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King Crimson - Beat CD (album) cover

BEAT

King Crimson

Eclectic Prog


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3 stars The album lacks the beautiful melodies and epic feel of the seventies Crimson. The music now has a hard edge to it. All the same several tracks appeal musically and are intellectually interesting as well.
Report this review (#15373)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Beat generally takes something of a back seat to Discipline, but is really on a par with it, similiarly has a good balance of faster/heavier tracks , "Neurotica" in particular is a great and very rythmically complicated piece, and slower pieces, such as Two Hands and the excellent Waiting Man. A must have for Crimson fans, and a strong effort in general. Along with many of the pieces off of Discipline, a number from Beat are well represented on the Live in Berkely '82 disc, a truly great live recording, and superior to both studio albums.
Report this review (#15358)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars For some reason, this album gets a bad rap. Yes, it is not Discipline, but it is still very good, with some key late Crimson tunes, some of which are very musical and touching Belew compositions (Neal and Jack and Me, Waiting Man, Two Hands).
Report this review (#15360)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2,5 stars for this one max!!

Although there are some tracks on this album that are maybe better written and executed than on the previous Discipline album, I rate this album rather lower than its predecessor, and in some ways, it's much less essential, because I get a "carbon-copy" feeling about this album. The blue artwork is also uninviting, whereas Discipline's was at least somewhat interesting.

Certainly the instrumental Sartori In Tangier and Requiem are good enough tracks to have fitted on Discipline, but the rest of the tracks are simply too poppy-prog. Don't get me wrong the music is anything but "dumb 80's pop", but it does have a lot of poppy characteristics, mostly in the structure: Rather short tracks with plenty of verse-chorus repetition and a very pop/new wavish profile that makes the music so 80's-typed/dated to my liking (thinking of Waiting Man's "loops" or Heartbeat, here). It also has that very cold technical pop feeling and its utter professional feel that stops me from liking it as an artist statement: it simply sounds to calculated and too business-like for my tastes. The opening track N,J&M is, I suppose, based on Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy (notable beatnicks or beat poets if you wish), but the music always failed to arouse my interest. Nuff'said!!

Now only was this noticeable musically (listen to any three record of the era), but this was also the case in the appearance and concert. Check out the Neal, Jack and Me DVD for a double concert and see the very 80's artsy-fartsy looks, acts and of course that horrendous electronics pads percussion kit, even reaching as far as duplicating gongs. Yuk!!

Only my respect for Crimson stops me from rating this album lower.

Report this review (#15361)
Posted Monday, February 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Beat", "Three Of A Perfect Pair" & "Discipline"... 3 Of the classic CRIMSON prog albums which are too hard to distinguish for me. All 3 albums remain a highlight in my progressive rock collecting years and a milestone in the genre. Each album contain brilliant and highly sophisticated prog music with amazing musicianship. If you are not amazed with Fripp's Frippertronics, or Levin's commanding bass lines, or Belew's talents (too many to mention) or Brufords Jazz like complex drumming then there is something wrong with your head!. At times songs border on the line of Industrial genre, but are careful to never go over the edge. Highly conceptual and highly recommended!
Report this review (#15367)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars That's not a bad album, but the sound of King Crimson definitely never be the same, with Beat, Discipline and Three of a perfect pair, King Crimson began to make a music that isn't progressive, but a strictly parent. I repeat, this is not a bad album, but if you want an album on ITCOTCK or ITWOP's style, you're on a wrong way.
Report this review (#15364)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another dose of "Discipline", this time favoring the languid, dreamy side of the quartet's combined powers. "Beat" isn't much different from their last album, so the shock value associated with "Discipline" is lost. "Neal And Jack And Me" won't surprise anyone who's heard "Frame By Frame", "Heartbeat" doesn't hold any magical treats that "North Star" didn't already unlock years ago, "Neurotica" is a familiar indulgence of indiscipline, etc. However, "Discipline" was an album that cried for an encore, so unique was its approach, so deep its reservoir of musical possibilities. If "Beat"'s a repeat, it still beats the alternatives. And over time, individual songs begin to take on their own personalities; remember, at first a lot of "Discipline" sounded the same, right? There are some new ideas at work here, treading into STEVE HACKETT's dark forest on "Sartori In Tangier", showcasing Frippertronics on the closing "Requiem", exploring "Beat" imagery on "The Howler" and "Neal And Jack And Me" (hence the title). The superlative, mathematical approach of this KING CRIMSON attracted a whole new audience of younger listeners who viewed the band as champions of instrumental envelope pushing. I have to chuckle every time a young sales clerk feels compelled to validate my music purchases by repeating the words "KING CRIMSON" in a low reverent tone as they ring it up on the register, as if I've just been ushered into some exotic brotherhood. I suppose that's the power of music, and few bands (literally, just a few) have been able to harness music's power like KING CRIMSON.
Report this review (#15365)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The middle book in a trilogy is always the hardest to love; neither the newness of the opener nor the closure of the final act, it serves mainly to deepen and complicate the plot. Hopefully by the time you listen to "Beat", the previous album will have convinced you that this is very much a different band- much more so than the "Lark's Tongue" era was from the "Court of the Crimson King". It's not that they have a harder edge (what could be harder than "Red" or "Fracture"?), or are any less melodic or experimental. The structure of the songs is much tighter- fewer of these songs feel like the kind of inspired jamming that sat between favorite tracks on the 70's releases, and each player seems to have a better idea of what they are going for than on "Discipline". As always, there are moments of unexpected beauty- "Neal and Jack and me" is appropriately melancholy at times- and moments of menacing fear, in "Nerotica" and "The Howler" especially. Still, the individual songs are not as strikingly memorable as those on the albums that bookend the trio, even if the playing is slightly more focused. Ultimately this release ( and "Three of a Perfect Pair" to a lesser extent) still pales when compared to the unique achievement on "Discipline", but will really only disappoint you if you cannot see past the 70s' version of the band.
Report this review (#15375)
Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I wasn't sure how Crimso's follow-up to Discipline would be. So I bought Beat, and of course, like all King Crimson, it was phenominal. Great guitar and they really got a tight sound together on this album. Great era of King Crimson, then again, every era of King Crimson is a good era. BEAT is great, buy it.
Report this review (#15345)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I would like to start off by saying that this album is very, let me stress that, VERY underrated by many people I've talked to about it. They can seem to get over it's similarities to 'Discipline' which even though I can understand that I really consider this album to be the linking album between 'Discipline' and 'Three of a Perfect Pair'. If you read the insert in 'Three of a Perfect Pair' Fripp says in one of the articles that he felt It had the right balance of acessible and excessive but I really think that it is in 'Beat' that you really find that balance. You have the strangly catchy: 'Neal and Jack and Me' and 'Sartori in Tangier' while also some lovely songs like 'Heartbeat' and 'Two Hands' but then these are both shown up by my favorite side of King Crimson: the strange side. 'Neurotica' and 'The Howler' bring out this side very well on the album (both being favorites of mine). This album really shouldn't be over looked by fans. There is more to the 80's albums of King Crimson then what one may see at first but when you get down to it they really are incredible.
Report this review (#15346)
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another great album from KC in the early eighties which made much around at the time somewhat inferior. ' Neal and Jack and me' is a very very clever arrangement and I have to say Belew's vocals work a treat for KC. ' Neurotica' is another fine example even with the babbling narrative. Yes they were possibly at their most commercial ( joke) but Beat was and still is solid as a rock musically.
Report this review (#15347)
Posted Saturday, August 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I bought this album in late 1982, and I expected to hear something good from this band like "Larks Tongues in Aspic" or "Starless and Bible Black", as I didn`t buy "Discipline" which was released before this album. I also expected to hear good drums by Bill Bruford. But I was disappointed. This new version of King Crimson was for me like The Talking Heads, as Adrian Belew, who I consider a good singer, sounds like David Byrne (and Belew also have played with The Talking Heads, as I knew years later). Bruford `s drums only sound interesting for me in some places ("Neurotica", "Heartbeat"). The best songs for me in this album are the more accessible ("Heartbeat" and "Two Hands"). I don`t know if "Heartbeat" was released as a single, but it sounds as it could have been released as the single from this album. Tony Levin`s stick and bass guitar playing is very good, and the guitars sometimes do interesting things, but this album made me feel "neurotic" sometimes, because the music sometimes was disturbing for me.I also don`t like the lack of keyboards (apart from Fripp`s almost absent organ playing) . For fans only of this line-up and of Fripp`s "eternal" experiments. I don`t listen to all the songs of this album anymore, with the exception of "Heartbeat" and "Two Hands".
Report this review (#15350)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Owl
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the newness and brilliance of "Discipline", this one was a huge letdown for me, or rather, it hasn't aged well for me. I remember liking a fair amount of it when it first came out but yet someting just didn't quite work for me.

In retrospect I can now identify why:

1) It seemed very claustrophobic and straitjacketed, it just seems the musicians were on a tight leash that threatened to strangle them at any second. Overall, the music tends to be a bit sterile and calculated compared to much of the Crimson canon.

2) It was for the most part trying too danged hard to be likeable and poppy. That sort of thing ALWAYS chases me off. "Songs like "Heartbeat" sounded like a very calculated bid for airplay with its corny lyrics and seemingly desparate delivery. "Two Hands" wasn't as forced though.

3) Thr heavily processed, cold, sterile 80's production and sound of the disc was no help either. Plus those obnoxious Simmons drums. Man, I'm glad Bruford dumped those abominable things (at best, they sound like amplified pizza boxes). Plus, the rather stiff rhythms of a lot of the pieces (which was de' rigeur in the 80's) tended to grate on me.

It wasn't a complete loss though. "The Howler" started to allow breathing room and Belew let forth some pretty off-kilter sounds here. "Neurotica" for my money was the best track of the bunch, with Belews many guitar sounds,sirens and the like plus those wacky lyrics and Bruford just getting to cut loose and be himself. "Requiem" closes the disc on a disturbing note, a sort of soundtrack for the end of the world with nothing left but the hum of the universe.

If you have to have this one, save it for the lower eschelons of your list and glean the gems.

Report this review (#15351)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
3 stars Beat- Part II in the 80's crimson trliogy. Not the best of albums, but still not bad. This is the KC album that is most influenced by pop music, but there is still plenty of prog on this album (even if its infused with pop). Even though there is some weaker material here, there are still great pieces and a few essential ones. Neal and Jack and Me is a very good song, showing what they all can do. Waiting Man is the best on here. The guitar "pounding" away, the superb percussion by Mr. Bruford, makes for one of the best songs recorded by them (taking into account all the styles and time-periods of Crimson). Neurotica is another top notch piece. Another run in with the neuroticness of Belews mind. Also, Requium is fantastic. This album reminds me of ITWOP, in the respect that it was close(in sound and song structure) to Discipline, just like ITWOP was to ITCOTCK. Obviously, not as much, but still, the comparison can be made. Not the best starting point in the world of the Crimson King, but overall, a good album that should not be missed by KC fans.
Report this review (#15376)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Still commercial, but still interesting. First track: an eighties killer, they've beaten Talking Heads here...... makes you move like crazy - no sleep and no mad video machine at eat time - more synths, more synths!! Heartbeat it's just there because those were the eighties, YOU HAD TO HAVE A MONEY PILING TRACK. Sartori in tangier: MORE, MOOOORE SYNTHS!! New wave frozen sound, evolving. Waiting man it's a great piece too, expecially the little dance sequence , funky style. Side 2....... well..... nothing great. Neurotica and Requiem can be just bereable, but you won't listen to them a whole lot of time. Howler and Two hands are below average... let's forget about them............

Anyway nice, nice job. Not like Discipline, but a good album to prove that yes, there was some good pop music around in the eighties...........

Report this review (#15378)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars At least I found this album wonderful! The 80's aestethics work as basis for a strange adventures in polyrhythmics and methodical chaos. For me the album's music is full of mystery, and it listening to it creates a very strong sense of wonder. The best tracks are the opener (which verse I believe refers to the beat writers), hypnotic instrumental "Sartori in Tangier", emotionally deep "Waiting Man" which is probably the best track here, "Neurotica" which studies the straits of "Indiscipline" and the haunting ballad "Two Hands". The others songs are good as well, and I would recommend this to any listener with open ears.
Report this review (#37355)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars For me it is the worst King Crimson album. First perceptible thing is its commercial feature which spreads out through almost whole album. The best example is Heardbeat. Through whole carier, King Crimson used to create songs complex and not simple ryhthm but this time (as the title says) we are given common almost poppy songs with simple BEAT. I don`t know why Robert Fripp needed Bull Bruford to play drums. This unusual drummer is known from more complex playing then this album requires. I think this changes are due to 80`s when THE BEAT was the most important thing in whole music which was based on it. On the other hand it`s a King Crimson`s hallmark to make very different kinds of music and this time they chose this playground (or mayby it was up to Warner Bros. who knows...) Besides, if we are at their worst album let me introduce their best one... It`s ISLANDS... It`s my favourite piece of music ever made. All in all it isn`t very bad album, it lasts only 36minutes, so you may try it :-).

Regards from Poland.

