As the album title states, this compilation from progressive rock gurus King Crimson is concise, but is actually too concise to be worthy of a fair reflection of this band's monumental career. With only 14 songs, this best-of leaves out much of their material as they have a deep catalog of progressive music, and although a brief introduction is the point of this album, it's almost impossible to accomplish such a feat. The inclusion of classics like "21st Century Schizoid Man," "Epitaph," "In the Court of the Crimson King," and "Three of a Perfect Pair" are overly obvious, and the remaining tracks are just small portions of their prog travels. The abridged version of "Starless" is disappointing compared to the full-length original, and songs such as "Elephant Talk" and "Heartbeat" should be nestled amongst a larger field of King Crimson work so that their wide range of styles can be better appreciated. Even the liner notes specify this album as a quick fix of King Crimson music and strongly recommend the four-disc box set entitled The Essential King Crimson. While some artists can get away with short compilations that offer a sampling of their music, the same can't be said for King Crimson. With lineups that included such talents as Bill Bruford, Pete Sinfield, Tony Levin, and Robert Fripp, any compilation worthy of exploring this group's music should provide twice as many cuts, at least.
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne