The latest of King Crimson’s 40th Anniversary Edition albums that is getting the Steven Wilson treatment is Cirkus. This was the band’s third and possible most eclectic of them all. For the uninitiated this probably not the place to start on the catalog. Mainly because I think the first album, In The Court Of The Crimson King would be a better starting ground. That way the listener can see the evolution of the King Crimson sound. I will dispense on re-treading the history of the album and give attention to the dvd portion of this edition.
The new stereo mix from 2009 cleans up the sound to hear each instrument as it was meant to be heard. Starting off with Cirkus, which is simply amazing and one of my favorite KC songs. It’s been a few years since I heard this and once I got around to the dvd portion, it was like discovering it again as if for the first time. I feel Steven did a fantastic job with the remastering job. The laughter at the end of "Indoor Games" is crystal clear on this version. From the saxophone intro you can hear every nook and cranny on the song. This is probably the most eclectic song of the album along side “Happy Family”. These two are my least favorites of the album.
“Lady of the Dancing Water” ends the first side of the album (from the original album) and is the shortest track on the album. It’s a beautiful acoustic guitar and flute with some soft sung lyrics.
The epic title track has a interesting mix of King Crimson mixed with Yes. This is not because Jon Anderson is singing lead, more so the way Fripp plays the guitar. Many have heard the rumors that Jon was asked to join KC along side that Robert Fripp was to join Yes. I can neither confirm or deny these rumors but it sure would have been interesting alliance of Anderson and Fripp, regardless of whether it was KC or Yes. Personally, I would have thought a separate entity would have been a better choice. Maybe someday (soon) they will reunite and give the progressive rock community something as interesting as “Lizard”.
The bonus tracks or features no video but a high resolution stereo mixes in both lossless surround sound and DTS 5.1 surround. I can’t claim to know the difference but it sounds amazing on headphones via a media player. I think those that have a high end stereo system with all the bells & whistles will be in for a treat.
If you’re on the fence on whether or not to purchase Lizard again, I would highly recommend getting it for the crisper sound quality alone. I think this edition should have been called the “definitive” edition. I have new found appreciation for the band & album and will revisit again and again. Major kudos to Steven Wilson & Robert Fripp for this!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on April 6th, 2010