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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover

DISCIPLINE

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 2063 ratings

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Cheesehoven
2 stars "I repeat myself when under stress", a line from Indiscipline, could be the motto of this album.

Like all prog bands King Crimson lost their way in the 80s. Their solution was quite different and more admirable than most of the others who went down the lazy radio-friendly aor route. They, at least, tried to produce inventive cutting edge music. The problem was that what counted as inventive in the 80s was so utterly different and inferior to that which had been inventive a decade earlier. Gone were the emotional climaxes, the musical development, contrasts between loud and quiet section and subtle interplay of old and modern instruments to be replaced by repeated patterns, constant synths and electronica and smooth production.

The album starts badly with "elephant talk" an awful track with sounds like Talking Heads on a bad day. This literally sets the pattern for the remaining pieces with its interlocking intricate guitars. Unfortunately the disastrous talking style stays around.

"Frame by frame" is an improvement, in that it has an appealing vocal melody on top of the guitar rhythms. It is not a track I would want to listen to very often though.

"Matte Kudesai" is a brief refreshing piece which escapes the patterns for a moment. An old school accompaniment frames an attractive tune. Undoubtedly the best track.

"Indiscipline" follows. This starts as though it might become an old KC track. Then the talking begins.

"Thela Hun Gingeet" is another pattern piece made even more annoying by having bits of audio recorded over it, a 1980s gimmick which does not stand up well to repeated listens. 6 and a half dull highly repetitious minutes.

The even longer "The sheltering sky" is a definite improvement. Fripp improvises over a subdued and hypnotic accompaniment. Although strong on atmosphere, it does not really go anywhere and outstays its 8 and a half minutes.

Back to the bars with 'Discipline' which I guess is a summary of the album. Interlocking repeating guitars again predominate this time lacking anything by way of melody or even an audio pasted over by way of distraction.

I suppose this must be counted an heroic failure for a prog band to be relevant, Or more accurately, it is highly successful in achieving what it set out to achieve. That is not however Prog. The musicianship is of a high standard but the constantly repeated patterns in most of the pieces wear thin after a while. There is very little variety in instrumentation and certain gimmicky effects such as talking do not withstand repeated listenings.

Cheesehoven | 2/5 |

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