Report this review (#38483)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I consider this album a "50/50". I mean, side one is pretty good, side two could have been way better. Here the Crimso's tried to add a melodic flavour to the funky, quasi-disco style of "Discipline", but probably they weren't inspired enough to do that. I've read a Fripp interview somewhere in which he said that they made the album in a hurry and the results were consequent. Said that, I still find side one pretty enjoyable. Especially "Sartori in Tangier" and "Waiting man" are remarkable songs; the first tries to add something to the "The sheltering sky" vibe, creating a whole new mood, the second is an emotionally and melodically strong number which Belew handles greatly. Side two is just a bit boring, except maybe for "Requiem", which I find interesting, anyway it's just a furios atonal improv by Fripp over the "same-old" soundscapes. The rest is a bit obvious and/or monotonous (see "Two hands", a pretty drab love song not helped by Mrs. Belew's lyrics). For how strange it may sound, I do prefer "TOAPP" to this. And of course "Discipline" is still the best of the trilogy.
Report this review (#39668)
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the masterpiece album Discipline, the King Crimson line up of Belew/Bruford/Levin/Fripp returned to the studio and created another effort. This one, however, seems to pull the same thing as ITWOP pulled against ITCOTCK in that this album is structured and sounds very similar to its predecessor).

With this one, there is a lot more of an electronic presence to their music in that Bill Bruford's percussion has become very synth oriented. The riffing is impeccable, and overall it has the same quality of Discipline, but I feel I've heard them all before. Belew's lyrics in this one are a lot more straightforward and lack that abstractness of the last album. But what they lost in abstractness, they gained in commercial approach. With such songs as Heartbeat and Waiting Man, King Crimson seemed to be going into a more poppy approach, but the music was still none the less amazing. Stand out tracks are Neal and Jack and Me, Waiting Man, Heartbeat, and Satori in Tangier, which comprises the first half of the album. Neal and Jack and Me has lyrics that are remnicient of Beat poets and has some great riffs and percussion, as well as a great bass line from Levin. Heartbeat begins with a great riff, and features some emotional vocals from Belew. Waiting Man is easily the best song on the album with a great synth percussion intro (extended and played in duet form live from Bruford and Belew) and some great vocals and lyrics from Belew. Satori in Tangier is a Tony Levin show piece, beginning with some shy stick swells and then turns into an aggressive stick beat that is overlayed by the great guitar and drum interplay.

Overall, the King Crimson "pop" album is still good in craft, but it feels too similar to Discipline and thus it gets a less of a score because of the creative discrepancy. 3/5.

Report this review (#46986)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Beat" is the second of the "guitar gamelan" trilogy from the early 80s, featuring the foursome of Fripp, Belew, Levin, and Bruford. Like its predecessor, it's a combination of volcanic instrumentals and powerful pop songs; here, the difference between the Fripp-led and Belew-led songs is much more discernable than in the first album, mostly. As others have pointed out, Bruford uses much more synthesized drumming in this album than in anything he's done before, relying heavily on his "Octopus" drum kit of the time built around an array of Simmons drums and percussion devices. Levin continues to switch between stick and bass guitar, sometimes using both in the same song. Both Belew and Fripp continue to explore the various uses of guitar synths. One of the biggest attractions of this album is Belew's success in finding his own vocal style instead of channeling David Byrne, as he so often did on the first album.

"Neal and Jack and Me" is a lovely midtempo piece built around Fripp and Belew's doubled guitar interlacings, with a sinuous rhythm underlying the guitar crafting. ; an obvious predecessor to the more successful "Three of a Perfect Pair." "Heartbeat" is one of this band's few direct attempts to garner some radio play, a melodic, rather straighforward ballad built around Belew's chiming, twangy guitar. The slinky, North African-sounding "Sartori in Tangier" gives insight into Levin's abilities on the Chapman stick, showing his chops as not only a bassist, but a third guitarist capable of adding to the guitar structures of Fripp and Belew. (Later Trey Gunn's Warr guitar would explore this territory even more deeply.) The first side of the LP (CDs hadn't come out yet!) ends with the percussion-driven "Waiting Man," a herky-jerky, back-and-forth bit that wouldn't actually come together for the band until later on, when they would improve upon it in live performances.

Side Two opens with the screaming, urban-jungle "Neurotica," with an urgent spoken-word vocal over "Indiscipline"-like drums and tight chording and staccato solos from the guitars. "Two Hands" is a beautiful, airy love song, with soaring bass and guitars over a subdued African percussion beat. "The Howler" harks back a bit to the dark, menacing sound of the 70s iteration of the band, ending with a rare, truly frenzied organ solo from Fripp. Last is the first real improv from the band on either album, the dark, slowly building "Requiem," based on a disturbing Fripp guitar figure, throbbing bass, and howls of Belew feedback building to a classically monomaniacal ending.

Though the album grows on the listener with repeated playing, it's certainly not as cohesive as "Discipline," and because of the fact that the first album gave us fair warning of what to expect from this new lineup, doesn't stun us with the fresh sound of the original album. Also, there are no real standouts on this album, no songs that reach out and demand your attention and awe. Some people look at this album as the leftovers from the first album not worthy of inclusion on that disc; I wouldn't go that far, but it is definitely true that those who didn't particularly like "Discipline" really won't like this second offering. (It's worth noting that during the tour for this album, the band continued to play all seven tracks from "Discipline," and salted in perhaps 4 songs from this album along with the two instrumental assaults, "Red" and "LTA II" from the 70s lineup. As the band continued into the 90s, the material from this album was almost completely absent from its playlists.)

Overall, a good continuation of the 80s foursome, but an album that breaks little new ground, and not one that a casual fan would rush to buy, and one that hasn't worn as well over the last two decades.

Report this review (#60102)
Posted Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is the first time I give a Crimson album less than 4 stars...but whats right is right! This album for me is a solid 3, very solid, which is not bad! The songs are still as complex as in Discipline but something is missing...they arent really as exciting as the ones form the previous album...but there are still some good songs. "Neal and Jack and me" is my favorite track from the album and is also one of the best of this period of KC. All in all the album is good, there are some weak tracks like "Two hands" and "Waiting man" (but dont trust me on this one, it seems like Im the only one who doesn´t like the song), still the album is pretty important if you are into Crimson.

3 stars...a solid 3 star review!

Report this review (#62475)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Those who give themselves over to the experience of 'Beat' will find it to be a somewhat more subtle offering than its predecessor 'Discipline' - its rewards take a little more eking out before they start. But oh boy, once they start, you are caught! This album captures best the visceral, urgent and altogether seductive aspects of 80's King Crimson presented as usual with mind-blowing musical virtuosity.

Although some feel this album is verging too close to 'pop', I would argue that including some more melodic tracks with what at first would appear to be 'simpler' lyrics does not mean this is simply a 'pop' album - I find it to be mature King Crimson working at their best, the whole greater than the sum of the not insubstantial parts. This is 80's electro-prog at its best: gritty, inventive, at times incessant - demanding your attention and not disappointing your listening efforts.

Belew's singing voice is in particularly fine form, and on tracks like 'Neal and Jack and Me' and the intimate 'Two Hands' he shows what a flexible and powerful instrument it can be. Particular plaudits too to Bruford, who again excels himself with consistently creative, (r)evolutionary drumming and percussion, as on the track 'Neurotica'.

In summary then, although certainly providing a different take on Prog than the 70's (and 90's) incarnations of Crimson, the 80's albums - 'Beat' in particular - are a high quality and rewarding chapter in the King Crimson story. Particularly for people who like a good Brufing.*

* see my 'UK' - 'UK' review for the requisite definition.

Report this review (#66292)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars After hearing the new direction the band took, I didn't bother to buy "Discipline" which I found catastrophic. I got this album instead... still got very disappointed. Of the early King Crimson, only cheeziness and the Frippertronics remain... where did the prog and the rock go?

I will only highlight three songs on this album, the rest being way below average. "Heartbeat" is a great... pop song. "Sartori In Tangier" is a beautiful instrumental with oriental influences. And "Two Hands" is a great ballad (though it doesn't reach the beauty of "Matte Kudesai" from the same period).

Rating: 54/100

Report this review (#70549)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One thing very obvious with the music of New Crimson is its repetitive rhythm section that sometimes intensify in volume or moves in crescendo. This might reflect the sounds that I have been familiar with in my country through the sounds of traditional instruments we call it as gamelan. Most of you who have visited Bali, an island in my country, might be familiar with Balinese gamelan. That kind of sound that I'm referring to. It's not a matter of the gamelan is used down here with "Beat" but it reminds me to that.

The repetitive Gamelan-like patterns appeared quite strong at "Discipline" album but it is now softer with "Beat". The opening track "Neal and Jack and Me," might represent the album title theme as it resembles the "beat" era at the time. There are quite a lot of improvisational work in this album like those spanning from "Neurotica" to the ominous "Requiem." Belew has matured in this album and he brings his best talent for his pop background. Say, "Heartbeat" in particular. It's probably the most pop stuff which was composed artistically and makes this song is interesting. Gradually, people would accept the new King Crimson music they started venturing from "Discipline" album. Some people might question the musical quality of this album as it seemed like it was released in a hurry. "Beat" was released in June 1982 or 8 months after the New Crimson lineup debut album "Discipline". This might be a strange thing for the band as it kept the same line-up in two albums.

It was funny the first time I bought this album in cassette format where there was Adrian Belew's solo album was used to fill up the leftover of Side 2. I liked one song of his solo: "Adidas in Heat". Oh yeah, it's a pop music but it's nice and funny. I then appreciated Belew's work with King Crimson. My version is the 30th Anniversary Remastered CD. If you love the band, you should have this one. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild.- GW

Report this review (#75990)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Second effort from the promising 80s line-up of King Crimson. While Discipline successfully blended classic experimental crimson elements, incredible musicianship and new wave pop elements, in Beat, the new wave and pop part seems to have taken over the album almost completely. The music is still really enjoyable but from a prog point of view, it lacks a lot of elements.

There are a couple songs that really stand out as great songs on this album. Sartori in Tangier is a great instrumental track strongly rooted in Robert Fripp's influences of the time. Neurotica is a really fun track with an amazing vocal job by Adrian Belew. Finally, Requiem is an instrumental that showcases great guitar work from both axe men.

The rest of Beat is certainly interesting, enjoyable, groovy and danceable but the songs are nothing really but a couple of new wave hits. They aren't really rewarding because you get them on first listen. Heartbeat is the closest King Crimson ever got to cheesy. Beat is the closest King Crimson ever got to pop.

The lyrics are supposed to be of a concept of some sort. They are a tribute to the "beat" generation poets like Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. The lyrics aren't that bad and they are even really good sometimes but the musical style of the album doesn't really fit with the "beat" generation in my opinion. Anyway, that part isn't really important in the rating of the album.

Sure, most of the songs are almost plain pop but the album is still really enjoyable. Burst out the volume and dance to the music. After all, it's performed with amazing virtuosity as usual with King Crimson. I'll give 2,5 stars to this release by King Crimson because it's not good but it's not bad.

-Bern

Report this review (#89031)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars What was it about the eighties that turned seventies prog greats into commercial sounding bands. That may not be a fair statement, but it seemed to infect them all. Even RUSH who started the eighties so well, went from "Moving Pictures" to "Signals" to "Grace Under Pressure" quite a change of style in a short period of time. And so here we are with KING CRIMSON who also started the eighties so well with "Discipline" before changing to a more pop style with "Beat". I still think this is a good release, but I actually think it would be better if it was an all instumental record. Not that I dislike Adrian's singing, I just keep finding myself focusing on Fripp's guitar playing and being so amazed and impressed.

Adrian's vocals are certainly the focus on "Neal And Jack And Me". I like the brief intrumental section before 3 minutes. "Heartbeat" just seems so eighties to me. Hey I was there ! Catchy though. "Sartori In Tangier" has some atmosphere to open before we get a beat with other intricate sounds. More atmosphere after 2 minutes with lots of percussion. "Waiting Man" is again filled with intricate sounds as Belew starts to sing. I like what Bruford's doing before 2 1/2 minutes. Check out Fripp after 3 minutes.

"Neurotica" has sirens, whistles and lots of other sounds as Belew comes in speaking the lyrics at a fast pace. Interesting track. "Two Hands" is a tough one for me to get into. "The Howler" sounds great to open with guitars, bass and drums all working together. "Requiem" is spacey as guitar comes in with some relaxed angular sounds. The guitar does speed up as Bruford and Levin join in. Experimental yes, and the best song on here.

I like this record enough to say it's good, but essential ? No way !

Report this review (#89139)
Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I recently replaced my vinyl copies of Discipline, Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair. Not being tremendously familiar with KC's earlier works I had no prior expectations when I first bought them back in the 80's.

Discipline was something of a masterpiece and for me Beat is on a par if not slightly superior. True the tracks are short and maybe not prog at all. Neverthless there's an energy and degree of musicianship about the band that takes them beyond pure pop. As on Discipline the interplay of Fripp and Belew's guitar's gives it that unique signature over the superb Bruford/Levin rythmn section.

Neal and Jack and Me, Heartbeat,and Sartori in Tangier kick it all off strongly and the quality rarely drops from there (though maybe Waiting Man is a little weak).

