Somewhere in America, the prog-rock mastodon that is King Crimson is lumbering into action for the first time since 2008 – during which time the band’s baffling mastermind, West Country Hannibal Lecter Robert Fripp, repeatedly insisted he’d retired. Crimson Mk VIII, as he calls it, is an ungainly creation, six musicians, three of them drummers, with the traditional rhythm section at the forefront, guitar and vocals languishing in the back. It sounds very noisy and not altogether pleasant to listen to.
Here, though, are the fruits of a collaboration where the Fripp juggernaut was harnessed for poppier purposes – footage from a 1993 performance with David Sylvian, ex-lead singer of the band Japan, with whom Fripp assisted on a string of early 90s projects. A word of warning – as so often when you take a trip down the promenade of prog, you’ll have to power down your pretension detectors to like this one. Zen-calm Sylvian gives a fascinatingly unruffled performance, his droll baritone warble far more effective than it should be, but his ‘deep’ lyrics – ‘I’ll tear my very soul to make you mine’ – can veer into cringe-worthy territory. Fripp soars and trills like a nuclear-powered Les Paul, and it’s all very lovely if sampled in moderation.