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The Enigmatic 'Lizard',
This review is from: Lizard: 40th Anniversary Series [CD + DVD-A] (Audio CD)
Robert Fripp provides some skeptical and cynical notes about this album. In 2009, he wrote of "Lizard": "Labour and laboring, mostly joyous, strive effortfully to present appearance of cohesion". He also reminds us that "Lizard" was both not as commercially successful as other King Crimson albums and that he doesn't feel it is the most critically accomplished of his albums. That's a lot to say about your work. All the more amazing that Steven Wilson was able to convince Fripp to release this 5.1 surround sound version. This is even more surprising when you realize that "In The Wake Of Poseidon" was skipped temporarily.
Always an amazing mix of progressive rock and jazz, "Lizard" arguably stands out among the best King Crimson accomplishments. Noted for a variety of distortions/effects of different vocals, Wilson manages to extract them and balance them so they stand out clearly and crisply. In fact, all the instrumentals on every track are separated or enhanced to truly bring attention to every detail. These are things that are often missed on the stereo mixes.
"Cirkus" flat out rattles your senses with its mix of rock and freeform blasts. Fripp's mellotron is so powerful, it's stunning. Andy McCulloch on drums is dizzying and emphatic. These tracks (along with others here) take Pete Sinfield's lyrics and elevate the entire song to a nearly psychedelic level. "Happy Family", allegedly a comment on the Beatles break-up is one of the few songs that get muddied in the new mix, but not for great effort from Wilson. The original tracks and "scraps and fragments of stuff" were meticulously remixed. As Sid Smith notes: "For me `Lizard' has always been an album that was too big for stereo to contain." In terms of fusing free-jazz with progressive rock for me, there's almost no parallel." "Lady of the Dancing Water" contains some of the prettiest flute work available anywhere, in fact, all the horns and woodwinds are clearly pronounced. The immense song, "Lizard" with its bridges, alterations and variations is one of the most interesting and strongest songs on the album. With virtually eight songs connected with a barrage of ingenious methods, it becomes an easy favorite. Jon Anderson's vocals on the section, `Prince Rupert Awakes' is alive with strength and beauty complimented by Fripp's stinging mellotron. The album closes with `Big Top', an amusing and somewhat demented climax.
This package conatins the CD with a new 2009 stereo mix and three bonus tracks, (an alternate take of "Lady of the Dancing Water", another remix of "Bolero" and a `studio run through with guide vocal from original session' of "Cirkus". These tracks are great to have, but only "Bolero" stands out as something truly worthy, although this version of "Cirkus" is interesting to hear if only for the improvisation of the vocals.
The DVD contains the album in 5.1 surround sound, the new 2009 stereo mix, the original album (1999 remastered version) and the three bonus tracks. Robert Fripp and Sid Smith's notes make for a very interesting contrast in perspective of "Lizard". If not for the persuasion of Steven Wilson, we might not have ever heard this album in its purest form, that is, every instrument clearly marked out and placed and a sensory experience that you could only hope from any band. "Lizard" ranks up there with "In The Court of the Crimson King".
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Initial post: 3 Aug 2011 03:15:53 BDT
I wholly agree. This album is sublime and one not to be missed. It is superior to In the Wake of and contains more subtleties of texture and complexities than the much favoured Red
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