OK it's maybe not proggy enough for the full 5 stars but having givenm Discipline 4 stars I have to give this the same or more. So let's say 4.49 stars, rounded down to 4

Report this review (#100911)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the reemergence of the Crimson King for the wonderful Discipline, Robert Fripp moved boldly ahead without changing his lineup at all, unusual for him. This lineup would prove to be his most stable, lasting a whopping three albums (four if you count the double trio lineup of the 90s reforming). Expectation was high for Fripp, Bruford, and KC newcomers Levin and Belew. Sadly, this album just doesn't deliver. Beat is a rather disappointing album, and it's one of Crimson's low points. Satori in Tangier and Requiem are great tracks, and Heartbeat is addictive, but the rest of the album lacks the uniqueness that made King Crimson so enjoyable. They did nothing to expand on the formula of Discipline. Even Starless was a step away from Larks' Tongue. This album sticks to the pop- prog that worked for Discipline and the following Three of a Perfect Pair, but here it lacks any of the fun and groove. Even the prescence of my idol, Tony Levin, can't redeem this.

This one of KC's two albums I would give less than three stars to (the other being the absolute low point ConstruKtion of Light). The group would go out on a higher note with Three of a Perfect Pair, but it would THRAK to really bring back Crimson.

Report this review (#103293)
Posted Friday, December 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars A letdown.

This follows in a similar style to Discipline (read: not 70's Crimson) but is much worse off, being far too poppy and stale. The songwriting seems restrained, unfit, and forced. The style of KC that many have come to know and love seems nearly gone, and replaced is one stiff album.

The 80's production lends its effects as well, which is detrimental to the sound. It sounds distant, sterile, and unwelcome. This would be the band's lowest point, but they would recover (there are actually some very good KC albums of the 90's and 00's). Some of this is almost shameful that it's the same set of composers who produced some of the best and most groundbreaking albums of the late 60's and early 70's.

This just comes off as a poor record in whole. I'd like to say it's better, but unfortunately, despite my admiration for KC, it's essentially a boring and dull set of songs. To be avoided unless you feel the need to have it.

Report this review (#107811)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars King Crimson at their worst...

The fact that Crimson lost their spark is visible through the first song on this album, and no radical changes comes with the next tracks. "Beat" really tested my patience, which I overcame, and it finally offered a track worth listening to, the last one "Requiem". I dont see how this is the work of the same band that created "Red", "Islands", "In The Court..." etc.

If you have started to King Crimson music with this album and decided not to continue, give them another chance with their early works. One of the greatest bands ever, but still, a terrible effort.

Report this review (#107938)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Unfortunately I'm of a minority group which stands by this release of the 80's model King Crimson. Surely it would be quite difficult to better 'Discipline' in this version of the Crimson King, but the album itself (Beat) is full of inspired and innovative arrangements. The musicianship is TOP NOTCH and mega-complex, and the tracks themselves are fully exciting. Yes, they tried their take on commercial music, ('Heartbeat', and perhaps 'Two Hands') but they are enjoyable tracks never-the-less and full of atmosphere which is a lot deeper than any 'stock-standard' pop group. With this album, we have incredible pieces of music like ; 'Sartori in Tangier', which is a dynamic instrumental, the manic 'Neurotica', which rivals 'Indiscipline' off 'Discipline', complete which totally insane verses and catchy chorus (actually, the track 'Dig Me', from the forthcoming album comes to mind regarding this schizophrenic structure) and surely must be something unique and truly progressive, regardless of electronic drumming - it's Bruford, for crying out loud !!! Tony Levin's Stick work is still the best in the business....

'Neal and Jack and Me' is a very credible rocker and great choice for opening track, 'The Howler' is pretty good, and 'Waiting Man' is an interesting track, but maybe the weakest track (if there really is one) on the album, and, finally, what I consider a totally outrageous 'Rock In Opposition' (or 'Avant-Garde') composition, 'Requiem', which presents a slow building track with almost ambient startings, slow build to a cacophonous climax with shredding guitar work and intense off-beat jamming, finally chilling out with the calming ambience it began with, possibly an 'instant composition', recalling their improvisatory roots from the early days. A 4 * album without question.

Report this review (#107952)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although the chops & execution you hear on the previous release 'Discipline' may be superior, the songwriting on 'Beat' exceeds the other two "80s-era" Crim albums. Some find 'Beat' to be too "poppy". No doubt the songs are more structured and streamlined, but I regard this as a strength of the album and not a weakness. This album proves that not only are the group monster players, but they can craft accessible songs that still manage to display their power and skill. "Neal and Jack and Me" remains one of the greatest prog-rock songs of all time. The album is solid from start to finish and shows the 80s lineup at its peak.
Report this review (#114040)
Posted Friday, March 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After a very long break (seven years) KC (or Discipline) released "Discipline", a not so intersting album IMO. Too much funky oriented. The same line-up is at work for this record. Even if one can, very briefly, find some bits and bites from earlier Krimson work we have to admit that, again, the funk-rock a la Talking Heads is very much there.

Most of the album will sound the same again. "Heartbeat" though is quite good. It will pave the way for the next album, which will sound even more poppish. Can you imagine. KC sounding poppish ?

With "Sartori In Tangier" KC is flirting with electro-pop sounds. Still, this instrumental piece with some Oriental flavour (Tangier is a Moroccan city) is also one of the good number of "Beat".

I do not know whether it is natural or an imitation but in "Waiting Man" Belew sounds really as Byrne (TH). Almost a clone. Having been a huge fan of this interesting New York band (a new-wave pioneer since 1975), I am quite disturbed with this. It is the poorest number so far. A complete waste. It is very difficult to praise such songs. They are different from KC before their split (which could have been interesting) but also totally boring. Nothing inventive nor creative here. Just repetitive stuff.

Same feeling prevails with "Neurotica". Actually several numbers could have been linked the one with the other to form a lenghty and dull number. It is almost impossible to distinguish one piece from another. I even start to regret the jazzy-improv KC style which I almost hated in earlier releases. At least it was instantly recognizable. These type of songs on "Beat" are soulless, impersonal. I'm glad to see that some die-hard fans or more knowlegeable reviewers than I am about this band think about the same as I do.

Very short format of the songs as well. It is also an indication on how short of inspiration they were. Not able to develop an "idea" for more than 4'47" (with "Neurotica") for almost the whole of this effort.

The longest track, and my preferred one (that beats all when you know that the Crimson style I prefer is the symphonic one !) is "Requiem". At least this one can be considered as prog (which is not the case of most of the other songs). Complex guitar intro and weird atmosphere. Finally a true Crimson track. But it is the last song of this album !

I'm afraid that two stars is the maximum rating I can give (thanks to "Requiem" really).

Report this review (#119001)
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
2 stars NOT GETTING ANY BETTER!

I was so disapointed back then by DISCIPLINE that for thr first time in my life , i didn't bother to buy a new KING CRIMSON album when it came out. Same kind of cover design and same band, The Belew guy i couldn't stand back then is still present. ( but i will have a better opinion of him a decade later when King Crimson will come back-again- with this great album THRAK, but that's a different story)

So like all the Crimson CDs, I bought BEAT 2-3 years ago in this beautiful 30th anniversary collection. But i will be honest: i never listen to it.

I am trying again now while reviewing it: there are some pleasant pop tunes, nothing wrong with good pop, i am not that elitist; I bought the ASIA cds, you know, even enjoying them (sometimes), but hitting the dance floor with KING CRIMSON !!!!! I never knew such things could happen .But, hey, we are in the 80s. everybody changes and King Crimson has every right to do so, bt it doesn't mean i have to like it.

I enjoy REQUIEM and some other tracks like 'NEAL and JACK and ME ' but we are really in an other world than CIRKUS or EXILES. King Crimson in name , that's it!!

I guess i can't give more than 2 stars on this one!

Report this review (#119339)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After only one album (the astonishing DISCIPLINE), King Crimson's much-vaunted "drive to 1984" already was in trouble. The sense of excitement and discovery that pervaded tracks like 'Frame by Frame' and 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' had disappeared; a mood of weariness and despair set in. I can't really bring myself to recommend BEAT, since three of its best songs are performed more convincingly on FOR ABSENT LOVERS, a wonderful double live CD no Crimsonite should be without.

'Heartbeat' and 'Waiting Man', for example, are sophisticated and gripping tunes. Not only do they feature some of Adrian Belew's most heartfelt vocals, the former piece is also accompanied superbly on twinned guitars, and the latter is based on a fascinating, marimba-like pattern, executed on electronic drums by Bruford. 'Satori in Tangier', BEAT's most bizarre and ecstatic instrumental, can also be found on the live album.

In my opinion, this leaves us with just two studio tracks worth caring about. 'Requiem' is one of KC's best ever studio improvisations - but if you're lucky, you will already have it, since it can be found on at least two of the KC box sets Robert Fripp has released throughout the years.

Finally, 'Neurotica' is a marvellously noisy recreation of mayhem in the urban jungle, featuring some of this band's most exhilerating playing. You often hear rock critics complain that KC's improvisations aren't up to scratch, since the band's members lack the virtuosity of true jazz musicians. We now know that this is untrue about at least one of them, and we even have an excellent opportunity to investigate some of those 'virtuosity claims'. In 1985, the gorgeous Dave Holland Quintet (featuring acoustic bass, drums, sax, fluegelhorn and trombone) released SEEDS OF TIME, one of their best albums - the most surprising track of which was 'Gridlock (Opus 8)', a musical recreation of mayhem in the urban jungle! There can be little doubt that Dave Holland & Co were inspired by 'Neurotica', since they copied many of its features (screaming police sirens and all), but believe me, folks, much as I love Holland, King Crimson's big city chaos is more intense, and far more fluently played! Just like 'Requiem', 'Neurotica' is undoubtedly worth hearing, but it too can be found in several box sets, and there is also a first-rate live performance on (another must!) the live-album VROOOM VROOOM.

Taken as a whole, BEAT will leave the listener unsatisfied. As with many other Crimso albums, this gathering of parts (brilliant though some of them are) does not make for a convincing listening experience.

Report this review (#127795)
Posted Saturday, July 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album really does deserve the low rating-- the songs may have some of the complex twists and turns as seen (much more interestingly) in "Discipline", they have a decisively pop stink to them which gives the whole album a very un-Crimson sound. They sound like outtakes from their previous album, and Belew's vocals throughout tend to repulse more than they attract. However, I can't say that "Beat" is a total failure. The few purely instrumental moments are almost all blissfully dynamic and intriguing... but they aren't numerous or lengthy enough to redeem the muddled outcome. Only for serious fans, but certainly fun for the occasional listen.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Report this review (#138866)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars For me, this record is an utter disappointment. The pieces are far more pop/ new wave oriented, although there are occasional moments that are more musically interesting on "Sartori in Tangier", "Waiting Man" and "Requiem". Much of the music on this record offers no challenges or surprises for the listener. As a studio venture is concerned, this represents King Crimson's smallest contribution musically. For those looking into exploring King Crimson music, this is not the place to start. With such insipid material, this gets a two star rating.
Report this review (#151163)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I feel that this album deserves 4-4.5 stars, but this isn't helpful on a prog site. This album is one of my favorite pop albums, but I guess you couldn't call it an Excellent addition to any prog music collection since it isn't really all that progressive. Any pop fans out there should buy this album right away, and prog fans who eschew pop should avoid this. Among my favorite tracks are heartbeat (the adrian belew solo version is even better), sartori in tangier, and neurotica. It is hard to give descriptive reviews of pop albums, but let me try. You take discipline, take out the polymetric complexity, increase the poppiness, and keep the african influences, and you might get something like this.

3 stars for prog. 4.5 stars for pop.

Report this review (#157817)
Posted Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the few low points in the Crimson King of Prog's career, "Beat" isn't really a disastrous item despite lacking the majesty and peculiar genius of the band's best works. And the set of the best works includes the preceding album, "Discipline", so "Beat" didn't need to be the manifestation of irregular musical inspiration that it turned out to be in the middle of an era of decay. No, KC wasn't undergoing a decaying phase. It's just that the fresh air that Belew had brought with him were too dominant to allow the challenging scheme so successfully portrayed on "Discipline" to keep on evolving into the new art-rock territories that KC was set to explore. Talking heads was a major reference in Belew's writing, and so the first two tracks show was would have been some of the best songs ever penned by David Byrne, only that they came to be some of the most mediocre KC songs ever. Even though KC had managed to avoid the pop trappings of other illustrious contemporaries (the pathetic art-pop of a Genesis turned into some sort of Ultravox wannabe, the artsy AOR of Rabin-era Yes, the plain AOR of Asia and The Moody Blues, the inconsistent refurbishment of Camel as a mere extension of Latimer), these tracks are definite samples of KC is not and should not be about. The first instrumental 'Sartori in Tangier' finds the band partially returning to the ethnic-infected excursions that had worked so well in "Discipline" (only that the live versions set more ballsy expansions). The same happens with 'Waiting Man', the apex of the album's first half (again, the live renditions infinitely surpass this overall amazing studio version), a beautiful exercise on renewing the typical Crimsonian neurosis under a modernized Gamelan guise. Here's a reason not to hate electronic percussion as if they were something bad per se. Later on, 'The Howler' follows this ethnic- flavored art-rock approach with energy but without matching the exquisiteness of 'Waiting Man'. On the other hand, 'Neurotica' is pure rock magnificence KC-style, one of the heaviest tracks of 80s KC. The complex jamming and cleverly shifting tempos are managed with pristine skill through all the loudness. The ballad 'Two Hands' brings a beautiful moment of serenity (inc. a spine shivering guitar-synth solo in the middle), although the annoyingly patent Byrne-thing stops it from equaling the magic that had been created in what's arguably the definite Belew-era KC ballad, 'Matte Kudasai'. The album's instrumental closure is a portrait of Crimson's postmodernist ventures: Frippertronics layers, disturbing guitar leads wrapped in an eerie mood, a free-form jazz-inflicted rhythm work - all of it gathered together to bring an excellent ending to a not-so-excellent album. Very good, not really essential, this was the beat of the moment for Fripp & co., headlong for a follow-up album that would state a more cohesive repertoire... but that's a matter for another review.
Report this review (#167691)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Beat is the second eighties studio album from King Crimson and the ninth album in all. Beat is the first King Crimson album to feature the same lineup as the previous album and it´s the first King Crimson album to be produced by someone else than a member of the band. Their previous studio album Discipline which was released in 1981 was a great comeback for the band after a seven year hiatus. Discipline is one of my favorite King Crimson albums so Beat had a lot to live up to.

