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King Crimson - Discipline CD (album) cover

DISCIPLINE

King Crimson

Eclectic Prog


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5 stars Crimson's early '80's comeback LP and what an album it is. Fripp got together top notch musicians who recorded an album that is different to anything that Crimson had released previously, But still unmistakably King Crimson. Highly recommended.
Report this review (#15292)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
corbet
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars You simply can't mess with this album. For instance, Frame By Frame kills me every time I hear it, with Fripp's rapid-fire guitar patterns gunning me down while Belew unleashes ungodly noises from his guitar over top of it. Indiscipline is like a "Beginner's Guide to Bill Bruford." Sheltering Sky is bliss. This album is where Crimson needed to go, because with it we get a whole new era of Fripp, which is "math guitar guy." Have you heard his albums with the Crafty League of Guitarists? Those are some of my favorite KC albums, and they don't even have drums! Hello 1980's..
Report this review (#15293)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The album with which King Crimson was reborn in 1981 after a seven year absence, this was a very influential release, as a generation of budding guitarists could not help but be astonished by the interplay and pure discipline of Belew and Fripp's precise guitar craftsmanship. The two compliment each other perfectly, Fripp's precise repetative lines provoding the horizon for Belew to twist and wrench sounds from his guitar which were just unbelievable at the time, and are still excellent. Tony Levin and Bill Bruford work together in such a tightly interlocking manner that they have become almost exemplar of a tight rock rythm section. A well balanced and memorable collection of pieces, with some of their best known pieces including Frame by Frame, Elephant Talk (in which Belew finds a screaming elephant among his bag of guitar sounds), and Thela Hun Ginjeet, along with more laid back atmospheric pieces such as The Sheltering Sky and Matte Kudasai. Arguably their best. The KC Collectors releases through DGM include a Live in Berkely '82 disc that contains nearly the entire Discipline, and is a great example of them live.
Report this review (#15302)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
moonshinyknig
5 stars Have you noted, the first song (Elephant talk) is in 8/8 (4/4), the second (Frame by frame) is in 7/8, the third (Matte Kudasai) is in 6/8, the fourth (Indiscipline) after the beginning is in 5/4, the fifth (Thela hun Ginjeet) is in 4/4! :-) (The sheltering sky is in 8/8 [4/4] and discipline is full of meter changes...) A very original album, I think the most beautiful tracks are the crazy "Elephant talk", "Frame by frame", the sweet "Matte kudasai" and "Indiscipline". Great!
Report this review (#15306)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars In the early 80's Fripp started a new band and had planned for naming it Discipline , but at the last minute decided to rename it King Crimson. I personally wished he had not for, of all KC eras, this one is the one I like least, but this is only a personal view. With ex-KC member Bruford and ex-Gabriel sideman Tony Levin and Talking Heads-collab Adrian Belew, Fripp set out to make complex music and decided that the music would be more contemporary while retaining some of the typical Crimson characteristics. However, I find that this very line-up is possibly the most dated and has not aged that well: Everything of those three records spells early 80's.

From the David Byrne-like antics of Adrian Belew to the electronics percussions of Bruford to the rather peculiar (for the times) Chapman Stick of Levin, this album is full of experiments (which make this album progressive per-se) but those very experimental features have now become the biggest problem (IMHO) to enjoying this album. Elephant Talk (with the strange Elephant guitar wails), Frame By Frame and Thela Jun Ginjeet are the backbone of this album displaying some excellent technical musicianship in shorter and poppier tracks than ever before, but there are also some real yawners (Matte Kusadai) and some very irritating tracks (the title track and its anti-title track). As for the most adventurous track Sheltering Sky, it does not approach anywhere close to the superb preceeding album tracks. I remember seeing some live footage of them playing in front of a red curtain and the musicianship was really impressive, but man was that virtuosity ever cold. A bit like the feeling I get whenever I get to hear this album.

This version of Crimson is definitely too poppy for me and even sounds new wavish to these ears!! I truly believe that a real classic or a masterpiece prog album should have a timeless sound quality and sadly for Crimson , this is not the case with this album and the next two.

Report this review (#15307)
Posted Monday, February 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This disc was truly groundbreaking. It introduced the Chapman Stick to the world and Bruford played a nearly all electronic drum kit, with very little use of cymbals. Fripp gets a second guitarist (Adrian Belew) whose use of the Roland guitar synth creates new innovative sounds and textures. Belew's vocals add a new poppy twist to the King Crimson sound. Many stand out tracks and one killer instrumental.

The cover features one of the coolest Celtic knots ever. KC RULES!!!!

Report this review (#15287)
Posted Thursday, March 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Beat", "3 Of A Perfect Pair" & "Discipline"... 3 Of the classic CRIMSON prog albums which are too hard to distinguish for me. All 3 albums remain a highlight in my progressive rock collecting years and a milestone in the genre. Each album contain brilliant and highly sophisticated prog music with amazing musicianship. If you are not amazed with Fripp's Frippertronics, or Levin's commanding bass lines, or Belew's talents (too many to mention) or Brufords Jazz like complex drumming then there is something wrong with your head!. At times songs border on the line of Industrial genre, but are careful to never go over the edge. Highly conceptual and highly recommended!
Report this review (#15288)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, sets the beginning of a new era on progresive music, redesigs the standards an conceptions setting new "posibles" directions to follow. Duality of complex-simplicity; and delicate-vigorous, defines one of the master piece of Prog.
Report this review (#15289)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A modern "Art-rock" album, characterized by the incredible excursions of Levin and Bruford, a great use of electronic samples and a surprising change of route too, regarding the old Romantic albums (well actually I prefer these latter, but it never minds...). Adrian Belew is a good vocalist, sometimes his voice has a strange tone, in other circumstances is more clear, but anyway he's very interesting as a "disciplined" musician (He's also a good guitarist). The unique problem can be the modern sound for whom is not in the habit with this kind of music, but finally the output is exceptional.

Recommended!!

Report this review (#15296)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the real RED album!! First of all, it is very important to say that this record contains no keyboard! To make such a progressive rock album without keyboards in the 80's was a risky project! Nevertheless the unlikely feasible challenge was achieved! If you like fast and scattered electric guitar notes, combined with the unique varied Bruford's drums, then you should enjoy this album! Tony Levin amplifies the scattered mix of guitars by playing a very synchronized stick instrument. Levin also plays an honest bass, quite present. Adrian Belew's "frippian" style perfectly matches Fripp's more experimental, bizarre and darker one. Belew's lead vocals are EXCELLENT, sounding a bit like Bono of U2!! Bruford sometimes uses electronic drums, and I have noticed that he does not very often use the cymbals; so, the beat, although very complex, has a certain ancient tribe style. There are miscellaneous electric guitar sounds. Mostly the tracks are not catchy at all, even not emotional, except maybe "Matte Kudasai", a beautiful relaxing song enhanced by Belew's awesome lead vocals and ethereal volume effects on the guitars!

The rhythmic "Elephant talk" genuinely reproduces elephant sounds using a very unusual electric guitar sound! "Indiscipline" has very unpleasant & experimental guitar sounds; one can listen to a moody Belew talking to himself! On "Sheltering sky", the textures reveal the probable presence of synthesizer guitars. The last track, "Discipline", as the word explains, shows a very synchronized, structured and sequenced team work: Fripp, Belew and Levin play very fully interlocking scattered notes, supported by Bruford's more discreet drums, especially on the first part: it clearly reminds Gary Green of Gentle Giant at his best!! "Discipline" is among the best tracks of the record. "Frame by frame", containing Belew's memorable lead vocals, has a style similar to the "Discipline" track, except it is more accessible and catchy.

Report this review (#15328)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This playing on this record is so good that it cannot be touched to this day. If there wasn't a better rock band working at the time (or now) that I can think of. The cohesive, guitar interplay & rhythmic complexity was (is) inspired. "Indiscipline" is one of the baddest tunes ever. This was simply a new version of the ever evolving Crimson. Beat & TOAPP are also great albeit somewhat less "focused" perhaps. This lineup was & is to my mind the strongest ever and couldn't have gone further but Fripp is always intent on changing directions. "Absent Lovers" features this material in a live format - proving that these guys were the real deal. If you don't hear the quality in the this record you don't have ears.
Report this review (#15298)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There's the feeling that, on "Discipline", ROBERT FRIPP is finally able to execute the mix of mathematical precision and sonically stunning vision he always intended for KING CRIMSON. The last CRIMSON album ("Red", recorded in 1974) had revealed an evolution in the band's sound toward more tightly conceived and often lovely compositions, but that pales in comparison to the intricate, evocative arrangements found on here. Often plagued by unwieldy or undertrained lineups, the new KING CRIMSON is comprised of consummate professionals: the returning FRIPP and BILL BRUFORD are joined by ADRIAN BELEW (a distinctive guitarist who played with TALKING HEADS on the prescient "I Zimbra") and bassist/stick player TONY LEVIN (a veteran of countless sessions). Each player has clearly defined roles within the band: FRIPP and BRUFORD conduct numerous little musical transactions, complemented by LEVIN's undulating bass and BELEW's ululant guitar. As a vocalist, BELEW is no liability. "Matte Kudasai" shows him capable of rendering a sincere ballad, while "Indiscipline", "Elephant Talk" and "Thela Hun Ginjeet" lean toward intelligent narration. It may well be that KING CRIMSON and FRIPP's solo work have come to fruition on "Discipline".
Report this review (#15299)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars There was an astute observation made by Kile Hussey on this board about this album bearing the KC name. Originally this line up was to call itself Discipline. But once those Bruford rhythms and the trademark Fripptronics took over they had no choice but to take on their old moniker and giving their new name to the album title. In an article published in Trouser Press at the time of release this was Fripp's dream line up. He'd been wanting to work on a project with both Adrien Belew and Tony Levin for some time and the situation presented itself and the rest is history. This album came not without a cost, however. Belew nearly had an identity crisis induced nervous breakdown because he was trying too hard to be a member of Crimson rather than being himself. Bruford and Fripp were at each other's throats the entire time over the use of cymbals to the point that they could not be in the same room with each other. You can tell that Fripp had to remain tight fisted throughout production to keep the 2 guitar/Chapman Stick combination from sounding too cluttered. The end result was a classic that stretched out for new ground and reached it, but bears little resemblance to days of Crimson past. That's not nessisarily a bad thing, but confusion in the marketplace has it's disadvantages. And for those who are curious, Thela Hun Ginjeet is a true story. The panic you hear in Belew's voice is real.
Report this review (#15300)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Discipline was my introduction to King Crimson and since then I haven't looked back. While the album itself is was so different from anything I had heard before it did take some time to seep in. I would definitely consider this work a masterpiece, I don't know how I would explain it other then that. HIghlights would have to be: 'Frame by Frame', 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' and 'Indiscipline'. (what are highlights other then personal favorites?). This is a must have for any progressive music fan.
Report this review (#15301)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My introduction to KC and still my favorite- even though I prefer the rawness and 'feel' of the earlier 60s and 70s albums, "Discipline" is the most complete and flawless work KC has yet produced, an ideal combination of experimentation, instrumental brilliance and perfectly realized songs. "Beat" and "3 of a Perfect Pair", though also wonderful, seemed to tighten the reins more; on Discipline the instruments are allowed to spread out and weave a hypnotic tapestry that is organically psychedelic and yet embracing choice elements of the glossy, synthetic 80's. "Matte Kudasai" is one of my all-time most-loved songs, a tender but eccentric track; "The Sheltering Sky" is mesmerizing and exotic; "Indiscipline" is both heavy and lyrically intriguing, as is "Thela hun Ginjeet" which exemplifies the 'world-music' influence that creeps in throughout the album. Levin's bass (and the unique Chapman Stick) is one of the defining sounds of this album, and Bruford rolls and tinkles through a collection of percussion, rivalling grandmaster Neil Peart in complexity and precision and pehaps besting him in uniqueness. Belew remains my favorite guitarist to this day, but he has never shone as brightly as on this recording, contrasting against the intricate precision and genius of Fripp- a yin-yang dualism that I am convinced both have missed in subsequent days. I cannot find a single flaw on this release (every so often, the lyrics on "Elephant Talk" strike me as a tad too contrived, and this is extreme nit-picking!)Even the most minimal Prog collection should include this one.
Report this review (#15317)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album really begins a new era of the 80's prgressive era for King Crimson. The guitar work on this album is great. Weird stuff. They were very inventive and creative, therefore DISCIPLINE. I wish I had the money to buy a discipline shirt so I could support this great album.
Report this review (#15318)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars I would like to redo my review of this album. I made it intially when i was new here and new in my musical adventure. Now that I am more "mature" i think that i can do better. Now here we go:

Stunning. Absolute brillance here. This is THE best Crimson album. Other albums come close to it, esp. Larks' Toungues in Aspic and It The Court..., but none can surpass it. Obviously it is the best of the 80s Trilogy. The music is deffinatly different than anything before it. It was truely groundbreaking, so much so that they made three albums based on this sound. The introduction of Belew and Levin, and keeping Bruford, were very good decisions that Fripp made. Belew is excellent with vocals (writing and singing). Levin plays the stick really well. And of course Bruford is unmatched on drums. Deffinatly the best line-up Crimson ever had.

Now for the songs. All of them are excellent. Elephant Talk is a great opener. I love the lyrics, very clever and oringial. Belew really sings here, and Fripp is great with the giutars. I love the way he can make them sound. Frame By Frame is another classic. Great job by everyone here again. Matte Kudasai is very eerie. Wonderful snaking guiart work, and Belew is very gentle while singing. Another winner. Next is Indiscipline. Bruford is insane of the drums. The only reaction i can muster is Wow!. Again, great lyrics, a very mysterious oura is given out. "I like it". Next is the haunting and abrasive Thela Hun Ginjeet. I love the set up for this song. Belew went traveling the streets at night, for inspration, and encountered "gang" members. When he returned to the studio, Fripp had the genius to turn the recording device on when Belew was telling his tale. This put so much emotion into the song. Great bass line as well on here. Next is The Sheltering Sky. A wonderful (and first) instramental. Another eerie song. Fripp is fantastic on this song. Wonderful job by Bruford too. The final song is the title track Discipline. Another good song, and another instramental. It remindes me of Frame by Frame. Not that that is a bad thing. A solid song on all accounts.

This is an amazing album. Any Serious KC fan needs this album, as it set a path for thier direction in the 80s. Absoulte brillance (as i said). Recommended Higher than humanly possible.

Report this review (#15338)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Philo
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A fresh and unique album which saw King Crimson test new waters and Discipline could be well up there with their debut In The Court Of The Crimson King, Larks Tongues In Aspic and the powerful Red albums. King Crimson seemed dead and buried forever but in the early eighties under the moniker Discipline, Fripp regrouped but soon the name King Crimson re-emerged and they returned again after a six year absence. They definitely progressed further up the prog ladder with Discipline taking the lead from the New Wave, Fripp had worked with Brian Eno and David Bowie and forged his new discipline on those projects. "Matte Kudasai" is a stunning song and Adrian Belew's vocals are excellent throughout, something which always plagued King Crimson. Other highlights include "Frame by Frame" and "Thela Hun Ginjit", and the guitar work again is superb in execution and though both have very differing styles both Fripp and Belew compliment each other well without getting their egos in the way of each other and Bill Bruford's drumming is as tight as you would expect from the former Yes man. Memorable album that may take a few spins to get into.
Report this review (#15319)
Posted Saturday, August 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the primal reincarnation that every band might like. DISCIPLINE is the prefect way to express the unknown, the outregous, the magnificent, bieng located in the 80's, is a heel of a record, with a 90's feeling. There´s no doubt that Fripp is along-side Bowie in innovating, and this record shows it. Any single note, any single word is worth listening, form the great ELEPHANT TALK to the great closure DISCIPLINE, the record is a gamma of great and annoying colours. This is the prime record of the eighties, Nor YES neither GENESIS ould create such a complicated piece, they were focused with the mainstream, but KC is our hidden card in the sleeve. A jewel, a must and a timeless statement.
Report this review (#15320)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first saw this, yet another reincarnation of the King Crimson entity Frripp was reluctant or even perhaps nervous to resurect the name King Crimson and they were , for a while before the release of this album, touring under the name of Discipline. Bruford was back,Levin was recruited on bass and we had this strange man named Adrian on second guitar. Heavy tracks strap yourself into the ejection seat fo the introduction. The album continues on with Adrian Belew's bizarre lyrics particularly on Elephant Talk and Thela Hun Ginjeet. The listed tracklist on this site is not acurate and I shall contact the webmaster to make the necessarry corrections. A great King Crimson return from the dead. Do not hesitate to add this to add this to your progressive rock collection.
Report this review (#15322)
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars During the late 70s, popular music was undergoing rapid and massive changes. Almost overnight, punk and "new wave" had crashed onto the airwaves, and drop-kicked that god-awful disco back into the vacuous abyss from which it had slithered. The dancing, prancing, preening nose-candy crew, as well as many fans of classic "dinosaur" rock, may have lamented the changes (many of the reviewers for this site still express a sweeping disdain for "80s music," as if the output of that decade were all "of a piece"), but I welcomed them. I had found disco to be just about as interesting as watching paint dry, and was very glad to see many new groups like XTC, Talking Heads, U2, Simple Minds, and the Police displace the ubiquitous Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Eagles' "Hotel California." (A good enough song, but played WAY too often!)

Some old prog acts folded, unable to adapt to the altered climate, while others tried to re-shape their sounds to fit the new musical mold -- with mixed, but generally unsatisfactory results. King Crimson guitarist and helmsman Robert Fripp, never one to stick to formula, responded by reforming and revitalizing his pioneering band, and releasing a trio of fine new albums. DISCIPLINE, BEAT, and THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR took Crimson to drastically new places, but 1981's DISCIPLINE, the first of the lot, was the one that set the tone, and established a standard that the next two would not quite equal.

A very large part of DISCIPLINE's success is down to the new lineup. Prog master percussionist Bill Bruford had been lured back into the fold, ably manning his new electronic kit and conventional drums in his practiced, inimitable style. Fripp, on guitar and "devices," remained Fripp; as ever exploring new territories on his axe. Yet it was the inclusion of stalwart session bassist Tony Levin, and guitar "gee-whiz kid" Adrian Belew to the crew, that would prove to be Fripp's brilliant ace in the hole.

Levin had already made himself known to progressive rock fans on others' albums (notably, Peter Gabriel's first three discs), where his thunderous Chapman "stick" sound had provided a solid and instantly identifiable underpinning. The stick, first popularized by Levin, was a unique new instrument that allowed the bassist to perform both bass and "lead" parts simultaneously. (I was lucky enough to see him play the stick live with the "Yes in name only" Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe, and was amazed by the instrument's versatility. Obviously, much of what I had assumed was guitar on the 80s Crimson albums, had been produced by Levin and the stick!)

Vocalist and second guitarist Adrian Belew -- already established as a force to be reckoned with through his work with Zappa, Bowie, and Talking Heads, among others -- now brought his trademark synth axe, and feedback-laden, careening sound to the new incarnation of Crimson. (According to Fripp, the virtuoso American guitarist had been recruited "for the pop element.") As an added bonus, Belew's impassioned, David Byrne-esque vocals, and smart, often whimsical lyrics imparted a new vitality, engaging stage presence, and sense of humour to Crimson -- this band could now do anything!

Each of the seven tracks on DICIPLINE is a winner. The instantly likeable album opener "Elephant Talk," with its three-part, percussive stick and guitar riffs, clever, alliterative lyrics, and Belew generated "elephant" wailings and shrieks, takes the band to weird and wondrous new territory, and serves to loudly proclaim "the old King (Crimson) is dead -- long live the King!"

Next up, "Frame by Frame" keeps the newly upbeat mood and frantic pace going -- this is one terrific song! Please, play it "loud and proud!"

The sensitively-sung "Matte Kudasai" is simply lovely, and here Fripp serves up some of his tastiest licks since Crimson's vaunted early days. His sustained, looping "Frippertronic" effects, as developed and demonstrated on his ambient collaborations with Brian Eno, had now come into their own, and finally found their proper setting. Beautiful!

Track four, "Indiscipline," is a dangerous, menacing masterpiece. Levin's floor-shaking stick, Belew's paranoia-drenched vocals and lyrics (that could well tell the tale of my time with Prog Archives -- wink wink) and accomplished use of feedback, coupled with Bruford's frantic, insistent drumming, and Fripp's screaming lead, come together in a song fully as good as any the band have ever released. To quote the lyric, "I LIKE IT!"

Don't touch that dial (or volume knob!), because the best is yet to come: "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is perhaps my favourite of a first-rate set. The band is AMAZING here, and Belew's "true-life" narrative of his scary encounter with members of a street gang, all set to a driving "jungle" beat, is absorbing every time.

Number six, the evocative instrumental "The Sheltering Sky," reveals another new facet of Crimson. This is one to listen to in the dark -- great stuff!

Finally, the appropriately-named title track is a masterful exercise in four-part syncopation, as the drums, stick, and two guitars integrate perfectly in a seamless, infectious whole, and bring this excellent album to a lamentably early close -- would that there were seven more tracks! (Oh well, BEAT and THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR were soon to follow....)

DISCIPLINE is an absolute masterpiece of 80s progressive rock. It resoundingly demonstrated that the old bands could not only survive in the prevailing musical climate, but flourish, and take the genre to new and wonderful places. Essential!

Report this review (#15324)
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
three_of_a_pe
5 stars I don't need to tell you all the boring details. Its King Crimson's best work, along with their best lineup. Just listen to it and I'm sure you'd agree with me. It is amazing. I'd put this album as one of the best albums ever made and certainly one of my favorites. Have a listen and hopefully you will see its commanding greatness. Its a definite masterpiece. Everyone seems to think that In the Court is the best, I disagree with that. Its a flipping amazing album no doubt, but, its definitly not their best album. I'd hazard to guess it as around 2nd or 3rd, beaten out by Discipline.
Report this review (#15325)
Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There are times where a band wants to expand their material and their music, and sometimes to get this done they must make a 180º turn. Now the problem with that is that almost always the result is well.crap!!! Take Yes with (Beverly Hills) 90210 for example, or Genesis in the ´80. Well basically all the BIG names in prog pretty much sold out or sucked in the ´80...but there are also exceptions and no exception is bigger than King Crimson's Discipline! How is it possible that this is the same band (well not exactly the same...we all know KC members tend to change a lot) from the dark and heavy Lark's tongues in aspic makes this ...almost popish industrial music??? Well. I don't know, but the result is incredible!!!

Fripp, you freaki´genius, you have done it again!

Report this review (#15329)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars What the hell is this? I have read lots of good reviews of this album but i was very disapointed when i got this. "Discipline" barely sounds like King Crimson. Fripp and Brufords essence in the album is hard to find. None of the lush soundscapes and distortions that made "Red", "In the Court of the Crimson King" and other albums of the 70s so good. This is a very stripped down and repetitive, 80's sounding record. Slash from Gun's n Roses called it Mind Blowing, but when i listened to this album i just wanted to blow my brains out!

I could not believe i was listening to one of my beloved prog rock giants when I heard this. Adrian Belew from Talking Heads does not fit into the band at all! John Wetton and Greg Lake were much better vocalists than him. "Elephant Talk" displays a horrendous display of annoying vocals and lyrics. I don't know what the hell King Crimson were thinking on this album, nor how this album has recieved so many positive reviews. "Elephant Talk" is definetly the worst track, but it pretty much sets the standard guitar tone that is going to be heard on all the other tracks.

"Frame by Frame" and "Indiscipline" are some of the more interesting pieces on the album. The latter having some cool drumwork (though it is short and nothing compared to the work on Red) being ruined by Adrian talking over the song. Looks like he gave up on singing. Shouting and talking over some mindless guitar work is not going to make a decent track. This one really upset me as i thought it had an interesting start. The worst bit has to be "I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress". What the hell is that all about?

"Thela Hun Ginjeet" follows more of the same style guitar work. All the other albums had lots of variation and expansion on the sound of their instruments on each track. Most recognisably on their debut when the insane opening track with distorted guitar and vocals leads into a heartwarming display of great vocals and instrument work. "Discipline" offers the same guitar styles and sounds over and over again, and they don't sound like they have stretched themselves to include any of their wonderful guitar distortions, woodwind work and great lyrics and vocals. This one definetly deserves a miss! Very disapointing indeed!

Report this review (#15333)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sorry, gang, but this album had more impact on contemporary music than you're aware of and deserves recognition and acknowledgement for this in itself- Love him or tolerate him, Robert Fripp truly hit a sum greater than the parts of it's whole when he lined up the roster for this particular incarnation of KC. Adrian Belew alone is a double whammy; as a guitar player he is in a category by himself. As a general rule guitar players can't sing but he is blessed with an amazing voice, great tone and feel. Tony Levin was at the peak of his game, stepping into his own and not just as a highly paid side man. And Bill Bruford is of course, Bill Bruford. Fripp could've easliy created a "Robert Fripp Show", which the following albums have unfortunately degenerated into. One gets the sense (even if only projected and romantic) that this album was the result of a highly functional democracy.Strong, individual players coming together collectively, employing restraint woven with a forcefulness of purpose, like the celtic knot emblem on the cover, a Discipline. Sonically, this work is truly artistic. The choices made in engineering and production is a huge aspect of this genre of music and when this album came out there was nothing like it. It truly took you over. The force of the production coupled with the ensemble and individual performances, Bruford's less-is-more approach and Fripp's ingenious dissonance. The album as a whole influenced ALOT of musicians, if not inspiring them. (There's a difference,...) I'm not even going to go into live performance I saw of this tour which was transcendant.

This deserves to be listed in the Most Influential Works of the Early 80's (along with the 3rd Peter Gabriel album, My Life In The Bush of Ghosts by Eno & David Byrne, Gone to Earth by David Sylvian, The Love That Whirls by Bill Nelson and Walk Across The Rooftops by The Blue Nile.)

Report this review (#15334)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a fantastic album, prog or not. I suppose it is progressive because Krimson was breaking new ground with that one. You get the cutting-edge experimental stuff, sure - but the experiment succeeds so completely that on the second or third listen it's not experimental anymore. Each song is perfectly crafted and balanced between beat and interlude, cold metallic noise and warm textures, despair and optimism. Despite the new direction that KC was taking, their sound (based on dissonance and strangeness) is basically intact and is instantly recognizable. I suppose that New Wave had a big influence on KC at the time, but then so many prog bands have links to the New Wave movement (including Genesis and Yes), that it is no longer a "Cryme". It is without doubt a masterpiece because of the quality of the writing, arrangements and sound, as well as originality.
Report this review (#15335)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars That's the way the prog rock will survive. "Discipline" is a lesson: how to be the same when you are always different. Innovative and wonderful, "Discipline" shows a new face of Fripp`s creation. He gets a fantastic band, specially with the inclussion of the incredible guitar-composer-singer Adrian Belew, virtuosist Tony Levin and the legendary Bill Bruford. From "Elephant Talk" to "Disclipne", including "Frame by Frame" or "Indiscipline", the whole album it`s simply perfect.
Report this review (#15336)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yeah, here we go. The first KC studio album after RED. Seven years have gone by, bringing new wave and punk as the mainstream..... And KC evolves.For Fripp changed style. Experiences like those wonderful albums with Bowie, Eno, Gabriel, Summers, made our popular guitarist develop an incredible style of playing, which gave fresh air to his compositions.The man actually knew how to use those late seventies tecnologies - synths - to express music rather than enslaving it in freezing productions. Let's put this thing together with a new , skilled set of musicians ( Belew met during Bowie's " Lodger" sessions, Levin from the previous Gabriel's experiences, Brudford from well, the golden years of the King), and you got a stunning album. Elephant Talk , first track, just makes you aware this is not prog music in a sense of those "complicated 70s rock tunes". That's why I really can't think of prog rock as an existing genre. We got Belew screaming like a Byrnian crazy fool, over layers synth textures, electronic drums, whailing sticks, sparkles of neaon flashes and cold steel: Discipline defines itself a genre. Frame by frame, for example, it's a normal commercial pop tune, but boostered with hyper intelligent arrangements, Fripp's guitar going as fast as the light over interlocking guitar phrases (that's what I actually call virtuosism, dear prog metal fans). It's a catchy tune elevated to an excellent level by intelligent players. Matte Kudasai is wonderful: eigthies city lights, charming, with Belew rumorist guitar singing breathing loud, Paul Verlaine's seagull style. Indiscipline: so is it prog or not? I don't think sooooo...... Talikng Heads couldn't have done better on this. Belew voice and theatrical interpretation is majestic... a real man machine from the eighties!!! Solos are erupting, one of the few guys who actually KNOWS how to use a Strat bar. Tela hun gingeet is the same for Frame by Frame, pop tune elevated with that "real tape" Frippian taste and a powerful mid section........ Then the last 2 pearls: The sheltering sky and Discipline. The former is astonishing: the best thin KC has ever done in the eighites, really reaches something beyond prog (just like LTIA did) and touches the world of art. Technology really expands mind if used correctly. Those synths weren't used to emulate other instruments, but as an instrument of their kind. And, oh, those ethnic percussions, Fripp fingers flying fast over icy notes..... incredible. And Discipline? Intelligent. A little bit pretentious, but really intelligent: that must have been a killer in lives..... seeing 2 guitarist not tapping nor running at 90 mph with their guitars, and still having your jaw opened , wondering what's going on, means THIS ACTUALLY IS MUSIC. The album stops abrupting with the logical guitars lines hushing at the same second. Mathematically: it's a very, very rational album. Do listen to BELVA guys...... download it, copy it , don't care.. just listen to it!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#15341)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Yanns
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Rewrite number 6, I think? Oh well, who cares.

One thing you need to understand: This is not King Crimson. Or, at least, this isn't the King Crimson that became legendary in the prog world for their debut album through Red. This is, just, different. And, for me, not all that great. I really can't fathom why almost everybody here finds it to be a masterpiece. It simply eludes me. I've dropped this from a 3 to a 2 because I believe it's for the fans only. If you like Crim, by all means, move on to this, see what you think of it. If not, steer clear of this album.

