The Mastelottos – A Romantic’s Guide To King Crimson: Album Review

Pat and Deborah Mastelotto seek out the pink and fluffy sides of the King Crimson catalogue.

Release date: 14th February 2021

Label: 7d Media

Format: CD / DL

King Crimson and romantic music? Two unlikely bedfellows. However, there will be plenty who will point out that even back in their wildly inventive peak where they were shaping progressive music, there were always tender Crimson moments.

It’s always been a joke in the King Crimson camp that there’s never a line for the women’s restrooms during intermissions,” says Deborah. “King Crimson plays loud and it’s often intense and raucous. But it can also be haunting and melodic, with some of the most beautiful lyrics ever. We wanted to help uncover that sweetness and introduce the songs to a different type of audience .”

So, Valentine’s Day 2021 sees an unexpected surprise with the release of A Romantic’s Guide to King Crimson, a 12-track album of reinvented King Crimson material by the husband-and-wife duo Deborah and Pat Mastelotto. Pat, of course, has been a member of the Crims since 1995, most recently starring in the three drummer lineup. The Mastelottos take a leaf (of sorts) from the Fripp book. Not quite in the same ballpark as Robert and Toyah’s increasingly revealing Sunday lunch video, The collection spans the band’s entire history; even People, One Time and Inner Garden from Thrak confirm that the ‘pink’ side remained an ever-present.

Some of the hardcore may find it a challenge to recognise and appreciate the softer side of Crimson that’s conjured out of these re-imaginings. It’s a pretty chilled out experience; a soundtrack to lounging lazily on a Summer’s day. Moonchild from the groundbreaking KC debut album lives up to its The Dream and The Illusion labels. Next to Inner Garden they form a pairing of dreamy ambience.

In The Wake Of Poseidon’s Peace does retain some of the Crimness, the experimental side reflected in the spoken word element and fluttering, Carnival Of The Animals, sounds. Along with Book Of Saturday, we’re skirting around the boundaries of chamber prog. Back in Crim world, Elephant Talk might not have been an obvious choice for the romantic side, but retains some of its quirkiness and along with the slap bass funk of Sleepless may be the most faithful.

It may be the Mastelotto name on the tin, but the album has musical contributions especially from the TOAPP (Three Of A Perfect Pair Music Masters Camp) artists. Says Deborah: “The addition of a girl singer automatically changes the feel of those songs and places them in a different genre. Our idea is to create a way for people, especially women, to appreciate the beauty of King Crimson’s music without the fear and sometimes resistance attached to the word ‘prog’ getting in the way.”

The set certainly meets the aims of combining the prog-meets-pop twist and achieving the opposite effect to the originals. Exposing the chance to discover where else the songs could go. Last word to The Mastelottos: “Heat up the hot tub, fluff your pillows and head to the softer side of the bed for the pinkest Crimson ever.”

Here’s the original KC Heartbeat from the Beat album:

Pat Mastelotto online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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