The music on Beat is a continuation of the style that King Crimson started on Discipline which means that they have incorporated lots of eighties sounds into their style. This doesn´t mean that King Crimson´s music is drenched in plastic keyboard sounds though as there are practically no keyboards on Discipline and likewise on Beat. The music is very focused around the polyrythmic and sometimes odd sounding guitar attack from Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp. The rythm section is worth mentioning as well though as it consists of Bill Bruford on drums and Tony Levin on bass and Chapman stick which is used frequently on both Discipline and Beat.

There are some really good songs on Beat. Neal and Jack and Me, Heartbeat ( I enjoy Heartbeat even though it´s very AOR eighties sounding), Waiting Man and especially the instrumental Sartori in Tangier. Neurotica also has some great psychotic moments but the quality drops towards the end of the album on Two Hands, The Howler and Requiem.

Producer Rhett Davies ( the man behind Selling England By the Pound by Genesis and The Snow Goose and Moonmadness by Camel) has created a good sound but not impressive. I much prefer the sound on Discipline.

Beat suffers a bit because Discipline was such a fantastic album. As such the style and the mood on Beat is the same as it was on Discipline. Beat just isn´t as sharp or groundbreaking as Discipline and comes out a bit weak compared to that album. I gave Discipline a big 4 star rating and Beat is a big 3 star rating. King Crimson is still a unique force on Beat but lacks the edge of previous releases.

Report this review (#183614)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Review whichwhatways, Beat, King Crimson, 1982 StarStarStar

Beat is sometimes considered the worst of King Crimson's efforts, and looking at some of the negative reviews here, I have to admit there's some justification for that. The rhythm section is much more restrained than elsewhere, not providing the textural backdrop of Discipline. Belew's prominent lyrics and delivery might chagrin some, even if they do work for me. I suppose the question is whether you view these things as flaws, or merely as features. Sure, Bruford is the storm of percussion he was on SABB, but that gives a much greater chance for the guitar interplay to be heard. Yes, the lyrics and vocals are a key feature, but they are well-written shots of ambiguity, and they mark an attempt of Crimson to move themselves on rather than merely re-doing Discipline.

This is also quite odd as a Crimson album since it contains a genuine concept, but I don't know enough about the subject matter to say anything other than that it gives the album a coherent feel, and the music matches up neatly with the lyrical ideas. The other really significant feature of the album is the significant reliance on the twin lead guitars. Fripp and Belew provide a range of fiery textures and solos, extended and brief, and they, with the vocals, make the mood of just about every song. That might be a bit too lacking in diversity for some, but it does add interest for me.

Neil And Jack And Me opens the album with a series of guitar loops, Belew's shouted, whispered and sung, distorted and clean, often repeated vocals and a supportive rhythm section. Bruford saves up his cymbal crashes to make maximum impact, and Levin's gritty stabs on bass punctuate the piece. The guitars, however, are the real highlight, with a brief background soundscape, a unique solo from Fripp and maddened screeches from Belew. A classy opening, establishing the feel of the album.

Heartbeat follows this well, with two absolutely beautiful guitar tones, a restrained bass part evoking the heartbeat, tolerable lyrics and vocals from Belew. Bruford puts a relatively limited percussion range to extensive use, and the song as a whole is quite neatly arranged. It has a 'pop' feel, but I think this more derives from the limited instrumental choices and vocals than a lack of unusual and creative input.

The instrumental Sartori In Tangier provides a little more material to look at, from Fripp's organ work and soprano-sax-on-guitar-solo to a compulsive bass throb from Levin, which is taken up by Bruford later on. All sorts of weird textures feature fluidly, creating a sort of continuous musical image. Very accomplished, even if it is basically Mr. Fripp's three minute playground.

Waiting Man continues the very textural feel, with Belew's calling (needs a better word, but lacks one) vocal overlaying a static worldish rhythm under which Levin subtly shifts bass tones. A very intricate guitar-drums-guitar interplay section followed by a scraily (screechy+waily, but in a good way) Fripp solo features, allowing for a much fuller re-working of the opening texture.

The bizarre Neurotica is perhaps the highlight of the album, with the first true breakout of the rhythm section. Levin and Bruford are playing constantly, always providing something interesting in the background, while Belew's mostly-nonsensical vocals act don't really feel like a lead instrument, taking the back spot a bit more except in the weaker 'chorus'. Again, the guitars are on good form, providing all sorts of lunatic scrails for good measure.

Two Hands is the one piece from the album that simply doesn't do a lot for me. The boobam rhythm section and guitar touches all sound nice, and the sort of decadent romanticism is perfectly evoked. The guitar solo is sublime. The only problem is that I don't like the lyrics (they're not bad, just not my style at all), and the delivery doesn't do a lot for me either, and they make it harder for me to really enjoy the fleeting perfection encapsulated in the middle of the song.

The Howler is a faster-paced piece, with a generally wailing band accompanying a quite interesting sort of side-spoken vocal from Belew and some rather vicious lyrical touches. Levin especially provides a lot of grit for the song, as does Fripp's sirens-esque solo. Good stuff, though the guitar loops grate a little.

Requiem is a real opportunity for Fripp to illustrate his creativity on scraily guitar very prominently, with an extended, fast-paced and moving solo. Belew provides creaky touches towards the end, while the rhythm section works around the guitar textures with thunderous rolls. I swear one of the more cleverly-veiled guitar parts is reprising something, but I can't work out what. A neat, textural, showcase conclusion, and one that does work for the album.

So, all in all, the songs are not individually at all weak, the guitar-work is an especial highlight throughout. On the other hand, those who aren't already big fans of Belew and Fripp's menagerie of sounds will not really find that much to enjoy. Consequently, if you aren't a fan of King Crimson (Discipline and Red in particular), this isn't an enormous gap in your collection, but if you are, or simply love unusual guitar-work, this is a very worthwhile purchase. Three stars, good, but not entirely essential.

Rating: Three Stars. Favourite Track: Requiem, I think, but it's a pretty even album, and could be Neal and Jack and Me or Neurotica on different days.

Report this review (#183885)
Posted Saturday, September 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is, like many have said, a big step down from Discipline.

It's still an interesting album, with a couple of good songs, but in truth, it seems the 80s ideas of pop and cheese really caught up to King Crimson for this release. Instead of the highly complicated depth of Discipline, we have a much more straightforward and static release that would be Crimson's weakest album were ConstruKction of Light not in the running. The songs are nice usually, some almost bringing some energy forward, but on the whole, the album is uninspiring and unmemorable. The sparkling production and sound dynamics of the previous release, also, are missing. Tony Levin doesn't really get to explode like he usually does, and in the end, Beat is just a flat album by the band, the first one that's in the exact same vein as the one before it.

Few of the songs really stand out. Sartori in Tangier has a pretty cool bass beat and a neat melodic sound effect over it. Waiting Man features the classic Discipline style of complex music, but on the whole it really fails to do anything new or go anywhere very exciting. Two Hands is a pretty cool sort of love song. Though this song is not really progressive (in fact, I'm feeling 80s Genesis on this one), it really is nice and the mood of the song can be pretty refreshing. The Howler is more aggressive, in the vein of Discipline, though for some reason the whole song fails to take off. Requiem is reminiscent of earlier King Crimson improvisational work, though it suffers from a bit much noodly guitar and not enough structure.

Truth be told, if you love Discipline and just can't get enough of that sound, check here. It won't be the same or nearly as good, but it's not all bad. Just a fair bit subpar. If you aren't familiar with King Crimson at all, let alone simply 80s King Crimson, steer clear until you get your feet wet with another release of theirs, like Red or Discipline.

Report this review (#185149)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars King Crimson - 'Beat' 2 stars

Take everything that Discipline had, and make it annoying.

The more poppish approach gave this one that oh so ill feeling, of a band doing something intricate and complicated, but then trying to intentionally throw in some pop that just does not integrate well at all. All of the spoken word dialogues in Discipline also took a deep plunge, making me want to squeeze the air out of Adrian Belew. Shorter songs, and more focuses on the chorus made this an anti-King Crimson album, things just weren't calculated as well.

Two possible tracks that stick out are 'Sartori in Tangier' and 'Requiem'. 'Requiem' was a bunch of beautiful 'Frippertronics', but you could find those on plenty of Fripp's solo albums, and those are where the best are really at.

I think this is a pretty bad work, avoid unless you are a big fan. 'Discipline' is enough.

Report this review (#190393)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Even though this isn't actually a brilliant album, I think it is clearly better than its horrible follower Three of a perfect. It is a step in the poppier and less inventive direction. I think this album suffers the same ideology as its follower, ''We make poppy songs just in the sake of making poppy songs and making the album more diverse''. So the poppy aspect of this album doesn't feel very natural. However what sets this album above its follower is that more progressive aspect still works pretty well. Not so well as in the seventies but still pretty well. On Three of a perfect pair problem was that poppy songs were annoying and repetitive and experimental stuff forced and somewhat out of dynamics. Album starts greatly with Neal and Jack and me. Adrian Belew sings and shouts very passionately about, ''Seine alone at 4 am'' and instrumental sections sound pretty exotic. The song has much feeling even though it is pretty simple but prog rock atmosphere is still there. Tony Levin is absolutely the monster playing bass. Heartbeat is pretty unmemorable musically. It doesn't evoke much thoughts from me.

Sartori in Tangier is another winner. It is really fast and somewhat eastern sounding song. It attacks you like a freight train and it is probably the most dynamic track on beat. Waiting man is annoying cheese and total throwaway track but still more tolerable than some material on Three of a perfect pair. Neurotica has a cool chaotic sounding quitar riff and cool lyrics about jungle animals taken over the modern city. From Adrian Belew's fast talking you get impression about a man watching chaos in the city from a flying helicopter. At least I get that kind of picture from music, escpecially if I close my eyes. Instrumental sections are very aggressive. Must be the best song on the album. Two hands is very intense love song but sometimes too melodramatic if I'm not in the mood. Howler has some nice exotic instrumental sections which make up for the tune. Sunged parts are not as good. The final track Requiem is improvised instrumental like some tracks on the seventies. Noodling is quite interesting, especially when it gets louder but I would have welcomed more structured approach and more sharpness to overall sound. Still a listenable track.

Beat is a good but not an essential album. It is flawed but not as uninspired as some people make it out be. There is still something exotic playing and progressive spirit. It is hands down better than its follower alltough King Crimson has made better albums before and since.

Report this review (#191797)
Posted Thursday, December 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars As reflected by its current rating, Beat seems to be unanimously considered as the mighty Crimso's weakest effort. Because of this poor reputation, it took me a while to take the plunge and buy it - but, when I listened to it in its entirety for the first time, I could not help wondering. A bad album? Think twice... Though, just like In the Wake of Poseidon, it may suffer from comparisons with its predecessor, the ground-breaking Discipline, the more I listen to Beat the more I think it is one of the most underrated albums in prog, and one of the most unfairly judged.

Discipline #2? Maybe.... There are a lot of undeniable similarities in the two albums, though I would say that Beat can definitely harder to get into - which makes allegations of its being 'poppy' somewhat hard to explain. With the exception of Heartbeat (the best-known track on the album by far) and Two Hands, there is very little about Beat that can be termed poppy in any strict sense of the word. While Adrian Belew's vocals can undoubtedly be an acquired taste, and remind some listeners of 'new wave' singers, there is also little doubt he is someone who knows how to use his voice to great effect, and his style fits KC's sound to a T. Another factor that may put some people off can be the occasional use of that bane of prog fans, electronic drums - though here they are in the hands of one Bill Bruford, which makes all the difference.

Another accusation levelled at "Beat" is that it is somewhat cold and contrived. In my view, right from the start KC have always managed to reach the ideal balance between emotional and cerebral, as exemplified in their very first album - by the likes of "Epitaph" and "Moonchild". That said, I am aware that the band's Eighties incarnation has many aspects that set it apart from 'traditional' prog, with the exception of the inevitable technical proficiency. Belew's slightly neurotic, NY-style vocals are miles apart from Lake's smooth tones, or Wetton's warmly rough ones, and the uncanny precision of the rhythm section can sound almost inhuman. However, there is something profoundly fascinating about the atmospheres conjured by Fripp's and Belew's duelling guitars, something that in a way seems to reflect the whole mood of the decade. KC in the Eighties may not be your cup of tea, but they were clearly, authentically PROGRESSING, as they have never stopped doing.

