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King Crimson The Compact King Crimson album cover
2.24 | 74 ratings | 14 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Discipline (5:01)
2. Thela Hun Ginjeet (6:27)
3. Matte Kudasai (3:48)
4. Three of a perfect pair (4:13)
5. Frame by frame (5:08)
6. Sleepless (5:24)
7. Heartbeat (3:56)
8. Elephant talk (4:36)
9. 21st century schizoid man / Mirrors (7:20)
10. I talk to the wind (6:06)
11. Epitaph: (8:49)
a) March for no reason
b) Tomorrow and tomorrow
12. In the court of the Crimson King (9:22)

Total Time: 70:10
There are two titles missing from the original double lp.
They are: Red (6:17) and Cat Food (2:46)

Line-up / Musicians

- Adrian Belew / guitar, lead vocals (1 to 8)
- Bill Bruford / drums, percussion (1 to 8)
- Robert Fripp / guitars, devices (all)
- Michael Giles / drums, percussion, vocals (9 to 12)
- Greg Lake / vocals (9 to 12)
- Tony Levin / Stick, basses, backing vocals (1 to 8)
- Ian McDonald / woodwinds, reeds, keyboards, mellotron, vocals (9 to 12)
- Peter Sinfield / words (9 to 12)

Releases information

Editions E.G. EGLP-68

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KING CRIMSON The Compact King Crimson ratings distribution

(74 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (16%)

KING CRIMSON The Compact King Crimson reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars An imperfect pairing

In the absence at the time of "In the Court of the Crimson king", which had yet to be released on CD, I bought this album because it contains no less than four of the five tracks on that album. The only one missing is "Moonchild" , which to me was no great loss.

The excellence of these four tracks ("Schizoid man", "In the Court..", "Epitaph" and "I talk to the Wind",) made the purchase entirely worthwhile, which was just as well, as the remaining tracks which were included are considerably less inspired. A couple of tracks ("Red" and "Cat food") which were included on the double LP version were dropped through the desire to work within a single compact disc.

The other tracks are taken from three albums released in the early 1980's, which at the time of the release of this compilation, were King Crimson's latest albums. "Discipline" supplies the bulk of the tracks, five in total, while "Three of a perfect pair" and "Beat" supply a mere three between them. These (at the time) recent tracks sit uneasily with the four classics mentioned above, bearing little musical relationship with them. While the "ITCOTCK" tracks are classic prog rock, with tight playing, strong melodies, and classic prog structures, the remaining tracks lean much more towards jazz and/or fusion.

Fortunately, the compilers chose to locate the ITCOTCK tracks together, although a chronological track listing placing them at the start would have been preferable. In view of the fact that King Crimsons magnificent first album is now available in all it's glory on CD, this compilation is somewhat superfluous.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This compilation is a disaster. I have heard only the CD version of it, which didn't even have the two 70's tracks on it, so there's only their bit overrated 1st album on this one, along with the most accessible hits from their 80's albums. What was the biggest shock to me was the statement in the CD inlay card, which informed that the tracks were selected by Mr. Fripp himself! The covers are neat, but it's quite difficult for me to make up anything else positive about this product.
Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is a strange album, or better said a strange compilation, the songs here are maybe the most popular of them, and i said strange because it stars with songs of Discipline era and finishes wiht the songs of the first album, normally is viceversa and it have been a better choice, but well thats not the point.

I think this is not a good compilation, im not a huge fan of compilations and "The Best" albums, but there are so many good compillations, i dont wand to be hard with this, but i think its horrible, if you want a greatest hits , then you can make one compilllation per era, not combine all King Crimsonīs eras and lineups to one album, and i really dont like that the first part was 80īs and last part almost the entire In the Court of the Crimson King, you better buy that album if you dont have it yet, and if you like 80īs era , maybe this compillation could be good for you, (Heartbeat is a horrible song), i just wanted to say that. After all: 2 stars... only for fans and collectors... i wont give it 1 star because of ITCOTKCīs songs are great and are here.

I have nothing more to say about it, so if you want, listen to it and then tell us your experience. Bad!

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Their record company (or management, or both) strikes again !

After their first split, the first Crimson compilation saw the light and included already four songs of the legendary album "In The Court Of The Crimson King". Probably the mother of all progressive albums. While "Schizoid" was skipped from that compil, here it is "Moonchild" that has been deleted (which is not really important, I must say). We'll get as welll the full version of "Talk To The Wind" and not the emasculated (edited) version available on "The Young Persons Guide To King Crimson".

What I do not understand is why, this record skips all of their records to get to the last three ones and propose not less than five numbers from "Discipline".

