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KING CRIMSON - BEAT Original recording remastered

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Dec 1 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Koch International
  • ASIN: B00065MDT0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,610 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Neal and Jack and Me
2. Heartbeat
3. Sartori in Tangier
4. Waiting Man
5. Neurotica
6. Two Hands
7. The Howler
8. Requiem

Product Description

"Beat" was released in June 1982 just 8 months after the 80s Crimson lineup debut album "Discipline". It marked the first occasion where a King Crimson lineup had remained intact for a 2 album stretch. It was also the first album by the band to employ a separate producer - Rhett Davies. The juxtaposition of lyrics heavily influenced by 50s beat luminaries Jack Kerouac & Neal Cassady (Cassady the invented the 'spontaneous prose' style & was the role model for the Dean Moriarty figure in Kerouac's "On the Road") with the complex polyrhythmic musical textures of the 80s Crimson, was inspired. While 'Beat' may not have had the shock impact of its immediate predecessor - sounding so radically different to anything previously bearing the King Crimson name - the sense of continuity, the strength of the songs & the cohesion of the studio performances, all helped the album chart upon release in the US & UK.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Can great 'progressive rock' musicians make quality 'pop' songs? Can they do it without losing their souls in the process? This 1982 album proves it's not impossible. "Beat" contains 8 perfect songs all of which have the clean, stripped-down sound featured on the previous album. The gems are "Neil and Jack and Me", "Waiting Man", "Neurotica" and "The Howler"; while "Heartbeat" and "Two Hands" are quality songs accessible enough they could have been top 10 hits anywhere in the world. There are two instrumentals, "Sartori in Tangier" and the fabulous "Requiem".
Really first rate stuff, from first note to last. The musicianship is excellent, the vocals perfectly complementary (and soulful when it needs to be).
"Beat" ought to have done for King Crimson what "So" did for Peter Gabriel (who did lose his way in the process). Here's a bit of heresy for you. Along with "Discipline", "Beat" is the best King Crimson you can find - and that includes the very early, more celebrated stuff.
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Format: Audio CD
Here was a rarity for King Crimson fans, and for more reasons than one. First, it was the first King Crimson album ever to feature the same lineup as the previous album, that lineup being the always present Robert Fripp on guitar (as well as organ and "Frippertronics"), Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals, Tony Levin on bass and stick (and throwing in some support vocals), and Bill Bruford on drums and percussion. This lineup was set to change the way progressive music would be perceived, with their excellent mix of pop melodicism and experimental avant garde. There was the second surprise was that if people thought "Discipline" was poppy or new-wave, they weren't ready for "Beat." The songs may be radio-friendly, but they are not without a high degree of complexity.
These are not simple songs, the blistering fretwork of Fripp, Belew, and Levin just intertwine to form a tapestry of amazing musicianship. The melodies and guitar harmonies are all just an incredible mixture of melodic structure and flying off the handle. Fripp's solos are as off-kilter as ever, showing a great need to get as much out of both his own abilities and the technology (the three '80's King Crimson albums are pinnacles of synth-guitar technology). Between the soaring solos of "Sartori in Tangiers" and the neo-jazz-improvizations of "Requiem," Fripp proves that King Crimson have not abandoned their progressive roots, even if they've embellished it with a bit of '80's new-wave pop. Bruford's drumming keeps time very well, but people underestimate the nuances of his playing. He's not just playing straight to keep time...he's keeping the "beat" of the songs, mixing in his own subtle sense of quirky rhythmic flourish.
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Format: Audio CD
Opinions of Beat range from enthusiastic endorsement to disparaging comments (even from a couple of the bandmembers involved) that it's not quite up to snuff. Whether or not it actually failed in realizing the Crims' intentions, I hear it as one of their most enjoyable studio albums. The skeletal structures of Discipline are here filled in with all sorts of tonal and rhythmic color, expanding the music's emotional impact a notch or two. Discipline's gamelan guitar arrangements are further explored on some of the tracks, but there are also some welcome experiments in pitched percussion (Waiting Man), manic jazz (Neurotica), free improv (Requiem), and fragile balladry (Two Hands). And then there's The Howler, maybe the most abstruse "song" this quartet ever created, in which Levin's remarkable grounding ability is on full display. (Not to mention Belew's unlikely discovery of a vocal melody that actually fits the asymmetric backing track.) Bruford features well (when doesn't he?), and Fripp contributes much savory guitar - I'm probably in the minority in thinking that the '80s KC was home to RF's best work. And the musical tension between Fripp's cyclic patterns and Bruford's jazzy, top-kit sensibilities - well, that's the essential Crimson to my ears. In any case, this isn't a landmark studio KC record like Larks, Red, or Discipline, but it certainly earns its keep.
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Format: Audio CD
If "In the Wake Of Poseidon" was the carbon copy of "In the Court Of the Crimson King," then "Beat" is the identical twin of "Discipline." It carries most of the same elaborate musical and studio techniques, and the same amazingly complex structures. However, the songs on this 1982 release are often more easily accessible than those on "Discipline"; for instance a song like 'Heartbeat' is a much more easily approached than other great songs that appeared on "Discipline," like 'Thela Hun Ginjeet.' However, this is still King Crimson, so the accessibility is at a minimum. "Beat" is also the first Crimson album to possess a sound that actually reflects its era--here, much of the music has a distinctively 80s flare. With most albums, the ring of the 80s would be a drawback, but with "Beat" is somehow sounds perfect.
The lineup of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Bill Bruford--arguably one of the band's best versions--soars as high as it did on their previous album together, and sometimes soars identically; the guitar of the opener 'Neal and Jack and Me' features a guitar noise that sounds almost exactly like 'Frame By Frame,' a past song. But elsewhere, "Beat" triumphs. Belew's vocals are as brilliantly loony as ever, especially on the never-dull 'Neurotica.' 'Waiting Man' meanwhile features a more subtle vocal, the heartache it induces matched only by Fripp's achieving guitar. This is also perfected on 'Heartbeat' and 'Two Hands,' the latter of which was lyricized by Margaret Belew in a less inspiring manner. The almost anthemic 'Requiem' closes the album suitably.
"Beat" is probably the closest the Crims ever came to actually sounding like something else that was being released at the time. And though it sounds much like an 80s album, "Beat" finds King Crimson throwing away any cliche associated with it and making it their own.
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