As I said earlier, most of the tracks on "Beat" somewhat parallel those in "Discipline" - with "Neurotica" reprising the concept of "Indiscipline", and "Two Hands" reminiscent of "Matte Kudasai". Opener "Neal and Jack and Me" is not as immediate as "Elephant Talk", but offers a stunning vocal performance from Belew, and complex instrumental interaction; while album closer "Requiem", heavier and darker (as per its title) than the scintillating, razor-sharp "Discipline", allows Bruford some room for his dazzling drum antics. Another highlight is "Sartori in Tangier", a brooding, haunting instrumental in the style of "The Sheltering Sky", though definitely more electrified.

From what I have written above you might infer this is not a very original album, and that, coupled with the other, mostly lukewarm-to-negative reviews, might convince you to give it a miss. Though my words are obviously no guarantee, I think you should approach "Beat" with an open mind, being aware of the definite similarities with its predecessor, but also receptive to its many strengths. After all, this is (at least in my opinion) the band whose output defined progressive rock - a band capable of reinventing themselves time and time again.

Whenever I add a half-star to any standard rating, I usually round the rating down. In this case, I will round it up to four stars, since I believe "Beat" does not deserve the bad press it gets. You might be pleasantly surprised when you finally listen to it - I know I was.

Report this review (#209104)
Posted Saturday, March 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Beated

After the outstanding Discipline here we got the second album from new KC, for the 1st time they are the same people of the previous disc and maybe this line up can be good enough to create again a great work, but from what we see there isn't a great work:

The album starts with Neil and Jack and me which remember me the intro of Frame by frame reworked with some Bruford's best drums and Belew's voice here more present than the Discipline's track. The album go forward 'till Heartbeat, this is a good song instead: good work from the guitar and the evergreen percussions, with Levin and his bass working in background too bad for the lyrics, pointless and not even looney as the ones in the previous disc. Sartori in Tangier is the first instrumental and here we see the perfect tecnical work from Fripp once again, great and again fresh the drums while the guitars and bass play the counterpoint to Bruford's work, where the song ends Waiting man begins again with the same tunes from the previous track, this time there are no drums but we got a slow lyric session till the middle of the song, when again Bruford take the lead and guitars play in a parallel way as they where two separate groups but everything join togheter for the coda, nice one. Neurotica follow the same line of Indiscipline with strong music over a talked lyrics that works more as an instrument than a real lyric, the fast changes between the guitar bass and percussions make the point, maybe this track is better without Belew's voice even if he uses his voice at the best in this disc. While I've spent some time in Two Hands the first time I've heard of it, as the most accessible track in this disc I don't find anything good for it now, simple song indeed and the lonely guitar with some drums in the background do the same impression of Matte Kudasai and is the weak part of the album since it lack the emotive part present in Discipline's track. To the end we got The Howler and Requiem, while the first is again a music piece plus almost talked lyrics the second is in perfect Lark's style, both have a strange eclectic music and while the first is fast and immediate, the second mantain the dark aspect of early KC, working more on the ambience than sound, maybe the best tracks from here. Conclusions: this Beat cannot ''beat'' the strong and more complex Discipline, not even the previous work, is still a good album and worth something if you like KC's new sound, but 2 stars since it's good in some parts but they don't deserve the 3rd: it does not add anything new and the only track that don't remember Discipline is Requiem and it comes out from Lark's as I've said before, so nothing new, nothing more, nothing at all to begin with KCs!

Report this review (#224203)
Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "It would appear if the necessity was felt in the kingdom of music" KC to which it had appeared suddenly in the 80's was digested the idea till then further in the age and rode on the stream with a reformative element if it borrowed the word of Fripp. The listener might have felt the expectation and puzzled in a new creation of KC. And, a new idea and the current, the fact that two Americans had joined had been transformed to the band that caught music from a different angle in the history of KC.

The activity after Fripp dissolved the band in 1974 indeed showed the production of an energy Solo album, the repetition of thought, and shape by groping. "Discipline" that was born in the meantime was sent to the world as one result as shown by the title. I will still feel it one legend for Fripp. And, the fact where the member was fixed in KC at this time was the first attempt for KC. It is not understood whether the listener obediently accepted member's idea of course.

The influence that Belew had on the band might be large in no small way. It causes the action by the element that the idea and Belew of Fripp that takes the repetition of a primitive rhythm cultivated and is reflected in the work. KC in the 80's had making the sound consistently refined. It is based from the start to thought that to have been considered up to 1984 in 1981 by Fripp. However, they guess that they achieved the content that should surely be executed for music in the flow.

The creation of KC at this time might have been expressed in the title of the album. "Beat" might also have the listener who thinks the existence of it buried in the history of their music. However, the idea and the element that KC considered in the 80's were advanced concretely with a purpose by Fripp.

Report this review (#228257)
Posted Friday, July 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am very surprised to find this gradioutious materpiece so underrated. The firts song Heartbeat, although it sounds a little poppy is realy wonderful. You could even dance at a disco. The second son Neals, Jack and me, is another wonderful song. But the best tracks are very deep. So deep that they become very difficult to understand, they are Nuages and Requiem. Requiem is really sad. Nuages is clear a precedent to indutry in the next album. After listening Nuages, you think you are crazy to listen such music and maybe one is so crazy, since one probably will try to listen to it again. Five stars.
Report this review (#236028)
Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It wasn't easy to record a new album after so great and shocking "Discipline"! So we have the same situation there as happened with KC in their very beginning, with debut and the second album. "Beat" is quite a continued version of "Discipline", with some very great songs, but some average as well. The sound is a bit warmer and more commercial, and all the album is not so concentrated as previous one.

Musical construction - polirhythmics and chaotical sounds mixed with electronic background and pop-scented melodies is in fact the same as before. And if not so unusual as Discipline, the album is very strong anyway. The last composition ( Requiem) is nice excurse in past KC territories.

This album didn't open new lands for band, but confirmed changes were done in previous album. And really is pleasant listening by itself.

Report this review (#246800)
Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Really inferior to all the previous Crimso releases, and inferior to "Three Of A Perfect Pair" and "THRAK", but in no way a bad album. Too short (35 minutes, the shortest Crimso album), too poppy, but there are really great tracks here, like "Sartori In Tangier", "Neal And Jack And Me", "Requiem" or "The Howler" (4 out of 8 tracks, not bad innit ?). The remainder isn't as good, "Heartbeat" is too poppy, "Two Hands" is too quiet, "Neurotica", a little bit too strange, but musically, it's fantastic on the 8 tracks (splendid guitar duels). "Beat", partly dedicated to the Beat Generation, isn't a great album, but it's a very good one anyway. Horrible sleeve art, though.
Report this review (#248850)
Posted Sunday, November 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don`t agree with the rating on this CD... For me it deserves 4 or 5 BECAUSE

Comparing this one to others works like RED or 21st.... it seems to be less creative and more pop-ish

BUT

according to its year of release IT IS A PERFECT DECENT ROCK POP ALBUM and it is PROGRESSIVE TOO!

songs like heartbeat are for those 80`s pop lovers

neil and jack and me is for ME.... I mean, I love that song =)

and the rest of the songs,, neurotica (the most progressive piece), waiting man, requiem are really nice and complex

I hope the rating will raise for this great CD

CHeers and sorry about my bad english

Report this review (#250635)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Beat continues the smart-pop tendencies from Discipline. While it doesn't reach the same heights, it still contains plenty of great prog-pop music (supposing such a genre would actually exist).

The album opens with two dead-catchy songs. Neil and Jack and Me is one of the highlights, a very emotive funk rock song with exceptional vocals from Belew. If you've never heard this incarnation of Crimson then Talking Heads is the obvious reference that should give you an idea of what this band sounds like. Fripp's guitar picking is the obvious prog feature here, there's no way this chromatic counter-rhythm playing could be tagged just pop music.

Heartbeat is pure pop music, but it has the essence of a great pop song, it is catchy and emotional as much as it is tasteful and sincere. The instrumental Satori In Tangier has always been my favourite from this album, the constantly impressive Tony Levin lays down a funky slap bass rhythm and Bruford rides along with the groove. He has sure learned not to 'over-drum' things, something that really flatters a virtuoso like him. Waiting Man completes this marvellous string of songs that made up the A-side of the original album.

Just like the Islands album, this is a record that I have rarely turned around to play the B-side. Neurotica isn't bad but sounds more like a style exercise on Indiscipline then like a really captivating and inspired piece of music. The smooth pop ballad Two Hands is more to my liking, it may sound trite to some people but this kind of quality pop is not something an inferior musician could accomplish. The Howler is a weak filler track. Requiem is a fascinating piece but not something I need to hear often.

Beat is an album that starts very promising but goes under halfway in. With a good 25 minutes of worthwhile music 3 stars are still deserved.

Report this review (#257562)
Posted Thursday, December 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Where Discipline was fresh, on this album the style was already becoming stale. What was interesting for the resurrected King Crimson one year previously was now becoming tired. And this album seems more like an Adrian Belew album than a King Crimson composite. Even the title, an homage to Jack Kerouac seems more apropos to Belew than the rest of the band. And there's no amazing Tony Levin stick work, a la Elephant Talk.

As far as I'm concerned, only half of the album is worth repeated listenings. Sartori In Tangier is an interesting mellow tune, with some cool guitar synth. Neurotica and The Howler are worthy for their aggressiveness. And after a slow Frippertronics start, Requiem develops into a good improv piece.

But in relation to the rest of Crimson's work, I can only give this 2.5 stars. Rounded down.

Report this review (#281924)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars From reading through some of the opinions about this album I half expected it to be the aural equivalent of Fripp & Co. squatting and excreting a massive, smelly, oozing turd smack dab in the middle of the ornately decorated banquet table that is their career. Not so. One of the many things I most enjoy about the reviews that get posted on this site is that, for the most part, they are honest. Sometimes brutally so. With that in mind I hope I don't stir up the ire of those who truly detest "Beat" but I'm going to be one of the few who'll be contributing an upward dent in the grading curve for it. I like this record. It's no KC masterpiece by a long shot and not even as interesting as the one that followed it but, once again, when I take into account the rapidly deteriorating health of music that was in hell- bent decline in '82 I have to give this brave group of musicians a few miles of slack.

What disco and punk rock had not demolished in the distinguished world of prog during the late 70s, new wave and the emerging MTV Ebola virus effectively ground into fine dust as the 80s began. By then most of the giants of the formerly robust prog movement had either disbanded or vainly attempted to morph into a more trendy entity (usually with embarrassingly despicable results). It was downright ugly, folks. But with "Beat" I find a plucky King Crimson that was opting to pronounce an intelligent, thought-provoking commentary on what was happening in modern music at the time. Instead of selling out, they held on to their identity and their integrity by painting an abstract work of art in their usual unorthodox style but utilizing the popular hues and gaudy colors that were in vogue at the moment. In other words, I guess they took an "if you can't join 'em, lick 'em" attitude. Having said all that, the bottom line is always whether or not I like what I'm hearing and I find "Beat" to be anything but dull, boring or insulting. As in most King Crimson product, in its own odd little way, it's good and kinda fun.

They open up with the engaging "Neal and Jack and Me," another in a long line of life-on- tour-themed songs that seem to thrive in every era of songwriting no matter the genre. Energy-filled guitar patterns give the impression of non-stop movement while Adrian Belew's somewhat plaintive voice expresses the ennui one must endure when, in the midst of stress, there's nothing to do. "Hotel room homesickness/on a fresh blue bed/and the longest-ever phone call home/no sleep, no sleep, no sleep, no sleep/and no mad video machine to eat time," he complains. Tony Levin's ever-inventive stick work is the glue that holds this track together masterfully. "Heartbeat" may well be the closest to a "normal" love song that I've ever encountered from this group. Robert and Adrian's chromium guitar tones put a bright sheen on the number and Belew's sincere vocals keep it from becoming too schmaltzy as he warbles lines like "I need to land sometime right next to you/feel your heartbeat right next to mine." It's a well-written song in which they adroitly avoid trying to do too much. They manage to restrain their customary rebellious nature and keep it simple for a change.

An instrumental, "Sartori in Tangier," follows and though the intro is effectively pensive and hypnotizing the segment that evolves out of that is quite tame despite Tony's invigorating bass thumping. For a combo that specializes in shocking the listener out of his/her shoes I find this cut to be surprisingly mediocre. The world-beat feel of "Waiting Man" is a nice change of pace. Here we finally get to hear drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford do something other than imitate a metronome and that's a big plus. Multiple key changes and Adrian's harmonizing with himself keep the arrangement from growing stale and Fripp's strange guitar lead is uniquely creative. The repetitive, predictable lyrics about yearning to get back home are tiring, though.

