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The Mastelottos

A Romantic's Guide To King Crimson

Review by Gary Hill

The core of this group is Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson drummer) and his wife Deborah. They are joined by a whole host of musicians here. As you might guess, the songs they do were all originally done by King Crimson, but these arrangements are very different from King Crimson. There is a jazzy sort of vibe to most of this, with a real organic texture in a lot of ways. I like some of these versions every bit as much as I do the originals, and even the ones where I think the KC versions are superior are still very strong. In fact, I'd say that this is very likely to make my "best of 2021" list. It's just such a great album.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Two Hands
This is a pretty and captivating piece of music. It calls to mind new-age music (is that still a thing?). It has a real adult contemporary vibe. The piece has some European cafe music in the mix at times, too. It does get proggy in the instrumental break. This is all class.
Matte Kudasai
There is a lot of jazz in the mix here. A slow moving tune, this version of the Crimson classic is so tasty. It's captivating and compelling.
Heartbeat
I really love this take on the Crimson tune. It seems to merge the concepts and styles of the two openers. It has a great groove and energy. The horns bring some real magic to this, too. I love the keyboard solo, too.
Moonchild
Electronics blend with jazz and more on this cool number. I dig the trippy nature of the piece, and the whole slow moving concept works really well. This is one of my favorites here.
Inner Garden
We get more of that European cafe sound on this number. The track is another that's quite trippy, too. This is such classy stuff.
One Time (Eyes Wide Open)
I love the jazzy groove on this. The melodies really bring a lot of magic with them, as does the general tone of the piece. There are a couple dropped back sections with spoken vocals that just scream "cool!"
Peace
Flute and sort of distant, almost whispered vocals are the main concepts on this piece. This is a trippy and particularly effective number.
Book Of Saturday
I love the original of this song. The harp here brings an intriguing flavor. This particularly sedate and pretty arrangement works so well. I think I might like this just as much as I do the original. It's so pretty and manages to capture a lot of the magic of the KC version.
Exiles
Lush and beautiful as it comes into being, this cut works so well. It's pretty and rather soaring.
Elephant Talk
This has a bit of the King Crimson classic in the rhythm section here. Yet it gets a jazzy kind of groove over the top. This is another that I might like as much as I do the original. It's a completely different vibe, but it works so well.
People
One of the most rocking tunes here, this is so cool. It comes the closest to sounding like King Crimson of anything here. The vocals make me think of Debbie Harry at times. This is another killer number.
Sleepless
Again, this calls to mind KC's version a bit in terms of the rhythm section. The cut takes on more of an electronic groove. It is another that rivals the original for me. This is all class and a great way to end things in style.
 
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