I don't know how or why certain bands and album fall beneath the radar of what 'popular'. As for me, I have an excuse, being that I grew up in Tennessee, where country and Top-40 pop are played on the same stations. There probably wasn't enough space on those station's playlists to include something in the vein of King Crimson. There were a few 'rock only' stations, where you'd hear stuff along the lines of Talking Heads and The Police, as well as the usual list of new wave suspects. But now I can include the song Heartbeat among my early teen memories. It was a station in Kentucky of all places, WPBE I believe, where I'd sit up late at night and listen to stuff that sounded like it was from another planet. Bands like Romeo Void, DEVO, Ramones, Clash and Jim Carrol Band, to name a few. Funny thing is, I'd always attributed the song to the group ASIA (ain't that a hoot). I thought some of you might get a kick outta that.

Anyway, like Thrak, these two early 'discipline era' releases contain some great pop/rock tunes like the afore mentioned Heartbeat, such as Frame By Frame, Matte Kudasai, Two Hands, and the slightly over long Gabriel-esque The Howler. These songs are intermingled with instrumental songs that range from driving, beat oriented jazz-rock (the excellent Satori In Tangier) to over-rought fusion excersizes that are interesting enough for three or four minutes, but tend to go over long. Songs like Thela Hun Ginjeet and Nuerotica are a challenge to listen to with Adrian Belew's beatnik prose delivery, but he uses it to good effect portraying angst and uncertainty in the slow burning Waiting Man. But I suppose that those who like fusion jazz, these are probably ear candy. Along for the ride are quirky gems like Elephant Talk, Indiscipline and Neil and Jack and Me, which tend to be somewhat endearing in their wierdness. All songs have the trademark multi-textured rythms that are still evident more than ten years later on the Thrak album which I still favor over these two (so far).

I guess I'll have to be on the lookout for 3 Of A Perfect Pair. I have Power To Believe on the way, which I have read a couple of good reviews on a couple of websites. I'm amazed that Thrak didn't get more airtime than it did (I hear People from time to time). Even if one detests fusion style rock, there is a wealth of good tunage on Thrak, as well as the first two 'discipline' albums. Maybe Fripp should have stayed with the name Discipline. But then again, keeping the name YES didn't effect their comeback to prominence, who were going to use the moniker Cinema for their 90125 release.

If Thrak was your intro to King Crimson, then invest in the remastered '80s releases. If you have them and not Thrak, what are you waiting for?