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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 1845 ratings

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5 stars Mindbogglingly King Crimonish: 10/10

KING CRIMSON is, in my opinion, the utmost emblematic band of progressive rock, mostly because they hold true to the genre's name and don't think twice before completely transforming their core and musical style.

It's important to mention, right away, that I think that Robert Fripp is KING CRIMSON and vice-versa. His mind is the combustible of KING CRIMSON's repertoire. From his mind comes the rough, brute ideas. The other musicians, of course, are also important because they help him to sculpt the band's music, but they're not inherent to the band. Maybe to an incarnation's musical style they might be, but not to KING CRIMSON as a musical project.

Anyway. The year is 1981 and whether or not willingly Fripp did it (again): he reinvented progressive rock (with DISCIPLINE). But that's strange. Fripp assumed prog and all its values were dead, so why would be "reinvent" it? And, most importantly, why did he resuscitate King Crimson, assuming it died after Red?

Well, apparently, Fripp feels restless when he's not experimenting. You see, his experience during 70s KING CRIMSON was, even if troubled, quite fulfilling - he was able to unleash his creativity with complete artistic freedom. However, for as much it was great to be an artist, the music industry grew tiresome for our British lad and he gave up. Simultaneously, the progressive movement was dying, and that means KING CRIMSON unavoidably would perish as well. After all, everything it represented would, in this dawning new era, be meaningless - what's the point of a group of dudes experimenting in an environment violent inventiveness isn't cherished, but actually frowned upon? An environment where radio-friendliness and cash making matters more? And so, in 1974, KING CRIMSON was disbanded. An unwise idea.

Fripp's spirit remained uneasy the following years and he tried to appease it in every way possible, going as far experimenting that hot new thing called New Wave(with the self-titled album of his ephemerous band 'The League of Gentlemen' on 1979). Although short, the experience with that band experience sufficed for Fripp to adapt to the new musical landscape. He decided he wanted to play New Wave, but add his own weirdizer touch to it.

Haunted by KING CRIMSON's ghost, he recruited a second guitarist (Adrian Belew) to prove, conclusively, the upcoming project DISCIPLINE was distinct from the 70s progressive rock legend. Unfruitfully. "In the first week of the rehearsal, I knew the band I was hearing. There was no doubt the band playing was King Crimson". And so KING CRIMSON was back from the death. At least semantical and philosophically (in the sense of being creative) because materialistically Fripp constantly stressed that "Sure, this is King Crimson. But [...] it's a modern rock band playing in 1981." It was important to root this new incarnation on the new conjecture, rather than nostalgically recall the past (as Neo-prog was doing at the time).

Well, that answers the question. But another relevant inquiry is brought: how does it sounds like ?

Ranging from puzzling African-inspired polyrhythms sections to deliciously delicate atmospheric gamelan (Asian, specifically, Indonesian) rock music, DISCIPLINE is different from anything KING CRIMSON had ever released, or that anyone had ever released, for that matter. New Wave is the main influence, but DISCIPLINE ends up being much more than that, an amalgam of styles, rather than just "progressive new wave" (a title appropriately convened to BEAT).

The swanky trait of the band is easily recognizable on Elephant Talk's experimentalist new wave, from its sarcastic lyrics to the complex funky background. The guitar solo announces a novelty, the conception & usage of the eerie Frippertronics, which can distort and "synthesize" the guitar far more wickedly than any pedal could ever do. Frame by Frame is commercially friendlier, even with its intricate structure. Matte Kudasai is introspective, melodic, and paradoxically warm and melancholic; Adrian Belew's emotive vocals, accompanied by occasional guitar swells, are able to create a strong atmosphere. The dissonant anger of Indiscipline is homologous to RED's or LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC's hard-rocking/borderline metal parts. I suppose that it was successful to appease some die-hard KING CRIMSON fans who must've listened to that and thought "it's not that bad... not at all". Or so I hope Thela Hun Gijeet is pretty funky but disoriented. I can't understand its purpose or goals. The Sheltering Sky is where the gamelan music strikes at full force through its multi-layered meditative ambiance, it even features slit drums. My favorite track, followed right after by the legendary namesake track, Discipline. Technically impressive and sonically intricate, Fripp's intention was to create an exercise where all instruments have equal importance, and such isonomy would be guaranteed through... you guessed it... discipline. An exercise where only the most disciplined musicians can keep their sh*t together through the hypnotic disorientating music.

DISCIPLINE's paramount achievement is to combine so much disparate musical styles in a fluid album, bonded by New Wave tendencies. Highly technical, progressive, but far from from inacessible or overly pretentious. Erudite yet lightheartedly enjoyable.

Quite an experience.

Luqueasaur | 5/5 |


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