When it comes to raiding the vaults for lavish box sets, few have embraced the task quite like King Crimson, who have released six such sets which typically include remixed studio albums, outtakes, and live recordings galore. Now, the band has announced its seventh mega-set, entitled Heaven & Earth. It's due out on May 31 and can be pre-ordered directly from Inner Knot/DGMLive (U.S.) and Burning Shed (U.K.). On the same day, more digestible versions of The ReconstruKction of Light (in its newly remixed form) and The Power To Believe will also be available.
Heaven & Earth comprises a whopping 24 discs - 18 CDs, 4 Blu-rays, and 2 DVD-As - celebrating the period from December 1997 to August 2008. In this decade-plus, the "double trio" lineup of King Crimson - guitarists Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew, bassists Trey Gunn and Tony Levin, and drummers Pat Mastelotto and Bill Bruford - began to splinter off into side "ProjeKcts," as they were called. They tested out new musical ideas on the road, typically playing mostly improvised material to smaller audiences in clubs. Heaven & Earth presents the most complete collection of the ProjeKcts' live work and studio sessions across four of the set's CDs and 2 of the Blu-ray discs. In fact, Blu-ray 2 boasts the complete recordings of ProjeKct 2 with 30 shows and an album's worth of rehearsal audio. Also included is the 2000 ProjecKt X album also entitled Heaven and Earth, which was released alongside The ConstruKction of Light in 2000.
Eventually, the ProjeKct players reconvened as King Crimson in a slightly streamlined lineup as Levin and Bruford continued on with other commitments. From 2000 to 2003, this lineup toured extensively, recorded two studio albums and a "mini-album," and released a number of live recordings. The two studio albums - The ConstruKction of Light and The Power To Believe - are presented on Heaven & Earth in 5.1 surround sound for the first time ever, mixed by David Singleton.
The ConstruKction of Light has undergone some major changes for the box set. The original recordings of Pat Mastelotto's electronic drums have been lost, so Mastelotto has recompletely re-recorded his parts using his current acoustic-electric kit. This new version has been dubbed The ReconstruKction of Light. Similarly, 2003's The Power To Believe has been supplemented by newly discovered audio elements, uncovered by mixer and producer David Singleton. These have been incorporated into the new surround mix.
King Crimson's live work from the era also feature, to the tune of 11 CDs recorded over the span of their many tours. This includes a US show with Tool and a newly reconstrucKted 2000 live compilation that blends contemporaneous improvisations with their famed London concert to create what the press list proclaims is "a very different, very powerful imaginary KC setlist." Heaven & Earth will also include over 10 hours of concert footage culled 20 performances from King Crimson's 2000 tour of Europe. Most of the footage is previously unreleased.
In 2003, King Crimson released The Power To Believe, which is their last studio album to date. The band drew from material previously issued on the 2001 live mini-album Level 5, as well as the 2002 studio mini-album Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With and hit the road to support it. Material from their 2003 tour features among the 11 CDs of live work in Heaven & Earth and all the studio work is accounted for with new enhanced and expanded stereo and 5.1 surround mixes, as well as hi-res versions of the original mixes. Also part of the festivities is the EleKtriK live album from 2003 and a video of King Crimson's 2002 studio and live equipment setup.
The years 2006 and 2008 are accounted for by concert footage from Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew's 2006 ProjeKct 6 shows, as well as 2 CDs that present a reconstructed 2008 setlist by blending recordings from their residency at New York City's Nokia Theater in August of that year. By that point, Trey Gunn was replaced by Tony Levin on bass, and Gavin Harrison joined Pat Mastelotto as the group's second drummer for what was called their 40th Anniversary Tour.
All the music will be presented in a 12" box with an extensive booklet full of new essays by Sid Smith and David Singleton, photos, and memorabilia.
In all, Heaven & Earth is the most extensive box set of King Crimson's series so far, providing the most complete look at the decade-plus of continuously innovative music with a treasure trove live and in-the-studio rarities from the vault and new stereo and surround mixes - all of which was approved by executive producer Robert Fripp. As the official press release puts it: "Eleven years, numerous ProjeKcts, dozens of concerts, complete studio recordings of the era, with re-recordings in new stereo & 5.1, and over 10 hours of live video footage, Heaven and Earth is the most extensive account of this part of King Crimson's ongoing story."
But if 24 discs seems like a few too many, you're in luck, as King Crimson is set to release more manageable "40th Anniversary Series" CD/DVD-A editions of The ReconstruKction of Light and The Power To Believe, also on May 31.
The ReconstruKction of Light: 40th Anniversary Edition will include a CD of the new "reimagining" of The ConstruKction of Light plus a DVD-A featuring the new 5.1 mix of the work mixed by David Singleton and a hi-res stereo mix by Don Gunn. Bonus features include the original mix of The Construction of Light and the 2000 ProjeKct X effort Heaven and Earth.
The Power To Believe: 40th Anniversary Edition will also be released as a CD/DVD-A set with an expanded and enhanced master of the album on both discs. The DVD-A features that version in both hi-res stereo and lossless 5.1 surround sound. As a bonus feature, the mini-album Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With is also included.
Each slimmed-down edition is housed in a double-digipak case inside a slipcase, and features new sleeve notes by King Crimson biographer Sid Smith, alongside rare photos and newly unearthed archive material. The new mixes within were all approved by executive producer Robert Fripp.
So, fans of King Crimson, mark your calendars for May 31, as DGM/Inner Knot bring a veritable trove of latter-day King Crimson goodies! You can purchase the Heaven and Earth box set, and the slimmed-down 40th Anniversary Editions of The ReconstruKction of Light and The Power To Believe using the Amazon links below! We'll have full track listings as soon as they're confirmed -- in the meantime, keep scrolling for a detailed overview of all the releases' contents.
King Crimson, The ReconstruKction of Light (40th Anniversary Series) (CD/DVD-A) (original mix released as The ConstruKction of Light, DGM CD KCCDX2, 2000 -- remixed and expanded DGM, 2019) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)