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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover

DISCIPLINE

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 1309 ratings

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LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Being a band that could easily walk away from making music, or return to making the same music they made before, or, like all their weaker-willed (ha) progressive peers like Yes and Genesis, turn to making pop music, Discipline is a refreshing album for King Crimson to make. You see, they not only reformed in the 80s, but they reimagined themselves and they progressed.

Fans of symphonic prog and the 70s incarnations of King Crimson, beware. There are no keyboards. There is no Greg Lake or John Wetton: just Adrian Belew, formerly seen often with Frank Zappa, a good singer and guitarist who writes some odd lyrics. But here we have the band reformed, with a couple new members, and with a completely different outlook on music. One of the key ingredients here that makes it so unique is the ubiquitous Tony Levin, an impressively mustached bassist with a serious thing for blowing minds with his Chapman Stick work. He lays down not rhythms but explosive pulsings of music that the band uses for polyrhythmic background. The energy level he brings to this band is something before completely unseen in the usually melancholic band. The aggression here is more focused, more upbeat than haunting. In all, King Crimson took the pressure to conform to pop and instead used the ideals of pop in a completely progressive way.

The album opens with the perfect showcase of Levin's talents. Elephant Talk is a fast-paced bass-driven tune with a very odd underlying beat. This song might turn a few more off because of Adrian Belew's insistence on spoken vocals. In the end, though, it is an entertaining track that proves that this band is not going to lay down and die. Discipline continues with Frame by Frame, a more progressive tune with more blistering bass and this time blistering guitar playing over the top of it. The drums also fill this track nicely. Belew's voice finally comes into full play, and we find that the man can really, really sing. He is the most technically skilled of any of the Crimson vocalists, even if he might not be as popular or famous as Lake or Wetton. Neat delays on the guitar create interesting polyrhythms, especially at the end of this song. Matte Kudasai picks up where Frame by Frame dramatically leaves off, this time treating us to a gentle ambianced track. Belew's vocals, if impressive on the previous track, are gorgeous on here, providing such a sad and haunted feeling that it really makes the song a memorable one. The instrumental anti-title track, Indiscipline, wanders in next, utilizing the similar sorts of wild interconnectedness of the first two songs to provide for some ingenious and complicated composition. Spoken words over the top of this might disappoint some fans, but they fit well.

The second side begins with the odd Thela Hun Ginjeet, a track which features both a lot of spoken words by Belew and an interesting harmonied chorus. The music is fascinating here, again; not quite as powerful or wild as some of the earlier tracks, but nicely melodic and insane when it needs to be. There is something of a jungle feel to this track, especially to the drumming. This might be the strongest song on the record. It then melts into The Sheltering Sky, the longest track here. This features a more traditional Crimson soundscape and some really melodic vibes. The album then closes with the title track, a much more laid back take on Indiscipline, with slower bass and drumming, playing with a single idea and developing it into a five minute instrumental. The guitar closes out this album with a terrific sound.

In all, this is Crimson's strongest album between Red and The Power to Believe. If you are interested in the band and wonder where they progress to, this is it. It's a very unique style of music, and anyone who appreciates Tony Levin on the bass will most likely enjoy his work here.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |

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