerning the genesis of this album: Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew were bored in the back of the tour bus. Discussing the new popularity of the band, Fripp boasted that they could release anything they wanted and have it sell rather well. Belew contradicted him, claiming that he felt an album needed a certain amount of coherence to do well commercially. Fripp told Belew to put his money where his mouth was, and, as a result, Fripp bet $5.00 that they could stick all the middle bits from various performances of Thrak into a one-hour mess, and that all the fans would buy it. The rest of the band found this prospect amusing and agreed to let the King Crimson name be put on this social experiment. Fripp and Belew are now sitting back and laughing over a glass of purified Evian water at all the hullabaloo and good and bad reviews. No one, until now, has stumbled onto the real truth behind this clever ruse."
Date Submitted: 21-Jul-96
By: Alexis Dufresne (meo at cedep dot com)
"well..I'm 16 years old....and I know crimson for about a year.....I just bought thrakattak this morning......first reaction...: "yeah,.....that's weird" hehehe so I listened it ..a second time saying....lets give them a chance...my reaction this time was......"where is bruford???????! well...where are the drums..??? or even better!! why two drummers???? in the last songs...they are not really there.....anyway....now I smoked a little...just to feel good...and I put it on another time...now...I'm listening to it while I write....and I think it's a good album...:))) congratulations crimson:)))) well...like he said....teens cannot dance on it..but they can listen to it....oh yeah,...they really do!
"ok...well....now it's 3am here...(Montreal) (excuse my English) and I'm totally normal! Well I must say....King Crimson is REALLY a good group....this album is VERY good....like someone said about this album....it proves that Crimson are really good if not the best in improv.....:)) well..that was it...just making myself clear about my opinion of thrakattak!"
Date Submitted: 22-Jul-96
By: Tom Kelley (dataplanet at earthlink dot net)
"As a long-time fan of King Crimson and an avid listener to improvised music (of the avant-guard jazz/new-music variety) I was most excited to hear that KC had released an entire album of improvised music. After seeing their performance at the Longacre Theatre last fall and the inside artwork on ThrakAttack (of fire extinguisher/fire bucket) I was expecting something loud and hot, but instead, most of this disc is quiet and subtle.
"I have to say that after several listens, I've come to the conclusion that KC cannot improvise. Yes, they can get into an amazing groove and play around with it and expand on themes, which has always been a big focus of KC (much of the transitional sections of their live set is based on the "Frame by Frame" intro theme of syncopated 16th notes), but they don't really communicate on ThrakAttack, which is the most important aspect of improvisation."
Date Submitted: 29-Jul-96
By: Scott Wright (swright at imicom dot or dot jp)
"I can definitely hear the CD. If fact, I can also read the cover: "WARNING!! This recording contains explicit live instrumental improvisation..." I think that about sums up what you can expect to hear. Also, the CD indicates that Trey is playing the Warr guitar not the Chapman Stick (tm) on these tracks. Tony Levin has taken over Stick parts for KC for the most part."
Date Submitted: 29-Jul-96
By: Francis Trudeau (jujube at infobahnos dot com)
"I'm a fan! I'm amazed! This is more than I can Thrack!
"I got my ear broken by "The Great deceiver" Box set, full of incredible improv...
"THRaKaTTaCK is sooooooo good. I like it!"
Date Submitted: 31-Jul-96
By: Pawel Swirek (king_crim at irc dot pl)
"I heard all tracks from THRaKaTTaK album. It is very good album, but *only* for true fans. Pseudo-fans and beginners may think that it is unable to hear. I saw their show in Warsaw 07.06.96 and these improvs are not new things for me. I wouldn't agree that THRaKaTTaK is a big mistake. Unfortunately I couldn't find more info about tracks (date of recording)."
Date Submitted: 5-Aug-96
By: Tim Foster (FosDesign at aol dot com)
"My first reaction on hearing that this album was all "thrakking" was that it would be, in the words of one reviewer, "impossible to listen to". Having heard it, my reaction is the same as that when I first heard "THRAK" (from the album) and "THRAK" (from B'Boom)--"What is this?!". Non-coherent? Yes. Noise? Yes. Difficult to listen to? Yes. Rewarding? Definitely YES!! After repeated listening to the above-mentioned versions of "THRAK" I find them exhilarating and quite astounding. Knowing how much effort it took to absorb the earlier THRAKs, I didn't plunge into THRaKaTTaK full force, but instead let it play in the background as I dealt with other things. (Ambient THRAK?). Amazingly, it was very listenable when presented this way, as I occasionally caught aural glimpses of classic Fripp meandering, Belew screaming, delicate/ear-splitting percussion, etc. As I let THRakaTTaK grow on me the rewards are fantastic. Yes, this album is not for the casual fan, but, like so much of KCs work, it pays back immense dividends if the listener injects an appropriate amount of effort."
