King Crimson

Live in New York, NY 1982

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Live in New York, NY 1982 (2008) -- the 37th installment in the King Crimson Collector's Club -- is derived directly from an excellent stereo mixing desk recording and finds Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals), Bill Bruford (drums/percussion), Robert Fripp (guitar), and Tony Levin (bass guitar/Stick) on tour in support of their latest collective effort Beat (1982). On the evening in question -- August 2, 1982 at The Pier -- the quartet draw fairly evenly between pairings of selections from both the new release andtheir previous long-player, Discipline (1981). The sole exception comes at the end of the show via a blistering upgrade of the retro rave instrumental "Larks' Tongues in Aspic II" from the 1973 album of the same name. Things get started with the agile polyrhythms and cutting melodic counterpoint of "Waiting Man." "The Howler" follows with Belew's equally angularly syncopated blue-eyed soulful wails of "...No! Not me...Burn! I don't wanna burn!" Reaching back for the first of four sides circa Discipline (1981) is a hearty"Frame by Frame." While not a complaint, one observation in the mix as presented is the louder-than-necessary presence of Belew's spirited vocals. Tucked beneath are deliciously delicate interactions connecting Levin's practically subsonic undulations and Bruford's rock-solid flogging, um, ur, timekeeping. The "Sheltering Sky" smolders with a sensitivity that -- some argue -- gave the '80s lineup an intimacy lacking in subsequent incarnations. Within the ten-plus minute take, the moods drift through some especially startling contributions from Fripp. Belew identifies the next track as "Side one...cut one..."Neal and Jack and Me" before launching headlong through the propulsive Beat selection. Denizens of the Big Apple certainly seem to relate to the appropriately chaotic "Neurotica" as police whistles and guitar strings sound like tortured sirens punctuating Belew's warp-speed and otherwise ultra-modern rap. Dipping intoDiscipline once again are suitably inspired readings of "Elephant Talk" with Belew up to his usual animated aural alphabetic antics. After a forceful four-and-a-half minute introductory solo from Bruford, an intense "Indiscipline" would seemingly expel any and all reserved energies. Not so, as another unapologetically edgy "Sartori in Tangier" wraps up the Beat offerings and the aforementioned "Larks' Tongues in Aspic II" does the same for the set. The accompanying 12-page booklet contains photos taken at the venue by Levin as well an essay from band biographer Sid Smith.

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