also by King Crimson:
At only 35 minutes, the middle of the three 1980's King Crimson albums is shorter than my fast train home, but it's a listenable nugget. This set of songs is influenced by the ultra-cool "beat" prose of Jack Kerouac and suchlike, with a sound still based on the clockwork-gears of Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew's intertwining guitars. The opening track's "I'm wheels, I am moving wheels" is possibly the perfect set of words to set to this restless sound. Fripp's trademark electronic guitar treatments, smooth and lyrical, are very much present. These gives a distinctive colour to tracks like "Sartori in Tangier" and the spooky improvisation "Requiem", which recalls their mid-70s work.
But the album is not samey, and they're constantly tricksy and inventive with their sounds. "Waiting Man" is backed by a Philip Glass-like, and slightly African, layer of bubbling guitar and percussion. On the frightening "Neurotica", Belew's stream of consciousness "poetry recital" is set to a chaotic babble of sirens, whistles and car-horns. "Two Hands" is perhaps the equivalent of "Matte Kudasai" on their previous album, a lyrical and spacious ballad, finishing with a spine-tingling key change. "Heartbeat" is the only track which doesn't do it for me, with a dated 80's radio pop sound (think Robert Palmer).
March 30, 2004