Date Submitted: 7-Aug-96
By: Bill Nicholas (newguy at buttercup dot cybernex dot net)
"I've been a fan 13 years, but this is NOODLING. The music melds into one, big ambiguous sheet, and there's no sense of release. I have no problem with the abstraction. The 73-74 band could, at times, rival Coleman and Coltrane. But when they improvised, there was a beginning and a climax. Listeners got the feeling the band was building towards something. You don't need song structures per se to have good improves, but SOMETHING EXCITING has to happen. On this CD, nothing does. 13 years and a complete collection and this is the first album I don't like. With three releases in two years, this really didn't need to come out. **"
Date Submitted: 15-Aug-96
By: Michael Flint (mcflint at prostar dot com)
"Fair-weather Crimheads beware! 'Thrakattack' is darkest Crim territory (the best kind)."
Date Submitted: 1-Sep-96
By: George Korein (Mopobeans at aol dot com)
"I heard the album a bit- interesting, but not really together. I think that free double-trio improvs are the best (ones that just start, as opposed to being in the middle of the song Thrak- "When I Say Stop, Continue" from Vrooom and "Two Sticks" from B'Boom) because the band can get into a groove and some cool stuff. The Thrak improvs have the burden of being in the middle of a chaotic song call "Thrak", which means they have to maintain the chaos. There is no groove in the Thrak improvs. (Then again, maybe I just expect a groove because I like James Brown)"
Date Submitted: 8-Oct-96
By: Steve Speak (speak at sagelink dot com)
"I never liked the versions of "Thrak" on "VROOOM" or "THRAK". But, I'm really starting to like the version on "THRaKaTTaK". The Thrakking is more angry live, and "Thrak" deserves nothing less. The studio versions seemed hollow. Enough's already been said about the content and integrity of this release, so I'll only add that if you have the means to edit music on your PC, you can really create a cool little mix from the various improvs on this release (the best of all possible Thraks). Example: B'boom (from album "THRAK"), right into the nasty Thrak on "THRaKaTTaK", then cleverly segue into your favorite improv or part(s) of an improv (the "swelling" sounds that characterize Fripp's soundscapes make them perfect transitions from piece to piece), and close it out with the Thrak reprise ("THRaKaTTaK") at just the right moment. The band members would probably cringe at this obscene butchering, but who the hell cares. You paid thousands for your computer, and about $15.00 for this CD, you deserve to get a damn good thrakking."
Date Submitted: 13-Oct-96
By: Claire Shindler (claire.shindler at yale dot edu)
"If VROOOM was a calling card, THRAK a love letter, and a Crimson concert a hot date, as Fripp has put it, then THRAK ATTAK seems to be the bizarre sexual fantasy that each partner secretly dreams about; when it finally happens it's an incredibly painful but unforgettable experience. Yes, all of the criticisms of this monster are valid- there are a lot of places where the boys don't seem to be concerned with playing together, and a lot of ideas don't go anywhere. However, there is a lot of inspired noise-making too, and some truly surreal soundscaping by Fripp, who sits more comfortably in the captain's chair on this album than he seemed to be in the past. If you've got The Great Deceiver (or a decent bootleg from the 73-74 era) or are into either Ornette Coleman's free jazz or John Cage-style orchestral insanity, you'll go gaga over this."
Date Submitted: 17-Oct-96
By: Michael Coffey (heat at magna dot com dot au)
"It is arguably one of the greatest KC CD's so far, appearing to be a soulful link between Fripp's solo soundscapes /collaborative work (with Sylvian) and the collective knucklehead/pots & pans improv. of the live KC (Great Deceiver/B Boom). An added bonus is that there are absolutely no pretentious lyrics to contend with. In a general context this music comes across to me as being both playful/wry and yet subtle, careful and emotional. At all time there appears to be a sense of humour at play between the players. While in juxtaposition there is also an innocence and desire to explore and express /interface. They clearly, for me, articulate the difference between intelligent and 'intellectual wank' steering clear of introverted overindulgence. I appreciate the players' discipline of not dwelling on one riff /idea for too long. It nods in the direction of avant-garbage, free jazz, music for cartoons, to name a few. And all the time remains a highly listenable and accessible work."
