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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 2037 ratings

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5 stars The year was 1981. A year out of high school, I had, just in the year preceding this one, started getting into King Crimson. The first record I bought was, naturally, In the Court of the Crimson King. Next came In the Wake of Poseidon. Then Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Then, over the course of a couple of months in 1980 I filled in the entire official discography (sans Earthbound) up till Red. Imagine my shock and my utter delight when my local record shop music pusher told me King Crimson had a new record. I was, after all, a Crimson junkie looking for my next fix. Intriguing crimson jacket with an impenetrable gordian knot like thing on it. Hmm.... the jacket seemed like a microcosm for the band. I get the thing home, out comes the record from the jacket and sleeve and it is placed eagerly on my turntable. Out comes the most bizarre repetitive two notes on a Roland guitar synth that get faster and faster to the point where they become a trill... then a very unusual repeated guitar phrase with sparse bass in the background, then the drums, and then comes that highed pitched mid-American voice....Talk, talk, it's only talk. My first reaction to this was WHAT THE @#!* IS THIS? Did I buy a mispackaged new wave or rap record in a King Crimson jacket? The music I was hearing on the first cut was constructed of brief repetitive minimalist phases and was polyrhythmic. So stunned was I that I needed to stop the record and look at its label to see if it matched the jacket and sleeve. It did. I scratched my head in bewilderment and amazement but started the record over again. This time, I put every preconceived notion about what I thought the record should be or would be out of my head, took the phone out of the wall, locked my door and listened..... and listened.... and listened again, to every track, every note, every nuance, every effect, and was blown away. In his creation of something with a total sense of disconnection to anything vaguely resembling 1960s or 1970s King Crimson, that bespectacled forbidding little man behind the guitar did it to me again.... he threw me a musical curveball as I stood at the plate knock- kneed and dumbfounded, and, I wasn't ready for it. Over the period of a couple of hours, I managed to regain some of my composure- having recovered from the initial shock. Subsequently, I discovered that " the more I listen to it, the more I like it.... I do think it's good. In fact, the more closely I study it, no matter how I take it apart, no matter how I break it down, it remains consistent... I wish you were here to see it." On Discipline, guitar master Fripp takes a back seat restrainedly in his stool as his younger and as equally technically talented bandmate Adrian Belew becomes the center of attention. The range of textures and sounds creatable by this guitar duo are incalculable. Most of the lead playing is Belew's, Fripp appearing quite content and serene to be playing the complex rhythms in the background. Tony Levin, bass guitar and Chapman stick virtuoso with his bald pate and mustache looks like the strongman at the circus and a strongman he is in handling the complex rhythms and maintaining the harmonic underpinnings of this Crimson incarnation. Bruford's usage of both tuned and untuned percussion is striking. For the folks who were expecting 1974 era King Crimson to be emanating from the grooves, the results will be totally disappointing. However, for those whose tastes are 'eclectic' in the true sense of the word, and whose tastes "progress" rather than stagnate over time, this recording may really stir you. From the perspective of this Crimhead, five stars.


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