Elephant Talk: First of all, I hate that noise that is supposed to sound like an elephant. Honestly, it isn't that good. It's annoying, actually. The song, as a whole, is decent. Belew doesn't sing here, either. He talks. For the whole song, it's talking. Great. Not a Crimson classic like most people call it.

Frame By Frame: The opening riff is pretty annoying for me. Belew starts to sing here, but I think he ranks behind (in no order) Lake, Haskell, Boz, and Wetton. He is their worst, in my opinion. Anywho, this seems to be a nice enough song, but, like most of the album, it doesn't pull me in.

Matte Kudasai: A pleasant track. The softest song on the album, and Belew's best song on this album. But, honestly, that's the most I can say for it. It's a nice, and even pretty at points, simple song. Not I Talk To The Wind beauty, though. That's untouchable. But, it's nice.

Indiscipline: Far and away the best song on the album. I really do enjoy this song a lot. Even Belew's speaking bits during the song are good and work well with the rest of the menace and hard-driving of the rest of the song. It makes up for a lot of the not-so-good stuff on this album, but not enough.

Thela Hun Ginjeet: Ok. When I was in West Virginia, I was talking with one of my rock-climbing guides about music. He was one of the few people I know that have heard of and liked King Crimson, so naturally, I jumped on the oppurtunity to talk about them. He told me how one of his friends had played the song Thela Hun Ginjeet on the guitar for him and his friends, and he was really enthusiastic about it. That deflated any energy I had to talk about the band. This song doesn't grip me. Belew's vocals are really really annoying here. And the talking bits are not good.

The Sheltering Sky: I enjoy this song at points. It has a nice melody at times. But then, that really high-pitched noise comes in over it and destroys it. I would enjoy the song far more if it wasn't there. But, it is. So I dislike it more than I would have.

Discipline: Fits its name. You need Discipline here. This is the song that, above all others on the album, doesn't grip me at all. I lose interest basically the second the song is put on. It just, ah, does nothing in the least bit for me. My mind goes somewhere else, and it comes back saying "That was a waste."

I had very high expectations for this album, having seen all the praising reviews for it. I got it at the same time I got Lizard and Red. Lizard I gave a 4. Red, I'm still unsure about, either a 4 or a 5. This, ugh, 2. I can't give it a 3. That would imply that it's decent. Eh, it's better than decent at points, to be honest. But overall, it's a less than decent album. It's for the fans of Crimson, nothing more, nothing less. 2/5.

Report this review (#15342)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The come-back album of the band in 1981. Their style has undergone an update production-style and has ex-Zappa's Adrian Belew as singer, who does an impressive job. Songs like Elephant Talk, Indiscreet and Tela Hun Ginjeet have a jagged feel and are typical of the band's overall mastery. Frame By Frame is one of their most impressive songs with excellent vocals and great fast bass. Thje Sheltering Sky is one of their very best lengthy instrumental songs with shimmering acoustics as the frame, but the keyboard sounds makes it slightly dated. 2 versions appear of Matte Kudasai with alternative lyrics. It's a decent ballad, but doesn't match up to the rest of the album. An impressive come-back.
Report this review (#15343)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though I'm not a fan of 80's aestethics, I'm a huge fan of the KING CRIMSON albums which they did during the early years of that decade. Their music fusions very different elements creating an unique, hypnotic realms of sounds and rhythms which made me very impressed. The wild improvisational desire is here restrained with tight disciplined principles in order to create more compact and analytical compositions. There's still place for improvisation, like in the track "Sheltering Sky", but the polyrhythmic passages of two guitars need exact structures in order to be played. Also the personnel of these records is awesome, TONY LEVIN is just so suberb bass player! It's difficult to name any favorite tracks, this is a very good quality piece of art! Maybe the title track is the most dullest one.
Report this review (#37360)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A phenomenal, awe-inspiring work from King Crimson. After the long hiatus following the release of the masterpiece Red, fans were left to wait for 8 years until they would here from King Crimson again. Originally, the lineup went by the name Discipline instead of King Crimson, but Robert Fripp decided it was time to bring back the name, so instead of the band name being Discipline, the album title became Discipline. And that is exactly what this album is, a much disciplined work that is drastically different from anything that Crimson had done up to that point. Gone are the improves and never ending instrumental sections, and they are replaced with rather tight and cohesive shorter works that are just as great as the tracks they did 10 years before. The debut of the lineup consisting of Adrian Belew, formerly of Frank Zappa and the Talking Heads, Bill Bruford, of Yes/Genesis/King Crimson/UK fame, Tony Levin, who had up to then worked with Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and David Bowie, and finally guitar mathematician Robert Fripp. This album features aggressive intricate stick lines from Levin, accurate and precision drumming from Bruford, outstanding vocal work and guitar synth work from Belew, and then great guitar work from Fripp. From a musical standpoint, you couldn't get any better musicians together to create such utterly original music before. The sounds created on this album were unheard of at the time, and they soon became the King Crimson staple during the following years.

The album opens up with Elephant Talk, which features aggressive guitar work from Fripp, a commanding and catchy bass line from Levin, spot on drumming from Bruford, and a standout performance from Belew. His rough spoken vocals are very reminiscent to Greg Lake's vocals on 21st Century Schizoid Man all those years ago. The guitar synth work from Belew on that track successfully mimics elephant sounds, which is a great addition to the band's overall sound. Other stand out tracks are Frame By Frame, which features a catchy and aggressive bass line from Levin, some very soft guitar work from Fripp and soft drum work from Bruford, and some great emotional vocals from Belew. This song, along with Thela Hun Ginjeet, feature polyrhythms as in the guitars are playing in 7/8 and the rhythm section is in 4/4. The next stand out track is Matte Kudasai, which features soaring guitar work from Belew, who's guitar work swells in and out from the slide he uses. Thela Hun Ginjeet is also a great track which features some very jungle inspired rhythms (the guitars are in 7/8 while the drums and bass are in 4/4) and great vocals and spoken dialogue from Belew, who retells a story of an encounter he had with a gang while he was recording the track. It in the end had total significance with this track. And the final stand out track is the Sheltering Sky, an over the top instrumental which is Bruford's highlight of the album, his percussion is quite simply some of the best he's ever done.

Overall, this is a superb effort from this incantation of King Crimson; more good things were to come from the group in the following years. This is one of my favorite Crimson albums, and it deserves no less than 5/5 because every track is utterly perfect in my opinion. They hit the ball out of the park with this one. 5/5.

Report this review (#39295)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Mid Seventies Mr. Fripp shocked the progrock world with his unexpected move to disband King Crimson, he seemed the only person who could find a good reason! Almost 10 years later Mr. Fripp delighted the progrock world with the exciting news that King Crimson was resurrected, .. AND MR. FRIPP SAW THAT THIS WAS GOOD! Their new album "Discipline" (originally the new name for this band) prooved that King Crimson was the only progrock dinosaur that was able to re-invent the name progressive rock, what an amazing album and what an important role for the creative and innovative guitarplayer Adrian Belew featuring a sensational elephant-like sound on his guitar on "Elephant talk". The climated on this album are very varied, from mellow with twanging guitars to sultry ("Matt kudasai") and propulsive ("Thela Hun Ginjeet"). And Mr. Fripp showcases a very distinctive guitarstyle, based upon repetetive scale-excercitions, UNIQUE! Of course I took my change to witness a King Crimson gig (for the very first time in my life), everybody was blown away by the creative power of this band! WHAT AN EXCITING AND VARIED PROGROCK ALBUM (and what a poor progrock sound from Genesis and Yes in those days!).
Report this review (#39311)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Album of announcement for 81 years "Discipline". The revival work that appears with the key word of "Drive To 1981" is a content that should be called a technical ethnical lock. The sound pulled out the liver at each conventional fan and pros and cons were created. It starts from "Elephant Talk" that the guitar is famous, "Frame By Frame" and Hevi tune "Indiscipline", etc. are collected, and the impact certainly. And, the stop is pierced with finale "Discipline". When the image of the sound in which roundness is worn passes of this finale and the cutting ending, it is non-human, brutal feeling and. It is still a sound of CRIMSON.
Report this review (#41245)
Posted Monday, August 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
kunangkunangku
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With tracks as unique and electrifying as "Elephant Talk", "Indiscipline" and "Thela Hun Ginjeet", not only this album easily made long-time fans delighted when it was released, but it also landed itself instantly in a position with which future albums of the band have to be measured. Here, by assembling quirky guitarist Adrian Belew, bass wizard Tony Levin and inimitable drummer Bill Bruford, the group founder Robert Fripp successfully set the new life of the group, which he disbanded in 1974.

The opener, "Elephant Talk", set the tone. It rocks. It moves. Levin do the "stick" (a bass-like instrument) magically, and, along with the ever-unpredictable drumming of Bruford, it drives the groove all the way to the end of the song. While Fripp and Belew, they deliver wonderful texture of guitar playing, combining their signature techniques and sound. Good thing add effectively: Belew's vocal somehow fit the music marvelously.

What follow after the first mind-blowing entry are even well-rounded songs with varied moods. All of them are arranged in such an order that the effect to the listeners is so gripping. All of them showcasing again the masterfully executed instrumentation. Some highlights are the complex guitar soundscaping "Frame by Frame", the heavy rocker "Indiscipline", the funky "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and the atmospheric "The Sheltering Sky".

Having such heavyweight materials, this album deserves all the praise that has been given to the other Crimson excellent efforts released previously.

Report this review (#42894)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't know how to say all the good feelings I have with this album. It's just a masterpiece! What blew me the most was the terrific bass section of Levin on Thela Hun Ginjeet but everything is fabulous. Drumwork is incredible, Fripp is playing very inspired and not irritating as he can be on some of his psychic deliriums and Belew has a very smooth and pleasant voice and adds a cool rythmic section as a second guitar player. Every song is a pure delight for your ears, A MUST!!!
Report this review (#43415)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very intelligent album, a new approach to music by the King Crimson of the 80's. It is the beginning of a new trilogy series together with Beat and Three of a Perfect pair. I consider this time this trilogy is more interdependent than the previous incarnations of the Crimson King. The reinvented way to play mr Fripp and mr Belew cycling parts, and the perfect cohesive drumming and bass by mr Bruford and mr Levin are developing a new language for the prog music. It is defenetly another mile stone.

Nevertheless it's more organic to listen to this album together with the other two, and so I would give a rate of 4 for the whole project.

Discipline (the song)in my point of seeing is a very mathematical song. The approach to it has to respect this development, less intuitive. Don't forget that RF consider music "from the mind, from the hearth, from the hands"...

Report this review (#45940)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't think anything could have prepared people for Crimson's decidedly progressive spin on new wave. (New wave can be progressive? Who new?) First time I heard this it was my least favorite KC album, but now I enjoy it as much as their classic era stuff. It's arguably their most challenging effort since Larks' Tounges in Aspic. Adrian Belew's vocals take some adjusting to (sounded uncomfortably close to David Byrne), but his guitar could give even Master Fripp a run for his money (which in turn challenges HIM to bring out the heavy artillery). Tony Levin's stickwork and Bruford's manic-but-never-flashy drums anchor the whole thing in place. Standout tracks include "Elephant Talk" "Thela Hun Ginjeet" (Les Claypool does a nice version of this one on Live Frogs) and "The Sheltering Sky". Don't be afraid of the fact that this one is from the 80's! Discipline is every bit as good as Crimson's classic era albums (in its own way), I highly recommend it.
Report this review (#52084)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Adapting to the post-punk experimentalism of the early 1980s with genuine intelligence and enthusiasm, Discipline remains one of King Crimson's definitive statements.

Although containing elements of the avant-funk of Talking Heads, the ethnic grooves of Peter Gabriel and the constantly shifting Minimalist rhythms of Steve Reich, this frequently thrilling and complex gem of Progressive music ultimately bears the unique imprint of the four highly individual and talented musicians at the heart of its creation.

A clean and uncluttered production allows the band's power and articulate spikiness to shine through unfettered, while Fripp and Belew's guitar playing is undeniably dazzling, yet never remotely exhibitionist.

The gloriously unexpected lyricism of The Sheltering Sky provides a hypnotic and impressive contrast to the rest of the album's inspired austerity.

A new sound then and still an influential one.

Report this review (#56205)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
davidlevinson
4 stars A very unique album by prog standards. Disipline is not prog in the way we know prog, It has an avant-garde type theme. Frame By Frame has got to be one of the best tracks on the disc. It has an anstract type intro.The tune has great guitar riffs in the beginning. One of the other songs I like is the song " The Sheltering Sky", very medative and a nice break from the vocals. Not to say Adrien Belew was bad, he was good for the album and a good guitarist as well. I do have to admit the opening song "Elephant Talk" Is a bit annoying and A.B. sounds to much like David Byrne, However, the other songs, The overall production and Bill Brufords superb drumming make up for it. A good Album from the later years from King Crimson
Report this review (#59312)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars To understand how "Discipline" came about, and why the new band isn't a reiteration of KC '73, you have to know that music has changed enormously between the '74 release of "Red" and the '80 revival of KC as a band. Fripp was fascinated by new wave music (see his two "League of Gentlemen" projects) and was eager to get out from under what he considered the "repressive" label of being a "progressive" band. He liked the idea of lightening up the new band's sound, moving away from the stentorian, monolithic sound of the early '70s lineup ("music to invade Mordor by," I've always called it, and yes, Crimheads, I love that lineup and listen to albums by that particular band regularly). But Fripp wanted to go in a different direction. For that matter, so did Bruford, who as much as he enjoyed the earlier band's music, didn't want to repeat what had gone before. Bruford brought in studio bassist Tony Levin, and Fripp brought Adrian Belew on board to play 2nd guitar, sing, and write lyrics. Belew was fresh from working with dance-new wave bands Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, and brought a lighter, poppy, more humorous feel to the band, exactly what Fripp wanted without actually going so far as risking mainstream acceptance.

The new band was originally called "Discipline," but as the band found its groove, Fripp realized that the band warranted being brought under the King Crimson rubric -- besides, Levin thought that the moniker was the best band name he'd ever heard.

Indeed, the band explored brand new turf, creating a hyperactive, guitar-driven "world music" sound radically different from the previous band, and in the process alienating many of its older fans. But Fripp is Fripp, and goes where he will. The first track, "Elephant Talk," serves as a warning shot to fans and critics alike that whatever the new band may be, it wasn't going to rework old ground. Crisp and high-tech, the song featured Belew's whimsical, David Byrne-flavored vocals, his wryly whimsical alliterative lyrics, and showcased Belew's "elephant guitar," a fun experiment with feedback, distortion, and neck-bending. Levin and Bruford showed that they could handle the slinky, sinuous rhythm with ease, while their contributions to the song hinted at the thunderous polyrhythms they would explore later on in the album. "Frame By Frame" features Fripp's and Belew's sharp, filigreed guitar intertwinings over a ratchety, energetic beat, along with second call-and-response vocals by Levin, showing that the new KC would be more of a vocal band than previous lineups. The lovely "Matte Kudasai," a deceptively simple Belew love song, works with Belew's keening "seagull" guitars over airy washes of Fripp's patented soundscape guitar sculptures. And then there's "Indiscipline." Any older fan whose teeth were ground to dust by now in frustration with what he was hearing must have leapt to his or her feet in glee. Here is the band in full battle mode, with frantic drum glissandos, an earthshaking bass line, and Fripp savagely wrenching runs and ostinatos from his overheated Gibson.

After catching your breath, you'd flip the LP over (no CDs when this puppy came out) and launch into a funky, nearly danceable "Thela Hun Ginjeet." Belew's spoken word vocals were recorded surreptitiously after Belew was nearly mugged in a NYC alley, and made it back to the studio to breathlessly tell his tale of near-woe to his listeners; the band decided to weave an urgent, urban-jungle instrumental around Belew's words. (The title is an anagram for "Heat in the Jungle." The sixth track is in many ways the centerpiece of the album. "The Sheltering Sky" features Bruford on African percussion, with Fripp and Belew exploring lovely guitar figures on a pair of Roland synthesized guitars. The final piece, "Discipline," is a five-minute masterpiece of meticulously arranged syncopation, with all four instruments circling and intertwining around Bruford's click track. It is a thing of beauty; Bach would have undoubtedly been pleased. It's the song I intend to have played at my funeral.

The album has a lot of tribal and "third world" influences, leading one critic to glibly label it a "guitar gamelan." But there's plenty of firepower to be had, plenty of staccato Fripp solos, howling Belew feedback, the then-unique sound of Levin's Chapman stick, and Bruford's impeccable, supersonic drum figures. The album broke so much new ground that the band would continue to explore the same ground over two other, somewhat lesser albums ("Beat" and "Three of a Perfect Pair"), and continue playing tracks from it for twenty years. It is a landmark album in myriad ways, both for Crimson and for progressive music in general. It's a testament to the excellence and the lasting power of this album that many, many Crimson fans formerly dedicated to the early '70s dark monomania were able, in time, to give their allegiance to the new band without swearing off their love for the earlier incarnation.

Any King Crimson fan worth his salt, who isn't completely devoted to either the 60s or 70s incarnations to the exclusion of all else Crimson, either has this in their collection, or has a gaping hole where this album should be. It is a necessity.

Report this review (#60033)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars My initial impression of Discipline was one of dissatisfaction and nearly shock. I had heard prior to buying the album that King Crimson had embraced the new wave sound, but I didn't really know what that meant. I had always thought of King Crimson as two bands; the bombastic, symphonic and jazz-influenced Crimson of the 60s and 70s, and the electronic, cutting-edge, and jazz-influenced Crimson of the 90s.

Though I had heard of the "new wave" Crimson, I still had hopes of Crimson being one or two of the previous eras mentioned, perhaps because I usually don't like it when a band I get accustomed to drastically changes their sound. So, when I first heard Discipline, I was displeased to say the least. I cast it aside and turned back to Red and In the Court of the Crimson King for awhile. But some forum members (you know who you are;) ) kept talking about how great Discipline was, and I gave it another listen. I was impressed! How I ever simply disregarded Discipline just because it is different is ridiculous, and I am a bit embarrassed to admit it.

The best way I can generally describe the sound of Discipline is either laid back, evolving jams or driving, jazzy rhythms. The drums are very crisp and the guitars are the most evidently "new wave." They sound very similar to those used on many Police albums. This is certainly a clear change from the King Crimson sound of the 60s and 70s, but is simply different, not better or worse in my opinion.

Another notable difference between Discipline and the earlier King Crimson albums, especially Red, is the overall lack of dissonance, with the exception of the superb "Indiscipline." This is fitting, and I feel Discipline would be too awkward if the was a permeating dissonance throughout the album.

"Elephant Talk," "Indiscipline," "and Thela Hun Ginjeet," are the up-tempo tracks and all are very catchy and upbeat. "Elephant Talk" is even quite humorous, noteworthy because King Crimson (Robert Fripp, more or less) have always taken things quite seriously up until now. The slower tracks are "Matte Kudesai" and "The Sheltering Sky," two excellent "chill-out" songs (!) that are very soothing and a bit hypnotic. "Discipline" and "Frame by Frame" fall somewhere between the fast and slow tempo songs and both are very well done. I especially like the brisk picking patterns of "Discipline."

I do not think Discipline is King Crimson's best album, but a great album nonetheless. It is certainly overlooked by some Crimson fans, and unjustly so. I do not suggest starting a King Crimson collection with Discipline, but be sure not to forget it! It may take some time and a good number of listens, but Discipline reveals itself as a modest masterpiece.

Report this review (#60064)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eclipse
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A very enjoyable album showing a new face by King Crimson. Adrian Belew's entrance (what a great vocalist and show man this guy is!) marks a new era, where the epic symphonic style gives room to a more accessible but still highly creative musical approach. Even if i prefer the preceeding albums much more, i have to admit the importance of Discipline for the band's carrer since it proved that King Crimson could enter the 80's without the wills of selling out like crazy as many other prog bands did. Sure, the songs are shorter, and much better structure, but they are definitely not pop, so you can still enjoy this without prejudice just because it was released in "that" decade. A worthy job by the kings.
Report this review (#63800)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
pianocomposer
4 stars In the 80s, Robert Fripp decided to name his newest band after the old one, even though there is very little in common between that old dinosaur rock and this amazing techno prog band. Discipline is the only work by King Crimson that I actually like. I think it's a combination of loving Adrian Belew's guitar sounds and really enjoying the synthesis of prog with semi-pop melodies that really put this one into the + category. Two other works from the 80s (Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair) aren't bad, but suffer from too much ambition and a lack of beautiful flow.

I just listened to (7) Discipline, a lovely progressive work without those pesky lyrics that recapitulates the theme of the entire album: not-too-difficult music and likeable melodies. (1) Elephant Talk has equally likeable music and clever Belew lyrics. People who hate progressive will like this song best of all because it's funny and a real toe tapper. (2) Frame by Frame always strikes me as a love song about making progress with a relationship. (3) Matte Kudasai is an unmemorable prog work. (5) Thela Hun Ginjeet is a rare KC work with lyrics in a foreign language. I find the repitition of the title phrase a little distracting, but the music is unforgettable. (4) Indicipline finds the band continuing a searing jam session in the same vein as Discipline, but more loose (certainly from Fripp's rigid perspective). (6) The sheltering sky is a wonderful mood piece that represents some of the best work of these four musicians working within Fripp's KC framework.

Report this review (#69744)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars unique, fun, clean, tight, brimming, clear, crisp, its ALL TALK, masterpiece, ESSENTIAL....GREAT...well crafted...its ALL TALK...bruford, belew, BRUHAHA....FRIPP, frippy fripp fripp. sen-sational. siiiiiintilating. E-motional.

3.5 stars

its weird, but its crimson. very fun album to listen to. some people dont like belew's vocals, but i love them and i think this is a very unique piece of music. 'elephant talk' is great, as is 'discipline' and 'thela hun ginjeet'

fun for everyone

Report this review (#70120)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this album is one of the biggest creations in the history of music... here, the multifacetic robert fripp, leads the band through a jungle of strange sounds, awsome and crazy percussions (courtesy of mr. bruford) and extravagant lyrics and animals sounds (courtsy of mr. belew). this album is absolutely wild... songs like elephant talk, indiscipline or thela hun ginjeet, transports you to an imaginary jungle full of savage and primitive animals. frame by frame and matte kudasai are more poppish, but it's not a critic, both are great pieces, one of my favourites into the pop genre (and i really love the paceful guitar of fripp in matte kudasai, and the bass of levin in frame by frame). the sheltering sky and discipline are very atmospherics and are more hard to digest than the other songs, but are really beautiful songs.

it's an absolutely innovative and unique album... one of the greatest efforts of the crimson king

Report this review (#70150)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first heard this album in 1981 I was completely taken off guard. I was heavily steeped in the progressive rock of bands like Yes, Rush, Genesis, ELP, Kansas, Gentle Giant, and I was already familiar with King Crimson having heard and loved Starless And Bible Black and Lark's Tongues In Aspic. Nothing, however, had prepared me for Discipline. To my ears this was something completely new and unique to progressive rock.

One of the first things I noticed was that the instrumentation was different from anything I'd heard in prog before. There were no keyboards and no orchestral instruments. The opening riff in the first song, Elephant Talk, is played on a Chapman Stick (an instrument completely unknown to me at the time) and the tone was so unfamiliar that I couldn't imagine how it was being produced. I remember thinking that it sounded "flexible", like a piece of sheet metal being flipped back and forth. Bass player/stickist Tony Levin immediately became one of my idols. I noticed that the drums didn't sound like any drumset I was used to either. It sounded like a drumset and a percussionist. The drummer, Bill Bruford, doesn't ride on cymbals or hi-hat on this album. Almost all of the riding is done on a roto-tom, an octoban, or an electronic drum. This gives the drumming a very ethnic percussion and, at the same time, a techno feel. To top it off, guitarists Fripp and Belew use guitar synthesizers to emulate orchestral textures, to imitate animal noises, and to create some frightening and beautiful tonality/discord.

Having surprised me with their sonic palette, they proceeded to stand me on my head with their lyrical style. Three of the songs on the album, Elephant Talk, Indiscipline, and Thela Hun Ginjeet, are delivered in a kind of spoken declamation combining Lewis Carroll like word games with stream of consciousness poetry. The two songs that are actually sung, Frame By Frame and Matte Kudusai, have lyrics that are both enigmatic and melancholy. I have no idea what they are referring to and the mystery makes them all the more intriguing.

To top it all off, the band experimented with polyphonic and polyrhythmic textures. The guitars and stick play individual syncopated melodic lines simultaneously, weaving in and out of each other in complicated patterns. The polyrhythmic figures occur when one or more of the members plays in a different time signature from the rest of the band resulting in a kind of rhythmic moire. These techniques are exploited to the extreme in the instrumental title track.

This album has the quality of sliding back and forth between extremes. It is at times obsessively precise, at other times loose and chaotic. At one time playful and silly, at another somber and serious. It has an ethnic/world music feel and a technological/cosmopolitan feel. It is alternately naive and jaded. One unifying factor throughout, however, is the amazing skill and creativity all four musicians is never compromised.

All of these aspects had a profound effect on me as a young listener and musician, so much so that it ultimately affected my taste, and my playing and composition style. When asked what ten albums I would want with me if I were stranded on a desert island, Discipline will always be included in the canon. It must be obvious at this point that without hesitation I would give this album a five star rating.

Report this review (#73293)
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I never thought a great deal of Adrian Belew, I had heard of his work with Frank Zappa and I also had one of his solo recordings and let me tell You I was not impresssed, but now after hearig this beautiful CD I must say they are three of a perfect pair, never mind Levin always the guest never the groom. This is simply pure heven from the experimental post modernist "The Sheltering Sky" a tribute I think to Paul Bowles, to the romantic prog "Matte Kudasai" and I must say the crime ridden city of "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is alive. I really don´t care for "Elephant Talk" to Belewsque for my taste but the overall it is a pleasure.
Report this review (#74720)
Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When this album came out, it did not really attract me, and it disappointed me because gone were the styles of early King Crimson sound of the seventies. I thought the kind of this music was more of a new wave type of music so I did not want to listen into deep. I put the cassette at my rack and never played it anymore. I blame the new guy under the name of Adrian Belew. My prog mate` in Bandung (at the time I was still in Bandung), Ian, tried to infuse me with good points about the album. Nah, am not interested - too new wave stuff.

Things changed significantly when couple of years later I saw the laser disc (LD) of King Crimson LIVE IN JAPAN - which later in the 2000 the label re-launched the show in the form of DVD set "Neal and Jack and Me" with other live set, Frejus. Because I never purchased the video of KC finally I bought the LD considering that I like Fripp and Bruford works. It blew me away at first sight because I did really enjoy the show - and in fact I like the Belew's guitar and singing style. You know what I like most about the show? The track titled "Indisciplned" which its studio version I usually called as an "unstructured" song because it's basically no melody. I was wrong. In fact, this is the best track from this album. I like the unusual time signatures especially when Bruford drum starts the song off and its further drum fills. Really marvelous.

In this newly reformed group King Crimson - after Jamie Muir (who inspired Jon Anderson to create Yes "Tales From Topographic Ocean) left King Crimson during "Lark's Tongue in Aspic" - composed new material which reflect the new direction. New line up with new music. All songs are great songs combining those with relatively complex composition such as "Indiscipline" as well as melodic one like "Matte Kudesai". All were composed in the same vein of music where bass lines by Tony Levin are so tight (which later appear in the group like Red Hot Chilli Pepper), jaw dropping drum work of Bruford. All were overlaid with two distinctive guitar styles with Belew at rough edge and Fripp using synthaxe which sounds like a keyboard. "Elephant Talk" was once my favorite as well.

Overall, this is the return of King Crimson with new music direction and well crafted composition. Nothing is similar with its previous work - that's why King Crimson is truly a progressive band. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75757)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars King Crimson - Discipline

This was the beginning of a new era, after symphonic and jazzy sound of "In the Court of the Crimson King", and after the powerful Wetton era with some masterpieces like "Red" or "Larks Tongues in Aspic", King Crimson in 1981 had a great change , a new line up ( again), but this was not only a change in line up, but a dramatic change musically talking, Adrian Belew was the new singer and guitarist, Tony Levin took the place of Wetton as a bassist, while Bill Bruford and Robert Fripp stayed with the band.

1981 was a year which made the beginning of a new era and style of King Crimson, "Discipline" was the guinea pig, this is the first of an 80`s trilogy, and for me the best of them. A guitar oriented sound, Adrian Belew has too his unique and special style to play guitar, and maybe he hasn't got the best voice, but its quite good, and Tony Levin who worded with Peter Gabriel before joining King Crimson, is one of my favourite bass players, he and his bass makes a perfect couple, also he is well - known for playing stick, maybe he is the best stick player around, and that particular sound of Levin skill made another great point of this change.

"Elephant Talk" is the first song, when I saw a video of them playing this song, I was amazed because I couldn't believe the sound and how the hell can you play that intro, this is the first appearance of Mr. Levin stick, it is a great song, short song compared for example with Starless and 21st century for example, and much more guitar oriented, this is a clear example of how the album is. "Frame by Frame" is another super guitar oriented song, Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew with both guitars playing fast chords at the same time, but each one in different time and tempo, which makes a great sound, I love this song, in fact I can play it in guitar, but it would sound better if another friend learn it. "Matte Kudasai", is a beautiful song, it has some strange sounds, like if you are hearing the winda nice diluted sound of guitars, it is a nice song to enjoy and maybe to rest, also the lyrics are good. Indiscipline is probably the weirdest song, it so complicated because all the members are playing at the same time, but each one for his own side, drums here, bass there, but always gather to make an special and unique sound, it stars so soft, with a slow sound of instruments and soft vocals, suddenly all became crazy and play louder and louder, it is amazing. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is another great guitar oriented song, I don't really know what the title of the track means, but anyway, it has good sound with vocals between great drumming, it looks like if Adrian Belew was talking to you. "The Sheltering Sky" Is an instrumental song, it is really good because in the most of KC albums they have done at least one instrumental song or if not great instrumental passages, this song is absolutely beautiful, it has the sound of congas and a particular sound, I don't know, but it sounds like If you were blowing a leaf, while a nice guitar is sounding, and also this is the largest song, great song to enjoy. "Discipline" is the last song, another instrumental song, but it has a powerful guitar oriented sound, I love the bass here , but guitars takes the show here, it sounds like if five guitars were playing at the same time, it is really amazing.

