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Beat was released in June 1982 just 8 months after the 1980s King Crimson lineup debut Discipline.
The second part of King Crimson's acclaimed and influential Minimalist Ethno-Art-Rock/Post-Punk trilogy, 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.
Songs like 'Waiting Man', 'Neal and Jack and Me', & 'Heartbeat' all became firm favourites with fans & concert attendees - with 'Heartbeat' in particular becoming an FM radio regular in the US & even meriting a now rarely seen video clip shot for the emerging music tv market. While one of the album's twin instrumental tracks 'Sartori In Tangier' anticipated the emerging interest in African based rhythmic styles that would become such a fascination for musicians in the latter part of the decade. As ever, Crimson was pushing forward looking for new methods to communicate internally as a band & externally with an audience.
As noted by one critic at the time of release: - 'Beat' is a strong record that gains new musculature with every listen...'
The album's release was bookended by US tours and followed by a European tour in September 1982 with Roxy Music - part of which was filmed for a concert video - now issued as part of the 'Neal and Jack and Me' DVD.
1. Neal and Jack and Me
3. Sartori in Tangier
4. Waiting Man
6. Two Hands
7. The Howler