the construKction of light has the distinction of being the first studio album to be released by King Crimson without two longtime members (the first without drummer Bill Bruford, who debuted with the band for 1973's Larks' Tongues in Aspic, and without bassist Tony Levin, who joined in 1981). The departure of these stalwarts brought an end to the "double trio" era of the band and their return to a quartet: Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto. Fripp was now not only the last remaining member from any lineup prior to 1981, but the only Englishman left as well.
Musically, the album bears a sound similar the 1980s lineup, with Mastelotto primarily playing e-drums and Belew, Gunn and Fripp often playing sophisticated, interlocking parts, with Belew and Fripp often utilizing overdriven guitar tones. However, the pace of these interlocking parts is often slower than in the '80s, with Belew and Fripp often trading just single notes back and forth in hocket. As such, it presents a different twist on the gamelan approach of the '80s era.
The album also harks back to previous eras, presenting sequels to old pieces. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic – Part IV" continues a series of instrumental pieces forming a cross-album suite, primarily recalling motifs from part II. "FraKctured" began as a fifth entry in the "Larks" suite, but was later in the process considered closer "in lineage" to "Fracture", the final track from 1974's Starless and Bible Black, and thus renamed.
AllMusic wrote that the band "fall flat with The ConstruKction of Light [...] Unable to shed the weight of their oft-brilliant history, the most promising moments of ConstruKction are crushed underneath the bulk. What makes ConstruKction such a disappointment is, despite how 'progressive' the band-fragmenting ProjeKct approach appeared on paper, upon execution, it produced an utterly backward-looking album."