So after all, I like much more Wetton`s era , and what if he could stayed in the band, maybe another masterpiece we don't know, but with Discipline they marked a completely and great new sound, I really love this album, it was promising for that time, but the next 2 albums are not as good as this. Discipline is highly recommended to all of you, I'm going to give it 4 stars. Great! Excellent addition to any prog lover.

Report this review (#76142)
Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars First of all, a word of warning to all KC newcomers: this album has very little (if any) connection to the band's '69 masterpiece, the legendary "In the Court of the Crimson King", which reputedly marked the official birth of the symphonic prog era. The only thing those two records - separated by 12 years - have in common is the presence of KC's mastermind (or just plain 'master'?), groundbreaking guitarist Robert Fripp. As to the rest... no mellotrons or other such keyboards, no majestic vocal performances, no visionary lyrics. Just a rythm section to die for, two gifted guitarists that try to outdo each other at every opportunity, an incredibly expressive vocalist with an endearingly lazy American twang, and oodles of intriguing ethnic influences - notably Javanese gamelan music.

On the other hand, it would not be entirely correct to say that "Discipline" has absolutely no roots in KC's '70s production. Indeed, I would dare say that it takes up where "Lark's Tongue in Aspic" left off - there's more than a touch of Jamie Muir's crazy percussive brilliance in Bruford's performance on this album. As a matter of fact, I think Muir would have felt completely at home on this record, especially on the exotically atmospheric masterpiece that is "The Sheltering Sky".

One extremely clear influence on "Discipline", particularly on the vocal tracks, is that of celebrated New Wave band Talking Heads, easily one of the most 'progressive' (in the true sense of the word) representatives of that so-called, post-punk movement. It's no wonder, seen as guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew collaborated for some time with TH before being invited by Fripp to join the new incarnation of KC. Belew's manic, emotionally-charged vocal delivery is noticeably influenced by David Byrne's, although I have to say that Belew is vastly superior as a vocalist. Needless to say, his style is many miles removed from Greg Lake's smooth, quintessentially English tones, or John Wetton's rawer yet powerful delivery: his vocals may be an acquired taste, but they are much better than they're usually given credit for - and, most important of all, they suit the music perfectly.

It must be pointed out, however, that the tracks which feature more or less traditional singing amount to only half of the album. As a matter of fact, the true strength of "Discipline" lies in its magnificent instrumental tracks: the tense, electrical storm of "Indiscipline", slashed by almost violent guitar flurries and featuring a slightly disturbing recording of Belew's voice repeating "I repeat myself when under stress"; the ambient-influenced, African-tinged mood piece of "The Sheltering Sky" (inspired by Paul Bowles' novel of the same title, like The Police's "Tea in the Sahara"), which provides a welcome respite from the overall intensity of the album; and the title-track, which rounds things off in style with Fripp and Belew's duelling guitars weaving in and out of Bruford's and Chapman stick master Tony Levin's thunderous, intricate rhythmic background.

Of the tracks featuring vocals, my least favourite is the atmospheric, laid-back ballad "Matte Kudasai", an alternative version of which is provided as a bonus track. It's not a bad song by any means, showing Belew's softer side as a vocalist: it's just that it feels somewhat out of place among the other, more exciting and innovative tracks. On the contrary, opener "Elephant Talk", spiked by all sorts of weird noises (courtesy of Belew's notorious "elephant guitar"), a real vocal tour de force, with Belew half-singing, half-reciting his whimsical lyrics, sets immediately the scene, making it clear what the new KC are all about. Much in the same vein are the following "Frame by Frame", dynamic though not as frantic; and the funky, percussion-driven "Thela Hun Ginjeet", featuring a recording of Belew's spoken narration of his narrow escape from muggers in NYC.

KC have always been quite famous for their stunning cover art. "Discipline" is no exception, though - just like the musical content of the album - the cover is much more minimalistic and streamlined than the baroque masterpieces that were ITCOTCK and "Lizard". Incidentally, the background colour is that shade of dark red commonly known as crimson, framing a spectacularly intricate Celtic knot. Deceptively simple, extremely stylish, just like the album it contains. However, don't be mistaken into thinking that "Discipline" might be a triumph of style over substance: although it may not everyone's cup of tea, it is a truly progressive album, one of the real masterpieces of any subgenre. Essential.

Report this review (#81433)
Posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars When Robert Fripp decided to build a new band, he wanted his band to be called "Discipline", and not the original name, "King Crimson", because he taught it would be too controversial. After a while, in 1981, he & his band decided the name "King Crimson" is more honorable, but they named to the album "Discipline" to not give up on the name.

The four did their rehearsals and recorded the material in a month, gone to a tour in Europe, then came back to record it in two weeks. After finishing, they toured again in the USA & Japan. The music that came out from the new line-up of "King Crimson" was overwhelming, polyrythmic, rationalist & complicated. They took an inspiration from old african cultures, when there's no really a word for "musician" out there, because EVERYONE is in the music business... They are not busy being stars or professionals, they are collaborating to do music, and music only.

The dialogue between two guitars - the one held by Fripp vs the one held by Belew, added a new dimension to the music. The couple used different forms of beat & playing, small spaces between each other, From planned to freestyle, between lagato & stackato. The musicians haven't told a dramatic story - with beginning, middle & an end, but mainly used the time meaning to create an accumulating effect of colours & layers. The symphonic orchestra & the european legacy are not a part in this story - Fripp tried to taste from other cultures.

One example for improvisating is "Thela Hun Gingeet", a really innovative track - which his name is a mix of letters from the song, which called "Heat In The Jungle". Belew decided, after the known murder of John Lennon, that he wanted to give a musical statement about the growing violence in the streets. The music, however, is far more complicated, The composing created a stress between the 4/4 tempo, and 7/8. The results are two diagonal lines who meet each other in some points, and then disappear. "Discipline" is performed, in a 17/4 beat, when fast 1/16 chords are played - simultaneously - and blurring the non-symmetrical.

In the end, it's a clever, revolutionary & sharp album. In fact, he had invented the "Crimson" sound for the next three decades. It's a more of a "Hi-Tech" Rock, also with pop ingridents, and less naive that rock that been done in the 70's. The album kept the musical consistency & the open mind also. Too bad that the next Crimson albums, that gone out in the 1980's - "Beat" & "Three Of A Perfect Pair") were just a shallow copy of the fresh "Discipline", But i will deal with that later... The album simply deserves it - 4 stars.

Report this review (#83561)
Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow.

This is the fourth KC album that I've heard, the others being their debut, Larks, and Red, and it stands far above and beyond the levels of talent and musicianship of the latters.

There are albums which I feel sort of "do it" for me, meaning that they contain a little bit of everything that meets my musical fancy. Discipline has it's moments of maniacal, apocalyptic chaos, soft and almost melancholic ambience, and shifty rhythm. All three of this parts come together in one flawless album that doesn't have incredible length, but still feels ultimately satisfying. The fact that this was the only album Mr. FRIPP was completely satisfied with says tons about it as well. Anyways, to the music itself:

The album starts off with a most unusual number, Elephant Talk. You'll notice right off that they're not joking around with this one - Adrian BELEW has the knack of perfectly intertwining not only his guitar with FRIPP's, but simply talking a poetic, metaphoric narrative over the music. Awesome.

The second cut, Frame by Frame, is basically the album's best example of the harmonic playing abilites of Robert FRIPP and Adrian BELEW. They mix it perfectly here, and the vocals aren't too shabby either. Not the best, but very "KC-ish". Another fantastic number.

The first musical interlude in the album is the third cut, Matte Kudasai. This cut has a very atmospheric, ambient, and beatifully melancholic at the same time. This one just sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. Its easily the most accessible song on the album, and rightfully so.

Now all hell breaks loose. The fourth cut, Indiscipline, hearkens back to the instrumental talents from previous songs, like Larks Tongues in Aspic parts one and two. It's obvious the guitar duo wanted to play and play LOUD in this one, and it certainly fits the mood of the poem being voice over it by Adrian BELEW himself - it was a letter written to him by his wife about a painting, but it can easily be associated with the name of the song itself. Just listen and be awed. Listen to Mr. BRUFORD go.

The fifth cut, Thela Hun Ginjeet, follows the same style of Indisicpline, but the instrumental section is very weird - in a good sense. This is the most experimental song on the album, and the story Adrian tells throughout is worth hearing also. The weakest link on the album, but still great overall.

The sixth cut, The Sheltering Sky, is what I'm really talking about. I've always been a fan of the pseudo-ambient playing style, and they do it perfectly here. The guitar textures are done remarkably well, and the 8+ minutes of music are never boring for a second. Easily the most beautiful song on the album, and my favorite as well.

Last, but definitely not least, we have the title track. What a perfect way to end the album - heavy guitar lines, warping time-signatures, not to mention a perfect instrumental harmony. This one's considered as one of KC's best songs, and it definitely shows. Flawless.

All in all, this album has come to be one of my all time favorites, out of the 90+ prog albums I own. It was good enough to take the spot of Red, my previous KC favorite. If you're a KC fan and haven't heard Discipline, do yourself a favor and, well, uhh....do it!

-UltimaPrime

Report this review (#83785)
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars With this album, KC had reinvented themselves yet again. Following the break up of the previous lineup, Fripp began working as a session musician with many famous artists, including David Bowie and Peter Gabriel. It was during these sessions that he met two musicians, Adrian Belew and Tony Levin. The reformed KC included these two newcomers, as well as the returning Bruford, who had also done some reinventing of his own style. From this the new King Crimson was born.

This is, without a doubt, the strongest lineup King Crimson has ever had. The musicians playing works together perfectly. Bruford's use of electronic drums and the unique sound of Tony Levin's Chapman Stick provide one of the strongest rhythm sections ever. With Belew, Fripp had finally found the perfect frontman and partner. Both musicians contradict and compliment each other so well. Their styles are similar, but Fripp is the more experienced, subdued, and "disciplined" of the two, while Belew is his younger, wilder, "indisciplined" alter-ego.

With this album, KC had adapted to the new wave sound, influenced by Belew's work with Talking Heads, and also influenced by world music, inspired by Fripp and Levin's work with Peter Gabriel. The music has very little to do with the "prog rock" of the 60's and 70's. However, compared to what Yes, Genesis, and Asia were doing at the exact same time, King Crimson was the only band to continue to make music that was truly "progressive". Their sound was unique and challenging, and also very impressive from a technical standpoint. Some pop hooks are included, but the band refuses to "dumb down" their sound to each a larger audience.

The opening track, "Elephant Talk", immediately demonstrates what the new KC is all about. It begins with some impressive Chapman stick soling from Levin, who then begins the songs catchy bassline. Belew's vocals, despite being spoken word, are very rhythmic and musical. His lyrics are very strange and unique, representative of his personality, and he even mocks his own lyrical style at one point ("debate, discussion, these are words with a D this time!". Belew and Fripp both demonstrate their guitar skills, each with their own unique solo. Belew's solo is a strange sonic exploration with strange synth guitar noises. Fripp's solo is aggressive, fast, and technical, this again demonstrates their unique personalities fitting together perfectly.

The next two tracks, "Frame By Frame" and "Matte Kudasai", are the two most commercial sounding on the album. "Frame By Frame" contains very unique guitar interplay between Fripp and Belew, and Fripp also demonstrates this ability to create soundscapes with his guitar. "Matte Kudasai" is the album's only ballad, and while not very impressive lyrically, it does demonstrate Belew's vocal abilities very well. Belew also has some very impressive synth guitar parts, creating sounds that might have been made with a violin or saxophone in one of the previous Crimson lineups.

"Indiscipline" is the strongest track on the album, and closest the band comes to emulating the spirit of the earlier Crimsons. The song alternates between a softly played rhythm accompanied by Belews spoken word vocals. His voice starts out early calm, but as soon as he starts shouting, the band follows with an explosive jam, and some of the most violent aggressive solos Fripp has ever played.

This is followed by "Thela Hun Ginjeet", a fast, energetic song, containing many tribal sounds and elements. This song, while sounding straightforward, is also deceptively complex, with Fripp's odd and amazing lead riff accompanying Belew's simpler rhythms.

The album ends with two instrumentals, "The Sheltering Sky" and Discipline". Both of these pieces sound more clam and subdued than anything else on the album, but they are certainly not boring. Bruford and Levin continue to demonstrate their amazing talents as one of rock's most unique rhythm sections. On "The Sheltering Sky", Belew continues to impress with his unique synth guitar sounds. On "Discipline" we hear the band playing together in perfect harmony, all of the musicians playing their roles perfectly and complimenting each other very well.

This is by far King Crimsons strongest album, but like all of their other albums, it still can't compare to their live sound. To hear this lineup at their absolute best, listen to the live recording "Absent Lovers".

Report this review (#87517)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a 6 years hiatus, Robert Fripp decided to reform a band in 1981. He brought together a really promising line-up consisting of long-time fellow musician Bill Bruford, bass and Chapman stick player Tony Levin and, for the first time, a second guitarist, Adrian Belew. They named the band Discipline and started working on music. However, just before they released their first album, Robert Fripp decided that Discipline would be named King Crimson. They named the album Discipline instead.

The first reaction you get when you're used to the classic songs of King Crimson upon hearing Discipline is : " What the hell happened to the band??!" Indeed, the musical style and direction changed drastically with this release. However, if you're avid for prog, you know that change can be good.

Elephant talk, the opener, is indeed miles away from anything King Crimson has ever done. The song is eailsy danceable and is leaded by a groovy bass line. The lyrics are sang in a humorous way by Belew's voice which is totally different from all the vocals we've ever heard in King Crimson. The listener must get to the point where he totally forgets about the band's past and moves on to new territories. When that line is crossed, you realise how amazingly enjoyable this song is. It makes me want to move your body and sing along to the song.

The second song of this album, Frame by Frame, introduces a guitar rythmic style that Fripp will be very fond of in the 80s. He used the potential of dual guitars to produce a style of rock that is close to indonesian gamelan ensembles. Overall, that song is great but it's my least favorite of the album.

Matte Kudasai is the only song of the album that could possibly remind you of past King Crimson incarnations. It's a great ballad with good guitar work from Fripp and Belew.

Now comes my favorite song on the album, the really weird Indiscipline. This song as enjoyable as the lyrics are strange. Belew does an amazing job on vocals on this one. The spoken parts create so much tension in between the heavy instrumental parts. The whole track gives us a feel of mental instability. The "I repeat myself when under stress" always cracks me up. It's the first song where we really feel what Adrian Belew can really add to a song.

The catchiest song of the album follows, Thela Hun Ginjeet. The story behind this song is cool. Belew was walking in a NY city recording sounds for special effects. An unlucky encounter with some bandits and finally cops was recorded. I won't go in the details but Thela Hun Ginjeet is an acronym for In the heat of the Jungle. The driving riff and the rythm section in this number makes it really enjoyable and danceable just like Elephant Talk. The only sang vocals in the song are Thela Hun Ginjeet and it gets so catchy. It's one of the only King Crimson song that can be stuck in your head for hours.

The Sheltering Sky reminds the listener that he's listening to King Crimson. This experimental track showcases Bruford's almost completely electronic drum kit. It's one of my favorite KC extended experimental piece.

The title track closes this excellent album. Discipline makes heavy use of the rock gamelan dual guitar style Fripp has put together. The rythm section is once again basically perfect in the whole song. It's totally instrumental and it closes the album well.

In conclusion, this album contains no mindblowing tracks but it's easily one the most thoroughly enjoyable album King Crimson created. It's the testimony of a prog band that has survived to the 80s. Long live King Crimson. 4,4 stars (rounded down to 4) for this stunning and refreshing release.

-Bern

Report this review (#89029)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Along with Owner Of A Lonely Heart, one of the worst albums ever. The sound represents the 80's....it's smelly and dirty and tame in instruments. Not talking about bad compositions and not as good drumming as it would deserve from the best drummer ever. Adrian Belew has a good voice, but songs don't fit him right. The only good song may be Elephant Talk for it's music, not for lyrics!! This one deserves 2,5 stars and not more.... The true King Crimson has died seven years before this record.
Report this review (#92438)
Posted Thursday, September 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars No doubt, one of the best progressive albums in eighties, here. And it does not belong to eighties at all! First of all, this is so original music here, that you can not compare it to anything else out there. That means this is elemental, or primary album, with hard references to some music before this. It has its own beauty and mathematically precise approach in instrumentation, except in song Indiscipline, where it gets a bit uncertain in sound (like its name says), which makes an album musically bright. I could listen it for hours, and not find any weak moment here. Some of you, people, would not like this album, because of its difference with earlier King Crimson albums, but this is beginning of new era, much different album is what makes King Crimson so unique band. First time in his career, Fripp worked with another guitarist, which made Crimson's sound even more interesting and excite full. Belew is excellent on guitar and one of the most unique ever. His guitar is live, speaks and sings. Belew has very good voice, which is, like always, the best in ballads. One of my favorite songs of Crimson is "Matte Cudasai", easy, relaxing, inspiring song with great guitars and more than anything: beautiful voice. Here are many varieties in songs, but very strong connection between them, which is characteristics of albums that I have always liked. I will not write about rhythms, time signatures, or complexity of music, but it is true, that this is not simple album, but it is easy listenable, which testify excellent composition and structures. Most of the songs out of this work are anthological, and among favorites on King Crimson live concerts. For any new King Crimson fan, this is essential work, as well as excellent example of essential album in progressive music.
Report this review (#96157)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album! First time I heard it I was stunned by the interplay of guitars between Fripp and Belew and of course the excellent backing of Levin and Bruford. I don't care if this is 'classic' King Crimson or not. This and its successors "Beat" and "Three of a Perfect Pair" were simply stunning. And Ive just realised I never replaced my vinyl copies. That's a mistake I intend to rectify right now!
Report this review (#96160)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars What a triumph. Of all the old prog dinosaurs, King Crimson were the only ones who managed to reinvent themselves in 1980, at a very difficult time for prog. (Former members Greg Lake and John Wetton, of course, will doubt that it really was a triumph.) Basing themselves on the African-inspired funk of mid-period Talking Heads (particularly their album REMAIN IN LIGHT), Fripp and his boys recorded some of the most intricate music ever composed for two guitars, drums and bass. 'Twinned guitar gamelan' they called it, or something like that...

Whether you like this album or not will depend to some extent on what you think of Talking Heads, since Crimso did not just build upon the Heads' funk; they even employed a lead singer (Adrian Belew) who closely modelled his style on David Byrne's high-pitched, neurotic vocals.

When I'm in a lousy mood, I can't stand Belew. I must admit that, for me, John Wetton will always be the Crimson singer par excellence. But when I feel upbeat or jittery, dear Adrian doesn't bother me, and you've got to admit that his virtuoso guitar playing (often indistinguishable from Fripp's) is an essential part of the new Crimso.

The case can be made that most of the material here is better heard live (e.g. on the superb ABSENT LOVERS) since the original studio album tends to sound a little clinical. I only really found out how exciting 'Elephant Talk', 'Frame by Frame' and 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' were when I heard them performed live by the KC 'double trio' in the 1990s. But DISCIPLINE is the album that first introduced all this wonderful music to the world. Masterly stuff, from start to finish!

Report this review (#97574)
Posted Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was lucky enough to see Bill Bruford at a drum clinic 5 days ago. Opening the night off with Hell's Bells (playing to the sound board, not a live band) I was blown away. I quickly found this album in my dad's collection, as hearing him play Indiscipline (with a fully acoustic drum kit, and the spoken word removed) was phenomenal. It was truly something remarkable.

The album is fantastic, some of my favourite 80s music. The few things that got to me was the amount of electric instruments used. I can't stand electric drums - neither can Bruford - he even stated he would never return to using electronics. Though there is a bit of a synthetic, electronic sound, the writing and the ideas that shine through are amazing. The inspiration on all tracks is abundant; they're very interesting, unique and creative, talented, extremely atmospheric, and even funny at times.

One of the greatest 80s albums from the prog community, without a doubt. Do not mistake this as once-great manifestation of a once glorious band - this is in fact one of Crimso's most powerful and compelling releases, and shouldn't be missed because of the prejudices against the 80s.

Report this review (#99205)
Posted Friday, November 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I think of this album as a completely pointless exercise in experimenting how many different arpeggios and guitar ostinatos can you create, how long are you able to keep on repeating them and how boring can your music get because of that.

Yes, after the brilliant, often masterful Wetton-era-Crimson's releases, Fripp decided to resurrect the legendary band that prog created, but only in name, because this 1981 record has nothing in common with the 70's releases by a band that, incidentally, had the same name and same guitar player. Even less has this album in common with the 1969 original masterpiece, In the Court of The Crimson King. If you love that release and all the other Crimson albums until Red, and you want to buy something that will sound remotely close to that, then you better stay away from Discipline, lest you get extremely dissapointed.

The music here is, as I said, pointless rhythmical experimentation, or attempt at one if we tell the truth. Picture something close to Gordian Knot (if you have yet to discover the classics but know some of the contemporary prog-bands) but a few steps DOWN the ladder. Every, every song in this album follows a similar pattern: the guitars (yes, there are two guitars in this Crimson) start playing arpeggios, riffs, ostinatos, under which the bass (stick) plays a monotone yet still jazzy harmony, and the drums play precise, over- calculated rhythms with almost no use of cymbals and a unique use of fills (no accent fills, no building-up fills, you'll only find fills where the notes in the bass and guitars allow for that). Over all of these, the vocal melody (melody?), usually a bland, linear, arrogant- sounding voice.

The pattern I described is not a bad thing per se. The problem arises when it's used till death as in this album: for the sake of experimentation, Fripp decided that every song would be an essay in repetition, a textbook on how to repeat a musical idea till is devoid of any interesting features. Songs have almost no variation here: they start with the guitars (or stick), the drums make their entrance, and then what we hear at this point is exactly what we'll be hearing in 3 or 4 minutes, when the song ends (no long songs here by the way). No choruses, no diverse sections, no change, no dynamics, no melody, no nothing. Hence my point: this is pointless (pun intended).

To say a word about the musicians, they are, off course, top-of-the-line... I mean, what else can you expect from the likes of Fripp, Brufford and Levin? Excatly: MUCH MORE THAN THIS. But, on the other side, you get what you asked for: dazzling guitar harmonies? You got them; incredible drumming? got that; amazing bass-playing skills? check... the only thing missing is making all those elements produce MUSIC, not only senseless jamming. Add to that the emotion-less vocals, produced by what sounds like an android with no feelings, and you got pretty COLD music.

About each song? All are very similar, let's just point out two that stand out (or low I would say): Matte Kudasai, the "ballad", a slow track that at times resembles an actual song but, because of the heartless singing, it's just more of the same rhythmic jamming, only slower; the other that stands out (for all the wrong reasons in this case) is Thela Gun Ginjeet: an atrocious song with non-english, pretensious oriental lyrics which takes the repetition problem to new levels: not only is the music repetitive, but now we have annoying unintelligible words as well! Awful... From the others, I would pick Elephant Talk as the most listenable of the crop, and Frame by Frame as the most "melodic" one, if one can call such blood-less music melodic.

Now don't get me wrong, the album has some things going for it: the textures are really interesting (the guitar harmonies are great), the playing is top-notch, and the experimentation itself is something worthy of a look... if only to look away in dismay after getting bored with the OVER-experimentation. Too much innovation could be a bad thing. Could it? Well, I would never have said so before listening to Discipline, but after... I don't know. The problem is, at the end, the repetition, the boring, annoying repetition. And even above that one: the lack of EMOTION. I can say, without risk of being contradicted, that this was the first "MATH" album ever, or one of the first. It's so precise, so scientific, so heartless, so cold, so boring. (note: I don't agree with calling a musical genre "math", for it states that music can be exact like a science, without emotion... but again, this album almost makes me agree with such a horrible term...) And for those that may say this sounds like it influenced Tool: yes, maybe it did. But Tool have power, anger, angst, stress, EMOTIONS... this has none.

I'm all for change in music, I'm all for bands trying to create new sounds and exploring new territories, I'm all for PROGRESSION. Did I expect another Court of the Crimson King? No I didn't. Did I expect Red Part II or Lark's Tongues in Aspic: Revenge? No, I didn't.

Did I expect good music? Did I expect music with at least the minimum amount of emotion? Yes I did.

Did I get it? NO I DIDN'T.

Maybe I can learn to like this. It's very likely that I will.

Hey, I learned math at school. And believe me, that was so much warmer than this.

Report this review (#99744)
Posted Monday, November 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The start of a new era, Discipline marks the return of the first concrete progressive band, King Crimson. This time, Fripp has recruited Peter Gabriel's bassist Tony Levin, old Crimson bandmate Bill Bruford, and second guitarist Adrian Belew. Rather than unleash more symphonic prog akin to ITCOTCK, Fripp crafts a bizarre jazzy dance combo. Take notes, ELP, this is how you change direction without sacrificing your roots (see ELP's disastrous Love Beach or, better yet, don't). The band manages to craft one of the most unique records you will ever hear.

Tony Levin cemented his status as a bass icon on this album. He pioneered the then- recently invented Chapman Stick, a bizarre guitar with 6, 8, or 12 strings that you slap, tap, and fret rather than pick. Tony went straight for the big gun and brought the 12 string to the studio. Bill Bruford added an electronic drums to his acoustic kit which brought a new feel to Crimson. Fripp, now aided by a second guitarist, wasted no time crafting intricate and weaving guitar lines with melodies and counter-melodies with his new foil. Belew's stint with the Talking Heads seems to be a large basis of the new sound, but wit a Crimson twist. Ergo, you get polyrhythmic cacophony with pop sensibilities. Only crimson could pull this off.

There is no duff material on this release. "Elephant Talk" has to be the weirdest opener in music, with its narration over a futuristic rhythm section. "Frame By Frame" (which features a self-deprecating jab at Fripp's perfectionism) and "Matte Kudasi" are no less bizarre. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" comes alive with Tony's Chapman Stick. "Discipline" and "Indiscipline" are great, and "The Sheltering Sky" is beautiful.

This album is a departure for King Crimson and shows a successful evolution of styles. Fripp has never been one to stick to a winning formula but this lineup proved so fruitful that he kept them for two more albums, the longest streak a lineup of Crimson has ever had.Later, when he used the "double trio" lineup, Belew, Levin, and Bruford came back. Levin and Belew still play with Fripp. Clearly, the avant garde genius saw someone he liked.

Grade: B

Report this review (#100506)
Posted Sunday, November 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson reformed, and all was well again.

Superb frantic fast paced thrilling music, with a great voice and mathematically precise drumming and guitars, and off course Tony's Chapman Stick. My favourite songs include Thela Hun Ginjeet, Elephant Talk, Indiscipline, Discipline, Frame by frame and to a lesser extend Matte Kudasai and The Sheltering Sky.

Great album. Listen yourself.

Report this review (#103393)
Posted Sunday, December 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars They still have it.

While certainly not as impressive as most of their 70's material, Discipline is still a quality record. It may not sound distinctly KC, but the songwriting abilities and talent are all still there. It's still got oddities and quirkiness to it, and you have master Fripp running the show as usual.

I would call this album a grower. It's different than their 70's material so at initial listen you are somewhat disappointed by it. However, after you see/hear what's all going on, it is still quite a good effort and very creative. "I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress, etc." is a genius move and Belew's vocals work great for it because he sounds the most like a "normal" person. Whereas Lake had some eccentricities about him and Wetton had a deep soulful voice, Belew sounds like an everyday chap.

Now, mind you this material is still not as good as LTIA type material, but it's still good stuff and KC never would take the road that many of the other prog giants took. The material is still quite complex and artistic, just a different approach for the 80's and a new lineup, which will bring a different sound.

Report this review (#107281)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album just didn't catch my attention like other King Crimson albums-don't get me wrong-it is a good album, but certainly not near their best, and about an average album. King Crimson uses too much intense sampling, and while the album has an interesting "story" to it, it makes the album seem like less music, more lesson. The narrating is soothing, but the album music is not, the contrast, while probably sought after, is not the best use of the technique.

"Elephant Talk" has the possibility to be an amazing song, but after the intro, King Crimson simply turns it into a good song you could find anywhere. Though the elephant calls are pretty entertaining! Frankly, "Frame By Frame" is really an excellent song, though I found the album as a whole to be rather average, this song stands out as the best sung and guitared song on the album. The soft lyrics of "Matte Kudasai" are also very enjoyable, and should have been put along with "Frame By Frame" in another better King Crimson album. "Indiscipline" and "Thela Hun Ginjeet" are where the odd story of crime on the streets of New York City starts, an odd fusion of lecture and documentary with some jumbled, tripping music in between. "Sheltering Sky" is just rather annoying, it attempts to be pretentious, but really showcases nothing. "Discipline" has more of a Crimson feel about it, but rather than saving the album from mediocrity, it just doesn't seem to fit, and reminds you that you should be listening to an amazing King Crimson album like "In the Court of the Crimson King" or "Red".

Like I said, average, mediocrity. Not King Crimson at its best, in fact, it doesn't sound like the King Crimson l love very much. A decent attempt at keeping up the exploration that earned them the title of Art Rock, but unfortunately, not every experiment can be a masterpiece, and Discipline is still a decent album to listen to, but not anywhere near touching King Crimson's best.