Instead of a compilation, I would rather call this a shorten version of "ITCOTCK" and "Discipline". Both albums have nothing to do with each other and I wonder who could be interested in such a record. Well, maybe if you do not have their first album (but who on this site does not have it by now), it might be a way to get it for real cheap.

I have seen a used one available for 1,22 US $ (or less than one ?) + shipment (2,59) on a well-known Internet reseller (you know, the one which sounds like a tropical forest). At this price, you'll then be able to discover the second phase of their career, which is by no means the most interesting one.

The CD skips "Red" which was available on the original vinyl format. What a pity ! It is one of their best track ever.

Thanks to the brilliant numbers from their first album, I will rate this album with three stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I got this CD from a friend who was really disappointed with this compilation and I understood very well why. I have known him quite well in terms of musical taste and background which was deeply rooted in classic progressive rock style. On particular to King Crimson is that he is the kind that grew with Epitaph or I Talk To The Wind from King Crimson debut album. I know very well that people with such background are usually not interested with a music that is highly influenced by new wave like King Crimson since 1981 (Discipline album). You can imagine that when he spun this cd for the fist time and he found repeated chords and notes of the opening track "Discipline" (5:01), he would definitely throw out the CD.

The problem with this compilation is that: it's taking two extreme poles in unbalanced way, being more on later music of King Crimson (Psicipline onwards) while the remaining is just some tracks from the debut album. This is worsen by the liner note by Robert Fripp that this compilation is taken from In The Court of Crimson King, In The Wake of Poseidon, Red, Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair. In fact there is no such track from "In The Wake of Poseidon" and also nothing from "Red". It's a fatal mistake! There is a statement in the CD inlay that this is a "Personal Selection Compiled by Robert Fripp for EG Records" but how come Fripp made this fatal mistake???

Overall, this is a lousy compilation! Therefore, it MUST be AVOIDED! Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Why? Why would anyone create a King Crimson compilation like this? I do recall that at the time, I believe only Discipline had been released on CD, but still...

This collection has only songs from the simplistic (for King Crimson) 1980's band, and most of the songs from In The Court Of The Crimson King, minus Moonchild. The LP version also had Cat Food and Red, making it slightly better.

The eighties songs selections miss most of what I would consider the better songs from the albums. And if you want In The Court Of The Crimson King, buy In The Court Of The Crimson King.

The sound quality is very good. That's about all I can say about this one.

Review by VianaProghead
2 stars Review Nš 386

"The Compact King Crimson" is a compilation of King Crimson and was released in 1986. This is a compilation album that comprises only tracks from four of the studio albums of King Crimson, "In The Court Of The Crimson King", "Discipline", "Beat" and "Three Of A Perfect Pair". It means that only covers their debut studio album and their eighth, ninth and tenth studio albums. So, the six studio albums released, in between, aren't represented on this compilation.

"The Compact King Crimson" has twelve tracks. The first track "Discipline" is from "Discipline". It uses the skills of all group members to create a successful whole. I like the way how Fripp and Belew's guitars weave through each other, creating order out of controlled chaos. It proves the profound chemistry between two of the most thought provoking guitarists. The second track "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is from "Discipline". It's a rather curious and strange song. It's perhaps, the most erratic song on that album but doesn't disappoint. It's funky, spaced out and weirdly fun, but it still has a strict King Crimson's very own personality, and a truly notable bass line and an incredible drum work. The third track "Matte Kudasai" is from "Discipline". It's a very beautiful and nostalgic song. The instrumental backing contains itself a great mood to the song. This track also features the best vocals on that album and proves that Belew is a fine singer. The fourth track "Three Of A Perfect Pair" is from "Three Of A Perfect Pair". It has tight harmony vocals from Belew that soar over top of some intricate guitar work from Fripp and a great drum work of Bruford. This is a very solid track. The fifth track "Frame By Frame" is from "Discipline". It represents another great musical moment. It's a more subtle work with some amazing band's instrumental passages and some tasteful guitar duets. Fripp's own performance of an extremely fast and repetitious guitar work, is simply amazing, and Bruford's drum work which ranks among the best of his career. The sixth track "Sleepless" is from "Three Of A Perfect Pair". It begins with a fast bass line that is soon joined by Bruford's bass drum beat and Fripp's altered guitar sound. It sounds very nice. However, this is probably my least favourite song on that album. The seventh track "Heartbeat" is from "Beat". It has beautiful guitar tones, a good bass line and nice lyrics and vocals. This is undeniably a cheesy and pop song. But, this is still a great song. Probably, you may actually hear it on the radio from time to time, which is a real rarity with King Crimson. The eighth track "Elephant Talk" is from "Discipline". The four players twisted and turn their way through an unbelievably complicated and yet somehow almost danceable. Fripp and Belew guitar works are excellent making a very powerful force, showing a great chemistry between both. The ninth track "21st Century Schizoid Man" including "Mirrors" is from "In The Court Of Crimson King". It's the heaviest song on that album and it's close to the hard rock style. It's a short metaphoric poem that makes references to the Vietnam War. It's a great musical improvisation with jazz influences. It's accompanied by Lake's notable distorted vocals. It must have been quite a shock for the listeners in those days. It's different from what they had heard before. It became important and influential to the future progressive metal style. The tenth track "I Talk To The Wind" is from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". It's the most melodic song on that album. It's a serene, simple and peaceful song commanded by McDonald's flute, very well accompanied by Sinfield's lyrics and sung beautifully by Lake, in a very quiet mood. The eleventh track "Epitaph" including "March For No Reason" and "Tomorrow And Tomorrow" is from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". It's a notable and beautiful track, which would become one of the best and most beautiful symbols of progressive music. It's one of my favourite progressive songs too. The twelfth track "In The Court Of The Crimson King" including "The Return Of The Fire Witch" and "The Dance Of The Puppets" is from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". It became, with "Epitaph", as one of the best and most beautiful symbols of the progressive rock music. It represents a hymn to the symphonic progressive rock music, really.

