|In the Wake of Poseidon|
|Studio album by|
|Released||15 May 1970|
|Studio||Wessex Sound Studios, London, England|
|Genre||Progressive rock, experimental rock, jazz fusion, avant-garde jazz|
|King Crimson chronology|
|Singles from In the Wake of Poseidon|
In the Wake of Poseidon is the second studio album by English progressive rock group King Crimson, released in May 1970 by Island Records in Europe, Atlantic Records in the United States, and Vertigo Records in New Zealand. The album was recorded during instability in the band, with several personnel changes, but repeats the style of their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King. As with their first album, the mood of In the Wake of Poseidon often and quickly changes from serene to chaotic, reflecting the versatile musical aspects of progressive rock. The album was their highest-charting in the UK, reaching number 4. It has been well received by critics.
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Ian McDonald and Michael Giles left the band following their first American tour in 1969. Greg Lake was the next member to leave, after being approached by Keith Emerson to join what would become Emerson, Lake & Palmer in early 1970. This left Robert Fripp as the only remaining musician in the band, taking on part of the keyboard-playing role in addition to guitar. To compensate, Peter Sinfield increased his own creative role and began developing his interest in synthesizers for use on subsequent records.
Lake agreed to sing on the recordings for In the Wake of Poseidon (negotiating to receive King Crimson's PA equipment as payment). Eventually, he ended up singing on the band's early 1970 single "Cat Food" (the flip side was "Groon") and on all but one of the album's vocal tracks. The exception was "Cadence and Cascade", which was sung by Fripp's old schoolfriend and teenage bandmate Gordon Haskell. There does exist however, an early mix of the song with Lake singing a guide vocal which was unearthed and featured on the DGM site as a download. At one point, the band considered hiring the then-unknown Elton John to be the album's singer, but decided against it. Other former members and associates returned - as session players only - for the Poseidon recordings, with all bass parts being handled by Peter Giles and Michael Giles drumming. Mel Collins (formerly of the band Circus) contributed saxophones and flute. Another key performer was jazz pianist Keith Tippett, who became an integral part of King Crimson's sound for the next few records (although Fripp offered him full band membership, Tippett preferred to remain as a studio collaborator and only performed live with the band once).
On 25 March 1970, the line-up of Fripp, Lake, Tippett, Mike and Peter Giles taped a mimed performance of the single version of "Cat Food" for the following night's broadcast of BBCTV's Top of the Pops. It was to be King Crimson's sole British TV appearance until 1981. While the footage was thought wiped for decades, most of the performance has since been rediscovered (though in monochrome) as it was licensed to the European show Hits a Go Go and was repeated in 2015. Several photographs taken backstage and of the dress rehearsal also document the performance.
With the album on sale, Fripp and Sinfield remained in the awkward position of having King Crimson material and releases available, but not having a band to play it. Fripp persuaded Gordon Haskell to join permanently as singer and bass player, and recruited drummer Andy McCulloch, another Dorset musician moving in the West London progressive rock circle, who had previously been a member of Shy Limbs (alongside Greg Lake, who recommended him to Fripp) and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Mel Collins was also retained as a full band member.
The album opens with an a cappella piece called "Peace - A Beginning", which is reprised instrumentally in the middle of the album and vocally again at the end. The strongly jazz fusion-influenced "Pictures of a City" was originally performed live, often extended to over ten minutes and was called "A Man, a City". An example of such a performance can be found on the live compilation album Epitaph.
The longest track on the album is a chaotic instrumental piece called "The Devil's Triangle". This was adapted from the 1969 band's live arrangement of Gustav Holst's "Mars: Bringer of War" (from his The Planets suite) which can be heard on Epitaph (where it is titled merely "Mars"). King Crimson was forbidden by Holst's legal estate to use his piece, so "The Devil's Triangle" employs a different staccato riff than the one from "Mars". In 1971, a brief excerpt from "The Devil's Triangle" was featured in "The Mind of Evil", the second serial of the eighth season of the BBC television series Doctor Who. Also, the track samples the chorus from "The Court of the Crimson King", the title track from the band's first album, a studio technique known as xenochrony.
The twelve faces in the picture are as follows:
Released on 15 May 1970, In the Wake of Poseidon was King Crimson's highest-charting album to date in the UK, reaching number 4.
The album was re-released in 2010 with a near-complete new stereo mix by Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp. As tape for one track, "The Devil's Triangle", could not be located, the original stereo was included instead. The CD also includes a new mix of "Groon" ("Cat Food"'s B-side), an alternate take of "Peace: An Ending", and Greg Lake's guide vocal take of "Cadence and Cascade". The DVD-A features a 5.1 mix by Steven Wilson, with "The Devil's Triangle" up-mixed to 5.1 by Simon Heyworth, hi-res stereo versions of the 30th anniversary stereo master, the 2010 album mixes and ten hi-res bonus tracks including the original single "Cat Food"/"Groon", the bonus tracks from the CD, and a number of other session takes, rehearsals and mixes.
Robert Christgau rated the album higher than the debut, describing it as "more muddled conceptually than In the Court of the Crimson King" but commenting that "they're not afraid to be harsh, they command a range of styles, and their dynamics jolt rather than sledgehammer".
In his contemporary review, AllMusic's Bruce Eder praised the album, saying that it was better produced than their debut, but he also said that it "doesn't tread enough new ground to precisely rival In the Court of the Crimson King". "The Mellotron, taken over by Fripp after McDonald's departure", he continued, "still remains the band's signature". He also praised a 24-bit digitally remastered edition released in March 2000.
All European LPs issued by Island and Polydor have erroneously printed labels that leave off "Peace - A Theme" and list "The Devil's Triangle" and its three movements as four distinct tracks. Most US and Japanese Atlantic LPs use the correct track listing.
|1.||"Peace - A Beginning"||0:51|
|2.||"Pictures of a City"
|3.||"Cadence and Cascade"||4:35|
|4.||"In the Wake of Poseidon"
|5.||"Peace - A Theme" (instrumental)||Robert Fripp||1:15|
|6.||"Cat Food"||Fripp, Peter Sinfield, Ian McDonald||4:52|
|7.||"The Devil's Triangle" (instrumental
|8.||"Peace - An End"||1:54|
|Bonus tracks on 30th Anniversary Edition|
|9.||"Cat Food" (single version)||2:45|
|10.||"Groon" (single b-side; music by Fripp)||3:35|
|2010 40th Anniversary Series re-issue bonus tracks|
|12.||"Peace - An End" (Alternate mix)||2:06|
|13.||"Cadence & Cascade" (Greg Lake vocal)||4:32|
|2010 40th Anniversary Series re-issue DVD-A bonus tracks|
|1.||"Cat Food" (Single version)|
|2.||"Groon" (Single b-side)||3:35|
|3.||"Cadence & Cascade" (Unedited master)|
|4.||"Cadence & Cascade" (Greg Lake guide vocal)||4:32|
|5.||"Cadence & Cascade" (Instrumental take from Wessex Studios)|
|6.||"Groon" (Take 1)|
|7.||"Groon" (Take 5)|
|8.||"Groon" (Take 15)|
|9.||"The Devil's Triangle" (Rehearsal version from Wessex Studios)|
|10.||"Peace - An End" (Alternate mix)||2:06|
Former King Crimson personnel
Future King Crimson personnel
40th Anniversary Edition credits
Poseidon was Lake's King Crimson swan song, but he almost wasn't needed for the LP. Though the fact's become a peculiar footnote in rock history, emerging talent Elton John was originally hired to sing on the sessions before Fripp changed his mind.