Report this review (#108614)
Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The only album i like from King Crimson 80´s adventures, i agree with someone who said in a review that this is the way King Crimson should have gone in the next records but well.. ¨Elephant Talk¨ is the first song and it´s not one of my favorites but it´s a good song great great guitar playing, ¨Frame by Frame¨ comes next is an awesome song cool vocals by Adrian Belew. Track three is ¨Matte Kudasai¨ i love this song, sure at first it may seem a little silly or something like that but i don´t know i just love it. ¨Indiscipline¨ is great funny lyrics here and the heaviest track on the album this song remind me of Red´s sound. ¨Thela Hun Ginjeet¨ is next, great song but that Adrian Belew conversation is kinda weird. ¨The Sheltering Sky¨, mmm i don´t really enjoy this song and it is quite long. ¨Discipline¨ is the final and for me the best song on the album, great guitar by Fripp and bass by Levin.

An excellent album by King Crimson, not ass good as Red or Lark¨s Tongues in Aspic, but great. 4 stars.

Report this review (#116915)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars NOISE ANNOYS

I purchased this album together with "Red" some four years ago. You can imagine how disillusioned I was to listen to this one after the brilliant "Red".

The first time I listened to it (and there were not a lot more hearings except for this review), I thought it sounded rather like Talking Heads after their first great period (1977 through 1979). When I noticed that Belew was on the lead vocals and guitar, I understood it a little better. Not only he played with Talking Heads (he held the guitar as a guest on "Remain In Light" and he toured as well with them in the supporting tour), but he tries to sound as David Byrne as well.

So, King Crimson (or Discipline as they should have been named) meets Talking Heads as Jethro Tull met Dire Straits for a couple of albums.

I stopped to love them (TH) when they went on pure funky and jazzy, so I can hardly love this album. It is repetitive, monotonous and dull. I have a real hard time to find an interesting track here. "Matte Kudasai" sounding a bit more like a piece of music. The funky mood is almost at every corner of this album. When not funky, this album displays the most indigest sounds KC could produce (like "Indispline" for instance). Belew can shout "I Like It", but I don't.

I had always believed that the heart and soul of the band was Fripp (correct me if I am wrong). I can not understand how one person (Belew in this case because I doubt Levin did this, and Bruford already played with Crimson before) could impose all of a sudden a new genre of music to this rather difficult person who used to be the absolute KC leader.

On the booklet that goes with the anniversary remastered edition, one can read : "The presence of Adrian Belew's voice and guitar has a most stimulating effect on Robert Fripp, who picks up where the Lark's Tongues band left off when Jamie Muir departed. Thoughtful compositions, some in the recent Talking Heads vein, energized by a terrifically authoritative rhythm section...".

Well, of course, Levin and Bruford are brilliant musicians (as Fripp) but really "Discipline" is an album I can't stand. So if you want to buy it from me, feel free to post me an e- mail. My version is spotless (I guess I have listened to this "work" about six or seven times (of which four for the purpose of this review only) and you'll get the booklet as well (for cheap, I promise).

My "preferred" track is "The Sheltering Sky" : an instrumental number with nice and subtle percussion work. I must admit that "Discipline" also sounds like a piece of music, but where the hypnotic feel was working very well on numbers such as "Fracture" or " Larks' Tongues Part Two" it quickly turns out to be a bit dull as well on this one.

On the thirtiest years edition, there is one bonus track : an alternative version for "Matte Kudasai" (I wonder whether or not it is a joke).

IMO, this album has nothing to do with prog. It is an experimental and funky work from start to finish. Unfortunately, the same line-up will produce some more records. I only hope that they will be better inspired than on this one. I am quite hesitant for the rating. I guess three out of ten is in line with my feeling. So, for the time being, I will rate it two stars.

Report this review (#118866)
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars THE RETURN OF THE CRIMSON KING

This is another twist through the changing career of this Prog Rock's Classic Band. An album oriented in some way to funk. Adrian Belew's charisma contrasts with the serenity and seriousness reflected by Robert Fripp, who only cares about performing brutally and magically each one of his pieces. The addition of Tony Levin was also very significant to the band, this guy left mark during his stay in King Crimson by incorporating the Chapman Stick to the Crimson Sound. The originality of each track is awesome for the musical period they were made, but nothing just could be perfect, even when the release possesses some awesome moments, it gets monotonous in some parts and starts falling to pieces. So, this was the preamble, let's start with the review.

"Elephant Talk" shows us the new band members, it's an energetic theme to shake your body, and even when the rhythm is very happy, the message about how futile a chat could turn into is very clear. The sound effects that emulate an elephant just fit perfectly in this song. If you can watch this song played live you'll see the adrenaline that the band gives us.

"Frame by Frame" is one of the very first Math Rock Expressions in the history of King Crimson and in Prog Rock I think, the way Robert Fripp creates those guitar riffs and how they go through different ways and how they converge in a common point is absolutely awesome.

"Matte Kudasai" is my favorite song in this album without a doubt, the way Adrian Belew impregnates with melancholy every single verse makes me chill, that 50s Rock mood and the fade outs just can provoke a sense of sadness that makes me cry. A story about the American dream broken by the adversity can describe these awesome lyrics.

"Indiscipline" is a jam that contrasts with the previous track, al that sadness felt is interrupted by all the schizophrenia in this piece, Bill Bruford's work is simply exceptional and he explodes in all those climatic points perfectly.

"Thela Hun Ginjeet" could be the rhythmic continuance of "Elephant Talk", but even when this is a vertiginous theme, it has some moments of insipid repetitions. This is by far the weakest part of the album.

Extensive experimentation moments are the adjective to describe "The Sheltering Sky", and suddenly it turns into a travel through places only King Crimson knows, this is an instrumental piece with the singular peculiarity and eccentricities that made this band unique.

"Discipline" is in sometimes enjoyable but in sometimes I felt I was listening to the beginning of the album again, which I disliked too much.

Concluding, we can say that King Crimson disappointed me in this delivery, after eight long years of absence in the musical scene, I think we expected much more from this emblematic band. Even though, this production can result very pleasant and lively, and this is something we have to thank, especially to Adrian and Tony, that brought that happiness to Robert Fripp's music. This is an average album that just couldn't stand out from the previous releases of this British band, that's why I just can give it 3 Stars.

Report this review (#119120)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars So it's the eighties and KING CRIMSON decide to abandon the keyboards? I love these guys ! Adrian Belew brings a lot to the table including humour,but more importantly he adds another guitar to KING CRIMSON's sound. It's hard to believe that 26 years later he is still with KING CRIMSON. Belew had previously played with Zappa, Bowie and THE TALKING HEADS. Levin is added as well having played on Peter Gabriel's first three solo albums.

"Elephant Talk" is a beat driven tune with Belew's vocals leading the way. I love Fripp's guitar work 3 and a half minutes in. Belew does a great impression of an elephant trumpeting with his guitar. "Frame By Frame" opens with some uptempo and intricate instrumental work.The vocals are good but it's the complex and intricate guitar and drumming that impresses me the most. "Matte Kadasai" is a mellow slow paced song that i'm not a big fan of. "Indiscipline" on the other hand is amazing ! It's about some unknown object that Belew ends up liking. Check out Bruford on this one ! I love the heavy sound with both Fripp and Belew playing some great guitar parts. Belew really talks instead of sings and after he does each time the instrumental section comes back like a bomb going off ! A wall of sonic sound.This is fantastic !

"Thela Hun Ginjeet" like "Elephant Talk" has a really good beat. This is apparently a true story of Belew's encounter with thugs on New York City streets. It is pretty funny. "I repeat myself when under stress..." Haha. And when Adrian laughs he sounds just like Nicklas Cage. Great tune. "The Sheltering Sky" has Fripp playing the synth guitar. This song has a different vibe to it. Various sounds coming and going on this incredible instrumental. Again the percussion and guitar work is beyond reproach. "Discipline" is another instrumental that sounds so good ! Belew and Fripp combine their guitar playing so precisely,as Bruford and Levin only make the soundscape more complete.

For me this is easily 4 stars and a song like "Indiscipline" seems to pave the way for future KING CRIMSON sounds. Great record !

Report this review (#119147)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars IS THIS KING CRIMSON? REALLY?

I remember back then i was happy to read somewhere that my favorite band was about to come back in business. When the LP came out, i went to my music store and bought it with trepidation. Just checked who is playing on it. Hummm! Bill Bruford is back, that's good, but no John Wetton this time. Also present a second guitarist, a guy named Belew ,i never heard of. I am back home, can't wait to play the LP, and......BOOM! It starts with ''ELEPHANT TALK'' and i coudn't believe what i was hearing. I was schocked and highly disapointed. And the rest of the album did nothing to change my perception. I try my best to like it, but to no result. May have the KING CRIMSON name, but that didn't mean i have to like it and i didn't anyway.

I was not into TALKING HEADS or new wave music and wasn't ready to get into it just because it was King crimson.So i think i never played this album until a few years ago when i decided to complete my Crimson collection with the miniLP-30th anniversary edition.

By now, my perception on this album is a little bit higher, even starting to enjoy some tracks. The instrumental ''The sheltering sky'' is the highlight and could sound like a real KC tune. The other good thing is that it is the longest track of the album. ''Frame by Frame'' is not bad either with ''superspeed'' play from Tony Levin who is extremely talented , but will never be John Wetton for me at any rate.

The other great plus of this album is BILL BRUFORD contribution; he is so amazing and inventive that you can forget sometimes the things that still irritates me about this album like the terrible vocals of Belew. He is good on ''Frame By Frame'' or ''Matte kadusai'' but horrible on ''Elephant talk'' or ''Indiscipline'' especially tha talking parts. Not very ''Crimson'' i must say.

But i shouldn't have been surprised by the new sound of KC. When you listen to everything what Robert Fripp released before ''DISCIPLINE'', i should have seen it coming! remember ''The league of Gentlemen'' or ''Exposure''

20 years ago, I would have give to this album 1 or 2 stars, but now it sounds a little more pleasant and can understand why some people like it a lot, but not me. So will be 3 stars.

Report this review (#119338)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 1980s incarnation of King Crimson, minus John Wetton, instead Tony Levin and Adrien Belew on guitars. What stands out for me is Belew's guitars, they're just so inventive the elephant noises on Elephant Talk is a prime example. Belew is bost a masterful guitar player but also very creative and original on it. On first listens this album might sound like a Talking Heads clone, this is due to Belew's vocals, but after a few listens there is more to this album than meets the eyes in particular the excellent guitar textures. I admit that Thela Hu Ginjeet is a little too close to Heads for comfort and Matte Kudasi sounds a little too similar to Fleetwood Mac's song Albatross, but despite this weaker tracks you are treated to Frame by Frame (brilliant), Indiscipline (which is a link to King Crimson's past and similar to a track on Fripp's supurb solo album Exposure). Ovewrall I find the guitar textures intriguing and the world music ideas. Four Stars, sound nothing like 70s King Crimson but still very progressive and has a lot of interesting ideas in it.
Report this review (#123282)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars discipline...too much of which is a bad thing for king crimson. The wild unpredictability of larks' tongues is almost completely gone. The majesty of their debut is replaced by cold calculation. The jazzy improvs of lizard, gone! NOOOOOOO! Well, this album actually isn't that bad! This is just king crimson progressing to another stage in its career. Elephant talk is a nonsensical tune which spits out random word after random word, read by, yes, belew (oh no...) It sounds as if a mad man is reading from a dictionary! This song is definitely wierd on a crimson level though, just in a different way than before. not prog though. Frame by frame is a better piece with some very mathematical guitar work and soothing chorus. I really like this one. You get the oicture of a thousand frames of your life passing you by as each second goes by. Matte kudasai (which I think means 'one moment please' in japanese) is a soothing song with the sound of gulls in the background. It also has some interesting oriental guitar work by fripp in his signature sound. Next is my favourite here; indiscipline! A brief return to the madness of previous days! Starts of with some chaotic unpredictable drumming by bruford. It also has some awesome fripp sustain notes, He only plays about two notes, but its sounds like so much more! You just have to hear. I'm sure that's resposible for the madening bass lines behind it all. The song pauses every now and then for belew to contemplate a strange object, that he never reveals. And then, the song continues to explode into madness going ever deeper. You end up at thela hun jinjeet. This song is completely crazy. I have no idea what it is suppossed to mean. They chant the title of the song and say some other things. Then the song turns into some sort of an account of an incident happening. That's about all I can decipher out of it. That aside, the song is completely insane sounding, a nice follow up to the previous track. If you want to come off as crazy, blast this out the window! The sheltering sky is somewhat of an atmospheric instrumental jam. I thas some wierd melodys in it, but not much else...it doesn't really go anywhere. Next is discipline, another highlight of the album. I f anyone has seen the show 'how it's made', I wouldn't be surprised to hear this playing to the show! It is very mechanical sounding, completely locked in. No improv at all, but one marvels at the technical mastery of it! It is a good end to the album. This album is a decent effort, but in the end, I almost feel indifferent. I loved classic king crimson, and prefer the newer stuff as well. The 80's crimson is alright, but better things were to come (thrak!) 3/5
Report this review (#126342)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, let me start by saying that Discipline is my least favorite album of all time, no exaggerations. Congratulations!!! Now I am a huge fan of King Crimson and of Robert Fripp and of Tony Levin AND of Bill Bruford. However, I only know of Belew's work with King, and some I enjoy, and some i hate. I happen to hate this album. Indiscipline is a bright spot on the album, but that is about it. The drumming and bass is very good, but not too much else, and it is not enough to satisfy me.

This album starts off with a bang in the form of Elephant Talk. Unfortunately, this bang is the sound of people taking their own lives with various weapons after about 3 minutes in. Levin's bass is very annoying and Fripp's guitar work is just some high notes bein played repeatedly. Belew's vocals were enough to drive me insane. He said it himself: "It's only talk." Except this talk is coming from one with mad cow disease. This is the only memorable track for me but it is for the wrong reasons. The rest of the album isn't quite exciting for me and is almost just a blur of very high loud guitar notes and Belew's pesky vocals. There is material in this album that once could like, by nothing for me. Please, try this album out for yourself if you like pure jazz. I think fans of that might get a few good listens. But here is a disclaimer for that suggestion. Do NOT listen to track one. It's too late for me.

Luckily, King gets better after this and Belew makes some good contributions in later years.

Report this review (#126346)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars KEEP ON PROGGIN', CRIMSON KING !!

This is a 4.5 stars really; only the closing self-titled track is rather dull and gets me tired. But the rest is an absolute masterpiece.

Maybe the main reason of this drastic change of musical direction (more poppish if you want) is the join of singer/guitarist Adrian Belew, who came from Talking Heads to be one of the founders of this new King Crimson, after seven years of inactivity. Bass guitar virtuoso Tony Levin joined the band as well, giving a more distictive sound to the music. Now in the eighties, no mellotrons needed; just the excellent guitar interplay between Belew and Robert Fripp is enough to create all the sounds and atmospheres that many synths could do, with a touch of minimalism in some passages. And Bruford's percussion works are perhaps less energetic and outstanding than on previous stuff, but still excellent, no doubt. That's what this album offers, in summary.

My cup of tea of the album could be 'Sheltering Sky', with nice percussions (similar to bongos, but I think it's not...), the distorted guitar sounds of Fripp and Belew and that weird melody. An excellent atmospheric track, although the awesome ballad 'Matte Kudasai' (in japanese "please wait for me") is worthy of mention too. It has beautiful lyrics and melody. Touches me deeply, as ballads use to do.

Elephant Talk = 9/10 Frame by Frame = 9.5/10 Matte Kudasai = 10/10 Indiscipline = 10/10 Thela Hun Ginjeet = 9/10 Sheltering Sky = 10/10 Discipline = 8/10 (unfortunately a low end)

That's it. Don't ask me for the exact average; I hate maths, hee hee hee..... The sunrise of the eighties (supposed as an anti-prog period) and King Crimson is still proggin' fine. Highly reccomended, even for Crimson fans who are still into something between ITCOTCK and Red. This is a must-have.

Cosick.

Report this review (#132013)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Crimson hits the 80s, and hits them hard.

Like most 70s bands entering the 80s, Crimson had to change with the times, unlike many a prog band, however, Crimson managed to do this with much grace, and produced this fantastic album. The album has a lot of quirk, this likely due to the shift in lineup, and addition of new frontman Adrian Belew, who makes a great arrival, if I do say so. Although the album is mostly in short song format, it still manages to deliver a very progressive sound, likely with the 3 instrumentals and crazy time signatures. When all is said and done, this is likely one of Crimson's finest hours.

There are several standouts to be had on this album, and several Crimson classics. FRAME BY FRAME is an excellent song put together in a very unconventional way, and the quirk of ELEPHANT TALK is just as good. THELA HUN GINJEET is a quirky pseudoinstmental that holds it's own very well on the album, as does MATTE KUDESI, but the real classics here lie in the two closing instumentals. THE SHELTERING SKY is a great, zoned out Fripp-guitar-exercise, showcasing the virtuoso and proving that instumentals still have a place in the 80s. Also, coupled with brother track INDISCIPLINE, DISIPLINE is a great, heavy coda, while it's brother (again with more quirk) is also great and heavy, two more tracks that show life from the newly reincarnated band. What's perticularly nice about this album is that each song works together as a whole, and doesn't have each song as it's own show.

Quirk aside this is definately a great point in the King's career, and though some of the later work would not be as worth checking out, this one definately is. 4.5 stars, an excellent album, recommended to all (but a warning to those who don't like quirk).

Report this review (#136651)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Intriguing songwriting, solid grooves, experimental effects and guitar work that will tie your head in knots makes "Discipline" a distinctly unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience-- not to be missed. Some may find Belew's vocal antics an obnoxious distraction (or even annoying), but they grow on the listener very quickly as the interplay of Levin's precise bass and Belew and Fripp's even more precise guitar infect one's attention; nothing could be more different than the band's early material. The mood of the album is darky playful, filled with a cerebral level of musicianship and wit. Certainly the highlight of this era of King Crimson, and highly recommended for those investigating the band for the first time.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#138859)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has a level of instrumental magic rarely seen. Adrian Belew's voice is just one change to King Crimson's sound, though it is no less amazing. The earthshattering guitar works from Fripp and the collaboration from all the other members, all virtuosos, comes together seamlessly on this enormous step in progressive work.
Report this review (#141417)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars If they had stopped after "Red"...

"Discipline" was released in 1981, 7 years after "Red", nearly a masterpiece, that mantained the KC's standard. This album demonstrates the total absence of creativity in the band. Yeah, they can still play very well, but this cd sounds like a punch. The first false step in KC career, that didn't have to exist. If they had stopped, they would surely be one of the most complete bands in prog (counting 3 or 4 masterpieces and 3 or 4 other really good works).

Fripp, you shouldn't have written this silly "Discipline"...

Report this review (#143367)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The year was 1981. A year out of high school, I had, just in the year preceding this one, started getting into King Crimson. The first record I bought was, naturally, In the Court of the Crimson King. Next came In the Wake of Poseidon. Then Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Then, over the course of a couple of months in 1980 I filled in the entire official discography (sans Earthbound) up till Red. Imagine my shock and my utter delight when my local record shop music pusher told me King Crimson had a new record. I was, after all, a Crimson junkie looking for my next fix. Intriguing crimson jacket with an impenetrable gordian knot like thing on it. Hmm.... the jacket seemed like a microcosm for the band. I get the thing home, out comes the record from the jacket and sleeve and it is placed eagerly on my turntable. Out comes the most bizarre repetitive two notes on a Roland guitar synth that get faster and faster to the point where they become a trill... then a very unusual repeated guitar phrase with sparse bass in the background, then the drums, and then comes that highed pitched mid-American voice....Talk, talk, it's only talk. My first reaction to this was WHAT THE @#!* IS THIS? Did I buy a mispackaged new wave or rap record in a King Crimson jacket? The music I was hearing on the first cut was constructed of brief repetitive minimalist phases and was polyrhythmic. So stunned was I that I needed to stop the record and look at its label to see if it matched the jacket and sleeve. It did. I scratched my head in bewilderment and amazement but started the record over again. This time, I put every preconceived notion about what I thought the record should be or would be out of my head, took the phone out of the wall, locked my door and listened..... and listened.... and listened again, to every track, every note, every nuance, every effect, and was blown away. In his creation of something with a total sense of disconnection to anything vaguely resembling 1960s or 1970s King Crimson, that bespectacled forbidding little man behind the guitar did it to me again.... he threw me a musical curveball as I stood at the plate knock- kneed and dumbfounded, and, I wasn't ready for it. Over the period of a couple of hours, I managed to regain some of my composure- having recovered from the initial shock. Subsequently, I discovered that " the more I listen to it, the more I like it.... I do think it's good. In fact, the more closely I study it, no matter how I take it apart, no matter how I break it down, it remains consistent... I wish you were here to see it." On Discipline, guitar master Fripp takes a back seat restrainedly in his stool as his younger and as equally technically talented bandmate Adrian Belew becomes the center of attention. The range of textures and sounds creatable by this guitar duo are incalculable. Most of the lead playing is Belew's, Fripp appearing quite content and serene to be playing the complex rhythms in the background. Tony Levin, bass guitar and Chapman stick virtuoso with his bald pate and mustache looks like the strongman at the circus and a strongman he is in handling the complex rhythms and maintaining the harmonic underpinnings of this Crimson incarnation. Bruford's usage of both tuned and untuned percussion is striking. For the folks who were expecting 1974 era King Crimson to be emanating from the grooves, the results will be totally disappointing. However, for those whose tastes are 'eclectic' in the true sense of the word, and whose tastes "progress" rather than stagnate over time, this recording may really stir you. From the perspective of this Crimhead, five stars.
Report this review (#151148)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great new formation of King Crimson came into being in the early 80s, with the only remnant of the old lineup being Bill Bruford on Drums. Fripp returns on guitar, of course, and japanese guitarist/singer Adrian Belew is recruited, as is long time Peter Gabriel Bass Player Tony Levin on the stick, a new instrument with 12 strings that can only be played using fingertapping. Together, these 4 very talented musicians will carry Prog into the 80s in a very different, unique form.

Elephant Talk: A great stick opening, showing Levin's skill on the instrument, this is one of the oddest songs Crimson ever did. With Belew almost speaking the strange, conversation related lyrics and Fripp screeching out high notes, this song is enough to make you think, is this music? However, Belew's guitar solo after the 4th verse is gorgeous and very skillful, and Bill Bruford uses almost no cymbals, mainly bongos.

Frame by Frame: With Levin and Fripp providing the blistering main riff, Belew is free to make good use of al his talents on the guitar. the instrumental blast offs in this song are incredible. Bruford again with some masterful drum work, again, almost all toms, and during the quieter interludes, Belew sings with emotion. Classic song.

Matte Kudasai: as always, every Crimson album has a ballad for those who do not enjoy the blaring oddities of the rest of their work, and this one is magnificent. With great rhythm guitar from fripp and a solid bass line from Levin, Belew is again free to solo on the slide guitar. it seems Fripp has taken a spot on stage nowhere near the spotlight, overwhelmed by Belew's stage presence. Beautiful song, great singing.

Indiscipline: A strange intro, filled with random bass notes and drum fills, this leads into a great jam-like section with plenty of electric soloing from both guitarists. Bruford is at his best here, making us constantly guess at what the time signature is. The vocal section reminds us of the beginning with the low bass notes, and Belew is again speaking the works. he seems contemplative, and the trilling guitar in the background slowly builds into the next jam section. This is repeated to the end of the song. I like it!

Thela Hun Jinjeet: A hard rocker in 7/4 most of the time, but occasionally lapsing into 4/4, making for a great tribal beat song. the drums are ever-pounding, and the guitar has a steady riff. the chanting is ominous, and Belew's lead vocals only add to the hysteria. A little repetetive, but still very well done.

Sheltering Sky: this is where Robert Fripp's credit of "Guitars and DEVICES" comes into play. full of soft bongo play and easy rhythm guitar chords, this song is very relaxing, with some very high, screeching soloing coming from something, I don't know what. It doesn't go too long at all, and its a very well done song.

Discipline: the one song on the album i don't particularly like, its just a random collection of riffs and drums, and doesn't seem to go anywhere.

Overall, a great start to a new era of the Crimson King, and quite a start, although the band would falter slightly on their next, more commercial-sounding album, Beat.

Report this review (#155942)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Be forewarned: if you're expecting the earlier so-called symphonic KC sound, you WILL be disappointed. But that's the real problem, isn't it? How some will EXPECT this or that from an artist and discard anything that doesn't fit their preconceived ideas. How progressive is that kind of listener? Not very!

Instead, open your mind and prepare yourself for an avalanche of staccato arpeggios and mind-twisting poly rhythms from Fripp, Levin and Bruford. Tully mind blowing and progressive music in every sense of the word. Adrian Belew was the perfect recruit for this project as he adds the needed vocal twists and surprises lacking in much of the prog of yore.

If there is one knock against this recording it would probably be that the ideas are not completely original. I must admit that the commonalities between this King Crimson recording and the Talking Heads' Remain in Light are uncanny. The fact that Discipline came out one year after Remain in Light and Adrian Belew appears on both recordings will be used by some as the ultimate proof that this KC effort is no more than a copy cat job. I could see how that could be used by some listeners/reviewers as fuel for dismissing this recording. However, I'm not of that mindset. Discipline is an excellent recording that stands on its own without needing to be compared to anyone else's work.

Can Fripp not be influenced by other artists? Can Fripp only be the one influencing and not be influenced himself? Specially by an artist as progressive as David Byrne? It's silly to think that Robert Fripp lives in a void and fights all trends and fads. He obviously was highly entertained by what the TH were doing and respected David Byrne enough to take his ideas and apply them to his own creations. Anything wrong with that? Not in my book.

If there are any similar ties between Remain in Light and Discipline then that's not a bad thing, since the former is widely regarded as a masterpiece and happens to be one of my favorite records of all-time. Of course, for those that don't like the TH any similarities are a negative. Part of the problem is that Fripp raised the bar so high and was synonymous with inventiveness and originality for such a long time that any attempt to make music similar to some other artist's work is considered tasteless. I can't agree, though.

With Discipline I see Fripp trying to FURTHER what the Talking Heads did and he MOST certainly pulled it off. Discipline is truly a progressive masterpiece that should be listened to without any preconceived ideas of what KC should be. King Crimson has been Robert Fripp's vehicle for expression for decades and his free-form compositions are the essence of what progressive music should be about: different, challenging and always on the cutting edge. The element that stands out the most on Discipline are the poly rhythms. The listener will be treated to some of THE MOST complex and challenging counterpoint this side of the Baroque composers. This album should appeal to those who do not favor, or demand, the traditional flavors of prog(ie. symphonic, folk etc). If your listening diet includes so-called world music with poly rhythmic structures then Discipline should be high on your list of 'CDs to get'.

Report this review (#157321)
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best albums ever made.

This album is more original then the debut, more technical then red, almost catchier then the beatles, and as trancy as any electronica album. This album belongs on my top 5 list easily. Hence my utmost confusion on seeing these negative reviews. How could anyone not like this album, love this album, listen to it over and over again? My only guess is that it is too unique and thus produces cognitive dissonance, and perhaps after getting over that, listeners can't comprehend it.

First, let me review the history here. This album is many years after red, and even though king crimson stopped, the band members didn't. For example, Fripp did his work with eno, david bowie, solo, the league of extraordinary gentlemen, ect. So, all of the band members have had enough time off that when they came back together, the dynamic has changed drastically. The biggest change is that King crimson shred it's symphonic leanings entirely, and instead is focused on pop. The second change is that all of the band members are huge on polymeters now. As a matter of fact, this album serves as a good introduction to polymeter. The concept of polymeter is that a band plays in 2 meters at once, such as 5/4 and 4/4. Maybe, the drums are in one, and the guitar is in another, for example (a typical set up for math rock bands). The key here is that the downbeats of the measures line up only once every 4 bars, or 5 bars (depending on what meter has the bars). The primary effect of this is a feeling of the rhythm sliding against itself. It produces a trance of sorts, and the best example of this is the title track. Watch a video of it on youtube if you can, and look at their facial expressions. Oh yeah, this music really puts you in the zone, expecially if you are playing it. Now, since polyrhythms and polymeters are an idea stolen from african/middle eastern music, King Crimson pays homage to that by injecting all sorts of african elements into the music. Specifically, this album takes a strong influence from gamelan music. Now, the popness of this album is due to the new guitarist, adrian belew. Anyone who has listened to his solo work knows that he is great at pop. Moreso then that, he is also a special effects guitarist. One of the many references to african music on here is adrian making elephant sounds on this album. Also, adrian belew has the lyrics duty, and boy oh boy, are his lyrics strange. Experimental, I should say.

This album starts out with a guitar thingimabob, and then bobs into one of the best grooves ever. This song, Elephant talk, is pure pop, and is a grreat dynamic opener. The next song is a great example of rhymic displacement. There is a complex riff that requires two inerlocking guitar parts to accomplish. Then, Robert shifts the riff one eighth note, and Adrian holds steady. All of a sudden, we have a completly different rhythm. It is hard to pick up on mediocre speakers, and you won't even notice it until a few listens to the album. Part of the joy of this album is trying to dissect the interlocking guitar parts and figure out who plays which. Matte Kusadi is my all time favorite King Crimson balled. I sing it in the shower sometimes. I even like it better then book of saturday. Nothing too complex, but rather just beauty. Indiscipline is a crazed sort of jam piece, which shows no restraint and is very fun. It shows off the band members skills. Then there is Thela Hun Ginjeet. If you put it through an anagram program, you will find that it is a scrambled Heat in the Jungle. It is a complex interlocked guitar riff at the beginning, and then it reverts to improvised background noise, while the foreground is a story about a scary encounter that adrian belew had in NY city. Apparently, Adrian ran in all worked up and told Robert this story while he was secretly recording him. It is like Faaip de Oiiad on Lateralus. After this song, there is a very nice long relaxing sort of trance like song. With a constant rhythm, it is basically the afro-pop equivalent to modal jazz, if that makes any sense. Then, finally, we get to the title track. The song Discipline is worth the price of the album alone. This is one of the most complicated songs ever written. The polymeter on this song is in full force, and it feels like the song is shifting out and back into focus. There are no vocals, because this song requires so much concentration to perform. The meter is something like 4/4 against 17/16. As you might be able to guess, that means that the two parts come together every 16 measures. It is somewhat more complicated then that, because the rhythems add up to 4/4 and 17/16, but sort of repeat within the measure. So, I haven't completly counted it out, but it might sound like it comes together after 3 measures, 3 measures, 4 measures, 3 measures, 3 measures, and 2 measures, for example. Or some similar combination. The point is that there are several levels of in focus and out of focus, but more like 4 levels, not 16. It is harder to explain, but easier to play. Anyways, Bill Bruford plays 17/16 on the slit drums (a modified african drum) and 4/ 4 on the feet. His performance on this song is memrable.

