As the 6-headed (now 7-headed beast) has...um...progressed, it has started to really take on a life of its own. On the first tour, I naturally reveled in finally seeing the band perform such classics as Starless live. The part that was lacking, if anything, were moments such as this. Past incarnations have toured with a new album, or an album in progress, with a couple of older tunes, and filled the rest of the show with improvs, adding new pieces along the way. The Thrak-era lineup broke this mold, although maintained the improv in the middle of Thrak.
Like the Thrak era, opening up the entire back catalog for this lineup (although mostly avoiding the '80s material) provided more than enough to fill a setlist (many, actually), leaving little room for such improvisation. Those few spaces are often (understandably) a showcase for the front line alone.
This piece, however, shows not only that this Crim is capable of providing those interludes, but is also fully in tune with another aspect that has been missing in the releases since the '70s, a romanticism with a distinct European flair. Ballads in the '80s and later were of a different vein, and it wasn't until Scarcity of Miracles that it really resurfaced.
This interlude marries the eras of Crim beautifully. Tony's bass opens with a feel that could be a lost ending to Requiem from Beat. Then Mel's (and Jakko's) flute pulls us back to the Poseidon/Islands era. The the soundscapes begin to build in a manner more reminiscent of the later '90s early '00s that led to Equitorial Stars, making the piece feel like a bridge between eras.
That's not to say its nostalgic in any way. There is a unique sense of looking forward while acknowledging the past. In this way, I'm somewhat glad that I first heard it out of context, without the leading and following pieces (and I hadn't read the description yet), because the unique blend makes it sound like it could lead into almost anything.