KING CRIMSON — In The Wake Of Poseidon

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KING CRIMSON - In The Wake Of Poseidon cover
3.23 | 28 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1970


A1 Peace - A Beginning 0:50
A2 Pictures Of A City (Including 42nd At Treadmill) 8:01
A3 Cadence And Cascade 4:37
A4 In The Wake Of Poseidon (Including Libra's Theme) 7:56
A5 Peace - A Theme 1:15
B1 Cat Food 4:55
B2a The Devil's Triangle
B2b Merday Morn 11:34
B2c Hand Of Sceiron
B2d Garden Of Worm
B3 Peace - An End 1:52

CD reissue (2005,Discipline Global Mobile – DGM0502)track list:
1 Peace - The Beginning 0:49
2 Pictures Of A City (Including 42nd At Treadmill) 8:01
3 Cadence And Cascade 4:37
4 In The Wake Of Poseidon (Including Libra's Theme) 7:56
5 Peace - A Theme 1:15
6 Cat Food 4:55
7 The Devil's Triangle 11:34
7a Merday Morn
7b Hand Of Sceiron
7c Garden Of Worm
8 Peace - An End 2:54
9 Cat Food (Single Version) 2:47
10 Groon (Single B Side) 3:31


Bass – Peter Giles
Drums – Michael Giles
Guitar, Mellotron, Effects [Devices] – Robert Fripp
Piano – Keith Tippet
Saxophone, Flute – Mel Collins
Vocals – Greg Lake
Words By – Peter Sinfield
Vocals – Gordon Haskell (track A3)

About this release

Island Records – ILPS 9127 (UK)

On the cover the tracks B2a to B2d appear as one segued track, on the label they have separate track numbers.

Thanks to snobb for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The King is dead...long live the king

Quite possibly the worst Crimson album ever released (so 'Earthbound' and 'Islands' sucked too, but at least they had some energy and balls) representing a particularly barren and fractious period in the band's history.

Lake and MacDonald appeared to jump ship in the middle of this and given the horrors on offer, probably chose wisely. Michael Giles was to follow soon thereafter and it seems clear from published records of this exodus that the Crims were not a happy bunch of campers.


'Pictures of a City' strays perilously close to '21st Century Schizoid Man' in its compositional structure but is still a belter in the Crims catalogue and easily the best track here by a country mile or two. The music before the singing starts appears to be a conventional minor blues but they manage somehow to coax an angular jarring effect out of these traditional changes ? I have always loved Michael Giles drumming and his unique style on their 1st two albums lends a rhythmic subtlety and anchor to the music.

'Cadence and Cascade' debuts the toffee coated larynx of Mr Gordon Haskell to beautiful effect as the song fits his soporific style perfectly. Interestingly, another version of this melody appears on the 'MacDonald and Giles' album under a different name. The writs must have been flying....

'Catfood' is rather silly but utilises the infectious bass riff in the Beatles 'Come Together' to great effect and, even though commercially orientated enough to be released as a single, manages to contain some truly freaky and avant garde piano from Tippett (the 'Top of the Pops' audience look bemused on the footage)

'In the Wake of Poseidon' ain't too shabby a song but its form and structure relegates it to being a pale imitation of 'Epitaph' from the debut album. Like an ornate and lavishly assembled marble archway to a mud hut.


'Peace' in its three guises is just plain drippy and wetter than a dolphin's wedding tackle. The melody is neither memorable in its unadorned or arranged settings and just seems like a waste of time all round. Lake's vocal is quite plaintive yes, but as for unforgettable hooks, you don't hang your coat on a spear do you ?


'The Devil's Triangle' or more appropriately, 'Satan's Chocolate Fireplace' is an incoherent welter of half-baked and unfinished ideas ladled over a sludgey bolero beat lifted straight from Holst's 'Planets Suite' Lovers of the Mellotron (of which I am more than partial) would even turn their noses up at this concoction. It just never goes anywhere or has a transitional development to speak of and seems to last for days. Intense yes, but so is a jackhammer.

