Don't ask me why I remember this, but I bought this record in the Friary shopping mall in Guildford in 1984. Maybe it's that the record looks more memorable than it sounds. But then, how do you explain that I remember seeing the 12" single from this album, Sleepless, in the Andy's Records stall on Cambridge market, and not buying it — only to regret that decision later, because I'd have loved to hear the dance mix of Sleepless? That mix was included with the 2001 CD re-issue (see Amazon link below), but I've still never heard it — thanks to licensing snafus, the track isn't available on iTunes or other download stores.
It's already a cliché to say it, but you never remember whether you first saw an album on Amazon, eMusic.com on 7Digital, do you?
On reflection, I think Robert Fripp was right when (if?) he said that this line-up of King Crimson really only fired on Discipline for this isn't half the album that is. You can hear it trying. Side 1 mostly wants to inhabit the same early '80s intelligent rock music space as Talking Heads, Japan or Peter Gabriel, but with songs that don't quite live up to what's being asked of them — Sleepless is fun, but take away the stonking bass riff and there's nothing much left. I like the last track on Side 1, Nuages, because it's a very Fripp instrumental that could slot into almost any period of his work were it not for the distinctive Bruford percussion.
Side 2 is where Crimson regresses to the style they copyrighted in the early '70s, or progresses towards the style they would amplify in the '90s. It's like heavy metal for people with physics PhDs. Only, the '80s production values mean that, while the profoundly complex time signatures are present and correct, the passion of the intent somehow isn't. It's just not heavy enough to convince.
Last month the 40th Anniversary Tour made its way round some of the USA. One show is already available for download and includes both Sleepless and the title track of this album. However, the latest entry in Fripp's diary, as I write, is 3rd August, so we don't yet have his version of how it all went. [Update, 2.30pm: report of day one now available.]
MusicBrainz entry for this album
Wikipedia entry for this album
Rate Your Music entry for this album
Listen to none of this album at Last.fm
Sound Unwound entry for this album