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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover

DISCIPLINE

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 1843 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars Time to review one of the most influential albums of my life. Though I now realize that Robert Fripp and company were really inventing nothing new here, this was my first exposure to what I call "controlled chaos," to disciplined, demanding, highly intricate playing by multi-instrumentalists in polyrhythmic forms. To my senses, the song "Discipline" is the foundation piece of many, many future rock groups--even the Post Rock/Math Rock sub-genre. I know this is the album that got me to purchase a second generation (composite fretboard) Chapman Stick, the album that convinced my brother to add computerized drums to his already-rather-elaborate Ludwig kit, the album that convinced another brother to treat amplifier feedback as his "friend." And then of course, there are the live concerts we caught after this and the each of the next two albums came out: Mind-blowing! Stupefying! Though I'd seen Tony Levin before several times with Peter Gabriel's tours, these were the concerts at which I came into full awareness and understanding of what a genius and virtuoso he is. And, then, of course, there's my hero, Batterie Bill: living every beat as if it were his soul's expression. "Elephant Talk" is still a masterpiece of sonic and lyrical presentation (10/10). "Frame by Frame" has incredible musicianship with a pretty nice vocal melody (8/10). "Mate Kudasai" is gorgeous beyond belief (9/10). "Indiscipline" never fails to make me laugh?though it represents, for me, 'controlled chaos' at its must wild and untamed. Scary! (10/10). "Thela Hun Ginjeet" tells an incredibly engaging story through the medium of a Sony digital recorder! This one rocks! Just watch the mosh pit! (9/10) "Sheltering Sky" is an all-time favorite for its incredible melodies, the touching and expressive guitar weave and dialogue between Fripp and Belew (Fripp actually got up off his stool one time while playing this one live!) Plus it's got Bruford's incredible 'dancing marimba' rhythm. (10/10) "Discipline." The crown jewel. The song that signaled a revolution: Music with a brain. A beacon of human potential. A testament to man's highest intellectual creative potential. (10/10)

Four geniuses, each leaders, innovators and virtuosi at their respective instruments, collaborating (right, Robert?) to create music that this avid music listener had never heard (in that way) before. And then they were brave enough to take it on the road. For several years! Forget the stale experimental splurge that came out of King Crimson's earlier incarnation in the 60s and early 70s, this is the music for which KC should be remembered as their "peak."

Five stars, a masterpieces and one of the greatest contributions to progressive rock ever.

(Added later without the memory of having written the above review:)

Not only did Discipline began a new era of King Crimson, it introduced the world to a new kind of music. The front line of new technologies were being explored here by Messrs. Bruford (Simmons electronic drums), Levin (Chapman Stick envelope pusher), Belew (fretboard, feedback, taping, rhythm and looping experimentalist), and Fripp (guitar synth sounds and odd tempo rhythms) but more, the forms and formats of song presentation were also being tested as well as the polyrhythmic elements of world ethnic musics.

1. "Elephant Talk" (4:45) is highlighted by so many layers of jaw-dropping individual performances but also by Adrian Belew's erudite lists of words associated with "talk", each verse organized by alphabetic order, A through E, and by Belew's incredible guitar-produced "elephant" noises.

2. "Frame by Frame" (5:13) is distinguished by some incredible polyrhythmic, multi-tempo play and gorgeous vocals by Adrian (lead) and Tony (b vox). Though the song is a bit repetitive in its ABACAB form, it remains a fascinating display of instrumental discipline to me.

3. "Matte Kudasai" (3:49) is, seriously, IMHO, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Between Adrian's heart-wrenching bottleneck work and his gorgeous vocal telling the tale of a sad Japanese "kept woman" living in America waiting for her lover. Great little solo from Seņor Fripp as well.

4. "Indicscipline" (4:36) is, of course, highlighted by the crazed, crazy yet very disciplined drumming by M. Bruford and the frenzied, on-the-edge soloing by Fripp, as well as the humorous narration by Belew. And the quote, "I repeat myself when under stress! I repeat myself when under stress! I repeat myself when under stress! . . ."

5. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" (6:28) is another incredibly creative journey into the intensely focused mind and soul of wildman Adrian Belew. Built around a recording he made on a Sony digital micro-recorder while walking the streets of Manhattan, it revolves around hard driving rather straightforward rhythm and melody lines while displaying the awesome power and, again, (I have to use the word:) discipline of these four musical virtuosos. Next come my favorite two songs.

6. "The Sheltering Sky" (8:26) is an incredibly beautiful showcase of the disparate and yet complementary talents and styles of King Crimson, Version 2's two lead guitarists--all built around a hypnotic rhythm created by maestro Bill Bruford on a hand-held marimba. (Hand-held so Hyper-Bill could walk/dance around the stage/studio while playing.)

7. "Discipline" (5:03) is, to my mind, the single most important musical "song" of the 1980s. In it you can hear, see, experience and re-live the most concentrated, focused, disciplined, magically entwined and interwoven multiple melody and rhythm lines ever put to tape. Too bad Sir Robert never had enough trust in his own inner sense of time nor that of Maestro Bruford to let the track go without his metronomic click track, but, so be it. Belew and Fripp make it look like they're working their asses off on this one while the B.L.U.E. rhythmatists make it seem effortless. Amazing!

What people really fail to appreciate about this masterpiece of music creativity is the subtle yet complex and multi-layered contributions Tony Levin on his Chapman Stick made to each and every song. Every time I've seen this band perform it is always, ALWAYS Tony Levin that leaves me with the greatest feelings of respect and admiration. He is the glue to so many albums that I own, and yet no one really appreciates how much he contributes. By far and away the greatest "bass" player I've ever seen or heard.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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