loteq | Regensburg | 12/01/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
""The abbreviated KC" is a 23-minute EP which primarily contains songs which already have appeared on KC's 1969 debut "In the court of the CK", on their 1981 comeback album "Discipline", and on 1982's "Beat", so it's far from being a comprehensive collection due to the lack of other classic tracks like "Red", "Easy money", or "Sleepless". Even when you purchase this album together with other KC compilations, for example, "The concise KC" or "The compact KC", it never gives you a sense of what made KC important, nor does it offer a reasonable introduction to neophyte fans. Apart from "The KC barber shop" and "Medley", which can't be found elsewhere, the faithful fan will already own the original versions of the songs here, so there's really no point in shelling out the cash for abridged versions of "21th century.." (4 3/4 instead of 7 1/2 minutes) or "In the court..". KC might have had a few songs which came close to being hit singles, particularly from their '80s output, but the true range of KC's music is only evident on their original albums. Nevertheless, I'll certainly tell you something about this strange compilation. The disc starts with the most interesting cut here, the gospel-tinged "The KC barber shop", a 1 1/2-minute vocal-only track with none other than Tony Levin singing. It's utterly unlike anything in the KC discography and reminds me of the Comedian Harmonists's work. Next, we have "21th century..", one of KC's rocky and aggressive songs, and the title track from their eponymous debut album. The quirky, neurotic "Elephant talk" and the atmospheric "Matte Kudasei" are taken from "Discipline", coming up with a more pop-inclined sound that manages to incorporate elements of Talking Heads, world music, and wave pop. "Heartbeat", KC's obvious stab at a melodic pop single, had the potential for massive radio airplay, but it didn't climb very high into the charts. The 1 1/2-minute "Medley" is a somewhat dodgy combination of all the aforementioned tracks, assembled by Fripp's studio engineer David Singleton. Perhaps completists will find this disc worth purchasing, yet it's pretty bad value for money- 3 minutes of new material and a lot of previously released songs.... For best results: Stick with the original albums and listen to "The KC barber shop" via the 30-second audio clip.