Compilation: This is a very strange compilation of King Crimson indeed. The first half of it is from the 80's period, which means that those tracks belong only to three albums, "Discipline", "Beat" and "Three Of A Perfect Pair". The second half is entirely filled by tracks from "In The Court Of The Crimson King". So, it seems to me a very weird mix and vey incomplete too. The excellence of the four tracks of "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is absolutely fair and made the purchase entirely worthwhile. But, it seems to me very difficult to understand the absence of tracks of their albums released during the 70's, which are all great or even excellent. About the three albums of the 80's, in my humble opinion, they're very different in terms of quality. If "Discipline" is a masterpiece, one of the best prog albums made in the 80's and if "Three Of A Perfect Pair" is very good, "Beat" is definetely a less good album, indeed. By the other hand, the inclusion of so different tracks from so different eras of King Crimson is very weird and the final result is a very questionable mix. So, I'm going to rate this compilation with only 2 stars. It's a compilation for collectors and fans only.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Tracks 1-8: a superb compilation of their 81-84 albums (Discipline, Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair). The tracklist, although not chronological, flows well. Tracks 9-12: King Crimson's 1969 debut album is presented almost in its entirety, except for the improv "Moonchild". The Compact King Crimso ... (read more)

Report this review (#2234303) | Posted by kaiofelipe | Monday, July 1, 2019 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Not a good compilation, but.... Originally this compilation was a two vinyl set. When they released it in CD, two tracks were missed. The CD includes four of the five tracks of King Crimson's first recording "In The Court of the Crimson King", and the rest of the tracks are from "Discipline", ... (read more)

Report this review (#105360) | Posted by Gabriel.V | Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars "It's a dangerous place, it's a dangerous place..." This collection was comprised mainly of Crimson's 80s material. Not that I dislike their 80s work, but I don't think that their 80s albums showed what Crimson were about, their original sound that compelled so many, the creativity and experim ... (read more)

Report this review (#89880) | Posted by Shakespeare | Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I agree with pretty much all the reviews here. This disc came out when Fripp was just starting to authorize the official releases after holding them back for 3-4 years. So, his decision was "ok, let's start with our most popular early release and then go to our most popular "come-back" release ... (read more)

Report this review (#15420) | Posted by marktheshark | Friday, April 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars More like "The Compact Short Term Memory King Crimson." I mean, who compiled this album, Lionel Richie? The only tracks that are really given some light are almost all the tracks from In The Court of the Crimson King paired beside tracks from the Adrian Belew era. The two eras sound nothing li ... (read more)

Report this review (#15417) | Posted by | Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I would agree with that guy. This is a very weird mix to have because of the first tracks being from the 80's eraand the last few songs being from In the Court of the Crimson King era. I am only giving this album a 4 because of their horrible song choice but that has nothing to do with King Cr ... (read more)

Report this review (#15414) | Posted by | Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars What a strange compilation this is. The first half is from the 1980-84 period, the second half is all from the first album released in 1969. There is a great difference between the two parts because, apart from Robert Fripp there are two different bands. That is not to say that the music is ... (read more)

Report this review (#15413) | Posted by | Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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