King Crimson regrouped after this debacle and went on to record some of the most innovative music in the 70's bar none, and for their fortitude alone, we should be thankful.

Unfortunately this record suffers from the inevitable comparisons with its ground breaking predecessor, and Robert and his ever changing stalwarts of the Red Guard are guilty of applying 'In the Court's' template onto much weaker material which simply disintegrates under the strain.
King Crimson's debut was so incredible that their legion of fans could hardly wait for the follow-up to hit the racks. Unbeknownst to most of us there was more drama going on within the band than a TV soap opera with members coming and going constantly. When I learned later on about the personality conflicts and constant strife the group was enduring while trying to record this album it's a wonder it got finished and even more surprising that it's as good as it is.

The Poseidon adventure starts with a simple theme that will recur from time to time, "Peace - A Beginning," with Greg Lake singing the melody solo. Those of us who aurally devoured the first LP couldn't help but smile as the beginning of "Pictures of a City (including 42nd at Treadmill)" gave us a needed taste of what we loved about this band. It features a gutsy crawling blues progression from Hell and Lake's snarling rendition of Pete Sinfield's subliminal lyrics ("Concrete cold face cased in steel/stark sharp glass-eyed crack and peel"). Peter Giles on bass and his brother Michael on drums combine to make an outstanding rhythm section and it's nowhere as obvious as it is here. Many characteristics that made "21st Century Schizoid Man" so alluring are included in the arrangement of this song and that's not meant as a detriment at all. It's great. However, the next tune, "Cadence and Cascade" makes you realize that something is askew in the Crimson household. Some guy named Gordon Haskell weakly sings this dismal ballad that is about as intriguing as day old dishwater. Some nice flute from newly acquired Mel Collins is welcomed but it's not enough to save this toadstool. A return to familiar territory is desperately required at this point and "In the Wake of Poseidon (including Libra's Theme)" is a step in the right direction. It's vaguely akin to "Epitaph" yet not quite as good. Robert Fripp does a decent job of replacing Ian McDonald on the Mellotron, Lake turns in another excellent vocal performance and Michael Giles adds his interesting crazed drum fills to the finale but there's an underlying stress weaving throughout the song that can't be ignored. The short "Peace - A Theme" is a sweet acoustic guitar return to the original melody that further displays Fripp's versatility. "Cat Food" is a cool, hip tune and the most commercial sounding in the band's history. I picture in my head some big cheese at Atlantic (after reviewing the success of the 1st album) shouting "Now we just need those boys to give us a hit!" and this is the result. I've always loved this song personally because, even though it kinda reminds me of the riff from The Beatles' "Come Together," there's no way this group could play it straight. Keith Tippet's wild piano spasms and Greg's snide crooning of Sinfield's sarcastic lines like "Goodies on the table/with a fable on the label/drowning in miracle sauce/Don't think I am that rude/if I tell you that it's cat food/not even fit for a horse!" create a fun five minutes for the listener. (Imagine what Pete thinks of today's processed foods!) And the last two minutes get delightfully weird with everybody taking a turn or two at contributing a moment of strangeness.

Next is a little over eleven minutes of Robert Fripp and, as it lists in the credits, his "devices." With one of the longest Mellotron fade-ins in history, "The Devil's Triangle" establishes a musical theme played over a marching drumbeat. "Merday Morn" is a continuation of the same melody as it grows more intense and discordant. Manic piano runs can be heard in the mix, then things reach cacophony. "Hand of Sceiron" is just howling wind noises and then what can only be described as arrhythmic taps before "Garden of Worm" returns you to more bizarre avant garde dissonance in which you'll hear a short snippet of "The Court of the Crimson King" whiz by your ears. The song is adventurous, to be sure, but it doesn't do much for me in the long run. "Peace - An End" bookends the album with the same air you heard in the beginning. This time Lake sings softly over an acoustic guitar, bringing the album to a serene finale.

