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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2013
It's very odd hearing a 43 year old King Crimson album for the first time. I never did know of Lizard at the time (this was when if it wasn't in a shop you didn't know it existed) and so it remained to be discovered.
Lizard continues from 'Poseidon' with a less formulaic structure, though still song based, and a jazz star augmented line-up, including Keith Tippett, but (inevitably for Crimson) with other changes. And the music is jazz-rock twisted as only Crimson could do it. Jazz-rock, as established by Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears in the late 60s had migrated to post Miles 'fusion' in the early 70s. I'd left Crimson with 'Poseidon' (with Keith Tippett) and found them again floating with Islands and then the definitive magic of Lark's Tongues in Aspic. Lizard became 'lost' as I went on to Mahavishnu etc.
The music on Lizard is great, complex and beautifully played. The best bits here are instrumental; Haskell's vocals are not a strong point (though the distortions are interesting) - even the guest vocals of Jon Anderson are better suited, and I'm no Yes fan. But why the need for vocals at all I wonder? (Zappa famously said you had to stick words on music to sell it.) This could have been made as a great instrumental album; perhaps Sinfield should have been put back in his box...
The DTS 5.1 surround sound helps to clarify a musically dense album - maybe it is a little more 'front and back' than Wilson's other Crimson mixes - and this was my reason to get this package, given the splendour of other 40th anniversary releases.
On both CD and DVD it's a pity the Lizard track isn't indexed to allow selection of it's individual parts - especially as one (Bolero) is included as an extra featuring Tony Levin on bass; no timings are given for any tracks.
Another review here (Why am I humming Dinosaur?... P. D. Allen) bemoans the CD-DVD format which seems default setting for surround sound now - probably since most people have a DVD player. Yes SACD would be far better - for example, like the Depeche Mode SACD-DVD surround packages - and why not? But DTS is the next best option. Aside from classical very little is released on SACD these days (and then often only stereo for reissues and at silly prices); this is a pity as it's a superb CD+surround format - and, yes, I have an SACD player not a DVD-A player. Also, as with Lizard, few of the KC reissues have video to justify the DVD format. Ho hum, Mammon rules again.
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on 1 September 2013
1st review, excuse my unprofessionalism.

Why choose this one you ask? the second concert I ever saw was King Crimson (1st was ELP), that concert is listed in KC's 40 year release of "Islands". Bob Fripp announced on a radio review back then that "encores were not meant to be part of a set but as a result of good interaction between audience and band" that show was a rare encore show.
It has to be remembered that in those days it was a very different music world...innocence is the best simple description.
Music of this type ( I detest the genre label....music is what you love and has nothing to do with the media's labels) is sadly lost in those times, but always remembered and thankfully in the correct way by the engineer of this album Mr Steven Wilson.

By re-mastering the KC collection ( I have now purchased the 1st 7 albums up to "Red" in Steven Wilson's 40th Year Anniversary" releases) it has now bought to life the music of those times.
This particular release, as in the supplied notes in the book state, have given the opportunity to bring out some of the instrumentation that was all but lost in the original recordings.

At this point you may think I do not have an adequate stereo/5.1 system. I do ( Linn LP12/NAIM Hi-Fi & Denon AVR/Kef for the 5.1)

From the opening track of "Cirkus" straight through to the final long piece of "Lizard" there is so much detail as a result of these re-masters (whether listened to in stereo or 5.1) you feel as if your listening to a new release.
For anyone NOT familiar with the music of King Crimson this album starts, as always, with a what seems a cacophonous sound of "CirKus" (see 21st Century/Pictures of A City/Lark's Tongue I/Great Deceiver/Red), there were styles of music that have admitted owe a lot to the sound of those opening tracks.
Then it is sheer musical delight, very light and melodious compared to the opening track and to many of the KC albums (exception being "Islands"). The songs, as all of KC's material was about the music more than the lyrics. That is not to say the lyrics weren't clever and had statements on the time, "Happy Family's" being one of them.

In the modern age of short listening attention and an industry (as Bob Fripp himself has stated) run by business people who's priority is profit not the product itself, it is no-doubt very difficult to appreciate pieces of music that in the case of "Lizard" is almost 7 times as long as what is acceptable to modern ears. BUT big BUT, if those modern ears would just listen then they would hear a truly beautiful piece of music.
of course to those of us already buried in the sound of those times then all of the above is superfluous, all is meant to say to them is "go out and re-walk down those fantastic musical days" in a sound that was made for them.