"Neurotica" is the best track on the album. It's an impressionistic portrait of hectic big city life in all its discombobulating madness and it's nothing short of an amusement park thrill ride through metropolis. Belew's rapid-fire, adrenaline-fueled radio voice provides the perfect overlay as he spits out gems like "Say, isn't that an elephant fish on the corner over there look at that bush baby mud puppy noolbenger rhinodermia marmoset spring peeper shingleback skink siren skate starling sun-gazer spoonbill and suckers" with nary a glitch or pause in enunciation. The quieter bridge segment is like bending over and taking a deep breath in the midst of a marathon run and the group is as tight as the backseat of a cheap cab throughout. They then return to the fray with gusto and the bustling track gains incredible momentum as they fade into the distance at the end. "Two Hands" is next and it's another ethereal ballad from a band that rarely indulges in such blatant romanticism. It floats like a cloud atop rhythmic percussion and you're treated to an uncommonly light touch emanating from the mysterious Frippertronics here. Margaret Belew penned the almost-too-mushy words but at least they don't patronize. "I am a face in the painting on the wall/I pose and shudder/and watch from the foot of the bed/sometimes I think I can feel everything," Adrian sings with proper conviction.

"The Howler" features a more anticipated rude approach from these rambunctious guys and it arrives in the nick of time. Belew's smooth delivery stands in stark juxtaposition to the wild sounds wafting up from the complex mayhem being manufactured below his vocal lines. "Here is the sacred face of rendezvous in subway sour/whose grand delusions prey like intellect in lunatic minds," he croons. While I can appreciate the edgy intent of the tune in general it just doesn't work cohesively for me when all is said and done. "Requiem" is more along the lines of what I've come to expect from this talented foursome. This dense instrumental starts with humming guitars shimmering behind Robert's inimitable sustained and piercing fretboard riffing. Levin and Bruford slowly wade in as if testing the muddy waters before diving in head first. The two guitars of Fripp and Belew become increasingly like two wailing mourners as the whole shebang grows more and more frantic and out of control. This manic cut makes me proud to be a KC fan because, even as the powers-that-be of that age insisted that all their contracted groups churn out three-minute pop ditties and cute videos like a Skittles factory, King Crimson was not afraid of unleashing their passion for and skill at powerful improvisation. The tune's subdued and somber fade out is exquisite.

As always, I've learned to expect the unexpected from this ensemble no matter who is included in the lineup and this was no exception. They never sound like anybody else and they've taught me to keep an open mind whenever experiencing even one of their older projects for the first time. I can understand why so many find "Beat" to be a let down but I just don't share that view. This quartet was thinking outside the box when that wasn't kosher and barely tolerated by the jet set wannabes. I truly think they were doing the very best they could to survive and yet remain true to themselves in an atmosphere that had become polluted with greed and glamour. They may have bent ever so slightly but they didn't break. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#289866)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The same Beat as in Discipline?

The brand new style of King Crimson was accepted and enjoyed by most fans, despite its weirdness, with Discipline. Its successor, however, entitled Beat, didn't have the same luck. Why? Well, it's quite the typical musical event in which a band releases a completely fresh album and the follow-up is expected to be better or simply different in a good way, though for the majority, this second release ends up being a disappointment since it pales in comparison with it's predecessor. Well, I usually don't tend to be in the majority in those cases, I've always enjoyed In the Wake of Poseidon and Starless & Bible Black, two albums that had the same destiny as Beat. This time however, Beat really doesn't do it for me.

While I find In the Wake of Poseidon and Starless & Bible Black to still have interesting and memorable compositions to offer, Beat just seems to be too similar to its predecessor stylistically, though the compositions are rather uninspired and the pop tendencies are not for better, yeah almost the same words that are to describe the previous albums I mentioned.

Like I said in my review of Discipline, I'm not really a fan of the freaky style that King Crimson developed through the 80s, but with that album they still managed to make it very enjoyable thus I gave it 4 stars, and besides it was damn original. However, Beat offers mostly the same and not in a great or fun way, thus 2 stars.

Recommended if you really are a fan of the style of music featured in Discipline. However for the rest of us, including those who like Discipline but it's not their usual cup-of-tea, this is easily something you can live without. Solid and bizarre 80s album though, which also may be of great interest for 80s fans.

Report this review (#292688)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
1 stars After reading a few reviews that this album had accumulated over the years it really made me wonder if anyone would actually care about this release if it wasn't under the King Crimson moniker? Since I've never been a hardcore fan of any band in particular, it makes me more critical of everything that I hear even from artists that have had solid streaks of albums in the past. This is definitely the case where my love for King Crimson's previous efforts didn't get the best of me and I managed to expose Beat for exactly what it is - a shameless stab at the mainstream market of its time.

Not only is this King Crimson's weakest studio release to date, but it also manages to feature their all-time worst composition. I rarely use the 1-star song ratings since there are very few songs that I sincerely hate. Unfortunately the song that I can't bare to call by name is such an occurrence. The first time I've heard the record I became slightly alarmed after hearing Neal And Jack And Me, but this second track made it all much clearer. There's just nothing rewarding about this experience and unless you want to see your idols crash and burn then stay away from this song. While you're at it, make sure to do the same with this entire album.

Most of the material here wouldn't even make it as bonus material on Discipline since the style is much more simplistic and lacks anything worth a while for fans of King Crimson. Bill Bruford's indulgence into the world of electronic drumming really make the record sound dated but he's not the only one who should take the blame for the failure of this release. It's clear that Robert Fripp had to be in on the whole shift of direction and, judging from the interviews that were conducted with him at the time, he clearly was! It's painfully obvious that the band was not thinking outside of the box since this is nothing more than a product of its time with an added touch of finesse. But that finesse comes from the fact that great instrumentalists waste their time with material that is clearly below them.

If you've never heard this album then hopefully my rating will make you see that this is not an album you should spend your hard earned money on. Beat is a mess of an album that should be best forgotten even by the fans of the band since it was a misstep that even the members themselves would try to avoid in their future.

**** star songs: Sartori In Tangier (4:22) Neurotica (4:47)

*** star songs: Neal And Jack And Me (4:21) Waiting Man (4:22) Two Hands (3:22) Requiem (6:30)

** star songs: The Howler (4:10)

* star songs: Heartbeat (3:54)

Report this review (#299539)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#330923)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Like many before me, I find this to be King Crimson's weakest album. As much as I was bored by the new sound of KC in Discipline, this took it farther down to my taste. This seems to be the only period of KC for me that seems dated. Very 80's-new wavish, is my feeling. I prefer The Talking Heads, which this greatly resembles in many ways. With the possible exception of the catchy "Waiting Man", there is little of interest here. A little prog on "Requiem" but that's about it. I can only award this 2 stars, and I think that is just because it is King Crimson. Any other band would have gotten 1 star (if that makes a weird kind of sense). Must be a soft spot.
Report this review (#340185)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars An album that doesn't get it's due respect and I know why, it's the opening tracks of Neil and Jack and Me and Heartbeat.

I got this album when it first came out and compared to Discipline, I found it disappointing on first listen, that was until Sartori In Tangier came on, then all was OK. I have since come to respect those first two tracks, but the meat of this album starts at Sartori. This song is more in the spirit of Discipline, which is to say modern progressive rock. The first two seemed to be trying way too hard to be commercial music (s)hit.

Waiting Man, maybe a little too much like Matte Kudasai, but still well crafted and damn good. Love that Adrianic feedbacky section they do towards the end before resuming the main theme. I don't know why it's there, but it always makes me smile.

Neurotica I think is trying to hearken back to 21st Century Schizoid Man in lyrical theme and being a dark hard piece. It succeeds for me. I would say I have no more to say but I've got the rest of the album to goooooo.

Two Hands, from the darkness of the previous song into the light and warmth. I love that ending guitar lick.

Weird how that last lick transitions into a more twisted and dark hard song, The Howling. Also hearkening back to the Schizoid Man. Probably should have merged the two somehow.

It wraps up with the instrumental Requiem. Kind of a Frippertronic/jammy piece. What can I say, they've had much better endings. More noodlings about in store for the next album.

Report this review (#347656)
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars ONE AND A HALF STARS; BIZARRE, BUT NOT GOOD

BACKGROUND: This album of Kind Crimson, BEAT, comes after they reconvened in the 1980's, after a hiatus in the late part of the 1970's. In the first half of the 1970's King Crimson were a leading band in the movement known as progressive rock. Their music was playful, often with heavy guitars and was dissonant. It was fairly eccentric too. They reconvened in 1981 and the sound was more funk/new wave sound with a bit of gamelan as well. They followed it up a year later with BEAT

ANALYSIS: Beat is one of King Crimson's worst albums. I think it is comparable to the second Supertramp album, 'Indelibly Stamped', in that it is basically a pop music album, but tries to be progressive by sounding off-key and wonky. That's alright, but these songs aren't good.

I enjoy the catchy 'Heartbeat', the uptempo instrumental 'Sartori in Tangier', which incorporates a few styles, and that's about it. The opening 'Neal and Jack and Me' sounds a bit like a Foreigner song, but sounds very strange. Adrian Belew singing is very weird and off-kilter, perhaps this was their idea of 'progressive' at the time, but it just doesn't sound good. That said, 'Neal and Jack and me' is a bit catchy and a bit better than some of the other songs on the album. I would like the cute 'Two Hands' if it wasn't for lyrics about perving on people in the act. Then there's Neurotica, an awful song like I wish I never had to hear, just awful neurotic talking over messy music. Maybe I just can't appreciate good prog! Can't say I like the other three songs either.

CONCLUSION: Overall, it is not a good album. The idea is fairly original, but I don't like the idea, to try and sound 'weird' or 'demented'. That was always a part of their moniker, but not to such an extent as on this record. And there is little in the way of masterful instrumental passages.

Report this review (#359209)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars King Crimson continued their new 80s sound begun with "Discipline". "Beat" begins with 2 excellent tracks sounding similar to "Discipline"'s sound but standing alone as amazing compositions. 'Neal And Jack And Me' immediately resonated with me, with very catchy and well executed musicanship. 'Heartbeat' is radio friendly but has such an infectious melody it always stayed with me, and is my favourite on this album. Belew's vocals are excellent and the crystal clean guitars are a stunning touch by Fripp.

The rest of the album is less memorable but follows in the same vein as the other 80s KC tracks, great playing from Fripp with his polyrhythmic technique and Bruford is always a delight on percussion. The vocals of Belew are quite haunting and are successful in conveying the powerful emotions on the songs. Levin is marvellous on bass. So overall you have accomplished musicians reinventing their own sound.

'Waiting Man' and 'Neurotica' are intriguing. In 'Neurotica' we have a manic traffic jam of many sounds, a cacohony of musical pieces merged in a collage of ideas. Belew's radio commentation is nothing short of dazzlingly insane. He commentates about the frenzy of cars backed up in the jam and spouts off surreal nonsense effortlessly. It is hilarious and a bit dark at the same time, commenting on the absurd car population explosion congesting the roads. it is one of the great experimental King Crimson tracks.

'Requiem' ends the album on an instrumental, quite ethereal in places, but it is a fairly lively album overall. So "Beat" is nowhere near as good as "Discipline" but this has some shining moments and is well worth a listen.

Report this review (#399597)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Another disappointing album from King Crimson ...

... and when I say disappointing, I say this because the influences of the Talking Heads are still here, thanks to Adrian Belew.Ao listen to "Beat", I had one certainty: they will never again play the sound of such masterpieces as "In the court of King Crimson" or "Red. " It's a shame.

So I have no other choice but to give 1 star.Amid all the bad music, there is at least one that I like: "Heartbeat", the only normal track that failed disk.

Only one thing: "Beat" is the only album of their career that KC does not have a title track (although his name in the range mentioned above) and is considered the weakest them.Coincidence?I do not think so ...

Report this review (#414837)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars This one is often cited as the low point of King Crimson's career, but I beg to differ - Three of a Perfect Pair is even worse. No, in all seriousness, this is not an awful record, but it is so inconsistent that I don't think giving it a rating as high as three stars is justified. After all, the guidelines say that three-star albums are just plain 'good.'

The record starts off promisingly, with the first few notes picking up almost exactly where the wonderful Discipline album left off - there's a five-time motif with a New Wave style guitar tone. Rather than building into the expected entwining rhythms, however, Neal and Jack and Me opts to launch into a relatively mediocre rock tune, which, despite its energy form Belew as a vocalist and a few rhythmic hiccups, is not completely convincing. Things only get worse with Heartbeat - it's passable, but when faced with a band whose discography consists so plentifully of songs they alone could write, it is disheartening to listen to one that is interchangeable with anyone else's from the same period. A tight rhythm section can't save it - this is King Crimson's first attempt at writing a song that is completely pop with no trimmings, and truth be told, the band is not good at writing pop music. Simple as that. The rest of the album picks up a bit, but it is far less complex and compelling on the whole than Discipline - though the instrumental has an interesting way of taking King Crimson's classic ensemble sound and morphing it into an 80's entity. One thing you can say about King Crimson - they are never stuck in the past...unless you count their own past, of course. Neurotica seems to hint at Jack Keuroac's observational poetry and distorts it into a typical Crimson wankfest. Funny, but nothing to write home about. Two Hands plays at being sentimental, but honestly I find it a bit creepy. Some decent textures, though.

The final track, Requiem, is the heart and soul of this album - an atonal improvised guitar solo that screeches over unrestrained percussion and a deliciously unresolved bass (I mean stick) line from Levin, this has to be heard to be believed. If you are a King Crimson fanatic that somehow doesn't already have this album, then this track is worth the price of admission on its own. My only regret is that's it's attached to a release full of so much mediocrity, and that more musicians don't craft songs like this one. One for the history books, sadly overlooked due to its position in time and the discography. Listen and enjoy.