As a whole, this album doesn't appeal to everyone, which is an utter shame because it is one of the best albums ever recorded.

Report this review (#157566)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Review 36, Discipline, King Crimson, 1981

StarStarStarStarStar

I began with this album fairly early in my King Crimson collection, and, while it'd be wrong to say that I didn't like it at first, I wouldn't have called it a masterpiece. I simply didn't get the emotional appeal or interest or complexity of many of the songs. Fortunately, I revisited after a while on the progressive road, with a much better musical ear for what exactly was going on, and on that listen it blew me away. Emotion and visuals oozed from the detailed music, and I got a real sense of interest, particularly from the rhythm section. First impressions can be deceptive: a Crimson masterpiece of the highest calibre.

Elephant Talk kicks off the album very much as it will continue, with some dazzling guitar interplay from Fripp and Belew, a deceptively simple-sounding drum part from Bruford, who manages to contribute a unique feel effortlessly, and Levin's array of bass sounds. A number of grinding guitar solos (presumably from Fripp) and a brilliant elephant impression from Belew complete the sound side of the song. Lyrically (supplemented by Belew's excellent, shouting and rather confused-sounding vocal) the song is incredibly funny ('yes, it's words with a d this time') and quite appropriate. Begin

Frame By Frame, with a driving guitar duet from Fripp and Belew (as well as some top notch strectching bass from Levin) gives Bruford a little more space to play around very adeptly with his percussion, showing a very impressive control of the time and space of the song, as well as using some faster and slightly louder drums. The gorgeous vocals and rather grim, yet interesting lyrics expand perfectly. A minimalistic end again features. I can't explain quite why, but listening to this is an incredibly emotional experience for me.

Matte Kudasai is the album's not-quite-ballad, spotlighting Belew's vocals, with Fripp providing a shimmering array of guitar laments, from near-crooning to careful s. Tony Levin's bass carefully gives a rhythm to the piece, while Bill Bruford's tapped percussion is really quite an interesting change from the classic 'it's a ballad, the drummer starts playing near the end' approach.

Indiscipline is the album's loud cut, with a stabbing bass and clattering drum opening leading onto another great combination of the guitars, with a very powerful solo from Fripp featuring prominently. A maddened Belew takes the vocals again with utter success, managing to convey the lyrical insanity brilliantly. A break exhibits the band's ability to slow down or give the illusion of slowing down without breaking their energy at all. Bill Bruford continues to hammer out powerful percussion parts, at times very heavy indeed, and Fripp similarly handles his wailing soloing. Again brilliant.

Thela Hun Ginjeet (anagram) gives an interesting combination of ideas, going much more psychedelic and post-punk than the previous cuts. Tony Levin is given the opportunity to stand out with a catchy bass part with cleverly timed breaks to emphasise the others, and Bruford again shows a variety of percussion times. Fripp/Belew provide a lightning fast rhythm guitar as well as grounding wails, psychedelic screeches and nervous twitches. Over all this general madness, a tape of Belew accounting a worrying encounter with crime, and occasional chorus vocals burst in.

The Sheltering Sky is a very relaxed instrumental with some energetic effects, both from a sax-like guitar and a gorgeous mellotron-like sound (am I dreaming?), while Bruford, Levin and another guitar provide a swirling background with hollow percussion. A full, and lush soundscape, with every note contributing to a gorgeous atmosphere. Some great guitar solos on here, and a perfect end with Bruford just dropping off.

Discipline is more up-tempo, with a greater level of cooperation between the band, who seem to merge together into one dense unit with everyone changing ideas at once. Tony Levin gives us more inspired bass-work, providing a rather fluid texture, while Bruford again manages to add and subtract without me even noticing half of the time. Fripp's guitar stays entirely with the piece and yet contributes to some swelling breaks. Everyone manages to add in and stand out evenly. A perfectly level track, and a great conclusion.

The alternate version of Matte Kudasai provides an equally satisfying end, with a rather expansive guitar parts, somewhat more conventional in nature, and a healthy, relaxed feel. Retains the original's feel and expands upon it without simply being a repeat. No harm done. Good bonus material.

In short, an incredible album, and not one to give up on if at first it doesn't catch you. I'm not quite sure why I like it so much, and why parts of it are quite so emotive for me or interesting to me (I'm not a musician, so theoretically I shouldn't really care about most of the effects used, but... I do). Essential listening, though any introduction to Crimson should be done with multiple eras of the band.

Rating: Five Stars Favourite Track: Frame By Frame

Report this review (#171630)
Posted Monday, May 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was a KC fanatic in the 70s and LTIA was the ultimate for me. Punk arrived and, having been pressured into joining an RnB band by friends (who tied a rope around the cabinet holding my prog and jazzrock record collection!) they even got me playing along with their stinking versions of the Sex Pistols's Anarchy in the UK and Pretty Vacant. Yes, a lowlight. Some years later I remember playing drums with brushes to Girl From Ipanema at a restaurant and feeling roughly the same way.

Soon afterwards punk evolved into new wave and I played in a new wave band for a while before a friend rescued me so as to start up, well, not a prog band but it was the result of the bands members' influences - Nina Hagen, King Crimson, Zappa, Santana, Lena Lovich, Henry Cow and Jimi Hendrix, streamlined into 3-minute ditties in deference to the punk era apart from a couple of songs that flowed into ridiculously sprawling improvisations. Tight but not slick. Primitive yet deceptively tricky. If you look up Eat that Chop Now on YouTube you'll see what I mean.

So with this background how did I feel when I first heard the title track, Discipline, on the radio?

At first I had no idea it was my beloved Crims reincarnated and I felt disappointment bordering on betrayal that my numero uno band had descended to this ... this ... over-slick staid monotony. A band I was in at the time had a manager who would consistently berate us, claiming that every song we wrote had about four songs in it and we should just find a groove and stick to it. How on earth would we ever write a hit if we are going to be arty about it? This was the 80s.

Of course, I thought him a Neanderthal. Yet now, the foul religion of the one-groove one-idea song had infected my favourite maverick band! Sacrilege! No! Blasphemy!

So I gave up on the Crims. I also quit playing in bands and pretended to be a normal human being, forgetting about music and getting my creative kicks from other fields. I even quit pot 10 years later.

Then, a few years ago - almost 20 years later - I started buying MP3s, picking up all those all much-loved oldies that I'd lost as my vinyl fell out of favour. I started listening to KC again, and then decided to revisit Discipline.

Sure, I'd hated it but I remembered how much I loathed LTIA when I first heard it as a Beatles-loving 11-year old when a friend played me his big brother's copy - like danging a musical spider in front of the girl's face to laugh at me going EEEEEUUWW!! ... and scream EEEEEUUWW!! I did. If I could hate something so much and grow to love it once, then maybe ... ?

New ears, no expectations. Thela Hun Ginjeet was the first to blow me away. This had to be amongst the best rhythm section performance I'd heard. Bill in supreme form and Tony Levin doing some things you wouldn't expect from a bass. If there is one thing that stands out on this album, it's that this is probably the best rock rhythm section ever. Some may be more virtuosic. Some a little more complex. But NONE kick with such a combination of power, precision, imagination, such a palette of colours and, of course, virtuosity all at once.

Then there's Bob Fripp, who'd seemingly decided to become CONSCIOUSLY math (apart from his trademark metal riff flirtations and Schizoid squeal in Indiscipline and wailing in The Sheltering Sky). His playing has always been math-inclined but this time he decided to BE math. Freakishly complex and precise single note lines abound. What he does in Frame By Frame doesn't seem humanly possible. Some people think it must be a loop effect. Nup, just Bob's Dynamic Digits.

Then there's Adrian Belew. At first I didn't like hearing an American voice in what had been the most British of bands, but the fact is his vocal and lyric combination was the first of the Crims that didn't have moments that made me cringe. Matte Kudesai is the obligatory ballad, and the best since 'I Talk to the Wind', although the competition isn't great. I love KC but they never got the hang of ballads; as with all those rock bands in the 70s, they'd just pop a token ballad into each album to show that they could and to give the listeners' ears a rest. This one seems to be a follow-up from North Star from Daryl Hall's Sacred Songs album, in which he collaborated with Bob.

On this album you will find none of Greg Lake's melodrama (albeit beautiful melodrama). None of Gordon Haskell's pootling moments (ain't Lady of the Dancing Water the most feeble thing you ever heard?). None of Pete Sinfield's lack of perspective (Ladies of the Road) and general disconnection from reality (he went on to pen Bucks Fizz songs when he woke up from his medieval dreams). Nor do you get Boz's comic attempts to be Louis Armstrong or John Wetton's clumsy phrasing. All these guys had their good moments but Adrian is a class above when you look at his combination of wit, tone, tunefulness and variety.

Then there's his guitar work. Is there are more underrated guitarist? He's just brilliant, in the same league as Bob Fripp, and I don't say that lightly. This is someone who, as a young fella, could mix it with Uncle Frank. His combination with Bob is uncanny throughout.

Frame By Frame is a KC classic, with its impossible guitar line, Bill Bruford sounding like a cross between Billy Cobham and half of Santana's rhythm section, and lovely, soulful vocal sections that somehow manage to make 7/8 sound as natural and intuitive as 4/4.

Then you have Elephant Talk, obviously Talking Heads influenced, but better and funkier. Here Tony Levin sounds like a bass and funky rhythm guitar all at once.

That's the thing about this band. Any one of the musicians is like two members. Imagine having one of them in your band! Bill B sounds like a drummer and percussionist in one. Tony Levin can either sound like a bass and keyboards or bass plus guitar. Adrian sounds like anything he likes - guitar, elephants, seagulls, keyboards and goodness knows what else. Bob sounds like Bob - enough said.

Even so, if there's one thing I miss with this incarnation it's Ian Mac's or Mel's saxes and flutes, or the various other wind and brass that appeared on their old recordings.

And yes, the songs are less OVERTLY varied than in the 70s, but that's because in the 80s KC discovered subtlety. People say KC didn't improvise on this one but there's improvisation within the song structures, just that the songs are structured. There are still just as many little things to pick up with repeated listens as we expect from the Crims.

The title track is a marvel. Some say it's repetitive and boring. That's what I thought in the 80s when I first heard it on the radio. Yet few KC songs IMO bear as many repeated listens. Once you dig into it and listen to the moves of the subtle rhythm section and the way the cross-beat guitar lines create different tones as they interweave, you'll see what I mean.

Those who think this album bears no relation to old KC are mistaken. Once I got used to this album I could clearly see the same band that had played Cat Food, LTIA, The Talking Drum, Book of Saturday, The Great Deceiver, Fracture and Red. It's just cleaner, more melodic and, yes, played without KC's once-trademark wildly-varying and flexible dynamics, which is what I suspect is what understandably bugs some of the old KC diehards (bless their cotton socks).

So I agree that this album isn't perfect. If there was a bit more variation in dynamics, a few wind instruments, if The Sheltering Sky was a bit shorter (isn't it a crack up when people frown about THAT NOISE, which of course is just Bob with effects), and if it had Starless, then it WOULD be perfect.

Still it's KC's most consistently good album with no stinkers. If you're into prog and don't have this one then you might as well go back to your Torporific Oceans, your Pictures at an Exhibitionist and Rush's thinking-man's AOR in preparation for your beer gut middle-age catching up with your old classics in the garage while the missus makes fairy cakes for the kids as she listens to The Spice Girls' comeback single.

Ok, that's too harsh (but fun), so maybe Adrian Belew can have the last word:

No matter how closely I study it, No matter how I take it apart, No matter how I break it down, It remains consistent. I wish you were here to see it!

Report this review (#174929)
Posted Monday, June 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Discipline is the eigth studio album from King Crimson and it´s a comeback album. After a 7 year hiatus ( where Robert Fripp concentrated on other projects) since what most people see as their best album called Red, it´s a welcome return. Robert Fripp has again drafted Bill Bruford on drums, Adrian Belew ( Frank Zappa, Talking Heads and Bowie) is new on vocals and guitar while Tony Levin ( Peter Gabriel) is new on bass/ Chapman stick. Discipline is an album that you either hate or love. Many old time King Crimson fans have a hard time with the new eighties sound while many others hail Robert Fripp´s innovative and progressive approach to music.

The music has changed a lot since the seventies version of King Crimson which means that this third incarnation of King Crimson sounds almost like a new band. It was Robert Fripp´s intention to call his new band Discipline but he had a change of heart at the last moment and decided to use the King Crimson monecker.

The most significant change is the addition of Adrian Belew. A new vocalist always means something special to a band. His voice isn´t very distinct but it suits the music well. Personally I think he is a much better singer than John Wetton ever was or will be. The addition of an extra guitarist really boost the new sound of King Crimson.

The album starts with the song Elephant Talk which also brings humour into King Crimson´s universe and continues with the excellent Frame by Frame. Note the extremely fast guitar playing in this song from Robert Fripp and the beautiful sounding chords played by Adrian Belew. Matte Kudasai is another great song. It´s a bit more subtle than the two opening songs. You could call it King Crimson´s version of a power ballad. Indiscipline is a great noisy strange track where Bill Bruford shows some of his power. Thela Hun Ginjeet with it´s many samples and strange lyrics also has many great moments. The instrumental The Sheltering Sky is another highlight on the album while the title track which is a the last is also a great track.

The musicianship is astonishing to say the least. The interplay between the musicians and the individual performances are unique. Tony Levin´s use of the Chapman Stick brings something very special to this album that you won´t hear very often.

The production is just the way I like it. Clean and a bit cold. Everything is right in the mix and your in for an excellent audio experience with this album.

The cover art is very simple. Some sort of logo on a red background. I don´t know why but it suits the music well.

I heard this album for the first time about ten years ago and really didn´t like it much. It was too eighties sounding and cold for my ears back then. My taste has changed a bit since and I absolutely adore this album today. I´ll only rate it 4 big stars but I fully understand those who choose to give Discipline all 5 stars as it is one of the most innovative and groundbreaking albums on Prog Archives. I might upgrade this some time in the future. I hold it in equally high regard as In the Court of the Crimson King and Red. Discipline is a highly recommendable album.

Report this review (#179133)
Posted Thursday, August 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Being a band that could easily walk away from making music, or return to making the same music they made before, or, like all their weaker-willed (ha) progressive peers like Yes and Genesis, turn to making pop music, Discipline is a refreshing album for King Crimson to make. You see, they not only reformed in the 80s, but they reimagined themselves and they progressed.

Fans of symphonic prog and the 70s incarnations of King Crimson, beware. There are no keyboards. There is no Greg Lake or John Wetton: just Adrian Belew, formerly seen often with Frank Zappa, a good singer and guitarist who writes some odd lyrics. But here we have the band reformed, with a couple new members, and with a completely different outlook on music. One of the key ingredients here that makes it so unique is the ubiquitous Tony Levin, an impressively mustached bassist with a serious thing for blowing minds with his Chapman Stick work. He lays down not rhythms but explosive pulsings of music that the band uses for polyrhythmic background. The energy level he brings to this band is something before completely unseen in the usually melancholic band. The aggression here is more focused, more upbeat than haunting. In all, King Crimson took the pressure to conform to pop and instead used the ideals of pop in a completely progressive way.

The album opens with the perfect showcase of Levin's talents. Elephant Talk is a fast-paced bass-driven tune with a very odd underlying beat. This song might turn a few more off because of Adrian Belew's insistence on spoken vocals. In the end, though, it is an entertaining track that proves that this band is not going to lay down and die. Discipline continues with Frame by Frame, a more progressive tune with more blistering bass and this time blistering guitar playing over the top of it. The drums also fill this track nicely. Belew's voice finally comes into full play, and we find that the man can really, really sing. He is the most technically skilled of any of the Crimson vocalists, even if he might not be as popular or famous as Lake or Wetton. Neat delays on the guitar create interesting polyrhythms, especially at the end of this song. Matte Kudasai picks up where Frame by Frame dramatically leaves off, this time treating us to a gentle ambianced track. Belew's vocals, if impressive on the previous track, are gorgeous on here, providing such a sad and haunted feeling that it really makes the song a memorable one. The instrumental anti-title track, Indiscipline, wanders in next, utilizing the similar sorts of wild interconnectedness of the first two songs to provide for some ingenious and complicated composition. Spoken words over the top of this might disappoint some fans, but they fit well.

The second side begins with the odd Thela Hun Ginjeet, a track which features both a lot of spoken words by Belew and an interesting harmonied chorus. The music is fascinating here, again; not quite as powerful or wild as some of the earlier tracks, but nicely melodic and insane when it needs to be. There is something of a jungle feel to this track, especially to the drumming. This might be the strongest song on the record. It then melts into The Sheltering Sky, the longest track here. This features a more traditional Crimson soundscape and some really melodic vibes. The album then closes with the title track, a much more laid back take on Indiscipline, with slower bass and drumming, playing with a single idea and developing it into a five minute instrumental. The guitar closes out this album with a terrific sound.

In all, this is Crimson's strongest album between Red and The Power to Believe. If you are interested in the band and wonder where they progress to, this is it. It's a very unique style of music, and anyone who appreciates Tony Levin on the bass will most likely enjoy his work here.

Report this review (#185148)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#185387)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars King Crimson's reincarnation with "Discipline" showed a totally different band. After the breaking up of King Crimson the mastermind Robert Fripp had collaborated with different artists like David Bowie and had started a solo project and released some records whereby "Exposure" is the only one worth listening to IMO. It was clear by Fripp's solo project that his musical ideas and musical identity had changed over time. Exposure gave a glimpse of what was to expect of Fripp in the "troubled" 80's. Because I have some trouble with calling this music "King Crimson" I will refer to it as Discipline to accentuate the difference in sound. In fact this music is not King Crimson anymore: I don't see anything in it what can refer to their past work; we have to matter with a different band.

The 80's took a grasp on the progressive movement. Some of the prog bands started to play pop and others like Discipline began to play Wave music. The sound of Discipline sounds somewhat between Bowie's Berlin Period, but excluded the use of any key's and made the guitars sound like synthesizers. Where King Crimson had always had great vocalists, Discipline has a mediocre one. His vocals doesn't reach me; he surely shows emotions, but they seems not truly confessed. There is no warmth in the vocals, like there has always been.

The songs on Discipline are build on repetitive synthesizer guitar arpeggio's. These sound a bit like David Bowie on Heroes, but without the distortion and guitarsounding. The drums, although played by the famous Bill Bruford, are not very interesting: they sound very 80's alike. The bass just plays a supportive role and never gets prominent.

The highlight of the record is Indiscipline, which is the only song which has a distorted guitarsound like on King Crimson's latest period. Also the instrumental ballad "The Sheltering Sky" is quiet good and sounds a lot like David Bowie's attempt to sound like krautrock. All the other songs have some good aspects and some troubled aspects. Sometimes the troubled aspects are the vocals like on the repeating of the title "Thela Hun Ginjeet", sometimes it's just the unattractive sound of this band (Elephant Talk, Frame by Frame, Matte Kundasai and Discipline).

I really wanted to like this record since KC is may be my favourite band after all, but I'll stick to the 70's recordings. This record is, although progressive, far less abstract then the previous records. Sometimes progression can lead to degradation, which seems to be the case by Fripp, who had lost his taste for musical beauty. This is only advised for fans of progressive Wave.

Report this review (#186383)
Posted Sunday, October 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars King Crimson - 'Discipline' 4.5 stars

King Crimson marks a return, with a whole new face to add.

There was really nothing that can compare to this, besides the Talking Heads as far as I can tell. New members Adrian Belew and Tony Levin gave King Crimson a new rhythmatic sound of dueling guitar rhythms with a bass and drum polyrhythm. These four combined created a sound unlike any other. Adrian Belew's voice was something different, but didn't take much really to get used to. All the songs on here were awesome, I just didn't get a feeling that this was something the hit my heart as something to remember. An excellent and adventurous album I would recommend to anyone, especially those who have never heard of King Crimson.

Report this review (#190384)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Of the 4 KC albums that I own (ITCOTCK, Larks' Tongues, Red, and this one) Discipline is probably the least interesting. Not that it's a bad album but it just isn't as great as the 3 others mentioned above. Elephant Talk, Matte Kudasai, and Thela Hun Ginjeet are all very good tracks but the others are either decent or just sub-par. One very unique element to this album that doesn't appear on any of Crim's previous recordings is the dual guitar interplay. I find that the way that Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp interact with each other musically is quite simply, stunning (just listen to the title track)! But this doesn't conceal the fact that Bill Bruford's role in KC's music is downplayed to keeping repetitious, tribal rhythms throughout the whole darn CD with the exception of Indiscipline on which he cuts loose and plays more like he does on Larks' Tongues and Red. There are some catchy choruses and hooks on here, especially the Talking Head's style Thela Hun Ginjeet but most of this music isn't quite as memorable as say, 21st Century Schizoid Man. Overall, Discipline is worth a listen but does not have the same gratifying and timeless effect as many of the earlier Crimson discs.
Report this review (#190784)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I listened to this album again recently, and I forgot how I played this thing on repeat for days when I discovered it. This is the album that made me fall in love with King Crimson. Elephant Talk is so freaking cool. I saw a video on YouTube of them doing it live and it was even better. Frame by Frame is unbelievable with how fast they play that opening riff. I love Adrian Belew's vocal melody in that song a lot, too. Indiscipline is so weird, and absolutely amazing. The Sheltering Sky is a super cool and mellow jam sessions with tons of bizarre guitar effects. Thela Hun Ginjeet is an amazing song to watch Belew play live. He freaking jams out on it, and totally made me respect the song even more. How could I forget Matte Kudasai, which is probably Crimson's most beautiful song ever, in my opinion. Discipline is a very intricate and interesting track, too. The version of this album that I have contains a bonus track entitled Matte Kudasai [Alternate Version], and it is so freaking crazy. It is this unbelievable funk jam that Tony Levin is just a beast on. King Crimson albums usually take a long time to digest, and this one does, as well, but it's also very accessible at the same time. Every song on the album is perfected, tight, and incredible. I love every form that King Crimson has taken in its existence, and this first album from the 1980s band is simply sublime.
Report this review (#194533)
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The reformation of a giant that's bigger and better than ever.

I can almost remember what was going on the first time I ever heard this, the first Crimson album I listened to. I was sitting in my room, munching on a big bowl of popcorn, when I decided to put this on and see what all the fuss about it was. I think I must have dropped the popcorn I was holding after the first 30 seconds of this album. It then proceeded to give me a firm kick in the butt and took me on a magical 38 minute journey that always remains memorable every time I put it on.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I would say I'm in the minority in that 80s-era King Crimson is my favorite era of the band. This also happens to be my favorite KC album For me, what really makes this album special, actually the entire era of KC since this album, is Belew. His voice always draws me into Crimson in such a hypnotizing way, and he's easily one of my favorite guitarists and vocalists. Not to mention he was born and raised about 10 minutes from where I currently live. To truly understand Belew's guitar work, as well as that of Levin, Fripp, Bruford, or anyone else in the band, seeing the Neal and Jack and Me DVD with some of these songs performed totally made it even more memorable. Every member on this album could easily be placed into my list of favorite guitarists/vocalists/bassists/drummers/god knows what else.

Asking me to pick a favorite song on here would be like asking most parents who their favorite child is. To me, every track makes this album as worthwhile as it is and the reason why this is one of my favorite albums ever. It's technical, complex, multi-layered, quirky, humorous (lyrically), cryptic (lyrically and instrumentally), and very emotional. This might be an album that will take time to grow on most, but with enough effort it's certainly worth it. It gets 5 stars from me easily, and I would gladly give it more if I could. Words don't do this justice; it must be experienced and given room to grow.

Report this review (#201675)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars It's only talk

After having broken up after the successful Red album in 1974, many would have thought that we had seen the last of King Crimson. But seven years later they returned with a radically different approach with Adrian Belew (Talkning Heads) on lead vocals and additional guitar. The core of the band was leader Robert Fripp, drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Tony Levin. The comeback would produce three studio albums in the present one from 1981, 1982's Beat and 1984's Three Of A Perfect Pair (before the band would once again disappear from the music scene for another eleven years). Out of these three 80's albums, Discipline seems to be the most popular and some even think that it rivals the John Wetton and Greg Lake eras of the band. For this reviewer, however, this period of King Crimson was not too successful and Discipline is an uneven effort.

While containing some good tracks, awful tracks like Elephant Talk, Indiscipline and Thela Hun Ginjeet are wholly unlistenable for me. Belew's "talking" vocal style on these songs is terribly irritating and annoying for me and his lyrics are plain silly and nonsensical. The good songs include Frame By Frame and Matte Kudasai, two tracks that prove that Belew can actually sing quite well when he puts his mind to it. Still, it is the eight minute plus instrumental The Sheltering Sky that is the album's highlight for me. But even the best tracks on this album fall very far behind classics like 21st Century Schizoid Man, In The Court Of The Crimson King and Starless.

For fans only

Report this review (#202671)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Seven years after the disbandment of Wetton-era King Crimson, guitarist Robert Fripp created a new musical behemoth under the same name. This lineup maintained brilliant drummer Bill Bruford, but added veteran session bassist Tony Levin (who brought the coveted Chapman Stick into the sound). The most important (and longstanding addition) was guitarist and vocalist Adrian Belew, who had worked with David Bowie, Frank Zappa, and The Talking Heads. This provided King Crimson with two dominant guitarists, something it had not possessed previously.

"Elephant Talk" This is such a fun song, one on which all of the musicians play an important role, not the least of which is Belew's "elephant" talking guitar. The lyrics are in alphabetical order, so to speak (hence, "These are words with a D this time"), and lend it an amusing characteristic. Levin's touch guitar sets the tone for the album.

"Frame by Frame" One of my two favorite tracks on the record, this song features fast guitar work from Fripp and polyrhythm between the guitar and drums. The vocal work is excellent here, high and clear, singing disturbing yet intriguing lyrics.

"Matte Kudasai" Easily my other favorite song on the album, this has a calm, cool, and even melancholic feel to it. The guitar, both the lead and the clean rhythm are sweet. The lyrics are slightly despondent, but Belew sings passionately.

"Indiscipline" This is a more cacophonic piece, with some strange words spoken over the music. I never really cared for this one, although I have always found it amusing. Bruford's erratic drumming is deserving of praise, however.

"Thela Hun Ginjeet" The title is an anagram of "Heat in the City," which was meant to describe urban crime. The spoken word regards Belew's real-life encounter with Rastafarian criminals as he was walking around talking into a tape recorder to get sounds for the song (as it turns out, according to Belew, they were running an illegal gambling ring and believed him to be a cop). The music is quite a bit grating, like that of "Indiscipline."

"The Sheltering Sky" The longest piece features hand drums and clean guitar to start with. The music, like much of King Crimson, can become repetitive. Particular sounds take the focus here, working over the established and easygoing rhythm.

"Discipline" The hypnotic track seems to borrow from "Elephant Talk" in a way. It uses some themes and variations of those themes with two clean electric guitars panned hard on opposite sides. The structure is complex; the final tack is a good representative of King Crimson during this monumental union.

Report this review (#202804)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Imagine walking into a record store in 1981, and the first thing you see is a 12 inch by 12 inch crimson red LP cover centered with a large Celtic knot. Discipline's artwork is quite striking, simultaneously simple and complex, a reflection of the nature of the music held within. King Crimson had been on hiatus for seven years, and aside from the expected Brits Bill Bruford and Robert Fripp the other half of the band were now American. Adrian Belew and Tony Levin were certainly know entities, with extensive musical experience held between them, but just how would this hybrid sound ? The answer was, very different from all previous editions, but somehow still very...shall I say...Crimson ! Dual guitars weaving intricate patterns, sometimes together, at other times in opposition. Levin's Chapman stick rumbling below, but then again at times knitting within the other player's explorations. Bruford's stick- work mostly limited to the lower kit, with only the occasional firework cymbal thrash lashing out above. Amidst the seeming chaos an organized rhythm lies, it's there, but not easily realized. One two three four, one two three, one two three four five, one two three... like an arrhythmic heart it keeps the beast alive. How these musicians manage to shape songs out of this stuff is amazing. They convey incredible beauty ( Matte Kudasai ) , raging madness ( Indiscipline ), clinical precision ( Discipline ) and fearful danger ( Thela Hun Ginjeet ). This recording represents one of several peaks Fripp and co. have attained, and their life is still evolving. It was a masterwork in it's time, and if it were a contemporary release I think it would still be given such high regard.
Report this review (#211378)
Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson have been always precursors, since their inception. Here suffice to say that many of the pieces I didn't like when I was young, I begin to appreciate just now. And I'm referring to "Cat Food" for example, and many others (not the most celebrated). I still remember when I bought Discipline. I did not know anything about Adrian Belew, but he played guitar (just one amended - modified -Stratocaster) and had no a great traditional skills, but he was a master in using the effects and colors to create music with unusual techniques. I did not know anything about the stick bass and nothing else about Tony Levin. I was just a young boy. The first listen to Discipline then was a bit disappointing. But I am a stubborn man and I could not believe that KC had been able to disappoint me like this. I was wrong. I did'nt use a lot of time to notice, to recognize, the "project" that was the basis of those compositions, let me say the carrier philosophy. Namely: just to create an ethnic music with music rock instruments without a note out of scale, that is notes they could think or define like jazz. I believe they largely succedt (few "off the scale" notes I heard are only in "sheltering sky" during the guitar solo). Everything else is rythm and pace and running drums and wild animal voices and guitars screaming their colours (thanks to Robert and Adrian). This music is pure Africa, all obtained with the apparent poverty of musical instrument resources but with great genius and identification. I am sure I don't make a mistake when I speak about Discipline as a masterpiece. A masterpiece created by the genius of white musicians who understand the world and life and show they own a great soul.