Here's to seeing more of those old/er albums being re-mastered in 24bit & 5.1 sound, preferably by Mr Steven Wilson as he certainly appears to have a real appreciation of those times.
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on 14 January 2011
I first brought this album on vinyl and as a foolish youth initially dismissed it as not being one of Crimsons best.I still love Larks Tongues and Red but this one has really crept up on me, especially what was the side long title track.The brilliance of the Lizard track and Cirkus are the high points of this album, and warrant its five star rating. The other 3 tracks are ok but not standout

There are moments of sublime beauty here such as the bolero section of Lizard. Its one of those albums that just gets better and better with every listen,and truly fits into that rare musical category "original" Its hard to see what or where this album derives from: its such a mixture of styles and influences.The making of it was apparently difficult and various musicians were brought in such as Jon Anderson, Keith Tippett and Mark Charig which may explain in part this unique mix. You wont hear anything else quite like this album in the Crimson,Prog rock or any other musical cannon, and nobody I know of it has done anything like it since.

The CD remaster is excellent bright and clear.

If you're an old Crimson fan who has not listened to this for years, rediscover it, If your're a new listener looking for something different but brilliant give it a spin ( but it may take quite a number of plays)!
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on 30 October 2009
At last now it can be heard the way it was always meant to be.

The 5.1 mix is not as adventurous as the Dark Side of the Moon, but it has been done very-very well and all instruments are clear and well-placed.
There is more rear-channel action than most other surround releases.
DVD-Audio can show the lyrics simultaneously on screen, but in this case they've chosen not to use this feature. Minor niggle, but hey ho...
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on 29 June 2013
I bought this album on vinyl a very long time ago and just had to have the remastered version on cd as I am a big fan of the band .
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on 28 November 2015
great cd but the dvd doesnt work ive got other crimson cd s in this collection and the dvd works very well i think its not great quality or somthing like that and the same with the red album the dvd doesnt work either so beware?
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on 28 July 2017
Certainly one of the best King Crimson albums. The remix and sound are great. This music is still very good after all these years.
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on 11 September 2017
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This was the last King Crimson studio album to be added to my collection. It is different to any of the rest in a big way, not least the style of singing, the jazz elements, the bright artwork, the abundance of acoustic guitar work on it and the largest number of msicians involved in any Krim album.

I only got the 30th anniv remaster around Easter 2009. I however gave it a load of plays and have revised my view of it considerably. It is an amazing pot pourri of sounds and styles.

I do not have a dvd-a player, so the review is based on the stereo cd remix. The stereo cd remix is so good that this is worth getting for that alone.

The remaster is a giant step forward. Every instrument is clean and clear, sounding authentic, having its own space and not just part of an overall sonic mix. Small details, of which there are masses, all become apparent and easy to follow. Robert Fripp uses more acoustic guitar on this album than any other I have heard him play on. His skill on the acoustic is as impressive as his skill on the electric. He throws in all sorts of jazzy comping and spanish licks that he is not usually associated with.

If only all remasters were done with this attention to the music. Congratulations, Robert Fripp and Steven Wilson!!! This sets a benchmark for remastering.
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on 14 October 2009
This is not a critique of the audio format chosen by messrs Wilson & Fripp to release classic sonics from the past of the mighty Crim so hovering audiophiles should gravitate elsewhere.

'Lizard' came at a time when Crimson were staggering from yet another crisis. Crises appeared to be the standard operating procedure for Crimson but also served as their creative lifeblood. I bought this 'album' in January 1971 & was blown away by what I heard. Having already invested in ITCOTCK & ITWOP I viewed 'Lizard' as a major step/trip forward albeit with some reluctant band members on tow.

Fripp's comments whilst those of the informed creator are not necessarily those of the people whom I know bought/listened to 'Lizard'. The music stretched some members of the band to places further than they were capable or willing to travel & that IMHO is what makes 'Lizard' a flawed album. The 'guests' blow a storm with Tippett, Miller, Charig & Evans in immaculate form. Jon Anderson sings like an angel thankfully delivering some welcome respite from the non-committed droning that had preceded. However Mel Collins emerged as the real star amongst the general jazzy weirdness.

'Lizard' (for me) marks the next step of a path not taken. Instead the band changed (again) on 'Islands' & 'Sailor's tale' gave a glimpse of what was to come. 'Lizard' is an excellent tansitional album let down by some pretty expressionless vocals & whilst RF has not reflected favourably, the music does not disappoint. So, for those yet to discover 'Lizard' check out 'Cirkus' - I defy anyone not to be awestruck by the acoustic guitaring.
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