David Cross - Exiles

In their 1995 album Thrak, King Crimson's Adrian Belew sings "I'm a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones"... David Cross played Violin in King Crimson's 1973-74 lineup. An obvious musical and personal distance between Cross and the rest of the band caused him to leave before the Red album. 23 years later, David Cross turns out with an album that continues where King Crimson has left in 1974. Dramatic, aggressive instrumental tracks, complex time signatures, raw violin improvisations - they're all there, wrapped in a 90's production.

The CD cover proudly informs that Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Peter Hammill are featured. Looking closely at the track list reveals that each of them is only featured on two or three of the album's 8 tracks, and the other musicians on the album are unknown ones [at least to me].

However, after a few listens I had to conclude Cross has assembled a group of excellent musicians to help him along; Even though Hammill, Wetton and Fripp provide the icing on the cake, the basic ingredients are of excellent quality and can stand on their own.

Peter Hammill provides some excellent vocals on two tracks. His singing is prominent and aggressive, reminding me of his contribution to Fripp's solo album, Exposure. Robert Fripp's guitar is easily identified on two tracks. His third appearance on the album is in a duo with Cross's violin, where Fripp plays his "soundscapes" guitar. John Wetton revisits the King Crimson classic Exiles as well as another pretty song written by Cross and Peter Sinfield (who also wrote the lyrics to the first four KC albums).

The 3 other instrumental tracks could be considered as classic progressive rock, with obvious touches of (the anachronistic) King Crimson. The music is excellent as well as the playing. The basic instuments consist of guitar, bass, drums, violin and occasionally some terrific sax and flute parts.

I assume that the inclusion of the Exiles track and the specific naming of the album is a marketing choice - something to attract the potential listeners to buy the CD. Personally I think this bombastic rendition of the song is the weakest point of the album, especially as the keyboards on this new version sound out of synch with the other instruments. Whether a marketing gimmick or not - it worked, and the rest of the album is well worth your listening. Check out this Dinosaur!

Approx. Playing Time: 53:27
Genre: Progressive Rock

The band can be contacted via Red Hot Records, 105 Emlyn Road, London W12 9TG, England, redhotrecs@aol.com
The CD can be ordered from The Artist Shop.

Web References:

  • Elephant Talk - King Crimson