(I apologize for my poor english)

Report this review (#211384)
Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Cool, but plastic.

I have very hard to grip this album. It's very unique, extremely complex and cool. But there are too much talking, too systematic, too plastic and too repetative. Discipline is actually a very fitting name, because the whole album (excluding indiscipline) is very.... disciplined. It follows a straight path, it doesn't dare to turn, it's mostly very sterile and plastic. I don't like the lyrics that much either... too stylish, too purposeless. At the same time, they are cool in their own way, but you never gets into them that much.

Elephant talk can be seen as a overlook of the album. The song most consists of a theme when Adrian are talking about talking, while Robert and Tony Levin are playing sterile and repetative, but at the same time rather cool, lines on the guitar and the chapman stick. It's a rather good song.

Frame by frame has to be my favourite on this album. It's very mechanic and straight in its composition, but the lyric part of the song is very emotional and melodic, with the cool chapman and the guitar in the background. The instrumental part is less good and quite repetative, but works.

Matte Kudasai is also quite nice, but I think it sounds more like a pop song than progressive rock. A pleasant and calm song with a typical 80s sound.

Indiscipline is more like the Crimson we have learned to know, more energic and agressive and less systematic than the rest of this album. But I find the talking irritating and the song still much variating so... it works, but not more than that.

Thela Hun Ginjeet are basically a better version of Elephant talk with a faster tempo, cooler sound and lyrics and more energic. The only song when this sound of Crimson actually shines.

The sheltering Sky has a nice, lush sound and I like this track rather much. But like amny of the´other songs, it stands it's ground too much and never changes that much.. The instrument appearing in the foreground (I can't place what it is, maybe a guitar?) is cool, but after a while rather randomized and irritating.

Discipline - maybe the worst track here? It feature the cool, new sound, but it has too be the most repetative song Crimson have ever released. It doesn't seem to take us anywhere and after have listen too it some minute, I am just confused.

For me, this is not at all the same crimson as before. The thing that's still kept is a cool sound, but there are not many contrasts, really energic and agressive parts, no suprises, and not that many touching calm parts either. The album is very unique and can be fun to listen to, but the sterile sound left us on a distance, unable to get deaper into it.

Report this review (#220013)
Posted Saturday, June 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, when one first listen to this album, one thinks, o. k. they are doing disco. That os not true. This is in fact a very powerful album. The rythems are very repetitive, but for instance, elephant talk an discipline are really fantastic thems. The best track in the album is the sheltering sky. This is marvelous and feel that the idea has not been exploited enough in subsequent work. The album has many other good points, to many in fact. For instance Matte Kudasai is really beatiful. I think it is not possible to give less than five stars. Very good staff.
Report this review (#235917)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars On Discipline King Crimson proved to be one of the few bands that could keep up with the changed musical climate. Again they single-handedly (re-)defined progressive rock as an adventurous genre that proved to be able to create new music as we had never heard it before.

That is a bit exaggerated of course. Many bands were experimenting and creating a new musical aesthetic in those years. But few did that inside the prog rock area. On the contrary, the progressive music of those years was firmly rooted in the punk movement, the mortal enemy of prog! It's exactly those new wave, pop and industrial influences that Belew and Fripp brought into the Crimson sound. The result is something entirely unique that has little to do with anything they or anybody else had done before.

The classic track here is Elephant Talk of course, the new anthem for the reborn King Crimson. Just as 21st Cent Schizoid Man, it's a neurotic affair that you're either bound to hate for its nerviness or adore for its raw hysterical power. Whichever side you take, there's no denying that this is one of the last essential prog albums of the old 70's generation.

Report this review (#237079)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my probably my favorite album by my favorite band. It is quite different from the albums the King Crimson of the 1970's made. This album contains none of the keyboards, wind instruments, or violins that were a part of the old King Crimson's "symphonic prog" sound. One of the things that makes King Crimson great is their willingness to change.

I really like this incarnation of King Crimson. My only complaint, and it's a very minor one, is Adrian Belew's voice. I just don't care for the sound of it. I assume that John Wetton wrote the lyrics when he was a member of KC. I prefer Wetton's singing, and his lyrics.

I do like the fact that the band now has two guitarists. Belew and Fripp do some really interesting things together. Of course, Fripp's greatness as a guitar player has already been established. I don't need to add anything to that discussion. Then there's Bill Bruford. What can you say about him? He's the greatest drummer in rock music. He is one of the most powerful drummers in rock, without having to play loudly.

Now, some comments on the music itself. This album has strong rhythms. There seems to be a strong influence from African rhythms. There were several bands at this time who were experimenting with exotic rhythms, including the oft-mentioned Talking Heads. King Crimson was changing with the times, and I'm all for it. "Elephant Talk" is one of my favorites; I thinks the lyrics are amusing. I also like "Frame by Frame" a lot; the twin guitars are fantastic.

"Matte Kudasai" is just beautiful. If I was forced to pick, I would have to say that I like "Indiscipline" and "Thela Hun Ginjeet" less than the others. "The Sheltering Sky" is excellent. I love Bruford's drumming and the sound of Fripp's guitar. The last track, "Discipline", is another favorite. The track shows the amazing skill of all four musicians. The alternate version of "Matte Kudasai" on the reissue of "Discipline" is unnecessary. There is almost no difference between this version and the original. If we were able to assign half stars, I would give this album 4 1/2 stars.

Report this review (#237917)
Posted Monday, September 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Absolute masterpiece! After 7 yrs from KC Mk I was disbanded Robert Fripp formed new great team and released one of the greates prog album of eightees!

Please note, this is King Crimson MK II, and the time is different from previous decade. So, you have there different band with different music. But only Fripp genius could make this modernisation: very rare example of radical change of sound for one of world's greatest bands ever!

So, we have there warmer and softer sound full of Fripp frippertronics, great Bruford drumming, perfect melodies and post new-wave Belew guitar sound and voice ( and you really can hear many "Talking Heads" elements in that music!). Great invention, next step in modern prog rock for sure. This album became a basis for later KC work and for all team of post KC MK II musician works as well ( Tony Levin, Adrian Belew,Bill Brufford solo works, Fripp collaborations, etc)

Every song is different and no fillers there! I understand, that some old KC purists hate this album ( as well as all KC later works) because of new sound. But I can see nothing new in it: bop fans hated cool jazz, post-bop fans hated free jazz, and my old mam hates everything what sounds different from 50-60 pop music.

But I think, it's a great thing, that KC made this next step. Without that, great prog from 70-th will be transformed to faceless and boring neo-prog right now without big alternative, and in fact almost dead.

Very recommended album for any fan searching for great modern eclectic prog.

Report this review (#246796)
Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars An immediately jarring listen for fans of King Crimson of old, this is far and away the best album of theirs I have heard.

Of course, by 1981 King Crimson fans should already have known better than to expect stylistic continuity from Fripp and company. But this time we really are dealing with a whole new sound from basically a new band. In fact, the decision to call this effort King Crimson was made by Fripp after the music had already been made.

"Elephant Talk" immediately tells the listener that this is a totally new shade of Crimson. 'Tells' in an appropriate word here, since Adrian Belew (a new vocalist, and audibly American, no less) almost obnoxiously speaks these words rather than singing them. The result, however, is a tongue-in-cheek yet fiercely delivered track that, especially due to Belew's performance, ensures that this thing isn't to be taken too seriously. Humor on a King Crimson album is a welcome change. "Frame by frame" retains the tight intensity of the opening song and cranks up the speed, resulting in blistering performances by Tony Levin on bass and Bill Bruford on drums (listen to that cowbell carefully).

One way in which this album does show some continuity with past KC efforts is its one mediocre track that just doesn't belong. The first album had "Moonchild", "Red" had "Providence", and in this tradition, "Discipline" unfortunately has "Matte Kudasai". This track is passable (which is more than I can say for the other two examples provided), but it has no place on this otherwise stunning album. Fortunately, it's a short track, but then again that seems like a reason it should have been dropped. It's a just-above-mediocre swinging ballad on an album that has no use for any kind of ballad, even a good one.

Side one winds out with "Indiscipline", which unapologetically continues with Belew's spoken-word vocals, this time with totally different effect. Finally King Crimson has achieved what they seemed to be aiming for with weak experimental tracks like "Moonchild" and "Providence". This crashing, chaotic, melodyless song also fits in with the musical theme of the album perfectly: each band member doing his own thing, completely different from the other performers, but lining up at unexpected brief moments. At the same time, the song is a bit more unbridled than the rest of the album. The lyrics, instrumental parts, and the performances all work perfectly to the desired effect. Humor is again included, although musically this is certainly a song to be taken seriously.

Side two is absolutely phenomenal, and earns the album as a whole its five-star rating. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" again has us listening to Belew talking, this time telling us a story (I'm not sure if it's a true story) about fear in the city. This complements the music perfectly, although music of this much power could stand just as well on its own. I can't listen to this song and not catch some of its contagious, hard-hitting energy. I find it hard to describe, but suffice it to say that this is the star of the album, worth the price of admission alone.

"The Sheltering Sky" and the title track provide an instrumental finish to the album, and are each masterpieces in their own right. The first slows down the pace with a captivating solo by who-knows-what-instrument played high above a seductive and mesmerizing rhythm section. "Discipline" is the appropriate culmination of the album: a tightly-rigged rhythmic tour de force so intricate that I hear something new every time I listen. As intended, this song seems to get most intense when everything drops out and the sound relies on the guitar alone.

This is King Crimson's masterpiece. It is not flawless, but its cold, unforgiving feel seems to be something that had always been characteristic of the band, but they never embraced it and ran with it until "Discipline". With its perpetually fresh sound, virtuoso performances, and biting tone, this album stands as an undeniable classic of progressive rock.

Report this review (#248528)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Tripe, utter tripe.

After hearing the first few KC albums, I sought out more...and what I got was a lot of 'less'. As some have pointed out, this is cold and emotionless music (I hesitate to even call it 'music').

This was KC entering into their 80's period, and, I have found, through my own personal experience, that when 70s bands enter into the 80s....BAD THINGS HAPPEN. Everything goes downhill. Creativity wanes, music commercializes, and people wear tacky clothing.

Finding out that the vocalist for the Talking Heads supplies the vocals on this album...well now, suddenly it makes sense. Basically, this album is what you get when Robert Fripp attempts to do a cover version of a TH song.

For anyone who likes their previous, more symphonic (and more enjoyable (trust me, this record does not inspire one to dance and sing)) material, then steer well clear of this.

I give this .5 / 5, but because of the current rating system, I have no choice but to begrudgingly give it a 1.

Report this review (#248530)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The King Crimson fanbase seems to be divided over this release. Typical criticisms of DISCIPLINE seem to be the overt ''new-wave'' sound the album embraces and the seemingly cold technicality of the songs. Not one song breaks the nine minute threshold, Adrian Belew's voice is of an acquired taste and only prototypical rock instruments are used here (minus the Chapman stick). In spite of all this, I am still willing to defend DISCIPLINE.

I've had a mutual respect for the Crimson body of work ever since I heard ''21st Century Schizoid Man'' for the first time. However, I believe mutual respect and love are not necessarily synonyms, and I've always had trouble putting King Crimson albums on repeat because I really didn't love the songs, even if their debut is a bona fide prog masterpiece. They've always been artistic masterminds, but many of their earlier works aren't ''grounded'' enough for me. DISCIPLINE changed that.

DISCIPLINE is deceptively simply in its new-wavey sound, yet all of the stick lines, percussion tricks and guitar licks give the album an inner complexity. Fripp can give a cluster of notes a trancy feel, and his guitar work is the main fabric that keeps the album in check along with Bruford's odd percussion sounds. Adrian Belew can create some interesting noises (e.g. elephant sounds in ''Elephant Talk'') with his guitar, and the stick lines are things you simply must hear in order to understand.

There are plenty of highlight tracks here, mostly in the trancier tunes like ''Elephant Talk'', ''Discipline'', ''Thela Hun Ginjeet'' and ''Frame By Frame'', all of them sounding like the Police or the Talking Heads. ''Indiscipline'' has a sound very close to heavy metal with an incredible drum performance to boot, and ''The Sheltering Sky'' has this Peter-Gabriel-world- music sound to it. The only weaker track is ''Matte Kudasai'', a ballad type of track that doesn't really fit. I'd love to give this the maximum rating, but I'll be objective here and warn progsters of the potentially ''poppier'' sound here. One should first discover 70's King Crimson first.

Report this review (#282910)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars After a seven year hiatus, Robert Fripp was back with a new band, called King Crimson. Their original name was to be Discipline, and I think it would have been a better fit. The compositions were built around strict finger exercises, played at the same time by Fripp, Adrian Belew and Tony Levin, who revolutionized bass playing at the time with his amazing Chapman Stick work. While the concept was groundbreaking and interesting at the time, the novelty wore off after one record.

The highlights are Elephant Talk, which features Levin's two-handed stick playing, and some pretty lame vocals ("These are words beginning with D" - Really, Adrian?), Indiscipline and Thela Hun Ginjeet.

The vocals throughout are marred by Belew's thin, David Byrne-like voice. While Frame By Frame and Matte Kudesai are okay songs, they never command multiple listens.

If you must have an album by this lineup, get this one.

Report this review (#283048)
Posted Saturday, May 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Because I just listened to this for the very first time, I suppose I can only express my immediate reactions and opinions, but first impressions are as important as growing appreciation (or however you'd want to phrase that.)

Although I'm a huge follower of the big KC, I, admittedly, just listened to this record for the very first time. It didn't leave me breathless, like their earlier albums proved to do to me time and time again; however, I really liked the fundamental idea, here: to make King Crimson music with Talking Heads sensibilities.

The quirkiness and humor of "Elephant Talk" and "Indiscipline" are unmistakably David Byrne/Fred Schneider-esque, and Belew somehow manages to make the unconventional lyrics and Sprechgesang singing work impeccably. Of course, it wouldn't be a King Crimson album without a few experimental...experiments; their radical state of mind is most notable in "The Sheltering Sky" and "Discipline", two of my personal favorite KC tunes.

One of my few complaints, here, is that most of the songs sound very, very similar. It's unmissable Crimson, but the sound incorporated isn't as innovative or continually interesting as on, say, ITCotCK or Larks' Tongues.

So to wrap this up, I think both new wave listeners and prog listeners alike can appreciate the music on Discipline. It's not a perfect album, but I'd still recommend it, especially for those new to Crimson's material.

Report this review (#285823)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Thela Hun Ginjeet! Is that Zeuhl?! Nah, just an anagram...

Discipline indeed marked a radical change in King Crimson's history; from this album onwards you could easily call it a new band, since it really was meant to be a new one. The original Crimsonian sound was gone, no mellotrons, no jazzy leanings, few rock substance, and other dozen of things that made the 70's Crimson so characteristic, despite its differences with each line-up, had also disappeared.

The 80's King Crimson were a totally new breed, as music progressed and moved on from the 70's pompous stuff, so did Fripp, so you can find Discipline to be akin to some of the new wave stuff of the time. However, as you all know, Robert Fripp has always been a unique songwriter, so Discipline is also one-of-a- kind like Larks' Tongue in Aspic and In the Court of the Crimson King were in their time, and still are for today.

Despite my general dislike at this album when I first listened to it, I always found something behind all its weirdness that made me come back to the album, finally after repeated listens, it clicked. Yes, it is weird, the guitars(yeah, two guitarists now) are played in an odd way and do not really sound like guitars, the drums are dynamic but 80's sounding so don't expect anything that sounds like what Bruford did in Red. I already knew Belew through Zappa, so his weirdness was tolerated by me, but now I consider his vocal performance throughout this album to be freaking fantastic and another key-factor making this sound like a totally new band.

The album is strong allthrough, so there's no need to mention any highlight, but I will mention my favorite tracks. These being Elephant Talk, perfect song to know what this band offers, bizarre vocals, some weird sounds, a complicated rhythm, and above all that it's catchy in its own odd way!, and Frame by Frame which has my favorite vocal performance by Belew.

Mind you, I'm not a big fan of this kind of freakiness, but King Crimson made it well and entertaining, and in Discipline it's pretty much superb. Definitely not an album I would categorize as classic Prog Rock, because it is not, but still this is original as hell and so fun to play that it deserves no less than 4 stars and I recommend it to any fan of the 80's new wave/post-punk kind of stuff and to anyone who is keen in listening to some wild, eighties-sounding, yet accessible for some, bizarreness that is so much fun!

Report this review (#291837)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I really think that disbanding on a high note was a genius move by Robert Fripp. Yes, we might have missed out on a few more masterpieces but it certainly makes us appreciate the earlier material even more!

As for the decision of naming the band King Crimson, even though it was originally suppose to be Discipline, I'm pretty certain about my opinion on the issue. For once, I wouldn't be doing this review streak without the King Crimson name backing up this and the next few releases. It's also not certain that the band would call themselves King Crimson in the '90s without doing so in the '80s so there is a definite appeal there. Plus the band clearly went out of their way to create the Larks' Tongues In Aspic quadrilogy in order to link all of the eras of the band's development.

Now that we've got the obligatory defense speech out of the way, let's talk about the album! Discipline must have shocked the anticipating King Crimson fans since this incarnation of the band had no intension of indulging the listeners in a single moment of nostalgia. The sound is much more technical with Bruford and Levin creating a rhythmical force that never previously existed in King Crimson. The biggest change thought had to do with the addition of Adrian Belew as the band's vocalist/guitarist which must have be very surprising since Fripp never previously allowed anyone else to take on guitar duties in King Crimson. These new additions can roughly explain why the music is so vastly different from anything that we've heard before. It manages to be rhythmical and technical while keeping the listener on the edge of ones seat for the entire duration of the album.

Discipline is another one of the complete album experience types of records so I'll restrain myself from any sort of track-by-track description. All you need to know is that this is not the King Crimson that you've heard in the '70s but that doesn't necessarily makes Discipline a lesser album. Personally, I happen to rate it on the same level as Larks' Tongues In Aspic and Lizard, so just give it a shot and be open-minded about it!

***** star songs: Elephant Talk (4:41) Frame By Frame (5:08) Indiscipline (4:32)

**** star songs: Matte Kudasai (3:45) Thela Hun Ginjeet (6:25) The Sheltering Sky (8:22) Discipline (5:02)

Report this review (#299509)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#303565)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
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 Señor 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.

Report this review (#330922)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Isa
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars |C+| Experimental substance meets over-repetition.

This is definitely one of the more straight-forward works of KC's discography, and presents a marker of Fripp's shift to a new idiom in his compositional style. While the overall experimental feel that is present in just about all of his work has certainly been retained, as well as the relentless use of new sounds and technologies, Discipline is obviously and decisively more repetitive and easier to grasp than previous albums.

It really is the repetitive nature that makes this album as accessible as it is. Each track could easily be divided into a few sections that are used at least twice. Each section is comprised of guitar-bass-drum patterns and riffs that repeats every measure over and over, with vocals either talking or singing a nice melody. This is pretty much the case for the entire album, and is the main reason for the rating being lower than it would be otherwise. It took me literally three listens before I felt like I knew the album quite solidly, and only because there is in fact very little music here repeated to fit the length of the album. My feeling is that Fripp intended this as a consequence of the influence of minimalism in this album, evident also in some of the guitar work which refers quite clearly to Steve Reich.

Despite this overuse of material, the material itself is really cool and well crafted, especially in terms of the technology and instrumental effects used in the album's production. Fripp makes heavy use of chorused guitar, in a way that is indeed very characteristic of the early eighties. Bruford uses ethnic sounding percussion instruments much of the time as well. Levin sounds like Levin, offering really cool, juicy bass lines as usual, and shows off his speed in the second track. The vocal melodies are probably my favorite part of the album, very catchy and singable. His best contribution is in Thela Hun Ginjeet, which is along with the first track are the highlights of the album for me.

There's some great stuff to be heard in this album, but overall I'd say it is somewhat dated sounding and repetitive for my taste, and I'm not exactly a critic of simplicity in music. It's just not very organic and I blame minimalistic influence for this. Discipline is nonetheless a pretty fun album; I'd play it at a party with my progger friends as background music. A King Crimson fan should be satisfied with this album, especially if you like the group's later discography.

Report this review (#356067)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars An album very strange, by the way.

Forget the sound of 69-74 years: what we have here is a King Crimson influences with exotic, in line with the "world music". But none of this makes it a masterpiece like "In the Court of Crimson King", "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" or "Red " (my favorite albums of KC). I have nothing against the new band's sound, while listening to Adrian Belew speaking on "Elephant Talk" and "Indiscipline" give me the nerves, will not coincidence, these are the tracks that I hate most in album. Although he sings very well in "Matte Kudasai" - my favorite track, next to "Frame by Frame" and "Thela Ginjeet Hun"(in this, the lines of Belew help, not hurt.). The other two tracks are average - The title track is nothing special, while "The Sheltering Sky" is sustained by Bruford percussion, the Frippertronic, I think of ... you-know-who and the Chapman Stick of excellent Tony Levin (bass hear this reminds me of the album "Liquid Tension Experiment 1 ").

3,5 stars, rounded up.

Report this review (#358968)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a lengthy wait time after Red, King Crimson returns with some new talent to record their first album of the eighties. The band Discipline, led by Fripp, eventually turned into King Crimson, and the name of the band it was based off of loaned a name to this album. Discipline is a great record, considering how much time was spent between albums. Perhaps the new band members Levin and Belew made the album what it is...

Tony Levin starts "Elephant Talk" with some swirly Chapman Stick work. Fripp establishes some complex guitar work while Bruford taps some tribal rhythms on his drum kit. Belew provides some screeches and elephant sounds from his guitar while ranting about how people communicate in alphabetical form. The lyrics are comical and cynical, and Belew delivers them effectively. He's also an excellent showman and awesome guitarist. This song is relatively short and almost danceable, yet it's not pop in the least bit. A real gem from the eighties. 5/5

The next song, "Frame by Frame", introduces itself with screechy guitar and fluttery bass, with Bruford providing accents on his eccentric kit. On most of this album, rather than a ride or hi-hat, he'll use an octoban for the ride pattern. "Frame by Frame" is soothing, and, if the band had a synth player, it would be a very spacey song. Most of the mood is really contributed by Levin, who plays a constant pattern that swirls around your ears. Belew's vocals are also perfect for the song. Again, it's a short song but not a pop song, and is a good song overall. 4/5

"Matte Kudasai" is a very calm song. It's good chill out music, and it's very short, so it doesn't drag itself around. It also acts as a good contrast to the next song. Belew's vocals are sweet as Lake's on this song. 4/5

From serenity to insanity goes this album. "Indiscipline" is a freak out song. Intended to let Bruford breath a bit, his percussion become a great deal more frantic on this song than on other songs. The guitars are harsh, as are the vocals. They alternate between quieter, spoken sections and a last line shouted at the top of Belew's lungs. If you're a fan of Bruford, you definitely want to hear this track, he is absolutely fantastic. All of the musicians are. 5/5

"Thela Hun Ginjeet" is a very jungle-ish song. The title is an anagram for "Heat in the Jungle". A bouncy song clocking in at over six minutes, Belew retells a story where he was captured by some thugs on the streets of New York in the middle of the song. Bruford has more tribal rhythm skills showing on this song. Again, all of the musicians show. 5/5

"The Sheltering Sky" is the longest track on the album, at eight and a half minutes. It's entirely instrumental, and has some psychedelic influences. The track does indeed sound like music to listen to as the clouds roll overhead as you lie on the side of a lake... The drumming is light, and the other instruments seem distant and calm. Great way to cool down from "Thela Hun Ginjeet". 4/5

The last song on the album and the title track, "Discipline" is another instrumental. Faster than the previous song, it features Belew and Fripp playing very similar lines with slight variation. Bruford keeps the time going, and Levin does great at filling out the song. Levin is really understated in the band, with the eccentric Belew, the genius Fripp, and the awesome drum skills of Bruford. Nobody wins this guitar battle. The best way to summarize this song is ordered chaos, with Bruford and Levin bringing order, while Fripp and Belew constantly change up the time signature. The guitars end the album in a finish that could have been improved upon slightly, but the rest of the song is perfect. 4/5

I never much liked much of the Crimson material published after this album. This is their last really great album. Fripp's "Rock Gamelan" experiment went really well, and I highly recommend this album. It is really easy to get into, and the songs are relatively short, so you can listen to it in stages rather than all at once. If only all bands could be King Crimson...

Report this review (#375016)
Posted Thursday, January 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars I repeat myself when under stress.... I repeat myself when under stress...

King Crimson transformed themselves reinventing the very medium they were cocooned within. The lyrics and music became less surreal though no less captivating. On this release some of their most well known pieces were to emerge, becoming live favourites.

Elephant Talk begins this so well with the polyrhythmic patterns of Robert Fripp and the estranged singing of Belew. Bruford's drumming is a key feature as always and Levin plays a mean bass.

Frame By Frame is certainly an excellent song with some innovative musicianship. Indiscipline is a stunning progressive masterpiece, which captures the feeling of being obsessed over nothing more than anything you will hear. The spoken lyrics have a power of their own but it is those time sig shifts when the band begin to crunch out that hypnotic riff which makes this a classic.

Thela Hun Ginjeet is also mesmirising with a repeated mantra and motif that hooks into your system. The Sheltering Sky is a longer piece at 8:22, that showcases the prowess of Levin and Bruford.

It ends with Discipline and a bonus track for those who are interested. The unusual guitar playing and bizarre vocal styles became trademark King Crimson of the 80s and are ground breaking, proving that King Crimson were alive and well in this new incarnation.

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Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Talking Heads with Fripp and Bruford?

I never heard this album at the time it was released. In fact, it took me almost 30 years to actually get the CD. It may sound strange for such a fan of King Crimson like me. But the fact that Robert Fripp wanted to call the band Discipline had its reasons. Besides the inclusion of american guitarrist Adrian Belew in the line up didn´t appeal to me. Everybody knows they called themselves King Crimson after some pressure from the recording company. For their sound here is everything but KC.

Not really bad, I should say. But totally different. Even for a band that dabbled with such distincitve styles of music through their brief career in the late 60´s and early 70´s (classical, jazz, avant guard, eletronic, etc) this album doesn´t bring any of their trademarks in mind when I hear it. In fact, it sounds too much like something Adrian Belew did, solo or with Talking Heads. Of course Fripp´s great minimalistic guitar lines are stil present, and so are Bill Bruford´s terrific drumming. But in small doses. Too restrained. Most of the time you hear Belew´s pyrothechnics and David Byrne-like Vocals (from TH) plus Levin´s stick. Great musicians, no doubt, but still not really what KC was all about. Fripp and Bruford seems to be more guests than real band members in my opinion.

So in the end I can´t say I appreciated this CD much. The lack of memorable tunes is something I really miss from Discipline. King Crimson always flirted with the avant guard, but they never forgot how to blend it with some fine, simple melodies. That´s what made them stand out, and be such a great band. This is truly different album. And a different band. If it is good or bad it depends on your taste for music. Too much early 80´s new wave experimental stuff for me. And such bad lyrics. Discipline kind of dated somehow, while their 70´s output dind´t. They shouldn´t have used the name.

For collectors/hardcore fans only. (By the way, I like Talking Heads!)

Report this review (#401509)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This line-up of Fripp, Belew, Levin and Bruford were originally called Discipline. For whatever reason, Fripp decided the name should be changed to King Crimson. He asked Tony Levin what he thought and Tony responded that it was fine with him because he never liked the name Discipline anyway. There are those who believe that this group should not have been called King Crimson. Hell, there are some who believe that nothing after Islands should be labelled 'King Crimson'. Fripp and Levin both worked together on Peter Gabriel's solo albums. Belew and Fripp both appeared on David Bowie and Talking Heads albums. Bruford is back working with Fripp again.

Some dismiss this album as some kind of Talking Heads rip-off. The T-Heads never did anything as experimental as "Indiscipline" nor will you find any drumming on their albums which comes close to what Bruford is doing here. If this album sounds like Talking Heads then all these years I've been listening to the wrong group with the same name. This follows on the heels of Fripp's experimental New Wave band The League Of Gentlemen. On the original album cover was a Celtic knot that, unknown to the band, was actually copyrighted; on recent CD versions the design has been changed.

On this album begins the interlocking twin guitars that KC would continue to use in the next two decades. Roland guitar synths are used and Levin plays his Chapman Stick which he was usuing on Gabriel's albums. Bruford is not yet using electronic percussion. These compositions are pretty intricate and do not leave a lot of room for improvisation. However, one of the stand out tracks here, the instrumental "The Sheltering Sky", was originally a group improv which was recorded, then transcribed and re-recorded in the studio. This track has an almost tropical island vibe. Love the Stick and guitar synth here. Some cool sounds after 3 minutes.

These songs were much better in concert without much deviation from the studio versions. One of the songs that was performed slightly different live was the opener "Elephant Talk." This is the only song that somewhat resembles T-Heads due to Belew's Byrne-like vocals. The lyrics are Adrian reciting different words in alphabetical order. He does some elephant sounds on his guitar. Love the solo, being both atonal and melodic at the same time. The last and title track is my least favourite song here but it's still good. The music is very, uh, disciplined. No room for improvisation.

"Frame By Frame" is a highlight. Bruford really shines on this song with some African influenced drumming. Features Levin on back up vocals. "Matte Kudasai" is apparently Japanese for "please wait." Beautiful song. Love Belew's guitar playing and the gorgeous guitar arpeggios. The original version of this album had some guitar playing from Fripp on this song that was lated edited out on the first CD versions. It is now available as a bonus track on the most recent editions of the CD. I'm used to the version on the 1989 "definitive edition"(ha!) CD with Fripp's parts removed.

