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King Crimson - Beat CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.08 | 1213 ratings

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4 stars When Beat came out I was in love with their previous album, Discipline, as well as all the other music albums coming out that were using (African-inspired) polyrhythms (including African music). Discipline, TALKING HEADS Remain in Light and Peter Gabriel's third and fourth albums as well as his WOMAD project were part of the spearhead for this. Beat was a let down. Until I saw the band on this tour. They were amazing! "Neal and Jack and Me" (4:26) (9/10) and "Waiting Man" (4:26) (9/10) were two of the highlights of the show. From the album, I loved the tender "Two Hands" and "Heartbeat" Adrian Belew created for his wife and "Sartori in Tangier" (3:54) (10/10) remains one of my favorite Fripp vehicles. The music of "Neal and Jack and Me" is incredible if the lyrics/singing are a bit offsetting. I always think Adrian gets a bad rap for his lyrics and singing but they are distinctive and entertaining. They don't always "fit" with the complicated, heaviness of the music. His experimental guitar play is, IMHO, breathtaking! And equally fun and entertaining as his vocals. And the dude can weave with his band mates, no question! Tony Levin needs more press--more attention. One of the hardest working and most creative and talented artists in rock music of all-time--and a super, super nice, down to Earth guy. His work with this chapter of King Crimson redefined the possible roles for bass players. If you watch in concert, his roles in the polyrhythmic weaves is often the most complicated. He is the rock. Just ask Bill Bruford. Speaking of which, I loved Bill's adventures/experiments with alternative and electrified/MIDI-ed percussion instruments. Nobody else in the percussion world has been as adventurous and experimental. The FRIPP/ENO-like "Requiem" (6:39) (8/10) is great and but "Howler" (4:!2) (7/10) feels like it should have been saved for one of Adrian's solo albums.

If there are any serious complaints about Beat, they would be 1) that the song format kind of replicates/repeats those of Discipline, 2) the sound production is too tight and quiet, and 3) it's just tough to follow up much less top an album like Discipline. But, if you look at performances, quality and adventurousness of spirit, this album stands as an amazing collection. Again, if we had never heard Discipline this would blow people away! Just hearing "Neurotica" (4:49) (10/10) again makes me appreciate the virtuosity and genius of this quartet--all four of them are masters and this is them at their peaks! With this in mind, I cannot in good conscience give this album anything less than four stars. It is a masterpiece of unequaled musicianship. It is only lacking freshness.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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