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King Crimson: Beat

Album Reviews:

Q (8/01, p.150) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...BEAT's more-of-the-same approach was welcome....Fripp's complex, echo-laden guitars were as precise as maths, but new boy Adrian Belew's startling guitar sounds...provided an irreverant and thrilling contrast..."

Album Notes

King Crimson: Adrian Belew (vocals, guitar); Robert Fripp (guitar); Tony Levin (bass, Chapman Stick); Bill Bruford (drums, percussion).

After spending the second half of the '70s on various solo projects, the irrepressible Robert Fripp decided to reinvent King Crimson. Instead of building on the group's '70s legacy, Fripp burned his bridges and started from scratch, even though KC drummer Bill Bruford returned to the fold for the '80s version of the band. The new Crimson was influenced equally by funk, world music, Balinese Gamelan orchestras, minimalism and the new pan-cultural sounds being made by the likes of Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel (in retrospect, the former's REMAIN IN LIGHT, which featured future Crimson guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew, seems an undeniable influence).

While the repetitive Gamelan-like patterns of DISCIPLINE were still present on BEAT, things loosened up considerably. The title refers at least partially to the Beat era writers referenced in the opening "Neal and Jack and Me," and the freewheeling Beat aesthetic informs much of the music here. From the crazed "Neurotica" to the ominous "Requiem," there's a greater quotient of improvisational fireworks here. Simultaneously, there's further development of the Belew-spearheaded pop sensibilities introduced on DISCIPLINE. "Heartbeat" in particular is perhaps the finest pop tune this eternally arty band has ever produced, its simple romantic sentiments deftly and memorably expressed.


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