Date Submitted: 23-Jun-97
By: George Korein (mopobeans at msn dot com)
"I heard this album again... Tony Levin's upright bass sounds really disgusting! I wish it was not present. The "piano" duet between Fripp and Belew is a highlight. Often it sounds like there is two Fripps, so I assume one must be Trey, but in most parts, I don't really feel Trey's presence."
Date Submitted: 18-Aug-97
By: Bill Nicholas (newguy at cybernex dot net)
"I trashed this album about a year ago when I first got it, saying it was basically the one album by my favorite band I didn't like. Lesson: Never trash albums by your favorite band.
"My departure point then was that there was no center of gravity to these improvs; no rhythmic drive like the 73-74 band had. This, I claimed, made the music frustratingly diffuse.
"But often albums that don't grab you at first bare long term rewards, Over the past few months--and many listens that I owe my beloved King Crimson--I've developed quite an affection for this album, mainly from coming to understand it.
"This album is not about rhythmic drive or flying by the seat of your pants at lightening speed. The approach here is more subtle and more mature. The six musicians listen and respond to subtle shifts and gestures their cohorts make. It is a very quiet--almost zen-like--type of technique, where the music lays in wait to strike. What is NOT played here is as important as what is. Dangerous sound-beasts emerge from pockets of silence. Obtuse, scary, funny and excellent.
"I'll never doubt KC again. Now excuse me while I go back to my Great Deceiver Box Set."
Date Submitted: 18-Aug-97
By: Karlie, the Ben of Loys (ben at scsolutions dot com)
"I'm fairly new to King Crimson (been a Tony Levin fan for many years, though). I've always liked free-form improvisation when done well, and when I heard that King Crimson was releasing an album of live improvisation, how could I resist? The only Crimson album I'm familiar with is Thrak, and even though I read many reviews deeming it "unlistenable" and "complete garbage", I had to find out for myself.
"So, I went and bought Thrakattack, and I can see why many critics dismissed it as noise. While there is an incredible amount of creativity going on here, and while I do find it a fascinating album to listen to, I have yet to be able to get all the way through it. 30 minutes into the album I find myself marveling "What creativity, what balls they must have to come up with something like this..." After 40 minutes, I'm thinking "God, they're still doing amazing things, but I'm feeling a little winded..." Nearing 50 minutes, I finally say "I've had enough," and hit the stop button. They're brilliant musicians, and there's a lot of material on this album which is stellar, but it's just too much. Maybe I need to give it another listen with a more careful ear..."
Date Submitted: 11-Sep-97
By: Fernando Peters (peters at smic dot prefpoa dot com dot br)
"Wow... "The Stravinkis" doesn´t sound that bad.... (laughs) - This is a great album. Maybe for fans or whatever, but it DOES gave me great times..."
Date Submitted: 23-Oct-97
By: Wado (wgammonjr at aol dot com)
"Imagine . . . A Universe so complex, it's mistakenly viewed as chaotic. Turn off the lights, sit down, and shut up. THRaKaTTak will expose the chaos of one man to be the genius of another. KC have got to be some of the best improv musicians to ever grace the audio world."
Date Submitted: 12-Dec-97
By: Jean-Marie Biwer (jmbiwer at mail dot hermesnet dot com)
"I'm a painter, listening to the music from King Crimson since 1969. I do such things like THRaKaTTaK in my paintings, just as classic and quiet moments do exist. Art is a whole thing; any serious artist has to tell me about life and death ...THRaKaTTaK seems logical to me if I consider the music develloped by K.C. - just another possible step. It has something to do with what's going on everywhere - and Mr. Fripp and co. just "translate" it through the possibilities of their work at this very moment. I don't regret having bought this record, as I don't regret all the other ones ... King Crimson has something to do with reality - and reality is quite a big thing to catch as a whole at one time. This album is just another try-to. Keep on keeping on - as THAT other guy would say."
Date Submitted: 1-Jan-98
By: Hadert von Dicke (5107 at inf dot tsu dot tomsk dot su)
"The best description for this work is FEARLESS AND HIGHLY THRAKKED. RF never showed any fear of being misunderstood, but there he, along with the band, rushes through fire! The album is recommended only to FEARLESS listeners - all the others should beware! Hey, all the critics, did you think the warning was a joke?
"The "piano" soloes are very impressive, creating the feeling of some schizoid suspension. BTW, first I thought it was keyboards until I heard some little slides between the notes. The soundscapes are very fresh, lush and daring.
"On the sixth minute of track3 you find a wonderful example of music rising on a hollow place, out from just a drum beat.