"Indiscipline" is just something else; the most experimetal song on the album. Not many were doing stuff like this in the early 1980s. Bruford drums like a madman at times. Love the sustained guitar notes. The lyrics are very weird with everything being referred to as "it." The song alternates between a vocals and Stick section with more dissonant, noisy sections. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is an anagram of 'heat in the jungle', which was the original title but Fripp didn't like it. This song is based on a tape recording Belew made about crime in the city. He recounts what happened to him as he attempted to do this. Interesting story.

The music is based around a repeated Stick line. Bruford does some more African inspired drumming here. I love what the guitar is doing after 5 minutes. In addition to Adrian telling his story, there is some good singing on this track as well. No matter what you think about this album, you cannot deny these guys were trying to do something new. Compare this to some of what their 'prog' contemporaries were doing at the same time. Fripp hates the term "progressive" and would do whatever he could to distance himself from the 'dinosaur' bands. To me, this is the last KC album worth owning. Everything after this just seems to be recycled ideas. Apart from this, the only other '80s era release worth hearing is the live album Absent Lovers. This gets 4 stars.

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Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Discipline is the beginning album for a line-up for King Crimson that fans are usually divided in opinion on, usually on a love or hate basis. I neither love nor hate this line-up, but the music is definitely different. This album sounds like the '80s, but unlike most progressive rock bands in the '80s, the music doesn't sound cheesy at all. It's actually all crafted quite well and comes off as very unique and progressive. Some of the tracks here are instrumentals, with spoken word over the top of them, which isn't bad but it does come off as a bit weird. This definitely isn't a great introduction to King Crimson, but I actually rather enjoy this album quite a bit. King Crimson has always had a way of reinventing their own sound and this album is a great example of that.

Highly recommended!

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Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Retired Admin
4 stars Discipline. That is all.

After 7 years, Fripp and the boys were back making music. Or maybe just Fripp, because there was an almost entirely new lineup for the band's eight studio output Discipline. Fripp found technical bass master Tony Levin and experimental avant virtuoso Adrian Belew to play in his all-star band. And did they certainly create some experimental stuff! King Crimson's symphonic days were long gone, and on Discipline the newly emerging 'eclectic' style of King Crimson began to blossom into a flower not so traditional in beauty; the album encompassed a new form of music for many, with pulsing drum lines, near random guitar solos, and the insinuation of Fripp's ambient foray into music as well. With classics such as Elephant Talk and Frame by Frame gracing the tracklist, this album certainly goes down as a classic King Crimson album.

It's quite incredible to see the evolution of King Crimson from an experimental but still heavily symphonic band on In the Court of the Crimson King to this highly mechanical, disciplined, and experimental album. The guys certainly had no fear when they exploded forth into the dying prog base in the early 80s, and they certainly had a major success, at least with fans. Blasting forth with the incredible Elephant Talk, which almost perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Levin's time with King Crimson in the classic bass line as well as Belew's highly experimental highly avant-garde and highly amazing musical style that he brings to the table for King Crimson. On this album we can really see the eclectic put into King Crimson's music, with many more styles, from jazz to a proto-metal like feel to ambient to so many other experimental feels that contribute to the overall extreme eclecticism of the album, which of course is good not bad. Even in the less mechanical and intense sections of music, the band manages to tie together a really fantastic album overall.

One of the major pros and one of the cons as well of the album are the extreme dynamics. Between side 1 and side 2, there are two extreme themes running throughout (with the continuity tied together with Matte Kudasai and Thela Hun Ginjeet (which is an acronym for The Heat of the Jungle). One side 1 we see the new mechanical intensity of the band, with precision riffs, quick, accurate rhythms, and an overall rocking and rolling beat to the song, a la Bill Bruford. On side 2, we see Fripp exerting his creative control with a much more ambient (of course without Thela Hun Ginjeet being considered), with the longest track The Sheltering Sky comprised of mellow atmospheres and quiet guitar soloing and percussion, and the title track comprised of highly Disciplined (ha) musicianship quietly rotating around a central theme and making a rather tasty jam session. In the end, the dynamics of the album certainly add a spicy flavour to the album, but at the same times, some of the more extended ambient sections and hectic mechanical sections slightly deteriorate the quality of the music.

In the end, Discipline is, with no pun intended, certainly King Crimson's most disciplined and precise album yet. Comprised of multiple intense mechanical masterpieces as well as a number of memorable ambient pieces, the eclectic and dynamic style of the music certainly sets this album apart from most of the band's older work. Overall, the album is certainly a fantastic album and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an album with a highly eclectic and dynamic output; the mechanical and experimental features may deter some, but overall this album is fantastic. 4 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Discipline ? 1981 (3.8/5) 12 ? Best Song: ??? Lots to choose from After spending half a decade in studio silence, King Crimson decided to hop into the world and add New Wave influences into the mix, thus making for one?fluid experience. Gosh, this is some really out-there material. You'd never expect it form the group, but isn't that exactly the point that Fripp and company had been driving home since their early inception? Yeah, that's it. Adrian Belew comes in and makes things even more interesting. For those of you who scoff at New Wave as some pitiful fad to be swept away by your ever-living progressive rock, why not take a step back and look at things, buddy. Where did Yes go? They wen't soft radio rock, pal. Where did Rush go? That's right Rush were always [&*!#]ty. Jethro Tull were taking electronica into consideration, and ELP were all but dead by 1981. Pink Floyd was just about to bite the big bazooka a year or so later. Where is your precious progressive rock, now? Well, disregarding the silly re-animation of things with Marillion in Neo-prog, it was in terrible shape. Fripp must have smelled which way the wind was blowing and to preemptively save the soul of his group without repeating himself, he set aside a few years to study the landscape, thus Discipline was born. The guitars slap and sting, especially in te hard-run of 'Frame by Frame'. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the monumental, but concise opening jam of 'Elephant Talk' which must rank as one of the group's best. In all, Discipline is a warm, organic listen, where Red was sharp and abrasive (for the benefit of the album, you see). And while an album like Discipline doesn't hold a candle to Either Court or Red, it has just enough verve and vigor to come on top as one of my favorites. The singing is vitriolic and imaginative, and it's a real adventure into a futuristic landscape of flicking and hippity whicking. If any complaint might be levied against Discipline, it is that the album contains little to none of your so fabled 'epochal' factor. It just doesn't SEEM as important as it used to, and maybe it isn't.
Report this review (#441728)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Unbelievable disc of King Crimson!!! this is the real eclectic prog!!

Robert Fripp returns in 1981 with three excellent musicians (Levin,Bruford,Belew) and one incredible disc called Discipline. I've never heard a music like this again, which really surprised me at that time.

Ok we will start with the rhiytmic base, which is conformed by Bill Bruford on drums and tony levin in bass, both of them make a superb work! only we must put attention in "Elephan talk" the first theme of the album, this theme is an adventure across a unique line of bass provided by the master Levin with his "Chapman stick". To the same time we have to Bruford in the drums with their mathematical skills, simply awesome

on the other hand we have the vocals provided by the extravagant Adrian Belew and the true master of the progressive experimentation: Robert Fripp

The voices in "Discipline" are fantastic, Belew was at that time a brutal vocalist, with a lot of mixtures and a wide range of colours. "Frame by Frame" is the perfect example of this sentence.

Finally i want to talk about one of my musical heroes. Fripp has been a enormous influence for my generation and my father's generation. Fripp got more solid as guitarrist in this disc, maybe a lot of progressive fans felt disappointed

As conclusion, i should say that this work is fundamental for all the progressive fans, but this is false, a lot of fans didn´t like this record, however the songs showed the new crimson era.

The future of King Crimson begins whit this disc, a cold disc maybe but not senseless

i rate him with 4 and a half stars

Report this review (#449480)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Side two, the Red one

Introduction

King Crimson? You cannot say to know progressive if you don't have ever listened to one of their album! The problem is in fact that you need to listen at least three album to understand the path taken from his Crimson King and the courtiers that changed near him in the various years and releases: is almost impossible to say if the actual group of musicians will work on the next album, or a live date.

Main Theme

At the beginning of 80s Robert Fripp was working on a group he called ''Discipline'', and discipline was, but not with the same meaning: as every single note of the album cannot be wrong or the complete draw will be ruined, discipline is a way to make music from the elephant to the expression of pure guitar duo (Fripp-Belew). To be a bit more clear here we got a masterpiece!

The perfect schemes, the absolutely lunatic lyrics and the best tracks which keep the path taken with Red's Starless makes the clue as the start of a new KC gereration. This Discipline make his point over the intense guitar parts, the slow and crazy lyrics of Indiscipline the frenetic and ironic Thela hun ginjeet with his story and the eccentric drums that cannot play the same note twice (Bruford here is at his top: everytime you listen to him you can say that he has lost his way, but after few seconds he takes again the same route in another counterpoint only to demonstrate that he is doing that for joking), after the looney part of the disc we got some deep tracks, like The sheltering sky or the slow and melancholic Matte Kudasai, all this without counting the mirror between Belew and Fripp in Frame by frame and Discipline, I'll not spend other words to describe the disc since it is fulfilled with counterpoints, rapid stops and quick reprises, moments of deep reflessive music and parts where it's only the background for one of the lyrics parts while Bruford keep to play drums like none before and the two guitarist playing as a single one.

Coda

After this spoilering on the album that I hope will lead someone to listen at it, maybe give it a spin of introduction since KC music isn't easy at all, just got in mind who is Robert Fripp: a master of guitar (he got his own school), eclectic composer and skilled sound technician, after you got all of this maybe it's time to talk with the elephant and listen to it frame by frame, this worth a solid 5 stars as Discipline, album and kind of music, is the essence (even if it cannot be caught in a genre) of King Crimson old, present and future.

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Posted Sunday, June 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, July 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The 80s Crimson has always divided fans, with some enjoying the radical new direction the band went in, and others pining for the old-school sounds of In The Court and Larks Tongues. For me, Discipline is not only a summation of the band's 80s manifesto, it stands as one of the highlights of the band's career. It introduced new ideas to the increasingly stale world of 'Prog', and showed that a band could still make radically inventive, challenging, memorable records over a decade into their career.

Many fans bemoan the loss of the sprawling King Crimson sound of the 70s, the records focused around large epics, the mellotrons... in essence, the quintessential 'Prog' sound. Yet looking back, it's easynow to see the thinking behind the radical change of direction. Robert Fripp, and the Crim in general, have always focused on thinking outside the box. For the new Crimson to have entered the 80s with an album that sounded like something from the previous decade would have been in no way 'progressive'. For better or worse, punk, new wave and indie had all arrived since prog's creation, and all had in some way made their impact on popular music. With Discipline, Fripp and co. created a record that acknowledged the musical changes that had occured since Crimson's inception in 1969. Yet crucially, it still holds a progressive identity, messing around with time signatures and key changes as gleefully as any Crimson record from the 70s. Most importantly, I think, this album marks the point where King Crimson made one drastic improvement to their sound: they got tight.

The Crimson albums of the 70s were famed for their over-the-top instrumentation. And for all that nostalgia blesses those records with a hazy, legendary aura, the uncomfortable truth is that a lot of the displays of instrumental prowess are little more than excercises in shapeless noodling. Without wishing to belittle the talents of those involved, or the brilliance of those earlier records, many of the songs on the earlier records suffer from solos and instrumental sections that try to instill a sense of the epic journey, yet ultimately come off as aimless wanderings that circle around and around formlessly, where the musicians are disconnected from each other and songs lurch from one section to the next.

Not so with Discipline. On this album, the time signatures are just as wacky, the songs just as inventive in structure, but the instumentation is tighter, and the band-members sound more in sync with each other. Where there used to be vast improv-fuelled sections where everyone takes turns to show off, the songs now the band are working together to create intricate rhythms and crazy grooves. The genius of this record is in how King Crimson approach prog-staples such as the odd time signature. Before, this would have been a chance for the band members to show off their virtuosity, and revel in the uncomfortable nature of 5/4 and 7/4. Not here. On Discipline, Fripp and co have great fun in taking weird time signatures and song ideas, and making them sound groovier and funkier than you thought possible. This album is possibly the first example of prog-funk. It's crazy, if not outright bat-[&*!#] insane in places, but you can fundamentally tap your foot along and move your head to the rhythm, even when the band is bouncing 5/4 guitar riffs with 6/8 drumlines. And that's a skill far greater than simply soloing for 5 minutes while your audience struggle to follow a beat.

The title track is perhaps the best example of this. The guitar is prime prog material, a drop-D riff in 5/4. But Bill Bruford, instead of highlighting the guitar's archness, instead plays a funky, playful groove underneath, while Tony Levine and Rovert Fripp embellish the playful rhythm with their own funky embellishments. The song is still fiendishly complicated, but it manages the rare feat of being both complex and groovey. Elephant Talk, the album's opener, is a far more straightforward rhytmical affair, being in 4/4, but Levine's Chapman Stick playing, and Adrian Belew's inventive guitar playing and downright avant-garde lyrics and singing still push the song into that weird territory between 'groovey' and 'f****ing weird'. Frame by Frame straddles equally uncertain territory, starting out with a manic intro, then dropping into a slinky 7/4 groove that just sounds downright cool. The impression is almost of a funk band who simultaneously discovered Talking Heads and Genesis. The music is frantic, yet underneath it all is a pulse that keeps the foot tapping.

Matte Kudasai serves as a contrast proper, slowing the temp down, and introducing a far mellower sound to the record. Here Belew shows that he can handle traditional 'heartfelt' singing just as well as his more highbrow 'yelpings'. Restrained instrumentation serves to give the song a lovely atmospheric sound. Indiscipline, on the other hand is a tour de force. Bruford's mind-boggling drum intro gives way to a rocking section that is as heavy as anything Crimson recorded in the 70s, before that too gives way to Belew's left-field spoken word section. Then, the rock is reprised, even heavier than before, and Crimson prove that even with their new 80s manifesto they can drop heavy grooves with the best of them.

Thela Hun Ginjeet reprises the manic funk sound of Frame By Frame, racing along at a breakneck speed. Once again, it's important to stress that even with everyone playing at full speed, and sections following each other in rapid succession, the tightness of the new Crimson unit serve to keep the song grooving along with a nice funky rhythm. On the other hand, The Sheltering Sky provides a much more abstract soundscape, though one that is underpinned by Fripp's restrained, Average-White band guitar snippets. This song shows that 80s Crimson had all the sonic range of their 70s forbears, only touched with a greater sense of 'less-is-more.' Whereas early Crimson would use a sonic soundscape like this as a launchpad for everyone to start showing off their skills, The Sheltering Sky stays lowkey throughout, with Fripp being the only one to elect in suitably melodic synth-guitar lead work. The tone is again brought down to chill for a while, before the rhythmic workout that is the album's finale, Discipline. All that's really left to mention about this track is that where prog bands prior had utilised odd time signatures for the benefit of sounding realy complex and interesting, Discipline shows that the correct application of polyrthythms and groove can create complex music that still makes you want to shake your rump.

And that's it. With Discipline, Crimson created a change in sound comparable to Radiohead's Kid A, ten years before Radiohead even existed. Listening now, it's easy to hear Discipline's polyrhythmic influence in modern prog bands such as Tool. Indeed, the riff from Discipline, with some distortion added, could easily pass for a Tool song. What King Crimson proved with Discipline is that you can create complex, intricate prog that's still catchy and danceable. While it may not have much in common with the sounds of prior Crimson albums, it showed that King Crimson were still a genuinely 'progressive' band going into their second decade, and capable of thinking outside of the box far more than many of their tired prog comrades. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to hear the results when you mix 80s pop-rock with the 70s no-limits mindset.

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Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first King Crimson album I ever heard was this one and I was intrigued. I was surprised that in 1981, people could make music of this magnitude except for Rush. In the era of New Wave and big hair, I thought this was a ballsy move to release an album like this during that time but that was before I really knew who King Crimson was. Start to finish, I think this is the most consistent and tight album of KC's career. Elephant Talk is a great opener that has single potential. Frame by Frame opening few seconds always get stuck in my head it has a real groove aspect to it in a weird way. The Sheltering Sky may be the best song on the album that creates such a mood that could make you feel amazingly awkward or creepily satisfied. Thela Hun Ginjeet tells a great story that almost could have gotten Belew in trouble. Overall, this is a different band even though it has the name King Crimson it is vastly different from Red almost 7 years ago. 4 and a half stars. Highlights: Elephant Talk, Frame by Frame, Indiscipline, Thela Hun Ginjeet, The Sheltering Sky and Discipline.
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Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars King Crimson: Discipline [1981]

Rating: 9/10

"These are words with a D this time..."

After 1974's Red, Fripp had thoroughly thrown in the towel with King Crimson. In fact, the band had been finished before that album was even released. After repeated interviews in which Fripp explicitly stated his lack of creative interest in the King Crimson name, I can't imagine that music fans during the mid-to-late 70s expected a reformation of the group. Needles to say, however, this reformation came; Fripp reconvened with Bill Bruford, recruited Zappa alumnus Adrian Belew and noteworthy bassist Tony Levin, and proceeded to revive a band many thought to be permanently dead. This revival came during the inception of the 1980s, and looking at what happened to other prog giants during this unholy decade, it was easy to assume that the same would happen to King Crimson. Joyfully, this turned out not to be the case; thus, Fripp holds the honor of being one of the few prog-rock maestros who remained artistically genuine throughout the musical climate of the 80s. This is what makes Discipline a remarkable album. The band was able to combine progressive music with emergent new-wave/post-punk sounds in order to make a musical statement that is both accessible and challenging.

The band's changed style is immediately apparent on the opener "Elephant Talk." This track is full of complex and theatrical guitar interplay coupled with Belew's manic vocals. The brilliant lyrics are quite witty and humorous, signaling a significant shift from the Sinfeld-penned verses of the past. Levin's bass work is given a chance to shine on "Frame By Frame", along with the more melodic side of Belew's voice. "Matte Kudasai" is a ballad-type track with some excellent slide-guitar and emotive vocals. The most excellent chunk of the album begins with "Indiscipline." This is a schizophrenic track, transitioning between variations on a sinister main riff and quiet passages focusing on Belew's frenzied spoken-word vocals. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is probably the best post-70s King Crimson track. Bruford really shines here, and the main riff is absolutely brilliant. The vocals and spoken-word passages complement the manic music perfectly. "The Sheltering Sky" is a soft, ambient instrumental with hand-percussion and light guitar strumming. It's a pleasant track, but it lasts a bit too long for its own good. The superb title track closes the album with dizzyingly complex math-rock interplay.

Discipline undoubtedly marks a major stylistic shift for the band; Fripp didn't originally intend for this album to even be a King Crimson release. While I certainly do not believe that the Belew-era albums stack up to the band's 70s material, I cannot deny the engaging creativity present on albums such as this. I possess no particular affinity for new-wave music, but this quirky and progressive take on the genre always manages to hold my interest. Overall, Discipline is an excellent album from a band that was never comfortable with resting on its laurels. Works like this show that accessibility doesn't have to come at the expense of inspiration.

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Posted Monday, August 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Back in 1981, when nobody was expecting it, King Crimson suddenly came back to record a pair of three albums. The other ones ("Beat" and "Three of a Perfect Pair") are not that wonderful, but Discipline is of course.

KC bring some innovations: first of all, he adopts a second guitarist (Adrian Belew), who commonly uses synths to change timbers (in a similar way to Paolo Tofani). Bill Bruford is still in the lineup, and now starts using mostly an electronic drumkit. Tony Levin is one of the first bass players to use a Chapman Stick. Last but not least, Adrian Belew writes all the lyrics, sings them and adds a lot of spoken parts. These changes give the album a little new wave feeling.

Elephant Talk starts with a hammering guitar, that then goes into a groovy song with very nice lyrics. Then we have Frame by Frame. It starts with a very fast guitar pattern, that ceases to leave room for a verse developed over polyrithmic guitar textures. At the end of the verse the fast pattern reappears again. Matte Kudasai is the ballad that became a classic in every KC album; anyway this is a ballad in the way '80s Crimson would do it; it feels relaxing but also a bit weird. Indiscipline is a very heavy track, compared to the rest of the album; it anticipates the "metal Crimson" of The Power to Believe. The lyrics are wonderful, and Bruford shows all of his drum skill.

I don't like Thela Hun Ginjeet particularly, so I'll avoid it by now. The Sheltering Sky is basically a mellow synth solo over constantly changing guitars. Then we have Discipline; it's not hard to understand why it's the title track. It starts with a simple 5/4 guitar pattern, on which both Fripp and Belew develop wonderful riffs and polyrythmies. This "minimalist" track can be easily considered Math Rock.

I highly reccomend this album; it has no weak tracks beyond Thela Hun Ginjeet, and it's where all the Math rock came from, years later. When I tell you about guitar riffs, don't expect classic guitar timbres; they sound in a way that only King Crimson can achieve.

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Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The resurrected King Crimson showcased on Discipline focuses on the New Wave art rock direction of Fripp's solo efforts (such as Exposure), with influences creeping in from the session work he'd done during the Crimson interregnum - Tony Levin joins after encountering Fripp during the recording of Peter Gabriel's third solo album, from which a tense, neurotic energy is borrowed, whilst Adrian Belew drifts in following Fripp's collaborations with Talking Heads, and like the Heads the 80s Crimson is fascinated with the possibilities of rhythmic experimentation.

The harsh metal-prog workouts of the mid-1970s Crimson is present and correct, with Fripp and Bruford being the crucial links to the past; the heavy portions of Indiscipline in particular are a direct link between the current band's work and the group's laudable history. What is particularly striking about the album is the way it manages to dispense of synthesisers and keyboards more or less entirely, instead relying on Fripp and Belew's guitar playing weaving intricate, interlocked rhythms and solos, creating a structure as complex and flawless as the Celtic knot on the album cover. Fans of Fripp's guitar work and prog fans open to the idea that 1970s heroes updating their sound for the 1980s can have genuinely progressive and interesting results will find an absolute treasure trove here.

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Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 8/10

Trendy has never sounded so cool.

King Crimson's 'Discipline' is an example of an album that was groundbreaking for one genre, when the band was famous for doing something completely different. In 1981 Post- Punk reigned supreme among Art Rock bands, and KC decided to join the rollercoaster, and when they do that, they always stay on the very first car.

While 'Discipline' very strictly speaking is still Progressive Rock, mostly because of the song structures, it has a massive New Wave and Art Punk influence, using it's basic formulas. Imagine Talking Heads wanting to make some Prog. This is the guaranteed result. Thanks to the eighties-ish reverberated guitars and the David Byrne-esque vocals, 'Discipline' remains a classic not only for Prog rock but also for New Wave and Post-Punk, surprisingly enough. However King Crimson aspects are obviously heard, especially in the crazy instrumentation, where Robert Fripp, Tony Levin (on bass) and Bill Bruford (on drums) give the best of their skills to produce a technical monster of an LP. This actually might be one of the greatest albums for musicians delivered by KC.

'Discipline' is extremely rigid, cold, neurotic, and nervous sounding most of the time, however there so much intelligence behind this effort; every sound is trying to reproduce something, such as seagulls, the police, or tons of others. The lyrics might sound to some a little pretentious, but I find them extremely interesting, even when Adrian Belew is repeating several times during 'Indiscipline' 'I repeat myself when under stress'. This line is sort of reassumes how King Crimson's art is on their eighth studio album.

The thought provocations start with the very beginning of the album, 'Elephant Talk', a brilliantly executed piece greatly embed with peculiar, possibly satirical, lyrics and vocals. The crazy musicianship of Robert Fripp and Tony Levin will make musicians drool for sure. 'Frame by Frame' is even more technical, a highly progressive piece that comes pretty darn close to perfection, a typically King Crimsonesque mix of virtuosity and original songwriting. Other highlights are here and never will be forgotten, like what could be the most impressively structured piece 'The Sheltering Sky', the most experimental and mellow song here, or also the madness of 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' and the more appealing and beautiful 'Matte Kudasai'.

One of those albums that relies on it's era, and at the same time is a potent and effective reflection of the era that it was released in. Essential album for not only Prog Rock, but also for Post-Punk/New Wave.

Report this review (#606635)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you like Talking Heads' late 70's stuff, then you will like this album. If you like this album, then you will like Talking Heads' late 70's stuff. As some of you know, Robert Fripp guested on the opener of the Heads' third album "Fear of Music" (1979), called 'I Zimbra'. He took that guitar tone with him and a year later co-founded a band with Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, and Adrian Belew. Fripp decided to make it yet another King Crimson line-up, even though they do sound a lot like Talking Heads, especially since Belew sings like David Byrne. However, the Crims' prime focus here does not seem to be lyricism; this line-up sticks with playing a lot of instrumental stuff, as the former incarnations used to. If you do agree that prog rock is mostly about the quality of music, get "Discipline" some time in the future if you haven't heard it yet.

It may seem to you that I talk about this deal as some kind of a three- or four- star material. Well, I have some breaking news for you: the classical-jazz fusion fun is over. Along comes a very different kind of fun, that in a New Wave style. This is certainly not the Crimson of the early 70's that you used to know. Fripp still puts his lightning-speed minimalism to good use, Bruford with Levin keep up the good work, but it is Adrian Belew who makes most of the songs come alive with his weird, frantic guitar, placing his focus on timbre more than anything else, and his off-the-wall vocal. The rich and smooth textures on a couple of tracks along with heavy experimentalism on other tracks prove that this album is very well produced and is nothing short of a record capable of delivering ample positive pleasures.

All in all, I will give this album 4.5 stars because there are mostly good songs, even though they don't blow me away. Since I have to choose between four and five stars, four makes more sense as an arithmetic average.

1. 'Elephant Talk' - ****

2. 'Frame by Frame' - ****

3. 'Matte Kudasai' - ***

4. 'Indiscipline' - ***

5. 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' - *****

6. 'The Sheltering Sky' - *****

7. 'Discipline' - *****

Stamp: "I like it."

Report this review (#613954)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of the neat consequences of Fripp's willingness to change and adapt over time is that perhaps no former bigshot of prog rock, save probably Peter Gabriel, survived the punk movement in better condition. After KC broke up, Fripp spent the rest of the 70's as an extremely sought-after session guitarist, and his playing helped shape the works of several of that time's greatest artists. Brian Eno, in particular, seemed to call upon the services of Fripp whenever possible, and since Eno himself worked with big names (Talking Heads, David Bowie) in addition to his own great solo career, it followed that Fripp managed to regain a good chunk of critical credibility (in other words, he was able to balance out the critical backlash from his involvement with the "mistake" that was the prog rock movement). In any case, since Fripp had managed to graft several New Wave traits into his guitar stylistics (and in fact even created several of the most prominent New Wave guitar traits), it only makes sense that when he decided to revive the name King Crimson, it would be a band with heavy New Wave influences.

For some fans of Crimson, this incarnation and everything afterwards is just a footnote in the band's history, a "lesser" version of a formerly great band. To me, this is nothing short of an enormous mistake - I may like well-done "classic" prog, but "classic" prog is only one of the many kinds of music that I greatly enjoy. In terms of (a) the collective playing talent of the group and (b) the combination of styles and genres, I could even make the argument that THIS is the best ever version of King Crimson. The songwriting may be kinda hit-and-miss in terms of traditional hooks and melodies and the like, but players are sufficiently talented as to take the ideas they come up with and attack them with enough energy and intensity to more than make up for any deficiency.

To explain the stylistics of this album, it is first necessary to understand the lineup. Fripp, as mentioned earlier, had mostly replaced the hard-rock crunch of the 70's with all sorts of complex New Wave pyrotechnics. He occasionally brings out the crunch (Indiscipline), but that's the exception, and most of his playing is spent in bizarre coordination with a second guitarist. This slot is filled by one Adrian Belew, a former Zappa sideman and a primary guitar-contributer to the 1980 Talking Heads album Remain in Light. Band purists might be miffed at the presence of a second guitarist in a band with Robert Fripp, but no better choice could possibly be made than Belew - not only is he one of the few people in the world who could stand toe-to-toe with Fripp in a playing showdown, he has an equal love of both avant-garde and pop, making him a good addition to a prog/New-Wave hybrid band like this. Belew also takes over the vocal and lyric functions in this incarnation, and it's a score in both cases - aside from the fact that he has a strong voice, albeit somewhat overdone and occasionally emotionally vapid, he also pens lyrics that are both absurd and unpretentious in their emphasis of the absurdity.

The percussion of this incarnation comes from a familiar source, good ole Bill Bruford, but that doesn't mean this is the same kind of percussion as before. Bruford SERIOUSLY reworked and retooled his playing since Crimson's breakup, or even his later stint as Genesis' drummer for one tour, and one would be hardpressed to guess that it was the same person. The biggest developments are (a) a major assimilation of World Music influences, and (b) a newfound love of electronic percussion. Note that electronic drums are NOT the same as drum machines; the sounds may be enhanced with non-acoustic tones, but that is still a real person behind the kit, and in this case, it's one majorly talented person. It should be further noted that Bruford was one of the first people to fully realize that an electronic kit can and should be attacked in a different way from an acoustic kit, in a way that takes advantage of the full sonic potential of the drums, and as a result the drumming here is innovative, interesting AND occasionally dancable.

Speaking of dancable, the bass player here is one Tony Levin, quite possibly the finest session bassist in the world. The man has played with seemingly EVERYBODY in his life - aside from Crimson, he's had a significant role in the career of Peter Gabriel, and he's also played with everybody from John Lennon to Yes (or ABWH, whatever) to Pink Floyd to Eno to whomever. Aside from immaculate technique, Tony has an almost unmatched capability to make complex rhythms dancable, and dancable rhythms flow and come alive, and he displays this talent in full force on this album. Between his bass and his Chapman Stick, his playing and tones do wonders for making the overall sound so incredibly intriguing.