If you are looking to get into King Crimson's post-70s material, I would recommend going further forward in time, perhaps to the incredible ConstruKction of Light album, before taking this on.

Report this review (#415611)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Beat is the second album of King Crimson's '80s line-up, and the music here is a bit different from the previous album. The great musicianship is still here, as are the obvious '80s influences. The main difference here is the abundance of pop-sounding tracks such as "Neil and Jack and Me", "Heartbeat", "Waiting Man", and "Two Hands" which give the album a cheesy sound that they managed to avoid on the previous release, and these tracks unfortunately make up most of the album. However, the remaining tracks are great examples of King Crimson's creativity in utilizing constructed noise and electronic effects intelligently.

This is an okay album with a few good tracks, but is mostly unimportant.

Report this review (#429386)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars Discipline, part 2

The early 80's is widely recognized as the darkest period in all of progressive Rock history. Most of the classic Prog and Prog-related bands released some of their worst albums ever around this time: Genesis with Abacab, Yes with 90125, Queen with Hot Space, Jethro Tull with Under Wraps, Camel with The Single Factor, Pink Floyd with The Final Cut, Rush with Power Windows, etc. King Crimson is by no means an exception to this horrific trend. After having broken up after the successful Red album in 1974, King Crimson returned seven years later with the mixed Discipline in 1981 and continued with the present one in 1982 and 1984's Three Of A Perfect Pair. The latter would be the last of three albums before the band would once again disappear from the music scene for another eleven years.

Discipline had showed us a radically different King Crimson compared to any of the earlier efforts and with new guy Adrian Belew (Talkning Heads) on lead vocals it really sounded like a completely new band. The album was indeed initially intended to be released under the Discipline moniker instead of as King Crimson, but the record label (understandably) wanted to release it as a King Crimson album. The core of the band was once again leader Robert Fripp, drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Tony Levin. Beat continued the trend set up by Discipline and in many ways it is based on the very same formula. The production is perhaps slightly more polished but there are no changes in their approach to music. The improvisational and experimental side of the band is very much alive here, but that is frankly a side of the band that I never liked very much. I am the kind of person who prefers melodies over sound-experiments and improvisation. And the present album is really dominated by the latter.

Waiting Man is the most harmonic track on Beat and it is also my favourite here. It is very much in the same vein as Frame By Frame and Matte Kudasai from the previous album. One aspect that I really cannot get into is Adrian Belew's "talking" vocal style on songs like Neurotica (and the previous album's Elephant Talk, Indiscipline and Thela Hun Ginjeet). I find his spoken musings terribly irritating and annoying and the lyrics are often silly and nonsensical. Belew can actually sing quite well when he puts his mind to it, but on this album he does not utilize this very much. While the uneven Discipline alternated between good moments and mediocre ones, Beat alternates between mediocre moments and awful ones.

A rather poor effort by a band long past its prime

Report this review (#488173)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars King Crimson - Beat (1982)

With a steady line-up eighties King Crimson (Fripp, Belew, Bruford, Levin) releases it's second album with the same sound as the successful, provocative Discipline. The production is again very good for an eighties album. In this phase King Crimson sound has wave, pop and progressive elements. Fripp impresses with new, modern guitar/synth sounds and math rhythms, whilst the rhythmical section is very tight and successful in finding the right balance between pop sensibilities and technical advanced playing.

'Beat' is often seen as the weak follow-up of 'Discipline', and it can't be ignored that King Crimson didn't quite 'reinvent' itself on this album. The sound, composition style and impact are quite much the same. We get to listen to more frantic or poppy vocals by Belew, more of those mathematical guitar loops and fretless guitar sounds and more solo's with synth- guitars by Fripp. Still I came to think of Beat as a good (but not essential) album after listening to 'The Power to Believe' (2001) and 'Discipline'. The vocals of Belew have grown on me and I kind of begin to like the poppy King Crimson style with it's many ornaments of Fripp sitting in the back. However 'Beat' isn't flawless, for it has some non- interesting/irritating tracks that aren't worthwhile.

On side one 'Neal and Jack and me' and 'Heartbeat' are good poppy/catchy tracks with some nice experimentation on the background. 'Santori in Tangier' is a very strong instrumental with some of Fripp's best experimentation and great progressive atmospheres. Perhaps my favorite track of the album and maybe even of eighties King Crimson. 'Wating Man' is a less interesting song, but it doesn't hurt side one too much and I must admit I find that rhythms to be quite soothing.

On side two the quality of the music collapses when the innovative attempt that is 'Neurotica' is both irritating in it's opening section and boring in it's middle section. 'Two Hands' is a friendly ballad, but I can't bother too much about this song. 'The Howler' is another unsuccessful attempt by the band to get the listener to regain interest. This song has more of the recognizable eighties KC style, but it has no catchy moments or interesting background interventions by Fripp. The last track, 'Requim' is a very good (but heavy and avant-garde) instrumental with some sound-scapes by Fripp in the opening section and extended psychedelic 'mad-scientist-laboratory' guitar solo's. The drums of Bruford stand out as he experiments freely over the intensive atmospheres. A good ending.

Conclusion. Not a flawless album, but I did not find the drama some make of this album. In fact, only 'Neurotica' and 'The Howler' are songs that I would have rather seen replaced by more interesting compositions. Furthermore, side one is very good and listeners of vinyl (like me) are able to stop the record before the letdowns. A very good fans album, but I'll go for the big two and a halve star rating.

Report this review (#540844)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Beat has a somewhat controversial reputation amongst King Crimson listeners, though on balance I think it's highly underrated. I think it gets less love than its predecessor, Discipline, because whilst Discipline included a number of callbacks to the King Crimson style of the mid- 1970s, this time around the group are focused determinedly on their angular New Wave guitar- dominated style and give more prominence to Adrian Belew's off-kilter vocal performances. But pieces like Sartori in Tangier show that the band were still interested in creating intriguing, fascinating, novel and progressive music, and the handling of the beatnik concept is adept and powerful. Whilst it isn't quite as compelling and universally appealing as the classic Discipline, it's hardly an embarrassment either.
Report this review (#572297)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is similar in style to Discipline, but it's significantly worse. The biggest difference between this and its predecessor is that the energy that was so key to the success of Discipline is pretty much gone - it's like somebody gave the whole band Xanax before this album. The playing isn't worse or anything like that, but the sense of controlled insanity that permeated the whole album and made it sooooo cool has been replaced with .. ehn ... normalcy. Yup, the band decided for this album to focus more on "real" compositions, with some of the stylistics of the last album, and decided to go for resonance and moodiness and all that stuff. Problem is, this album shows pretty convincingly that the band functions best as mad scientists, not normal world-beat musicians, and I have to struggle to enjoy the album in a way I almost never do on Discipline.

Admittedly, some of the tracks are pretty enjoyable. Though I'm not wild about Bruford's tone in the track, "Sartori in Tangier" distinguishes itself above the rest by being dancable, complex and meditative all in one, making itself an instrumental worthy of inclusion on Discipline, even if it might not have fit in perfectly. I'm also comfortable with "Heartbeat," a moody New Wave pop ballad with a tasteful, moody backwards guitar solo, and "Waiting Man," a decent upbeat percussion-driven moody world-beat-based track. The latter would get a LOT cooler in concert, but I'm not too bothered by what's here. And hey, "Two Hands" is an ultra-pretty ballad, with some lovely echoey guitar work over a nice bassline, albeit with some slightly sappy lyrics.

Two of the other tracks are okayish, but they still border on filler. The opening "Neal and Jack and Me" is somewhat annoying for having the exact same guitar interplay that ended Discipline, and the melody is too chaotic to be memorable but too ordinary to be impressive. "Neurotica" is slightly better, but not much more than a second-rate "Thela Hun Gingeet," with rants about life in a city over chaotic jamming.

The album also closes on a relatively low note - "The Howler" is a pretty complex composition, but complexity definitely doesn't necessarily mean quality, and it just screams out filler with every note. As for "Requiem," supposedly it's a tribute to John Coltrane (I don't know why, though - Coltrane had been dead a good long time before this album), but that seems to just be an excuse for unstructured atonal jamming with lots of noise and little purpose. I like the first minute or so, but the rest, ugh ...

As much as I've more or less dissed on the album, though, I wouldn't want to give it less than *** - it's not anywhere the level of Discipline, but some of its differences from that album can (in theory) be considered improvements (e.g. the presence of "real" songs), even if they're actually a regression in practice. Regardless, this should be your last purchase of the 80's KC-trilogy, and even then you should be looking for it cheap.

Report this review (#634633)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can't seem to get into "Beat" as much as the other 80s King Crimson albums, "Discipline" and "Three of a Perfect Pair". It's definetly the weakest of the three. Don't get me wrong, it has it's good points and some of the songs are very interesting. It just dosen't pack the punch that the others did. I'm not sure what else I can say about it. 3/5

Now to ramble on until I get 100 words. The limit sucks. Why even put a word limit. I guess it would stop there from being reviews that just say "Bad" or "good", but 100 is too high. 50 would be much better.

Report this review (#740228)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars

Beat is usually considered one of King Crimson's poppiest albums, but this is kind of a tricky distinction to make. Like the two it is sandwiched between, it has a mix of poppier songs and more experimental songs (well, I guess Discipline was more even, but Three of a Perfect Pair certainly had this mix.) There are a couple of songs on here that stand out as being a lot more accessible and catchy than their other numbers.

This wouldn't be a problem or anything, except that these tracks are kind of unremarkable. The more experimental stuff mostly continues in the vein of Discipline, and while there's often an unusual guitar sound or new rhythmic aspect thrown in to complicate matters, it doesn't do much to elevate Beat over its significantly superior predecessor

That being said, this album isn't bad. It's just has some good tracks, and some bad ones, and not a lot extra to say. It's actually pretty good, but it certainly isn't essential.

The opener, "Neal and Jack and Me", is a nice, frenetic, rhythmically complex guitar-fest in the style of "Discipline". It exchanges some of the interweaving for vocals, though, which are delivered in Adrian Belew's impeccable style, with ferocious energy. Overall the entire thing is more melodic, with some pretty catchy but still interestingly-delivered melodies. Near the end the guitars begin to sound a bit like bells chiming, which is a very pleasant effect. Quite a nice opening track--even better than the following album's (very similar) opener.

After this comes the quasi-title-track "Heartbeat"--certainly one of the poppiest songs King Crimson has ever done, and a concert favorite from the era. But to be honest, I find it somewhat unremarkable. It repeats with very little development, and the melody doesn't much stand out. The atmospheric guitar tones, however, are quite nice, and redeem the song to a certain extent.

This somewhat tepid track, however, is followed by one of the album's highlights, the instrumental "Sartori in Tangier". It mainly serves as a vehicle for a crazy guitar-synth solo from Fripp--but it's a good solo. And this isn't even the song's best feature--that credit would have to go to the song's great rhythm part, with a catchy, bouncy stick foundation and Bruford and Belew backing it up with their own interesting repeated parts. The song starts out as a driving, minor-key piece, then suddenly switches into a more ethereal portion where the rhythm section gets to show off a bit more, and then resumes the solo part. Overall quite well-constructed.

The first side closes with "Waiting Man", a lamenting song that opens with a simple but dense collection of layers (including nice use of electronic pitched percussion by Bruford) and Belew's melancholy vocal line. These layers metamorphose a few times until a second guitar joins in and adds yet another, producing a fascinating pattern that persists throughout the entire song. If any criticism could be leveled at this, it might be called a bit monotonous, but the hypnotic layering makes up for this, I'd say.

After this, the second side begins with the frenzied "Neurotica", which is for me another of the album's high points. After a crashing, noisy intro, Bruford continues drumming at an absurd pace while some basic chords are laid down and Belew begins rambling a bizarre, meaningless monologue meant to convey the feeling of being in a chaotic big city. Suddenly, the entire piece calms down to a typical interlacing pattern, but the calm combined with the vocals of the chorus still has a somewhat surreal quality, coupled with the chaos that precedes it. After this chorus is repeated twice, the energy again begins to build up until the monologue and madness returns, and the piece fades out. The atmosphere and mood of the song is vastly better than many other King Crimson pieces of this era, which don't do such a good job of communicating specific moods.

"Two Hands" is a kind of boring ballad--although not as repetitive as "Heartbeat" (and this is definitely a point in its favor), the instrumentation is sparse in what is otherwise a band of extreme density, and the song doesn't really go anywhere.

"The Howler" effectively picks up where the madness of "Neurotica" left off, and does well in its footsteps. It takes the standard interplay of the band, slows it down, and twists it in such a way that it sounds more demented and more menacing--almost like a swarm of angry bees trapped in a synthesizer. Again, it differentiates itself well from other Krimson songs of the time by altering the tone so. After a while, it calms down briefly, but it soon reasserts its craziness with a totally bizarre noisy solo. Overall, it doesn't hold up nearly as well as Neurotica, but it's still refreshingly weird. And the weird twangy noises at the beginning and end are AWESOME.

