Amid the sonic terror of the improv, it’s possible to discern some fine examples of Crimson at its most glowering and formidable. Driven by the drum machine’s insistent pulse, Wetton and Bruford opt for short, jabbing points while Cross and Fripp add more discursive themes on electric piano and guitar respectively. Given that so much of the nuance and interactions are either partially lost or completely submerged in the murk of the tape, it’s not always possible to judge how well the piece matches up to other improvs that the band was capable of. Yet, something of the band’s collective force, if not the finer detail, makes itself felt despite all the limitations and obstacles.
Happily, Exiles fares much better than any of the previous material, and for that matter, what follows, and thus something of that wistful spirit contained in both the song and the words can be heard escaping into the night.