"THRaKaTTaK parts one and two highlights are the crazy "piano" duets. Part two is apprehended hardly, because of preceding forty minutes of... uh, not easy-listening music.
""The Slaughter Of The Innocents" is much softer than its name. A bit jazzy "piano" part is great!
""This Night Wounds Time" is the best thing of all. Beginning with the most beautiful soundscapes I ever heard (to tell the truth, I haven't heard yet Fripp's solo soundscapes trilogy) it suddenly turns into the real slaughter of the innocents. On the third listening of the album I, during this track, found myself moving to and fro with my hands upon my head and repeating "divine, divine" or something like that. Beautiful and true as the seagull's flight. Hey, guys, don't get so high: only God is above, and you're still too young to meet with him - we need you!
"...there are few guys who can play it right. Six persons, to be exact. The only wish to them: go on."
Date Submitted: 2-Apr-98
By: Neal Brown (nealus at geocities dot com)
"This is the kind of music Stravinsky certainly would have approved of. (That's good. Stravinsky, like King Crimson, was always ahead of his time.)
"The album opens with one of Fripp's most spellbinding Soundscapes; it just sits there and drifts, just one note at a time, for a very long time, for about a minute...and then the quintuple-time THRAK theme begins, loud enough to wake the dead. The introduction of that theme after the delicacy of the Soundscape is pure evil, with distorted guitars and basses cracking plaster three hundred miles away.
"Anyway, if you can't understand this masterpiece at all yet, listen to the album keeping in mind its structure. Yes, it's free improv, but it's very carefully structured improv (yes, there is such a thing). Read Chris Mitchell's very informative posts regarding individual tracks. Notice how the indivdual tracks relate to the ones on either side, note how the whole thing is in head-solo-head form (the heads are the first and last tracks). Notice themes played on different tracks which may or may not be clues. (Somebody's got an ascending guitar figure--I think it's Belew--that appears on multiple tracks.) Listen for the THRAK theme to pop up every now and then, while other stuff is going on. Listen to the way the drummers interact. Listen to the Soundscapes behind the other instruments occasionally. This is not, as some posters have implied, simply noise. It is noise with a purpose, like all good Crimson. (Talking Drum, anyone?)
"Some of the sounds these guys wrench out of their instruments are truly unreal. I guarantee some of these sounds have never been generated before by anyone. And the production on this album is nothing short of sparkling. Everything is crisp and clear, and nobody gets drowned out.
"Haven't heard it yet, and are afraid? Be afraid. Be very afraid. But grab it with both hands, right now. (Then go listen to Le Sacre Du Printemps once you're done.)"
Date Submitted: 15-Jun-98
By: Zubaran (Zubaran at ciudad dot com dot ar)
"This music is not of this planet!!! Amazing, I am delighted...."
Date Submitted: 8-Nov-98
By: Domenico.Solazzo (domenico.solazzo at skynet dot be)
"With this one, King CRIMSON truly prooved to anyone who doubt it that they are, as always, far beyond everyone. A post modern. This is what we expect from the band, and this is more than we can ever get. Splendid, Rough, Poignant, I just don't have words..."
Date Submitted: 20-Nov-98
By: Paul Lipp (lippp at student dot pomfretschool dot org)
"During the Belew and Fripp piano duet about five minutes into "The Slaughter of the Innocents," Adrian begins playing the piano part to "Free as a Bird."
"Perhaps this indicates that this particular THRAK took place at the Longacre Theatre in NYC, or in New Haven, CT. Quite funny, though, when you hear those chords under Fripp's playful but dissonant lead lines. Just thought I'd let you all know."
Date Submitted: 21-Jan-99
By: Heiko Schambach (schambac at rz dot uni-potsdam dot de)
"I've been since some years very fond of the music of such a great band as KC, and up to this thing I had found all their work most interesting, simply fascinating... so I saw Thrakattak and OK, let's give a try... WHAT DAMN GOD IS THIS THING? It was the first time (and until today the only one) that I was completely disgusted by almost every sound: it has very little to do with the Stravinskys or with correct improvisation -as one of the reviews remarks-, but with a discoordinated and extremely cacophonic mixture of clean synthesizer sound, the trademark rough guitars and two drummers (better expressed, one drummer and a half-drummer half-vibraphonist); no harmony at all, just the same aggressive stuff that I could do with mummy's new bought present instruments without having the slightest idea of music, instead of it the will to play around for 57 minutes. If you want decent experiments go to Three of a Perfect Pair, if you want a precise collage go to Islands, if your search is a mastodontic sound go to Lizard, for grooves go to Lark's Tongues in Aspic... but if you want free improvs hear Providence as soon as you can and forget this noise."
