The Power To Believe
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
This 2003 release represented the recorded culmination of the various ideas, approaches and styles employed by the Crimson turn of the century double duo line-up. Introduced and punctuated by a series of a cappella treated vocal pieces that highlighted the instrumental and song-writing skills of the surrounding material, the band was rarely so well served in the studio.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In the past, Robert Fripp has expressed mistrust of the studio-recorded album. He sees Crimson primarily as a live band and is himself an advocate of experiencing music live first and foremost as both a performer and a listener. Perhaps then we can assume that any studio recording by Crimson is a creative compromise. What's extraordinary about both Fripp and the Crimson juggernaut though is - unlike their prog-rock contemporaries - how consistently high the quality of their recorded output has been over an extended period of time.
In his book on Fripp, Eric Tamm best sums up the King Crimson sound as "what happens when [Bela] Bartok meets Hendrix". What he means by this is the unique way that Crimson combines the calculated, highly cerebral elements of the best 20th-century composers with the intuitive rawness of the best that rock music has to offer. The result is not something that will be liked by every listener but Fripp has never sought to be less than demanding.
There are moments on the recording that have such rawness of power: "Level Five", "Facts of Life" but there are also moments of great beauty and lyricism too: "Eyes Wide Open" and "The Power to Believe II". "The Power to Believe" is not for everyone but thank the LORD that a cluster of musicians are still producing music that is dynamic, arresting, beautiful and forward-thinking in this current day and age.
"The Power to Believe" opens with a simple version of the title piece, labeled a cappella is a bit misleadingly, since Belew's voice is so intensely filtered and processed electronically. "She carries me through days of apathy, she washes over me. She saved my life, in a manner of speaking, when she gave me back the power to believe." This is followed by a monstrous (i.e., rocking, great!) piece, "Level Five," reminiscent of "Discipline."
King Crimson always includes lovely, acoustic tunes to soften the blows, and "Eyes Wide Open" represents yet another shimmering entry, just as attractive as the best of "Beat." "Elektrik," begins with woodwinds and smashes into a piece that recalls "Red" and the "Larks's Tongues" series. "Facts of Life" is expansive and mysterious in its opening, and we again are banged up against the side of head with a rocker that harkens back to "Indiscipline." Belew is in his element, singing soulfully over the cacophony, tongue-in-cheek.
After the wickedness of "Facts," a return to the calm and introspection of "Power" is in order. This is an extended exploration of the musical theme introduced a cappella by Belew. The atmospherics remind me of moments from "Larks' Tongues" and "Three of a Perfect Pair." Exotic percussion builds in intensity and accompaniment by electronic glissandi in high and low registers take this soaring to the skies. Although I don't recall seeing other reviewers mentioning this, I think this is yet another reason why comparisons are being made to the masterful album "Discipline." I haven't heard anything like this from Fripp since "The Sheltering Sky."
"Power" is followed straight up with the climax of the album, the spectacular "Dangerous Curves." Echoes of mellotrons lead into a piece that is not unlike "The Devil's Triangle." The percussion is driving and the engineering crystal clear, which is fortunate because the piece becomes very loud and requires no more distortion than what is intended.
A time-warp takes us into "Happy with What You Have to be Happy with," a humourous and rocking knod to and knock at post-metal mediocrity. The final two tracks reprise "Power," and the sparely accompanied melody is, in the final analysis, quite moving.
I find this latest contribution to be instantly compelling. I listened to it immediately five times in a row, and it took about that long to figure most of it out. Incredibly, yet another masterpiece from Fripp and his team, and, I would argue, overall the best work King Crimson has ever produced. Practice makes perfect!!
Most recent customer reviews
"The Power to Believe" reminds listeners why King Crimson has earned its reputation as one of the most...Read more