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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 1843 ratings

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4 stars King Crimson - Discipline (1981)

The band had gone through their symphonic/jazz-rock phase, their proto-progmetal phase and now entered their modern phase after a pause of seven years (in which Robert Fripp did release his King Crimson related debut). Fripp would rather have named the band discipline, but the record companies believed otherwise. Bill Bruford (former Yes) is still on the drumkit, but bass(stick) player Tony Levin and guitarist/vocalist Andrew Belew (former Zappa) are new in the King Crimson line-up.

When it comes to the sound of the band this rendition of King Crimson is hardly recognizable. The band has a strait-forward eighties sound with funk-riff rhythms, guitar synthesizers, an eighties drum sound and wave-styled sound and vocals. This must have been quite a shock at the time, as I myself thirty years later (with experience with some other modern works of the band) was a bit uncomfortable at first. Still there are some Robert Fripp & King Crimson traits that are recognizable. The frantic guitar lines, the awkward guitar-solo style of Fripp with his own effects, the confronting lyrics and the quality that makes the band able to play hard & frantic as well as soft & subtle from time to time.

The songs. 'Elephant Talk' is the opener and we are quickly introduced with the frantic funk guitar rhythms and bass rolls. The spoken word lyrics of Belew are furious and give the song a sort of unique vibe. The instrumental passages are a bit strange as Fripp seems to have found a way to make the sound of an roaring elephant on his guitar. 'Frame by Frame' has some more up-tempo freak funk rhythms but this song also has a great melodic approach to the vocals. This suits my taste a bit more. 'Matte Kudasai' is a great ballad type song with floating atmospheres, nice chord progressions and sentimental vocals by Belew. A welcome intervention! 'Indiscipline' has a heavy main theme with an distorted electric metal sound. The couplet theme is quite brilliant with a break-up rhythm and interesting if not mysterious spoken words by Belew, just before entering the heavy them again. On side two 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' is in the vain of the two opening tracks of the album. The vocal arrangements are catchy, but the couplet theme also has some panicking vocals by Belew that I like quite much. On the major part of the song we get to listen to some spoken words about dangerous situations. 'The Sheltering Sky' is an instrumental track with an interesting repetitive chord riff and a free-jazz solo by Fripp that sounds like... I don't really know, it's just interesting. The percussion of Bruford works very good here. Slowly the track evolves into an exciting almost post-rock like track, albeit with strange solo's of Fripp. The ending track 'Discipline' is another instrumental track with many twin guitar riffs that doesn't do to much for me. Still an acceptable track.

Conclusion. This has been a good addition to my progressive rock collection. The music is very original, though I must admit I don't like every passage of this album. It's good to hear a band finding a relevant sound in such dark days of music development as the early eighties were. This is one of the latest excellent studio-albums of King Crimson, only the magnificent 'The Power to Believe' (2001) is a better album in my opinion. The album proves to have set the standard for the rest of King Crimson's career and Belew became one of most important members of the band. Four stars for this one, but approach with extreme care and give yourself time to acquire this new discipline of King Crimson.

friso | 4/5 |


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