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In the Wake of Poseidon (1970)

Post all your thoughts on King Crimson albums here.

In the Wake of Poseidon (1970)

Postby vrooom on Sat Apr 17, 2004 11:31 am

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Your thoughts about this album to be posted here - so feel free to talk about your first listen, what you like about this album, what you don't like, etc.


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the follow-up...

Postby aWc on Fri Apr 30, 2004 8:59 pm

Fripp and what was left of Crimson were faced with a monumental task for this one: how the hell can one top such a stunning, successful album as ITCOTCK? Personally, I think they did as well as was possible. Contrary to other people, i don't have a problem with the apparent symmetry or 'copy' of the first one. "Pictures of a City" , if similar to 21sCZM, has stood the test of time pretty good, as evidenced by the Schizzies stomping new version.

Cadence and Cascade is just as memorable as I talk to the Wind, if not more. The succession of "Cadence..." and ITWOP is one of my favorite KC one-two punches. Which brings me to my next point: Fripp's remarkable handling of the Mellotron. if there is one underrated aspect of RF's contribution to Crim, it is his Mellotron playing (think: ITWOP, Sailor's Tale, Starless!) The sweeping, overlapping sounds he gets on the title track is the best I have ever heard. Awesome!

"Cat food" is a classic (and there is nothing like it on "In the Court"!). The inclusion of the wacky "Devil's triangle" (an interesting way of echoing the live "Mars" thing without the copyright problem) confirms, if necessary, that this is not a band just trying to ride on the commercial success of the first album. Also, one should not underestimate the role of Peter Sinfield in maintaining that KC vibe, as well as the "guest" performances by Greg Lake and the Giles brothers. With Keith Tippett and Mel Collins on board, this is a fascinating grouping of Crimson members past and future. And "Peace" is a wonderful way of framing both ends of this recording.
BTW, there is a wonderful little version of it by Fripp somewhere on the Great Deceiver box set.
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Postby MiKcrobe on Mon May 03, 2004 6:19 pm

Excellent review aWc! The following is a reprint of a review of Poseidon that I posted almost exactly one year ago:

The most common criticism leveled against Poseidon is that it sounds too much like ITCOTCK. Firstly, if it is so much like ITCOTCK, then, logically, it must be just as good. Its only fault then, is that it appeared second. Had it been the first release, would it have received the same acclaim? That's difficult to say, but the music would likely have been viewed as equally groundbreaking and different than anything else around at the time. I would also point out that at least two of the pieces on Poseidon, "Pictures of a City" (aka "A Man, A City") and "The Devil's Triangle" (aka "Mars") were already extant in 1969 and were being performed alongside the music that was released on the first album.

There is certainly material on Poseidon which is quite dissimilar to the anything on ITCOTCK, namely, the "Peace" suite which frames the album and "Cat Food." "Cat Food" was highly praised when it was released as a single, and perhaps when the album came around, it tended to be overlooked by critics when assessing the album as a whole, because they'd already heard the song and didn't necessarily take it into consideration in their critiques. Incidentally, "Peace" is another song that in a sense, was already around. In fact, it contains material that predates ITOTCK, part of its melody having been borrowed from GG&F's "Passages of Time."

Many lament the short life of the original line-up, yet rarely consider that Poseidon had virtually the same band as ITCOTCK, with the notable exception of Ian McDonald. In fact, one critic, you may recall from the scrapbook in YPG, described Poseidon as Fripp trying to prove he could have done ITCOTCK without McDonald. While his absence from the band does make a significant difference, his influence is still felt in the material on Poseidon that he was involved with as co-composer (and I suspect that he was responsible for more of that material than the printed credits would lead us to believe). But otherwise, on this album you have Lake, Michael Giles, Fripp, and the return of Peter Giles on bass. The wind section is now provided by Mel Collins who, as it turned out, fit into Crimson rather well. Michael Giles is deservedly praised for his drumming ability, but ironically, his work on Poseidon is rarely mentioned. Listen to his performances on the title track and "Cat Food," for example.

I never know what to make of "Cadence and Cascade," however. Many people like that song, but it's one I've never taken to myself. Personally, I would have traded it for "Groon." Putting "Groon" on the album would also have had the effect of breaking up that A-B-C pattern that caused many to feel that Poseidon was aping ITCOTCK:
"Pictures" = "Schizoid"
"Cadence" = "I Talk to the Wind"
"In the Wake" = "Epitaph"

As aWc has already suggested, Poseidon is saddled with the baggage of always being cast as the follow-up to Court. When judged on its own merits, it's every bit as powerful and awe-inspiring.
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Postby Lemmings on Tue May 04, 2004 2:03 am

I never know what to make of "Cadence and Cascade," however. Many people like that song, but it's one I've never taken to myself. Personally, I would have traded it for "Groon." Putting "Groon" on the album would also have had the effect of breaking up that A-B-C pattern that caused many to feel that Poseidon was aping ITCOTCK:
"Pictures" = "Schizoid"
"Cadence" = "I Talk to the Wind"
"In the Wake" = "Epitaph"


I completely agree with that assessment. "Poseidon" is a big carbon coby of their debut, BUT I just may prefer Posiedon to the debut :shock:

I love the playing on this one & "Catfood" is a big highlight for me. I love the unusual time signature & awesome drumming on it. Keith Tippett's piano is another highlight of enjoyment! :)
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Postby Leper Messiah TR on Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:17 pm

I think that this album is the best Crimson ever
only fantastic tracks, although it is quite similar to the first album
but I think it would have been better if the guys had included Mars on this album
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Postby drdennis on Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:11 pm

When I'd first heard about King Crimson, a friend
recommended I pick up a copy of "In The Wake of
Poseidon." I did so, and gave it a few good listens.
At the time, I didn't like it. I appreciated the musicianship,
but I found it lacking in compositional integrity and it
seemed to lack focus. It felt more like a recital then
an album. From time to time, though, I'd pop it on.