I've always found that tiny sample from the debut swirling inside "Garden of Worm" to be significant. It's as if Robert Fripp was bidding farewell to the attitude and sound created by that initial collection of musicians because KC would never sound much like that again. The 3rd album would find the band going down a wholly new path with different personnel and never looking back. While this sophomore effort is flawed and has less of a jazz presence than any of their albums, it still deserves merit for a couple of outstanding songs and the determination it must have taken to get the album in the record bins at all.

Members reviews

siLLy puPPy
Poseidon is well known as having full domain of the oceans and is known as "God Of The Sea," however he is also referred to as "Earth-Shaker" because he was thought of being the cause of earthquakes as well, so I guess the title of this album refers to the aftermath of the band after the sudden success of KC's debut album and following tours which were too much for Ian McDonald and Michael Giles who soon parted ways followed by Greg Lake being seduced by Keith Emerson to form ELP. That left Robert Fripp and Peter Sinfield as the only original members after it was decided that it was pretty much Fripp's musical vision in the first place. The former members did agree to sit in as studio musicians only.

What a change from the debut. This album seems to me like a collection of leftovers and outtakes. The very first full song "Pictures Of A City" is obviously nothing more than a reworking of "21st Century Schizoid Man." One of the better pieces on the album is "The Devil's Triangle" which was inspired by Gustav Holt's "Mars: Bringer Of War" from "The Planets Suite." An ok album but too obvious that it is a half-assed reworking of the debut. Given the band's tumultuous history it's somewhat understandable and would be a mere blip in the parade of outstanding releases to come. Despite its inferiority to “In The Court....” I still find this a worthy occasional listen.
In the Wake of Poseidon sees Robert Fripp trying his best to put out a King Crimson album at a point in time when the band had for all intents and purposes completely disintegrated, with only Fripp and Sinfield 100% committed to keeping the project going. Calling in favours from former bandmates and the likes of Keith Tippett, Fripp manages to throw together an album which is extraordinarily good considering the circumstances - but in terms of objective quality it's clearly not a top tier Crimson album. The Devil's Triangle, a Crimson take on Holst's Mars, Bringer of War, is a highlight of the album, as is Pictures of a City (which brings in a heavy jazz influence).

But most of the other songs seem knocked off in a hurry (like Cat Food) - probably because they were - or seem to be mere unfinished sketches, like the Peace fragments scattered throughout the album. And the lack of solid development following on from In the Court... is undeniable.

No doubt this is the best album Fripp could throw together at the time... but the dire circumstances meant that the best he could do is simply "acceptable" rather than "revolutionary".
Sean Trane
In The Wake Of The Crimson King? One of the bigger debates among Crimson fan is how much a carbon copy Poseidon was to Court. Given the strong pressure to release another album by their label, and the fact that members were leaving left, right & centre, that there was no real group around the time of recording Poseidon, it was probably tempting to reproduce the same kind of songs that made the debut such as success.

So yes, Pictures Of A City is based upon Schizoid Man, yes, Cadence is a rehashing of Talk To The Wind, and this album's title track is definitely inspired on the title track of the previous album. So all these three "derivative" tracks are grouped on the first side of the album and bookended by two of the three Peace pieces, which are completely original and pleasant, even if a bit needless. And furthermore, the three "guilty" tracks are debatably superior technically to their inspirational muse.

Onto the flipside, Cat Food is an amazing track where young "jazz" pianist sensation of the time Keith Tippett gives an incredible performance, a highly original track, which came in an edited version as a single. The rest of the album is made from another completely original piece, The Devil's Triangle, based on a Gustav Holtz piece, but the three part epic sounds like nothing that'd been, done before, even by a certain King Crimson. Excellent eerie stuff that sees a small prolongation in the last part of the Peace theme that closes the album.

PS: rare enough to mention on Crimson albums, Poseidon might just be the only studio album ever to come with bonus tracks in the future, as both sides of the Cat Food/Groon single have been added, but not on every issue. In either case, Poseidon seems to be marked forever and a bit unjustly with the "carbon copy" sticker, but even if partially true, it remains a must for every Crimson fan.

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