Friday, August 6, 2010

King Crimson - Beat


Beat is a mild disappointment after Discipline- the songwriting and instrumental prowess haven't really deteriorated, but the rhythm section on some of these songs is stuck in 80's Production Hell, with ridiculously overcompressed drums and weird-sounding effects on the bass. Also, Beat's pace isn't quite as wild as Discipline's; most of the material here is quite a bit slower than on that album, although it's still quite intricate.
Some other songs like Heartbeat and Two Hands would almost sound like they were designed for adult contemporary radio if not for the twisted sense of ambience which Fripp brings to them. In fact, some parts of Beat sound quite a bit like something off of Fripp's collaborations with Brian Eno, especially Requiem. That track is somewhat unusual in that I enjoyed it even though it's obvious that it was mostly improvised, as opposed to the improvised stuff that I hated on Larks' Tongues and Starless. I guess that if King Crimson had a sellout album, it would be this one, but they just couldn't quite pull it off. There's just too much instrumental weirdness here; even when Crimson tries to imitate 80's AOR, they can't quite do it without sounding unusual.

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