Years later, I became interested in KC after purchasing
the album Discipline. With my mind thoroughly blown,
I revisited the entire KC catalog and rediscovered "Poseidon."
I now really enjoy the album, and think that it is rich with
musical possibilities and broad imagination. I don't find
it to be too similar to ITCOKC, as this is often the case for
sophmore efforts of even the best rock performers.
There is something about the record, though, that still sounds
a little less realized to me, than some of their other major efforts
such as LTIA. I just can't shake that experience while listening to
it.
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Postby Gilesfan on Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:23 am

drdennis wrote: I appreciated the musicianship,
but I found it lacking in compositional integrity and it
seemed to lack focus. It felt more like a recital then
an album.


It definitely lacks focus and direction. Sounds like Fripp was salvaging all he could from the band. It feels like an album to me, but one with no direction and almost borders on desperation at times.


drdennis wrote:I don't find it to be too similar to ITCOKC, as this is often the case for sophmore efforts of even the best rock performers.


I don't either, although tons of people has accused it of sounding similar. I can understand the point of view some have of similarities, but I feel they are non-comparable.


drdennis wrote:There is something about the record, though, that still sounds
a little less realized to me, than some of their other major efforts
such as LTIA. I just can't shake that experience while listening to
it.


It just doesn't go anywhere and is a very dreary album. The musicians sound like they just don't have their hearts in it. Greg Lake, the Giles brothers, Keith Tippett, Mel Collins and Gordon Haskell all sound like they are doing a session. It does not sound like a band whatsoever.

I hardly listen to it.

By the way, IMO Lizard is light years better.
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Postby Riverman on Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:07 am

Gilesfan wrote:
drdennis wrote:I don't find it to be too similar to ITCOKC, as this is often the case for sophmore efforts of even the best rock performers.

I don't either, although tons of people has accused it of sounding similar. I can understand the point of view some have of similarities, but I feel they are non-comparable.

Is it a question of sounding too similar or following the same pattern? There's a definite dejavu feeling through the ups and downs of the first half, down to the fast unison runs in "Pictures of a City," but there's no way I'd say the two albums sound similar. Especially Poseidon's second half, which is an entirely different skillet of cat food from anything else in any Crim era.

As has been said though, I also think it sounds like more of an arranged session propelled by a leader than an album made by a band. But it's not surprising, considering that that's really what it was, and if it wasn't for sheer determination and spite on RF's part the thing wouldn't have been made at all.

It's got some great moments nonetheless ("City" and especially "Cat Food,"), even if "Mars" is damn near unbearable.
Last edited by Riverman on Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MiKcrobe on Wed Jan 05, 2005 9:23 pm

Gilesfan wrote:The musicians sound like they just don't have their hearts in it. Greg Lake, the Giles brothers, Keith Tippett, Mel Collins and Gordon Haskell all sound like they are doing a session.

Gilesfan, do you really feel that way about M. Giles's performance on this album? I mean, even though he was leaving the band, it seems as if he was putting everything he had into his performances on these tracks. When people talk about how good a drummer he was then, it's his playing on this album (rather than Court) that comes to my mind immediately.
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Postby Gilesfan on Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:17 pm

Hi MiKcrobe,

Thanks for the response.

MiKcrobe wrote:
Gilesfan wrote:The musicians sound like they just don't have their hearts in it. Greg Lake, the Giles brothers, Keith Tippett, Mel Collins and Gordon Haskell all sound like they are doing a session.



MiKcrobe wrote:Gilesfan, do you really feel that way about M. Giles's performance on this album?


No, I don't really feel that way. I guess I was criticising the album in general and he happened to be the drummer on it.


MiKcrobe wrote:I mean, even though he was leaving the band, it seems as if he was putting everything he had into his performances on these tracks.


Absolutely. His playing is phenomenal on the album. Every note he plays on it is perfect.

I suppose what I meant to say was that as a collective group they sounded like they did not have their hearts in it and that it sounds like they are doing a session and that they are not a "band".

Thanks for helping me to think and for helping me to re-think and learn.


MiKcrobe wrote:When people talk about how good a drummer he was then, it's his playing on this album (rather than Court) that comes to my mind immediately.


Hmmm....

That's debatable. :wink: I feel his playing is equally great on both albums. But I think that on Epitaph Vol. 1-4 and KCCC #1: Live at the Marquee (which despite the mix, still shines through) show his overall best playing. His playing, his sound and his control is all there. Full and wide open. I think McDonald & Giles and his solo album Progress also has some of his best playing.

Don't get me started talking about his "best playing". :roll: It's all good. :D Or, as Robert Fripp once said about him, "I never knew him to play badly".


I was just thinking yesterday that it is such a shame that Ian McDonald did not come in and do just this one last album. Indeed, he is the only original member who is not on it (with the exception of Greg who sang on most of it but did not play bass on it) Who knows how it would have turned out? Mel Collins did fantastic though, but I think the album would have been much better had Ian also been on it.
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