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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover

DISCIPLINE

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 1293 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nuke
5 stars One of the best albums ever made.

This album is more original then the debut, more technical then red, almost catchier then the beatles, and as trancy as any electronica album. This album belongs on my top 5 list easily. Hence my utmost confusion on seeing these negative reviews. How could anyone not like this album, love this album, listen to it over and over again? My only guess is that it is too unique and thus produces cognitive dissonance, and perhaps after getting over that, listeners can't comprehend it.

First, let me review the history here. This album is many years after red, and even though king crimson stopped, the band members didn't. For example, Fripp did his work with eno, david bowie, solo, the league of extraordinary gentlemen, ect. So, all of the band members have had enough time off that when they came back together, the dynamic has changed drastically. The biggest change is that King crimson shred it's symphonic leanings entirely, and instead is focused on pop. The second change is that all of the band members are huge on polymeters now. As a matter of fact, this album serves as a good introduction to polymeter. The concept of polymeter is that a band plays in 2 meters at once, such as 5/4 and 4/4. Maybe, the drums are in one, and the guitar is in another, for example (a typical set up for math rock bands). The key here is that the downbeats of the measures line up only once every 4 bars, or 5 bars (depending on what meter has the bars). The primary effect of this is a feeling of the rhythm sliding against itself. It produces a trance of sorts, and the best example of this is the title track. Watch a video of it on youtube if you can, and look at their facial expressions. Oh yeah, this music really puts you in the zone, expecially if you are playing it. Now, since polyrhythms and polymeters are an idea stolen from african/middle eastern music, King Crimson pays homage to that by injecting all sorts of african elements into the music. Specifically, this album takes a strong influence from gamelan music. Now, the popness of this album is due to the new guitarist, adrian belew. Anyone who has listened to his solo work knows that he is great at pop. Moreso then that, he is also a special effects guitarist. One of the many references to african music on here is adrian making elephant sounds on this album. Also, adrian belew has the lyrics duty, and boy oh boy, are his lyrics strange. Experimental, I should say.

This album starts out with a guitar thingimabob, and then bobs into one of the best grooves ever. This song, Elephant talk, is pure pop, and is a grreat dynamic opener. The next song is a great example of rhymic displacement. There is a complex riff that requires two inerlocking guitar parts to accomplish. Then, Robert shifts the riff one eighth note, and Adrian holds steady. All of a sudden, we have a completly different rhythm. It is hard to pick up on mediocre speakers, and you won't even notice it until a few listens to the album. Part of the joy of this album is trying to dissect the interlocking guitar parts and figure out who plays which. Matte Kusadi is my all time favorite King Crimson balled. I sing it in the shower sometimes. I even like it better then book of saturday. Nothing too complex, but rather just beauty. Indiscipline is a crazed sort of jam piece, which shows no restraint and is very fun. It shows off the band members skills. Then there is Thela Hun Ginjeet. If you put it through an anagram program, you will find that it is a scrambled Heat in the Jungle. It is a complex interlocked guitar riff at the beginning, and then it reverts to improvised background noise, while the foreground is a story about a scary encounter that adrian belew had in NY city. Apparently, Adrian ran in all worked up and told Robert this story while he was secretly recording him. It is like Faaip de Oiiad on Lateralus. After this song, there is a very nice long relaxing sort of trance like song. With a constant rhythm, it is basically the afro-pop equivalent to modal jazz, if that makes any sense. Then, finally, we get to the title track. The song Discipline is worth the price of the album alone. This is one of the most complicated songs ever written. The polymeter on this song is in full force, and it feels like the song is shifting out and back into focus. There are no vocals, because this song requires so much concentration to perform. The meter is something like 4/4 against 17/16. As you might be able to guess, that means that the two parts come together every 16 measures. It is somewhat more complicated then that, because the rhythems add up to 4/4 and 17/16, but sort of repeat within the measure. So, I haven't completly counted it out, but it might sound like it comes together after 3 measures, 3 measures, 4 measures, 3 measures, 3 measures, and 2 measures, for example. Or some similar combination. The point is that there are several levels of in focus and out of focus, but more like 4 levels, not 16. It is harder to explain, but easier to play. Anyways, Bill Bruford plays 17/16 on the slit drums (a modified african drum) and 4/ 4 on the feet. His performance on this song is memrable.

As a whole, this album doesn't appeal to everyone, which is an utter shame because it is one of the best albums ever recorded.

Nuke | 5/5 |

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