Date Submitted: 10-Feb-99
By: Abdikarim H. Nur (ahn02 at email dot psu dot edu)
"Thrakattack is obviously not intended for casual fans, or those expecting structured songs. It is not pleasant music, it can be difficult to listen to at times, however, if one goes deep into the music, one can discover the purposes of the improvs. One must have patience and understanding to fully appreciate this work. It is much too easy to dismiss this as a bunch of disjointed noise. Those who come to that conclusion shouldn't be listening to this album in the first place."
Date Submitted: 11-Mar-99
By: Antonio Recuenco (Ottia at gmx dot net)
"This one is not only the most difficult work of the Crims, but also one of the hardest pieces of music that I've ever heard, rivalling with Einstürzende Neubauten's "Kollaps". Even though the quality standard is lower than the one of a seventies' King Crimson LP, it cannot be said that it's a bunch of noise, yet it numbs after the first hearing... as main deffects I see the repetition of the exhausting "Thrak" (the rest of the pieces are alright, without any special distinction) and some of the marimba work by Bruford; on the contrary hand are the "least clean" soundscapes rather interesting. Besides, the CD lacks Stravinsky's geniality, as not always experimental-intended stuff fits with innovation, but there is something that keeps the ears concentrated in it anyway."
Date Submitted: 24-Apr-99
By: Stephen De Prospero (StephenfromNY at webtv dot net)
"THRaKattaK is absolutly remarkable. It was nothing like I expected to hear, and the length of the work at first, was to much to hear in one setting. But still worthy of ownership to any King Crimson fan. Bravo!"
Date Submitted: 6-May-99
By: Marco Bigliazzi (marco at numeri dot it)
"Well, folks, THRaKaTTaK is really nothing _so_ special. I mean, I see those who are nearly offended by such "contemporary experimentation", and those who think they are in front of the Intellectual Fringe of Audience Comprehension. Keep it cool, THRaKaTTaK is an album of collected improvisations played in a rock fashion by a professional band of quite skilled musicians. Maybe a little boring, sometimes, quite good overall but nothing trascendent. Not really in the vein of Stravinsky, Varese or Ornette Coleman, anyway. Frank Zappa did a lot of more ironical, intelligent and intriguing stuff, many years before, without posing as if he was The Musician With His Statue In The Pantheon."
Date Submitted: 3-Jan-00
By: John Spokus (Originalwtk at aol dot com)
"Anyone who says this is impossible to listen to is not a true Crim or Prog fan (maybe just a mainstream one at best). This could be Crimson at their most amazing. A collection of six world class musicians that DO know what improv is all about. This is not the Grateful Dead noodling around for an audience in a stoned stupor. This is thematic and requires what Fripp and my 10th grade music teacher both call "active" listening. You do not wash the dishes with this music on. You put on your headphones,follow where it's going and soak it in . I treat listening to any Crimson or great prog in general as if actively listening to symphonic music."
Date Submitted: 7-Jan-00
By: John Spokus (mazurais01 at educ dot uhb dot fr)
"I don't think anyone can say "if you don't like this record, you're not a real KC fan or prog-fan". Everyone has the right to like (or not) this album. Concerning myself, I would just say this :
"I do remember one thing.
It took hours and hours but...
by the time I was done with it,
I was so involved, I didn't know what to think.
I carried it around with me for days and days...
playing little games
like not [listening to] it for a whole day
and then... [listening to]it.
to see if I still liked it.
Date Submitted: 22-Apr-00
By: Joaquín Lozano (jlozano at mailcity dot com)
"My Personal Opinion:
"6 good musicians making strange sounds... 1+ hour of improv... Live recording? Where is people's noise? So the DGM owns the copyright...
"Well, that sound like the soundTHRaK of a Vamp's Movie... without the Vamp. This is not rock. I don't like music you need to skome something rare to enjoy it. Ambient?
"I repeat, They are GOOD musicians, but this album is a cadence of 10 seconds, disjoint, musical themes: rythm changing and changing... somebody playing with a piano... a guy ripping her guitar (is this what they call 'soundscapes')... nobody singing...
"After listening it, any Heavy Metal sound like plain noise."
Date Submitted: 19-Jan-01
By: Randall Hammill (Randall.Hammill at hartfordlife dot com)
"Wow! I have started reading through all of the reviews on ET, and I love to see the passion that people have for their music, positive or negative. The ones that are most enjoyable, though, are reviews of CDs like this. There is no grey area at all, everybody seems to love it or hate it. But isn't that what music is for? To stir the soul? Would you rather that it is boring and forgettable? To me it seems that Crimson is out to make a statement with its music - you can love it or hate it, but when it is present you must respond, it's not something you can just ignore.