The last track, "Requiem", is a messy extended jam, with at least one guitar perpetually wailing throughout. I can't really see rhyme or reason in the way this ends up being put together--its only redeeming feature is some nice bass/stick work from Tony Levin closing the entire thing off. This is not this lineup's finest hour.

In general, I would say this album, although not uniformly good, has some very nice tracks on it which balance weirdness and catchiness excellently. I just wouldn't prioritize this over either of the adjacent albums. Highlights include "Neal and Jack and Me", "Sartori in Tangier", and "Neurotica".

Report this review (#805330)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars I find nothing to highlight or praise about this album. Shortly after the big Discipline, this. Why such a lane change? I know that King Crimson has always tried to innovate with the next work, but Beat does not make sense.

In a few moments outlining some of the group's recognized style. I can only assert that is executed by highly competent musicians, indisputable from that orbit. The composition is, from my point of view, the weakest point, and from that base everything else is poor.

I can only slightly Sartori in Tangier rescue and Requiem. The first being the most acceptable.

Report this review (#984813)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars King Crimson is most likely my favorite band. They practically define what progressive music is, IMO. I couldn't give anything they do less than 3 1/2 stars; Beat is their 3 1/2 stars. It's still more interestiing than 90 % of whatever you could hear on the radio. It's just not up to most of King Crimson's output.

My biggest criticism with Beat is its similarities to Discipline. I may be handicapped by the fact that I've listened to Discipline so many times - it's the dark side of fanaticism! "Neal and Jack and Me" and "Neurotica" are two examples. "Heartbeat" and "Two Hands" are the most accessible tracks on the album. Some other reviewers seem to think that's a terrible thing. I like both songs a lot, especially "Heartbeat". There is absolutely nothing wrong with making skillful - but - listenable music. No one criticizes The Beatles or Mozart for it! My intetion is not malign other reviewers on this site that we all love. I simply want to stress that there's nothing wrong with being enjoyable.

"Sartori in Tangier", "The Howler", and "Requiem" are also excellent tracks. "Requiem" is definitely King Crimson at their least accessible. My only other problem with Beat, and it's only a part-time problem, is Adrian Belew's sining. I think he's the most talented singer KC has ever had, but I don't like it when he announces like an auctioneer instead of singing. The songs on Beat aren't quite as groundbreaking or memorable as on Discipline, which is why Beat gets 3 1/2 stars compared to the rest of KC"s brilliant discography.

Report this review (#1002665)
Posted Sunday, July 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm very much warming to this era of King Crimson. It took me along time to appreciate the constantly changing and unpredictable approach of KC in all its different manifestations, but of course this is what makes KC the legenadary prog rock band they are. Although I've yet to explore the post 'Three of a perfect pair' era, I don't think they really put a foot badly wrong between 1969 and 1984.

These 1980's releases do seem to polarise opinion and I can understand why, but to my ears the 80's new wavey KC is quite appealing. In the case of Beat I'm going to stick my neck out and say I prefer it to 'TOAPP' and like it at least as much as 'Discipline' Although no track on Beat really matches the very best tracks on Discipline, for me it's a little more consistent throughout. Everything from 'Neal and Jack and me' right through to 'Two hands' is pushing 4 star material; consistent, melodic, well written and executed. If you're looking for long meandering passges of noodling and blinding virtuoisty then none of the 80's KC trilogy is likely to appeal. Beat has a pop edge that may completely turn off many prog rock fans, or KC 'purists' who maybe prefer the old sound. I find Belews voice irresistable. The Talking Heads edge comes through, but the Fripp guitar sound and style is still in evidence. A very polished and listenable album. Perhaps not that progressive or ground breaking, but purely as an album of its time it stands up and it entertains and pleases the ear. Possibly a good album to introduce your non prog loving friends to KC, before inflicting LTIA on them ;-)

I would also say that Beat and the albums that proceed and succeed it in this series are more true to the KC 'formula' than the 80's releases by Genesis are true to thiers. If that makes sense. The most commercial track on Beat is probably 'Heartbeat' (one of my favourite post 70's KC tracks) and despite being radio friendly and fairly formulaic in its structure, it's still not as poppy as the most poppy 80's Genesis.

Report this review (#1132903)
Posted Monday, February 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
1 stars Not much is needed to be said about King Crimson's 1982 album Beat, other than it is more or less the same as many other 70's bands' absorption of 80's sound. Beat is infamous for it's split between fans of King Crimson; some say it's good musicianship pulls it through even with the musical styles it harnesses , others say it's just a sellout album that only features a modicum of King Crimson's actual talent. Personally I don't belong to the KC fan clique but I sure can tell you this a terrible album.

Dated and extremely wince-worthy, Beat showcases perhaps every single way you can mess up 80's pop rock. The instruments sound watered down, annoyingly twanging out heavily effect-laden chords, the electro-drumming from Bill Bruford, who I know is a fantastic drummer, sounds completely artificial, and the keyboards and "Frippertronics" add a terrible atmosphere to the whole piece. The album has a pseudo rock-and-roll vibe, showcased mainly by Andrew Belew's croon (and in a way his attire shown in the band's live performances of the album). The album needs not one, not two, but three different guitarists (if you count Tony Levin's Chapman stick as one) to keep it afloat. Even with such a plethora of strings the album is weak. The whole album also has a sort of selfishness that differentiates itself from it's kin. It's minimalist album art, it's structure as an album. This may be just King Crimson still not getting over the fact that they made artsy bollocks in the last decade and can't go a single album without showcasing it like a bunch of prudes, but I really can't say for sure.

Frankly it's insulting to see these talented musicians go under just to please a certain audience. Perhaps this was all a Fripp plan and has some art rock meaning behind it. Perhaps it's a botched follow-up to 1980's Discipline. Perhaps it's just a bad album and that's all. The world may never know. But I'll take a shot in the dark and say it's the third option. All in all it's just my interpretation of 80's cheese. Sometimes it's innocent and fine, other times it's infuriatingly stuck-up and full of itself. This is one of those other times. Not recommended.

Report this review (#1291116)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Beat is the second of the early eighties KC trilogy of Discipline-Beat-Three of a Perfect Pair with Fripp on guitar and a tiny little bit of organ, Belews on guitar and vocals, Levin on bass and stick and Bruford on drums. Roughly the style is the same as on the two surrounding albums, very guitar oriented, sharp between Fripp's clean cascading sequences and Belew's howling roaring style. Bruford's drumming and the whole production are very sharp and precise as well; the absence of keyboards most of the time has taken the smoothness out and the aesthetic is rather on the leaner early 80s new wave side than proggish grandeur. Particularly Belew's singing gives the music a very worldly edge; his spontaneity and raw emotionality also provides a fascinating contrast to the precision and perfection on the instrumental side. Levin's playing is quite percussive at times,providing a solid rock element, and also, on the stick, he sometimes adds to the fine woven guitar structures. At the same time the music is very complex and multi-layered, and actually, despite being very recognisable as in the middle of the early 80s style of the group, the album also showcases the group's versatility.

As I'm writing this, Beat is the lowest rated of all King Crimson albums and stands accused of being "too poppy and commercial" in more than a handful of reviews. I don't know whether anybody ever tried to play "Neurotica" or "Requiem" to an average pop listener, but I'd certainly consider trying pretty much the whole catalog of Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd combined to be a safer option if you don't want to risk them destroying your speakers with an axe.

That said, Beat has its catchy moments that could be played on the radio and liked by the normal guy on the streets (booh!). Heartbeat is a straight, fairly simple and emotional love song, which due to Belew's singing, the down-to-earth sound and the competence of the musicians gives you the emotions sugar-free, that is, you don't need to feel guilty if you love this (as I do). Similar things could be said of Two Hands, which is calmer and ballad-like and in fact a bit smoother and mellower (so there's some calories in this one actually) but delivers some very nice guitar work to make up for this. The other song that has a somewhat smoother feel than the rest of the album is Waiting Man, which features Fripp's typical guitar polyrhythms, and where Bruford plays some less sharp percussions and the drums only come in very late.

The Howler and Neil and Jack and Me are twisted rock songs with some similarities to Frame by Frame on Discipline. I didn't like Neil and Jack and Me much when I heard it first time but it has grown on me over time, as it evokes very convincingly a somewhat nervous feeling of disconnectedness from home. It also connects the great musicmanship of top prog music with the edginess of early 80s new wave in a good way.

Sartori in Tangier is a straight driving and very dynamic instrumental that showcases the abilities of the instrumentalists, with one of the best dynamic moments of all time when Bruford's spectacular drum rolls end the calmer interplay in the middle before going back to the sharp main theme of the song after about 3/4 of the time.

Neurotica and Requiem are the most noisy, atonal and experimental songs. Neurotica still is a conventional song, but it features stark contrasts, sudden changes between breathless jazzy and straighter but polyrhythmic rock parts, and Belew almost rapping at times. Requiem is a rather free instrumental which starts off in a fairly relaxed manner before slowly evolving into something more noisy and intense.

I started off writing this thinking that I'd give it 4 stars because, you know, Discipline came first so it has to be the really essential masterpiece of the trilogy. But listening and thinking about it while writing I realised that the musical world opened by Discipline still, even at this time, has so much unexplored space that for Beat as the second album populating it there was still plenty of room for innovation. Overall the approach taken by the band in this trilogy is so strong, with every single song on Beat still having something new and fresh and interesting to offer, that I'll settle for nothing less than 5 stars here.

Report this review (#1486860)
Posted Sunday, November 15, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Too short, too rushed, but some excellent Adrian Belew songs.

Crimson toured around their Discipline album, but hadn't written enough tunes for a full album by the time they entered the studio to record Beat. So, they wrote tunes in the studio, including some improvisations. The result is more mixed than Discipline, which is excellent all the way through. On Beat, it is Adrian Belew's song-writing skills the save the day. He is the one who essentially wrote the excellent hit single, Heartbeat, one of the only Crimson tunes to ever cross-over into the radio-friendly pop world. It is Belew's excellent vocals and lyrics that make 'Waiting Man', 'Neal and Jack and Me', 'Nerotica' and 'The Howler' worth repeated listens. And Belew's 'Two Hands' is simply beautiful music. The improvs, and contributions of the rest of the band, meanwhile, stand in the shadow of Belew's contributions. 'Sartori in Tangier', and improv, is the weakest track on the album, while 'Requiem' is better but still not at the same level as Belew's wonderful tunes. Even with the improvs, this is one of the shortest Crimson albums. Clearly, this one was too rushed - the band should have taken their time to come up with the tunes that would follow-up Discipline. Because Belew is the one to step up to save the album, this sounds more like an Adrian Belew album, or 'Adrian Belew's Crimson', or something. There is nothing quite as good as 'Indiscipline' or 'Discipline' here. Instead, this album shows Adrian Belew as the most creative force in this version of the band at this time. I give this album 8.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1696034)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars With ingredients not very different from Discipline's, Beat has a flashier sound especially due to the use of (sometimes boosted up) chorus effects.

Dorian short synth guitar solo of energetic Neal and Jake and Me is amazing cathartic... Heartbeat is a well crafted mellow pop song that tempers the crazy moments to come. Sartori in Tangiers sounds very new wave virtual tech world related, and doesn't call to my mind anything from north Africa. Waiting Man has those amazing superimposed layers creating rythmical offests, along with some surprize,s creating a unique groove, very exciting for dance(sport). Neurotica mixes fast pace new jazz with a kind of reggae beat and takes us in the heart of the "oppressive flashy modern city (with some room for calm times)" that the whole album evokes. Two hands balances greatly the crazy tracks that precede and succeed... The Howler has even more tension than Neurotica and is one of Crimson's craziest yet coherent songs.

It has a lot to offer, is overall still one of his kind with a strong ID and therefore the reasons given for punishing it with 1 or 2 star read as completely indefensible. I cannot give five but I'd give more than four.

Report this review (#1976336)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars It took me many years to appreciate how good Beat actually is.

I first listened to this album as a teenager. I was not musically experienced enough to appreciate it at that time. I thought it was mediocre and I put it away in my record collection to gather dust for many years.

Maybe twenty years later I began to play this album once again, and, by that time, I had gained enough musical maturity to appreciate it in a way that I couldn't before.

Of the 1980's trilogy of albums Discipline is unquestionably the strongest album, but I regard Beat as the second best of the three, followed by Three of a Perfect Pair.

The musicianship, as always on King Crimson albums, is superb, and all of the musicians really shine on this album.

Bruford shows his incredible range of percussive talent across the varying tracks on the album, from the freeform style of Requiem, to the delicate percussion on Two Hands, to the furious drumming on Neurotica.

Fripp and his Frippertronics and guitar work are exemplary, especially on the outstanding and technically complex "Sartori in Tangier", and also (with Belew) in the great use of dissonance on "The Howler".

Belew's vocals are very original for the time, especially on "Neurotica" where he delivers the vocal in a rap style, with lyrics throughout the album that hark back to the beat writers of the 1950's and 1960's.

The best track on the album is "Sartori in Tangier" with it's creative guitar and organ work, but many of the other tracks are excellent, including "Requiem", and I also very much like "Waiting Man" and "Neurotica".

Some of the tracks are not as strong, notably the opening two tracks, but all tracks are good, and whilst this is not a five star album, I would score it 3.64 and round it up to four stars.

Report this review (#1978047)
Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2018 | Review Permalink

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