King Crimson members. A slight bit jazzier and more full-colored than the first Young Person's Guide to Discipline, Sometimes God Smiles is bolstered by four amazingly attractive tracks from Be Bop Deluxe's Bill Nelson, with "The Strangest Things, the Strangest Times" coming out on top. King Crimson's contributions of "Three of a Perfect Pair" and "Easy Money" are passable tracks, but they can't hold a candle to cuts like Matt Seattle's "Lindisfarne" or the trip-tinged outer layer of Mr. McFall's Chamber's "Allegretto." Covering all the angles of guitar-formulated rock, jazz, and ambient-based music, Sometimes God Smiles takes these genres to appeasable extremes, with each group working in bits of blanketed synthesizers and assorted instrumental washes to heighten each song's elemental makeup. Void of any self-absorbed showiness or blatant pretentiousness, the music that makes up this sampler is both tantalizingly obscure and modernly expressive, with something different to be heard with each listen.
Jeez, that's some typing I had to do. All in all 30 tracks from the Discipline stable including tracks from albums released this year, that I do now know (like Bill Nelson). Also some tracks are featured from forthcoming releases.
Well I hope you will understand me not going through all the songs, especially since some of them are alreayd featured on this web page: 1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17, 22, 26 and 27, which I will therefore skip. First there's the stormy percussion and hectic keyboards of ProjeKct Two's Heavy Construction, then Costello/Langers Shipbuilding played in a rather classical way by Mr. McFall's Chamber. After the samples and quick percussion of Bill Nelson's Wild And Dizzy we come to the promising sound of the acoustic guitar Tony Geballe's Native Of The Rain. After the short pianic Profaned Sanctuary Of The Human Heart by Bill Nelson we continue with an oldy: the loud Of Bow And Drums with Belew's typical drawn-out vocals and Belew himself follows with the indeed filmic Score With No Film. After another piece by Nelson we come to Radical Dance's Sabre Dance that sounds a lot like Fripps Soundscapes with rhythm and really seems to have nothing to do with the all-familiar Sabre Dance (in fact the credits list Fripp, Mastelotto and David Singleton). The California Guitar Trio play the well-known Allegro Con Brio from Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 from their latest album. Mr. McFall's Chamber continue with Shostakovitch Allegretto and followed by the percussion of Prism from King Crimson's forthcoming live album Live In Mexico City. Another live track is 4(i) from Space Groove's Live At The Jazz Cafe, seemingly scheduled for release in early 1999. After this raucuous track Bill Nelson makes his final appearance with a somewhat funky track. One Jacob Heringman makes a lone, live appearance playing Toccata Seconda and is followed by a revamped 21st Century Schizoid Man which is only 50 seconds long. The album closes with the all-familiar Dinosaur, sounding quite classical at first, Matt Seattle's live performance on bagpipes, letr joined by acoustic guitar, of the Highlanderish Lindisfarne and Fripp's On My Mother's Birtday from the forthcoming Live On G3.
The booklet features information on all the releases sampled on this album, except the ones that have not been released.
Although I would want to make a slight exception for the classical pieces and Seattle's Lindisfarne on this album, for a compilation it has a distinctly consistent sound. All music is off the beaten path and the only really familiar sounding tracks are by King Crimson, far and away the best known and probably best-liked of the bands here. But it is close to wonderful that a compilation can be such that one does not even notice the going from one track to the next at times (such as going from Nelson's The Profaned Sanctuary Of The Human Heart to Hammill's Nothing Comes). As such this positively priced sampler is THE way to get to know the Discipline stable and to convince yourself that there might be something worthwhile on it. Although the music on this album is often more "interesting" to listen to, than "beautiful", I myself need no such convincing.
Track listing / Personnel:
1) King Crimson - Three Of A Perfect Pair - Absent Lovers 4.19
2) Adrian Belew - Never Enough - Belewprints 2.12
3) ProjeKct Two - Heavy Construction - Live Groove 2.12
4) Mr McFall's Chamber - Shipbuilding - Like The Milk 1.42
5) Bill Nelson - Wild And Dizzy - Atom Shop 1.23
6) Bruford Levin - Original Sin - Bruford Levin Upper Extremities 2.32
7) Tony Geballe - Native Of The Rain - Native Of The Rain 2.09
8) Bill Nelson - Profaned Santuary Of The Human Heart - What Now, What Next? 0.43
9) Peter Hammill - Nothing Comes - Everyone You Hold 2.06
10) Robert Fripp - Pie Jesu - Pie Jesu 2.56
11) Bill Bruford - Amethyst - If Summer Had Its Ghosts 2.59
12) Adrian Belew - Of Bow And Drum - Op Top Zoo Wah 3.06
13) Adrian Belew - Score With No Film - The Guitar As Orchestra 1.20
14) Bill Nelson - The Strangest Things, The Strangest Times - What Now, What Next? 1.52
15) Gorn, Levin, Marotta - Shepherd's Song - From The Caves Of The Iron Mountain 2.39
16) Radical Dance - Sabre Dance - Previously Unreleased 2.56
17) Robert Fripp - On The Approach Of Dbout - That Which Passes 0.29
18) California Guitar Trio - Allegro Con Brio, Symphony No. 5 - Pathways 2.58
19) Mr. McFall's Chamber - Allegretto - Like The Milk 1.57
20) King Crimson - Prism - Live In Mexico City 1.27
21) ProjeKct One - 4(i) - Live At The Jazz Cafe 4.12
22) ProjeKct Two - Space Groove 2 - Space Groove 2.44
23) Bill Nelson - Spinning Dizzy On The Dial - Atom Shop 1.59
24) Jacob Heringman - Toccata Seconda - Unreleased Live Performace 1.41
25) ProjeKct Two - 21st Century Schizoid Man - Live Groove 0.50
26) Bruford Levin - Interlude - Bruford Levin Upper Extremities 0.18
27) King Crimson - Easy Money - The Night Watch 6.04
28) King Crimson - Dinosaur - Live On Broadway 4.16
29) Matt Seattle - Lindisfarne - Out Of The Flames 2.34
30) Robert Fripp - On My Mother's Birthday - Live On G3 3.50