"THRaKaTTaK is not for "true" fans of KC, anybody who is truly touched by any of their music is a "true" fan. However, it is a CD that was released for fans of the adventurous, improvisational side of the band. Mr. Fripp seems to delight in the reactions (by fans or otherwise) to the decisions that KC makes. Just check out his diaries while they were making ConstruKction of Light.
"THRaKaTTaK is a CD of some very intense improvs, that can be difficult to take in one sitting. In Eric Tamm's book, I believe he was talking about Exposure, he said that sometimes when he puts on the record to listen to it, he wonders if he is up to the challenge. A friend of mine says that THRaKaTTaK is that way for him. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that these are the improv sections of several shows strung together. Because of the nonlinear structure, plus the fact that you have 6 people playing at once, you may find it easier to follow by playing each improv sandwiched between THRAK and THRAK reprise, the way it would have been played at the concert.
"This particular Crim covers rhythmic territory to a somewhat greater extent than the more melodic improvs from the Starless era. This is not to say that it is not melodic, but the structure is different. In the 70's lineups, Robert played the part of the "lead guitarist" and played great sustaining, linear, melodic solos. In the early 80's, well represented on the League of Gentlemen as well as his role in the Discipline era, he took a different approach, laying down a musical carpet of arpeggios for the others to play. The other side of this is the washes of soundscapes that he can add. Other times he just flies through unusual melodic territory, fast and furious. Add two drummers to the mix, and the alternative rhythms of two bass/stick players with Ade wailing on top and it can generate some very interesting "noise."
"The one thing that happens quite frequently in improvisational music is the tendency for it to get louder or more dense when there are more people. Not necessarily in volume, just more space being taken up. For those who have requested that they play Trio again, you have to remember that it too was an improv, not a composed piece of music. It is rare indeed for pieces like Trio to emerge, and unfortunately you can't just make it happen - it comes of its own accord. But there are some beautiful quiet passages, along with the all-out assault that can be expected.
"Each of the players have their moments to shine, both in the group context, and also in some of the quieter portions. Overall I think it is a great representation of what this KC could sound like when given the freedom to let go and just play. Other good examples, and perhaps better starting points for the collective improv beginner are the two KCCC CDs of the VROOOM rehearsals and the Nashville Rehearsals. Shorter pieces, many with fewer than all 6 people. They also tend to not be quite as loud (maybe I mean full) because they are playing in a studio environment, vs. a live performance at gig level in front of 1500+ screaming fans. The ProjeKct 2 Space Groove vs. Live Groove is another good example.
"So, heed the warning on the label, but if you like your music adventurous, dense and sometimes very loud, check this out. If you are not sure if you are up for this type of challenge yet, then work your way towards it with some of the other archival releases.
"Until the Great Deceiver set, this side of KC was a secret of those lucky enough to go to the shows (I was too young to see any incarnation before the 90's). I for one am glad that Robert listened to the fans and made this material available, it's part of what makes each show truly unique."
Date Submitted: 1-Apr-01
By: Jethro Suastegui (jsuastegui at yahoo dot com dot mx)
"King Crimson representa dentro del rock, y con más precisión, dentro del art-rock, la oscilación entre el vanguardismo y la esquizofrenia, expresados a la perfección en Thrakattak, el cual, escuchado como un todo, es la fusión perfecta en estas improvisaciones entre el jazz, las tendencias contemporáneas de la música orquestal y de sinfónica y el rock. Fusión creativa y de deconstrucción de lo abstracto, lo hirreal, lo hiperreal, lo surreal, aveces impresionista, otras expresionista, lo no-figurativo y lo etéreo, una amalgama de sonidos basados en el semitono, los tiempos compuestos y la descomposición rutinaria de tiempos, a la vez que el contrapunto. Thrakattak representa la crisis de los códigos comunes de la música, la re-codificación del rock. Obra maestra, magnum opus de King Crimson, el terror y la paranoia quedan representados hasta el tope en las mounstruosas distorsiones de la guitarra de Belew, las melodías intrigosas de Fripp, las violentas explosiones caóticas de las baterias de Brufford y Mastelotto, los siniestros sonidos de Levin y los hipnóticos arpegios de Gunn. Los soundscapes representan un auténtico paseo etéreo por los infiernos y las regiones abstractas de la psique en trance nirvánico. La cordinación en la ejecución de los 6 músicos abusa de la videncia y la telepatía. Thrakattak no sólo es el mejor albúm, the best album of King Crimson, sino el mejor albúm de los 90´s."
