King Crimson has never been so much a band as an adventuresome modern musical academy, a prog-rock institution presided over by headmaster/guitarist Robert Fripp with a playfulness that often belies his more scholarly goals. And though its alumni have gone on to contribute to a dizzying array of more commercial enterprises (including Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Bad Company, Foreigner, and Roxy Music), Fripp's dedication to experimentation has relegated him to influential cult status. Entering its fourth, unlikely decade with ConstruKction of Light
, King Crimson's pared-down quartet (Fripp, 80's recruit/guitarist Adrian Belew, and '90s inductees Trey Gunn on touch guitar and Pat Mastelotto on drums) offers up a curiously lugubrious mockery of rootsy Delta despair ("Prozac Blues") before venturing into the familiar, hypnotically polyrhythmic soundscape of the title track, the challenging harmonics of "Into the Frying Pan," and the delicate, spacious constructions of "FraKctured." "The World Is My Oyster" is almost Floydian in feel and scope, though the Pink brigade haven't made music this oddly compelling since the '70s. There are monster chops throughout, as well as some heavy riffing that underscores Crimson's continued influence on bands like Tool, Marilyn Manson, and Nine Inch Nails. ConstruKction
is as restless as it is modern--and progressive in all the right ways. --Jerry McCulley
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