Now that Trey Gunn has stepped down as an active member of King Crimson, he's looking forward to blazing more trails on his own. Trey's emancipation coincides with this new collection, the first in his new contract with Inside Out Music, and named after, but not including, the track of the same name from The Joy Of Molybdenum! Staples like "Brief Encounter" and "Arrakis," and nine more are drawn from One Thousand Years, The Third Star, and Raw Power, plus some exclusive material. Much goodness is coaxed from those wide-necked, 8, 10, and 12-string Warr Touch Guitars. The entire set flows together as one continuous mix.
Sitarlike textures and a raucous "Elephant Talk" type of growl open "Sozzle," which gets heavier further along, and sounds a bit more ethnic than the sound King Crimson usually goes for. The feet-first performance of "The Glove" echoes from Live Encounter, featuring a second Warr'ist in tow in Joe Mendelson, along with guitarist Tony Geballe and drummer & tabla helmer, Bob Muller—mondo cinematic textures galore will have listeners dialling into their favorite online music vendors to order the Live disc. Synthetic drones roam across a canopy of hypnotic percussives as a tribalesque choir basks in the densities apparent in "Killing For London." Back-to-back alternate mixes of "The Third Star" and "Take This Wish" drift inward, next—the former with its somnolent timbres and lilting vocal by Alice—the latter with its sequenced pulse, Muller's boppin' tablas, and Trey's short, flensing solo (he also sings on this cut).
"Rune Song" is engaging, quasi-anthemic fare; a dronescape, a layer of ethno-percussion, a spritely lead that repeats several times, punctuated by crisp pull-offs. Suddenly, a heavier motif is laid down by drums, tablas, and a deep, Clav-like bassy sound that's really juicy. More keyboard-like leads sound off before the runes are cast, permanently. "Puttin' On The White Shirt" is a cut from the first entry in the Surfacings series, Raw Power. Muller's tablas are ever-present—and rightfully so—and he & Gunn are joined by trumpeter Dave Douglas. Expect meter-shifting Gunn-isms, an exquisite tabla solo, and daubings of trumpet—atmospheric and crazed— a la Jon Hassell or Mark Isham.
Gunn'ers will revel in the presentation of the unreleased, nine-minute piece, "The Cruelest Month." This excursion has more in common with a sound collage, though much more structured, and peppered with samples. This runs so smoothly, you'll be glad your CD player has a repeat function. After the serenity bestowed upon us by that and "The Gift," Trey goes out in style with one-hundred and thirty seconds of fusiony rock called "Hootenanny At The Pink Café," complete with a faux-organ lead (all Warr), deep bass, and manic drumming. The official release comes with an additional DVD that contains seven live performances and extras; get Untune'd and add this to your inventory of King Crimson alumni.