Date Submitted: 6-Jun-01
By: Andrzej Tokarski (A.Tokarski at elka dot pw dot edu dot pl)
"Listenning to THRaKaTTaK is like learning an assembler language - it's hard to learn, to read, to understand but very satisfying. It's not a matter of taking any bits out of it and saying - "this part is good but the other isn't". The whole material should be considered at one time. It's a spectacular view of Crimson AD 90's interplay improvisations. It's good to hear them imprivise alive after so many years. 70's KC tried to improvise structurally - trying to make another song or basis for a song. 90's improvs are only impresions of the abilities of the band - finding easy ways between chaos and discipline. These impressions make the music less complicated but not that easy to read. I've listened to it quite a few times and I think it's not intelligent (as some say) but very emotional (yes, Fripp meeting emotions - a kind of oxymoron, huh?) and spectacular. I cannot listen to it without faster heartbeating. After hearing THRaKaTTaK I'm happy to meet future Crimson incarnations - because the band is still alive.
"One advice for beginners: listen to it with your hi-fi volume turned very loud. Only then you can receive all the little interplay items that are so important in this music."
Date Submitted: 11-Dec-01
By: (fcprates at hotmail dot com)
"Well, this album just goes to show that either balance in disarray, uncapability of improvising--exceptionally with six musicians-- in comparison to the '73-'74 KC, and other statements of such kind are just sentences that are used in an attempt of making an analysis of what should be listened to without thinking at all; this is music, with all aspects that you can find in music itself, that should be felt rather than listened to. How can you feel rather than listen music? Don't think, and you'll find out. Your ears are still on both sides of your head, aren't they? There you go.
"Just open your mind a little bit, and it only takes being a true fan of KC-- a true fan, in my belief, bears no difference from fans of the improvisational side of KC; a true fan of KC expects everything and nothing at the same time, and has an open mind for whatever they might do and whatever they have done. But, then again, when one starts thinking too much, that's where the experience of KC, either playing, Thrakking, improvising, etc. gets spoiled.
"This album is just wonderful; I won't just say perfect because there are no such things as perfection."
Date Submitted: 31-Dec-01
By: Lance Bruty (lancebruty at btinternet dot com)
"Some five years on and, following their strongest studio release in some time, this is still considered (and understandably so) the controversial Crimson offering by the double trio line up.
"For my money - It is an uncompromising, over indulgent presentation in aimless musical sterility.
"Fripp is denied all necessary interplay for creative manoeuvre. Gunn is plainly a real talent but sadly out of touch, whilst Belew and Mastelotto are simply out of their depth. Even Levin cannot transfer his genius from studio maestro to free-from stage blower.
"Forget the Crimson name, maybe such an ambitious release could have been a sideline project. It would have been far more stimulating and, dare I say musical, if Fripp had retained Bruford and recruited the likes of John Wetton, Mel Collins and, obviously feeling the need for a second guitarist - the likes of Allan Holdsworth to replace the robotic, mechanical sounding rhythm section he had lumbered himself with.
"Why is it that those who continually chose to defend this album invariably talk of it in its collective form? Hardly a mention of an individual song for its magnificence, relevance or beauty. Just the need to defend all things Crimson I suspect? Where is its Providence or Asbury Park?
"Anyone who wants to know what Fripp is capable of in the right environment should re-visit the Starless and Bible Black, Red or USA albums. Better still, The Great Deceiver Box Set.
"As good an album as THRAK was - THRaKaTTaK was, and will always remain a turkey."
Date Submitted: 15-Jan-02
By: Mike Brinza (taliesen at telerama dot com)
"I don't see how anyone would want to listen to it all for fun."
Date Submitted: 16-Feb-02
By: (Thestutch at aol dot com)
"IF...you only toss one c.d. out of your car window this year , this sonic turd deserves prime consideration . Seriously , this is PRODUCT , pure and simple : the idea that the planet's naturual resources were squandered making this is SAD . Fripp should be ashamed of himself , but I guess he's too busy counting money . Avoid this like the Plauge . Warn your friends and neghibors . Listen to ENYA to wash away the pain ."
Date Submitted: 01-Jul-08
By: (Greta007 at sangrea dot net)
I'm catching up on my later day Kcrimson. I'd read in the past that this album was obnoxious noise. There was a time when I would have agreed with the people who hate this album to death - like young Thestutch :)
Earlier this year I had a brief liaison with a fellow who'd had a fair bit of involvement with the experimental improv music scene. Bear in mind that I was a King Crimson fanatic in my youth and had become so again, but I wasn't ready for the experimental improv he exposed me to. This was music that most people would simply refer to as noise.
