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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 1843 ratings

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5 stars I do think it's good.

In history, in musical context, in relevance - this album could be observed from many corners. But I won't be comparing it with other KING CRIMSON periods or nothing of the kind. I'll just stick to music.

At the very beginning, I must say this review will be pretty much useless, and I won't say much about the music itself (comparisons, descriptions) because I can't describe music with my own words. However, I'm still inclined enough to write a review..

Have you ever been wondering WHAT happened with music in the 80's? Why it changed so drastically? Why it embraced new values (both musical -- compositional and production ones; as well as a new zeitgeist) so quickly? Why the old spirit evaporated so quickly, and how the musicians and music fans of the 70's managed to be in 80's?

Take a typical 70's record and take a typical 80's record. (Eagles' 'Hotel California' and Paul Young's 'No Parlez'?)

Most likely, they would sound quite different. Of course, stripped down to the bones, they're both rock records comprising drums, bass, guitar, vocals and verse-chorus structure. But when I say 'differences', It's not necessary to explain; you know what I'm talking about.

In the case of KING CRIMSON's 'Discipline', the record is a good balance between both worlds. Of course, it's undeniably an 80's record sound-wise, but taking a lot of 70's heritage in structure and songwriting. I am aware of very few ones that are a perfect bridge between two decades; Tull's 'A' comes to my mind, and perhaps Tangerine Dream's song 'Rising Runner', Holger Czukay, and perhaps a few others.

'Discipline' contains no keyboards. Which is unusual for a band that came from 70's prog rock movement, especially in the decade of the emphasized cheesy electronics.

'Discipline' is not inclining towards any particular trend - it's unique, yes, and we can say it's out of time (and ahead of its time too), but despite all the unusual guitar sounds, despite the unconventional structure, it's timbres are not too far away TALKING HEADS (as in a context of an 80's band) or many other bands of the time.

Yet, it sounds natural, spontaneous and concrete in it's timbres.

So much for the timbre. What about the songwriting, structures, technique?

Some (perhaps many) will disagree with the statement those ''Discipline's'' attributes are natural and spontaneous. I won't blame anybody who can hear on 'Discipline' only math and, well, discipline.

But I don't think so. You see, all the members of the line-up are outstanding musicians. Outstanding technicians. Such a degree of experimentation or complexity -- and 'Discipline' is not THAT complex -- they would maintain with ease, without letting the music to sound forced or overbearing.

My point is: I think they had great time in studio recording this album, as well as writing songs for it, making ideas, accepting, rejecting, changing.

There are tricks such is, for example, polyrhythm. No one can convince me they were struggling with it, almost fanatically struggling to whisper the bars in time measure while trying to overlap 7/8 with 4/4 and so on. (unlike a number of modern day prog bands - unfortunately!) They did it with easy, tapping their toes while playing, and actually you can hear there is no strict math, subtracting or adding 8th notes a the end of the piece because it turned out it's out of sync at the end of a verse - no, they did it in free form, letting their fingers play and continue a second verse naturally - to our own joy.

The next thing is another component of good songwriting: the lyrics.

Lyrics here are above the level of entertainment in pop music, it's art in its contemporary poetry form. And it's incredible how they fit the music, or vice versa. I think the music was crafted around the poetry rather than other way round, but I'm not sure. The poetry is modern, urban, introspective, varying from dramatic to sad, sometimes stripped down to the sheer weight of bare words, sometimes ornamented with alliterations; a perfect thing for a new era in music, energetic, mature, without being naive but experienced from the past. Again, natural and not overbearing.

The musical amalgam will provide us a fantastic journey --no, that's so 70's-- a fantastic observation into ones inner self, while giving us clever, bouncy hooks in all that complexity.

Should we mention the influences of (and on) punk, progressive rock, world music or fusion? No. That's completely misleading. For heavens sake, if someone is intelligent songwriter with at least a bit of eclecticism in its taste - of course it will pick influences from everywhere!

The music of 'Discipline' had been so overanalyzed since its release, and so hard tried to be pinned down by many, while in it's essence is just an album of good music and lyrics - written by very intelligent individuals.

clarke2001 | 5/5 |


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