King Crimson

Frame by Frame

Composed by Adrian Belew / Bill Bruford / Robert Fripp / Tony Levin

Song Review by

This track is among the first batch of new material performed by Discipline, the quartet that predated the '80s version of King Crimson. Even at this early stage, the roles within the band are firmly established. With clearly challenging material to work with, the quartet members Adrian Belew (guitar, vocals), Bill Bruford (drums), Tony Levin (bass, Chapman stick, vocals), and Robert Fripp (guitar) pool their vast musical resources. The results are wholly fulfilling, as this rapid-fire and densely orchestrated masterpiece demonstrates. According to Sid Smith's band bio, In the Court of King Crimson, Adrian Belew's lyrical inspiration hit close to home, resulting in his own decidedly Yankee observations of the overtly analytical nature of his Brit bandmates Fripp and Bruford. However, all theoretical factions disintegrate in light of the complex yet well maneuvered duel leads from Fripp and Belew. The growl and screech of Belew wholly complement Fripp's technical prowess as the two guitarists successfully push the envelope. "Frame by Frame" became an enthusiast favorite and was revived by both the King Crimson double trio in the '90s as well as the 2001 incarnation of the band. The call-and-response vocals are also notable in performance, featuring Tony Levin (1981-1995) and then Trey Gunn during their 2000 re-formation. Live versions from throughout the band's history are available on a variety of concert recordings. Among these is the band's very first live performance as Discipline on April 30, 1981 (Discipline: Live at Moles Club, 1981), the final '80s show on July 14, 1984 (Absent Lovers), and the '90s re-formation (Vrooom Vrooom).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Discipline 1981 EG Records 5:08
The Compact King Crimson 1987 EG Records 5:08
Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson 1991 Caroline Distribution 5:08
The Concise King Crimson 1993 Caroline Distribution 5:08