I have come to realise that that is what all music is - all sound is. Noise. Sound. All sounds have their charm. I've also come to realise that improv like this makes brilliant background music, yet it's so unpatterned that no matter how often you listen to it, there's always something new to find.
If you hate music that people call "noise" then this album is not for you. If you mostly like the heavy metal side of Crimson this album is not for you either. If you are a KC fan who loves albums like In the Court ... and Red - but wish they didn't include tracks like the last 10 mins of Moonchild or all of Providence then this album will bring you waaay down! Sorry kids, but this doesn't have the conventional melodic or hard rock sounds that you crave!
I am not even sure if this is an album for Crimson fans unless you like their freakier stuff (that doesn't border on metal). It's an interesting example of improvisational music, definitely imaginative, and I think it's a whole lot better than much of the stuff I've heard, except for top improv artists like Amanda Stewart or David Behrman. There are a lot of cool sounds and textures here.
This album falls comfortably under the tag, "Rock in Opposition", with artists like Henry Cow or Frank Zappa. Fans of early Uncle Frank albums like Burnt Weenie Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh will probably enjoy Mother Hold The Candle Steady While I Shave The Chickens which starts out weird and towards the end becomes quite evil (the chickens squawking?). I wouldn't swap my other KC albums for this one, not even Islands, but for a band like KC that (rightly) wants to try everything at least once, this album fits nicely into their canon.
THRaKaTTaK Part I
Date Submitted: 24-Jul-96
By: Chris Mitchell (squonk at utkux dot utcc dot utk dot edu)
"The opening noises on this piece come from Fripp's guitar. Very percussive, almost industrial. Sounds like a psychotic tack piano of the distant future."
The Slaughter Of The Innocents
Date Submitted: 24-Jul-96
By: Chris Mitchell (squonk at utkux dot utcc dot utk dot edu)
"Just over five minutes into this track, Fripp engages Belew with some alien piano sounds. Belew quickly picks up the rhythm and harmony, and Fripp delivers a somewhat comical solo. Whether or not this bit was pre-planned, it is a welcome breather in an otherwise scarifying improv."
This Night Wounds Time
Date Submitted: 24-Jul-96
By: Chris Mitchell (squonk at utkux dot utcc dot utk dot edu)
"The title refers to the Starless and Bible Black album, an apt reference considering the nature of the music. "This Night" is representative of the intense variety and dynamics of ThrakAttak as a whole.
"The track opens with a yearning Belew lead over gentle percussion and Fripp's chordal swells. Two minutes in, Fripp begins one of his most captivating soundscapes ever. Altered harmonies appear over a G# tonal center, then comes a stunning shift to A#, then to E and back again. The sound is not unlike a church organ, and the control is masterful.
"Hopefully, the listener is not too enchanted, because the music takes a sudden, harrowing turn. Fripp breaks up the loop in mid-stride and switches to his laserbeam lead guitar. Bruford and Mastelotto jump in unexpectedly with a churning drum duet. The band thrashes on top. Everyone drops out after a bit - a tense pause in the chaos - then they all slam on a downbeat together. Magic.
"The next section is anchored by Bruford's 10/8 beat. Mastelotto accents around Bill's pattern, and the 'string quartet' is left to plow more sonic landscape. The rhythm eventually drops out and leaves Fripp's distorted guitar suspended. Bruford runs rings on marimba. The improv gently winds down with otherworldly sounds. A fascinating performance."
THRaKaTTaK Part II
Date Submitted: 24-Jul-96
By: Chris Mitchell (squonk at utkux dot utcc dot utk dot edu)
"A couple of outstanding moments from the drummers here.
"At 1:38 into the piece, Bruford begins a staccato pattern on snare, soon joined by Mastelotto on various toms. The pattern goes from an 8-beat grouping to 7 to 6, all the way down to 1. Including the rests between the groupings, the total beat count comes to 44, which should be reduced to a meter like 11/8. The drumming in this part is of course incredibly precise, but it also breathes with Pat and Bill's sense of dynamics.
"The other bit of coordinated drumming occurs at 6:20, when the two launch into the same thundering pattern that appears in "This Night Wounds Time." Listen closely and hear someone click their sticks together (an aural cue?) before the beats slam in.
"Another small note: at 4:23, Tony plays a bit of the 5/8 THRAK theme."