So what is the sound? The common oversimplification is that it's basically a Talking Heads ripoff, albeit a little more complicated; this explanation, in my opinion, is somewhat lacking. There are some similarities to the Heads albums around that time, but there's a good reason for that - Fripp played some of the guitars on Fear of Music, and as mentioned previously, Belew played many of the guitars on Remain in Light. In other words, any ripping off of the Heads would be, in part, merely a ripoff of themselves. Yet even in that case, the resemblances are just superficial - the guitar tones are fuller, the sound is less "twee" if twee can in any way be used to describe a Talking Heads album, and the technical ability of this group is so far above that of the regular Heads that there can't help but be serious improvements in some areas. In any case, the sound is more or less New Wave meets prog rock meets World Beat (I guess WB is a subgenre of New Wave, but whatever) meets a tinge of avantgarde meets ... elephantosity, for which Belew is credited in the liner notes. In other words, this really has no perfect comparison with anything else in the music world, and that's definitely worth something.

Unfortunately, this is one of those albums where it's a lot easier to describe in detail the overall sound than the actual songs. This doesn't mean the songs aren't enjoyable or accessible, it just means that if you've heard 30 seconds or so of one of the tracks, you've basically heard the entire track, just in slight variations. An exception lies in the multipart "Indiscipline," one of the only tracks to not take a single theme and pound it into your head incessantly - when Belew isn't reciting excerpts from a letter strung together in such a way as to make little sense, in the way only he can, while the underlying instrumentation builds up the tension, we get to hear all sorts of crunchy jamming and Bruford drum frenzies. I suppose I can see where some might consider it a weak track, given that it's essentially beat poetry over New-Wave-laced atonal jamming, but I find it very interesting to hear the bizarre approach the band takes with the dynamics of the track, and as such I'd never dismiss it.

Otherwise, the album is represented by such oddities as the opening "Elephant Talk." It can be summed as follows: Belew recites synonyms for "talk" starting with letters A through E over a cool repetitive background, while Adrian also occasionally throws in a guitar sound that sounds like, sure enough, an elephant. Sounds stupid in theory, yes, but it works splendidly - all these energetic rhythmic parts bounce off each other in a hyperactive frenzy that can't help but suck the listener in. A similar statement can be made about the side-two opener, "Thela Hun Ginjeet" (anagram for "Heat in the Jungle"). Every so often there's a "verse melody" where Belew sings the title and a couple of other completely meaningless lines, but the majority of it consists of VERY cool jamming with great guitar interplay (and some great sounds from Fripp), and a tape of Belew relating some story about getting arrested during the recording sessions for being weird. It might be slightly overlong, and it would only realize its full potential live, but I can't name other problems besides that.

As for the rest of the album, aside from the BEAUTIFUL ballad "Matte Kudasai" (an ode to Belew's wife, with a great vocal melody to go with the great vocals, and Fripp using his soundscapes as only he can), the rest of the album is essentially a launchpad for hypnotic jamming led by the mindblowing guitar interplay. "Frame by Frame" is the weakest of these (at least, the one I enjoy the least, even if it's stunning from a technical standpoint), but it still works - the guitars are panned in such a way as to make you ever so slightly uncomfortable, as if there's an "optimal" way for balancing them that the band purposefully avoids, and it does a good job of drawing further attention to the playing. The other two such tracks are instrumentals, closing out the album, and while many condemn them as generic yuppie world-beat muzak, I'll have nothing of it. "The Sheltering Sky" is anchored by a terrific drum line with some cool rhythm work, while Fripp uses his guitar-synth capabilities to their highest potential. Overlong perhaps (8 and a half minutes is somewhat excessive), but I for one never find myself looking at the time wondering how much longer I have to sit through it - it's just about the best meditation piece Crimson ever came up with, with a solid cross between monotony and diversity in sound, and from that perspective it works marvelously.

Finally, there's the title track, where the guitar interplay is unveiled in all its glory. The general sound of it may be somewhat simplistic on the surface, but that's just a cover for gullible people. Listen closely to what the heck is being played, noting that the quartet is playing deceptively complex parts, and then try in particular to hack through the way Fripp and Belew's guitars weave through each other, creating order out of controlled chaos. If you dislike the track after doing that, well, it's your loss - me, I find it to be a catchy, engaging, yet mindblowing groove.

Overall, then, it's a pretty great album. If any flaw can be assigned to it as a whole, it's that the album can sometimes seem a bit ... cut-and-paste. It's a really cool sound, but it can sound a bit cold and overly academic, like a bunch of nutty professors in the music department at a university decided to do a grotesque version of post-punk guitar rock. Similarly, the album doesn't "breathe" at all - live, these songs are just about the best music of the 80's, while here it's just ... some of the better music of the 80's, if you can make the distinction. Make no mistake, though, getting this album shouldn't be something you regret, at least if you give it some time.

Report this review (#620633)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars

Discipline is one of those albums where, if I go long enough without listening to it, I think, "Well, Discipline is good, but it's not that good. How could I ever have thought it was the best King Crimson album, and one of the best of all time?" And then I may go back and listen to Discipline again, and realize: it really is that good. In an era when prog rock had fallen into disrepair, Robert Fripp got together an astounding group of musicians to make an astounding album.

Part of the reason I like Discipline so much is because it combines an amazing number of elements that I just really like in music. Chief among these are a chorus-filtered guitar tone that just drips New Wave, electronic experimentation, highly complex ostinati out the wazoo, and serious rhythmic complexity. (I occasionally am jolted by just how ridiculous the track "Discipline" is in this respect.) At the same time, it brings together 4 of the most remarkable players in rock music: Robert Fripp (my favorite guitarist of all time), Bill Bruford (my favorite drummer of all time), Tony Levin (not my favorite bassist of all time, but a pretty freaking good bassist/Chapman Stickist all the same), and Adrian Belew (himself a guitar wizard, and also an excellent vocalist.) This last point is something to emphasize--often I feel like vocal lines in instrumentally complex music may detract from it somewhat, and I must say that I find many of the foremost voices in prog somewhat irritating, but Belew smashes both of these trends, fitting into the music and complementing it even when he's just rambling off a surreal monologue. And that is no mean feat.

The album opens with the funky standout "Elephant Talk". Led by a seriously groovy stick intro riddled with tritones and rushing guitar noises, it shifts into a peculiar spoken word portion in which Belew rattles off synonyms for "talk" starting with the first 5 letters of the alphabet ("balderdash, ballyhoo! It's only talk!") In the sections between letters, the band jumps into exciting solo sections, each one notably different from the last, full of elephant noises, guitar synthesizers, plain old guitars, and a dizzying variety of ostinati.

After this excellent opener, however, is "Frame by Frame", which could easily contend for my favorite song EVER. The beginning is undergirded by a guitar line of inhuman speed from Fripp and wobbly chords from Belew, until it suddenly shifts in a section pulling off the bizarre rhythmic trick that King Crimson would go on to use later--playing in two different time signatures, at the same tempo, simultaneously (here 7/8 and 6/8). This is topped off by a nonsensical but beautiful sung part. If I were forced to put this song into a category, I would call it "math pop", and I would argue that this genre is something the world needs more of--it balances a focus on creating very thickly layered ambience with actual melodies on top, which gives it a sort of "sweeping" feel.

These two highly energetic pieces are followed up with the laid-back "Matte Kudasai", a very pretty ballad with only occasional interruptions from repeated guitar patterns that still serve to improve the track. The fading guitar tone used throughout is also gorgeous, and the occasional weird birdlike noises (presumably Belew) give this piece a very effective atmosphere.

After this comes a piece that feels rather out of place on the album, the crashing "Indiscipline". Quiet, throbbing bass sections accompanied by a bizarre spoken part from Belew (apparently a letter from his wife) build tension that is suddenly released in a pounding 5/4 rhythm, with distortion that hearkens back to Krimson's mid-70's work. This happens a couple times until a sudden conclusion, in which Belew finishes with a triumphant "I like it!" I'm actually not terribly impressed by this track, although my opinion toward it has warmed considerably. It drastically improves live, though, with an opening drum solo, longer tension-building sections, and a shift in Belew's tone of voice from strangely detatched to psychotic.

Amazingly, the second side manages to measure up to the quality of the first side. First, "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is one of the most energetic on the disc, replacing the single-note interplay of before with furious chords. It's also the album's third piece with spoken lyrics, this time with a twist--the lyrics are taken from Belew recounting an actual encounter with street thugs in his attempt to gather fake dialogue on this subject. The one flaw I would ascribe to this piece is that, while the others are sufficiently full of changes to hold interest, "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is somewhat monotonous--the narration isn't really sufficient to keep interesting the "verse" sections, which are quite long at times. However, this is a minor complaint for what is otherwise a very exciting song. It does still have an epic instrumental section at the end, which helps quite a bit.

Another breather piece comes after this: the instrumental "The Sheltering Sky", which is an uncharacteristic but even more successful attempt at an atmospheric piece (and in fact, it's yet another of my favorite Krimson songs.) An off-kilter chord progression and minimal slit-drum and bass undergird a guitar synthesizer solo from Fripp for the first chunk; then the guitars shift into playing repeated notes, resembling the methods of the other pieces on the album. However, this is still very different, as it remains subdued, with quiet background noises, interrupted by the occasional wavy descending synthesizer. In essence, this piece takes the characteristic interplay and slows it down enough to allow you to focus on what the individual bits are doing, also adding sufficient ambience and guitar synth antics to make it beautiful. It then returns to the beginning section.

The closer is another instrumental, "Discipline". Here is where the interplay goes utterly bonkers. The entire purpose of the piece appears to be for the guitarists to play two different patterns, then unexpectedly drop a note from one and continue playing while they fall out of sync. But miraculously, it all fits together perfectly--it it becomes engaging rather than noisy. The progression of patterns played isn't arbitrary, but flows nicely. It's really difficult to descibe this piece well, but suffice it to say that it takes the idea behind the album to the extreme and comes out intact.

So, yeah: Discipline is one of the all-time greats, in my view. One might be tempted to think (as I have all too often drifted into thinking when I have not heard this album for a long time) that an album mostly based around repetitive guitar ostinati would be soulless, homogenous, or just boring, but Discipline is none of these things: rather, it is King Crimson's peak. Highlights include "Frame by Frame", "The Sheltering Sky", and "Discipline", but really, apart from "Indiscipline", they're all superb.

*prepares for barrage of rotten fruit from ITCOTCK and Red lovers*

Report this review (#624476)
Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Returning to the spotlight after a lengthy seven-year hiatus and with two new members in tow, the 1981 King Crimson album 'Discipline' found Robert Fripp's art-rock ensemble sporting a crisp new post-punk sound. Back at the helm after successful stints playing with both Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, Fripp is here joined by fellow returning member and former Yes drummer Bill Bruford, marking his second stint with the group, and new boys Tony Levin(bass) and Adrian Belew(guitar, vocals). In terms of collective experience, this is some band. The members count the likes of Talking Heads, Genesis, Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel amongst their repertoire of previous engagements, and from the off it's pretty obvious that 'Discipline' is an album brimming with top class instrumental technique. However, those who have yet to investigate 'Discipline' must be warned: this is as far away from the group's original post- psychedelic origins as they are as likely to get. Instead, what we have here is freshly-weaved Talking Heads-style art-rock embossed with complex ethnic rhythms, dashes of vivid electronica and sardonic lyricism courtesy of new head writer Belew. Highlights include the overlapping guitar textures of the fiendishly-intricate 'Frame By Frame', the churning electro- rock of 'Elephant Talk' and, most impressively, the eight-minute krautrock-styled opus 'The Sheltering Sky', which harks back to the ambient soundscape experiments of the Fripp-Eno album's 'No Pussyfooting' and 'Evening Star'. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Report this review (#637713)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.2 stars

For me, this is the best of King Crimson's albums after Red, but it still doesn't strike me as "excellent". I would call this album a good one. I listen to several of the songs on it regularly. However, with that being said, King Crimson did not become famous for being progressive innovators through Talking Heads-esque material with occasional progressive flourishes. They became famous for doing what everyone else wouldn't dare do, and truly pushed the boundaries of music, not only rock music, but music in general. I will not go into depth for each song on this album, but it strikes me as an album that doesn't represent what King Crimson is about. I mean, even Thrak represents the ideals that King Crimson is expected to uphold better than Discipline (although I like this album countless times more than Thrak). "Elephant Talk" may be my favorite song, tied with "Indiscipline", which features great drumming by none other than Bill Bruford. Adrian Belew's vocals are a plus to this lineup of Fripp's. I really like his vocal style, and, as I eluded to above, he helps give the band a vibe that sounds like something off of a Talking Heads LP. But it's songs like "Discipline", "The Sheltering Sky", and "Matte Kudasai" that make the album a definite weak one in the realm of King Crimson. I should also mention that I really enjoy "Thela Hun Ginjeet". The album gets a 3/5 purely because I don't believe "excellent" to be a good word to describe it, and I don't believe it is a necessary album to have. King Crimson fans, like myself, should definitely give it a try if they haven;t heard it. Of course, if you're a King Crimson fan, you've probably already heard it and made an opinion.

Report this review (#652434)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
rogerthat
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Before I get to the review proper, I have to get some background info out of the way. Discipline may have been a rebirth of the King Crimson vehicle which Robert Fripp had seemingly abandoned for good in 1974 (ha!) but it is no ITCOTCK-esque revolution. Bill Bruford once said that you can hear the future of music on a King Crimson album, but on Discipline you can hear its immediate past. Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel, most notably. I don't think the fact that Fripp also contributed guitar solos to Talking Heads makes it his work instead of theirs and to that extent, the sometimes hyperbolic claims made about the originality of this album seem hard to relate to.

With that told, I have to say that Discipline is still an incredible exhibition of musicianship presented in infectious and palatable slices of new wave/rock. When Fripp called time on King Crimson and heavily criticized the 70s rock scene, which he felt was excessive, he had also advocated the "small, smart, self-sufficient, mobile unit". And you cannot say about Fripp that he didn't/doesn't walk the talk - at least not in this connection. Small, smart units of prog is exactly what we get on Discipline. It took 7 years and the introduction of two new musicians in the lineup, but Fripp lived up to his boast.

And not only is Discipline small and smart in its approach, it also overflows with contagious energy of the kind that was sorely missing in prog by the end of the 70s. Where Dave Stewart apparently chose to blast the emergence of supposedly illiterate musicians riding on the 'lack' of talent, Fripp & co deliver to listeners what they had perhaps been missing in the interim.

This is not music that requires a quiet room and high powers of concentration to focus on and appreciate. It leaps out of the stereo and grabs you by the collar, wasting no time in getting across its point. The new wave-ish stylistic orientation masks the astounding level of musicianship on this album. This is a hard enough set of songs to play without having to emulate the energy with which the musicians project it. Thela Hun Gunjeet is on a King Crimson album? You've got to be kidding me. Its riffs hook you in a matter of seconds in ways unthinkable of the earlier avatar of King Crimson.

Even though Discipline is largely a tightly composed affair with next to no room for improvised sections, it doesn't feel like it at all. King Crimson's previous attempts to marry composition with improvisation, incredible as they were, had a studied and calculated air about it. Discipline has an intrinsic spontaneity about it and is a bit silly and quirky, at least by King Crimson standards.

A good measure of credit, or blame depending on the way you see it, for this new found quirk must go to singer and guitarist Adrian Belew. Previous King Crimson vocalists like Lake and Wetton sang the lines relatively neatly with their powerful voices without much by way of a distinct style or trait. Belew's style of singing on the other hand is very distinct, even if it might not be everyone's cup of tea, and lends the album an unique character (not unlike the way Byrne does to Talking Heads).

A minor gripe I have is the album seems to find its magic formula early on and sticks to it to the point where it overstays its welcome a wee bit. Also, the two attempts to break out of the formula, Matte Kudasai and Sheltering Sky, produce mixed results. I think Sheltering Sky might have fared a bit better with me had the tones been a little more to my liking. Matte Kudasai is kind of overwrought and cheesy but not particularly bad and it will pass.

That aside, there's not much more to find fault with in this remarkable effort by an outstanding incarnation of King Crimson. It seems almost too much like stating the obvious to say that it is one of the essentials of 80s music.

Report this review (#795840)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars All prog fans know that the eighties was the worst decade in music. Not only did stations return to the three minute pop format, but even prog juggernauts such as Genesis and Yes succumbed to the pop atmosphere of the eighties, shattering the artistic integrity that they had cultivated the decade before. Thankfully for many prog fans, King Crimson disbanded and died far before the eighties ever came into be. But to the surprise of many, they resurfaced during that time, completely changed. But not for the worse like so many others had.

Anyone who listens to Discipline will notice a radical difference between this album and their late 60's / early 70's material. The jazz-influenced, symphonic progressive rock sound had disappeared and in its place a strange mix of new wave and experimental rock.

This new type of King Crimson was never meant to be King Crimson. This album was originally going to be the debut album of a new group formed by Fripp called Discipline, an ambitious and artistic rock band. However, the new group decided to bring back the banner of King Crimson and return to the music world.

Don't be fooled by the label of "new wave." The music is as ambitious and complex as Crimson has ever been. Not only that, but in Discipline, King Crimson is able to produce a fantastic progressive rock album without the use of keyboards. An impressive feat for any progressive rock group at that time. The songs, in comparison with their past work are incredibly catchy and accessible. Normally, this is something a prog fan is not willing to forgive, yet Crimson is able to fuse the best of both worlds here.

Most people will automatically turn to the catchiest songs on here, such as Elephant Talk or the title track. However, the masterpiece of this album is the instrumental The Sheltering Sky. Essentially an improv psychedelic-influenced piece, this song is able to create a dreamy and perfect atmosphere, yet still retain that "catchy" feel the other songs possess.

King Crimson was able to come back during the worst years of prog, reinvent themselves, and still put out a classic, showing that they are still the innovators they were when they first emerged. Easily five stars.

Report this review (#880555)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The 80s version of King Crimson is definitely different from the 60s/70s version that Robert Fripp retired in 1974. Adrian Belew, best known for his work with The Talking Heads and Frank Zappa brings a quirky new wave weirdness to the KC, and this album definitely 80s.

The album begins with Elephant Talk which is most an excuse for Belew to use his guitar to make twangy sounds and elephant screeches while reciting in "talk form" lyrics that make me think he was merely reading from a thesaurus. Although this track is one of the most famous of the album, it doesn't do much for me, although the live version is wild.

Frame By Frame, the second song, is the major highlight of the album. The intertwining guitars and Belew's guitar noises blend well together, along with Bruford's immaculate drumming and the insane Chapman Stick tapping of Tony Levin. This is a complete track of proggy greatness. It is modern (80s, yet still cool today), tight and just weird enough to give it a special touch, yet pop enough to be extremely listenable even to non-prog fans.

If anyone could enjoy Frame by Frame, then Matte Kudasai is right there with it. A slow-paced, balladesque track that evokes more emotion than any other song on the album. Belew's voice is phenomenal, the soaring seagull guitar leads are perfect for this jazzy, soulful gem.

Although the next few tracks are less enjoyable to me, they still pack quite a punch and bring the goods. Indiscipline seems to be one of the band's (this incarnation) first attempts a sort of improv attack, and they pull it off remarkably well. This track takes me back to the Red album or even Larks' Tongues In Aspic. Belew begins to talk again, and in his best attempt at Jim Morrison, doesn't really pass, but doesn't really fail either. Thela Hun Ginjeet is my least favorite song on the album. One must admire the complex nature of the song, but this entire album is full of complexity in much better songs than this. I found it rather bland.

The Sheltering Sky is a emotive little instrumental that works perfectly for the album and brings me in mind of some of the Police circa 1979/1980. In fact Belew sounds like a brother to both Sting and the Talking Heads' David Byrne, although his vocals are absent on this particular track. The album ends with Discipline which is probably the most complex arrangement on the entire album, albeit extremely repetitive.

Overall, Discipline proved that unlike Yes, Genesis and other 70s prog bands in the 80s, King Crimson would keep a very progressive element to their music through the decade. Bruford may have used electronic drums here and there, but he did play them the same way he had played acoustics in the 70s. The new wave King Crimson is not bad, in fact, they are extremely good. The album is a pioneering effort of 80s prog style and deserves a 4 on the scale.

Report this review (#897172)
Posted Monday, January 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Discipline is the reincarnation of King Crimson into the 1980s. When I first picked up this LP in the 1980s I didn't know how to take it - kind of like when Lizard came out in the 1970s. The album was o different from its predecessors that it took me a decade (!) to get a mental grasp of it.

The roots of Discipline come from new wave (not punk) that was the rave at the time. I had seen Belew with Zappa a few years earlier and was impressed with his guitar abilities. Now he was paired with Fripp, who reunited with Bruford, and added Levin, who I was familiar with through his work with Peter Gabriel. Their music was not the Crimson that I was expecting.

Elephant Talk, Discipline, Indiscipline, Matte Kundasai, and Thela Hun Ginjeet are the standout tracks on this album. Especially in Discipline, but also found in other songs here: this band was TIGHT.

This is easily the best of the 1980s Crimson, and well worthy as an addition to your prog collection.

Report this review (#906031)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is without a doubt a 5 star album IMO. Progressive rock, in its many incarnations, doesn't get any better than this. This is one of a handful of the greatest albums by my favorite band. I do sometimes miss the winds, strings and mellotrons of old. However, they are more than compensated for by the arrival of guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew.

Back when this album first came out, the most adventurous rock radio station in my hometown of Chicago used to play Elephant Talk frequently. I'd been a fan of other prog bands for years, but I'd never heard anything like this! I was amazed that these sounds could come out of an electric guitar. I won't discuss the details of individual tracks, because musical taste is so subjective and doing so wouldn't be constructive.

I will say that my favorite tracks are Elephant Talk, The Sheltering Sky, and the title track. Bill Bruford is the best drummer I've ever heard, and The Sheltering Sky demonstrates why that's the case. It's simply astonishing what the 4 members of the group accomplish together on Discipline. One of the things that sets "Discipline" apart from the band's earlier albums is that the group sounds more like a GROUP playing together.

My least favorite track is Indiscipline; I just don't care for the lyrics. I would still rather listen to this than 99% of what's gets played on the radio. On this album, the reunited King Crimson exhibits a more aggresive, contemporary sound which they had hinted at on "Red". That's what makes this a 5 star album.

Report this review (#926424)
Posted Friday, March 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson, never a band to be predictable, after a six-year hiatus releases a New Wave album? And with the seven billionth lineup? Could this possibly work in their favor? Well, much like Rush's Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, yes. A resounding yes. With new guitarist/singer Adrian Belew (Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, David Bowie) and bassist/Chapman Stick extraordinaire Tony Levin (later to join up with future Dream Theater members in Liquid Tension Experiment) and longtime members Bill Bruford and Robert Fripp, their sound veers towards a more mainstream, Talking Heads-esque style, with influences from Javanese Gamelan music showing. The opener, "Elephant Talk", fuses go-go finger-tapped basslines with animal noises and alphabetical synonyms for the word "talk". Adrian Belew (one of my favorite guitar players) makes the song entertaining, and sort of comical (working with Frank Zappa will do that to you). "Frame By Frame" follows, with rapid Fripp guitar leads and syncopated rhythms, leading up to a really nice slower section in 7/8. "Matte Kudasai" (Japanese for "please wait") opens with seagull imitations from Belew, which is the vehicle to a ballad. The side ends with "Indiscipline", a heavier song that recalls KC lineups of yore. Side 2 opens with "Thela Hun Ginjeet", a paranoid funk track rivaling anything David Byrne ever wrote. The side concludes with two instrumentals, "The Sheltering Sky" (a reference to the Beat poets that would influence the next album, Beat) and "Discipline" (which is Danny Carey from Tool's favorite track). The album is a relatively easy listen, without many offensive tracks.
Report this review (#1326267)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
TCat
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Team
5 stars And it came to pass that there was a drought in the land and the King called Crimson was lost in the wilderness. And after seven years, the King returned, somewhat altered, but ready to spread the word that Prog had returned to the masses. And there was much rejoicing.

So, why am I adding another review to the long list of reviews for this album? Because I love King Crimson, that's why. Never a band to be predictable, but a band bent on progressing. The new incarnation of KC returned with barely a resemblance of the previous line-up. The only survivors from the hiatus were Robert Fripp (of course) and Bill Bruford. They were now joined by two new and extremely talented musicians, Adrian Belew from Talking Heads and Frank Zappa's band for a short while and Tony Levin, bass player extraordinaire. And there was a new sound. Sort of a industrial proto-prog way beyond the cutting edge and ahead of their time once again. Sure there was no beautiful singular masterpiece like "Starless" on this album like there was on "Red", but you can't keep making the same song and sound over and over and consider yourself progressing. Besides, other masterpieces were to come.

The sound is definitely different, and a lot of KC fans could not accept the progression that KC made, but they also ended up winning over a lot of new converts. The one thing that did not change was the ingenuity and influence they would continue to exert not just in prog but other forms of music as well. Whether you liked the change or not, it can not be denied that they would continue to have a great influence. Yes they adopted some new styles that were popular at the time, but they took those styles beyond anything that was being listened to at that time.

This album is full of rapid fire guitar hooks, crazy percussion, some frippertronics added in, and wonderful atmospheric sounds that people were not used to hearing from guitar players. Adrian's vocals definitely worked with the music and his guitar work enhanced and strengthened the spotlight on Fripp's sound and guitar work. Together, they formed a guitar team unmatched and put together sounds that were unheard of then. Listen to them now, and they are still timeless and pertinent, but not quite as new sounding as they were then.

Most of this album is straight ahead hard rock, but not like you would normally think of hard rock. There are a few quieter tracks, but the are still just as innovative, especially "Sheltering Sky" which took frippertronics to a new melodic level. And the rapid fire guitar work in "Frame by Frame" and "Discipline" is jaw droppingly amazing music.

This music speaks to me and gives me chills every time. I honestly don't know any other way I could rate this other than being a true masterpiece in that it embodies the whole idea of what progressive music is. Robert Fripp and crew were only bringing us the beginnings of Math and Post Rock with this album and the other two that followed. Pushing the limits like KC did only opened up the way for what was to come in the future. 5 well-deserved stars, and the King continues to astonish both believers and non-believers.

Report this review (#1328054)
Posted Tuesday, December 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars One of those funny things about King Crimson is that, with the diversity of their styles and their frequent experimentation, it's just about impossible not to have at least one line-up by them that just doesn't work for you. And for me, that's the "Discipline" era.

The album has some strong musical ideas and a team of competent musicians but, in my opinion, wasn't executed very well. The production aesthetic is one that I completely disagree with. The guitars sound sterile and dull, the drums overpowering and it's really trying to listen to most of the time. I won't try to discourage people from listening to it since there are some camps that it will appeal to, mostly Fripp fanatics and 80's art rock aficionados, but this isn't really an album that would appeal to most prog fans.

You've gotta hand it to Fripp and company for reinventing their sound so often, but sometimes experiments are better left sequestered safely away behind the lab bench, away from the general public.

Report this review (#1495777)
Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Awesome, Original, Unique, Invaluable.

Practically inventing a whole new sound, Discipline sees a new Crimson lineup come together that would represent a new pinnacle for the band. This is perhaps the best lineup of the band, in which each member is on equal footing with Fripp. While the Lark's Tongues lineup was also great, it was un-balanced, with David Cross and John Wetton, while still excellent for the role they played, clearly not at the same level as Bruford and Fripp. But with the new lineup represented by Discipline, Adrian Belew demonstrates that he is just as inventive and original a player as Fripp, and he brings fantastic singing and song-writing skills to the table too. Tony Levin, meanwhile, adds a whole new dimension to the Crimson sound with his Chapman stick playing, and together the three interlocking guitar patterns (or, rather, two interlocking guitars and one Chapman stick) revolutionized the Crimson sound. In many ways, they invented the foundation of what is now called math rock. Of course, Bruford really shines here too. A band this original and talented was bound to produce a fantastic album, and Discipline is the result. This is actually the name Fripp originally had for the band, reflecting his philosophy of music in making it, but with Bruford in the mix it was clear the band had to be Crimson. The album is fantastic all the way through, and many of these tracks have become icons. 'Elephant Talk' and 'Frame by Frame' immediately demonstrate the musicality of the interlocking guitar patterns as well as Belew's beautiful vocals and lyrics. 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' shows up Below as a master guitar-distortion fiddler, and Bruford as the new groove king. 'The Sheltering Sky' shows the new Crimson can improvise over a repeated pattern and in doing so create whole new sonic landscapes. But the two real gems here are the twins 'Indiscipline' and 'Discipline'. Never before, and still to this day never repeated, these two tunes are incredibly inspired and original. Belew's 'Indiscipline' story is fantastic - a treatise on the creative process (at least for him, but I also concur) - with just awesome guitar solos and drumming. 'Discipline', meanwhile, is to my mind one of Fripp's masterpiece compositions. Weaving repeated guitar patterns in and out of each other, it reflects the power of its namesake to deliver well-crafted original inventive music. Bruford has compared the guitar patterning to Indonesian gamelan playing, and only now - in the 2010s - has this been picked up in the math rock world. Totally original. I give this album 9.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale. Totally essential.

Report this review (#1696033)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1773411)
Posted Sunday, August 20, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars My introduction to King Crimson came through hearing the song 'Red' which I found incredibly boring and repetitive. Such a shame, that King Crimson, one of the most famous progressive rock bands of all time, would turn out to be such a letdown. Fast forward a few years and I'm at my local, trusty car-boot sale. We all love a bargain, and when I saw someone selling this CD for 50p, I knew it was time to jump in and give the band a proper chance.

Well, they won me over, because 'Discipline' turned out to be a pretty good record.

Consisting of musically intelligent and creative individuals, these guys know how to write some totally different and unique songs. My personal faves, 'Elephant Talk' and 'Thela Hun Ginjeet', both have lyrical themes that are certainly unlike any others I've heard before. Both interestingly show how musical inspiration can come from anywhere.

Despite these two highlights though, at times it feels like the rest of 'Discipline' just kind of plods along. The songs aren't terrible, in fact, each song by itself is good and very easy to listen to, but I find myself getting bored trying to listen to the whole album in one sitting. In that regard, whilst this release may have converted me into a fan, it's still not something I'm likely to rant and rave about any time soon.

I guess I'm all talk.

Report this review (#1776143)
Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 | Review Permalink
patrickq
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars One of the best songs on this album is the instrumental title track, whose mechanical math-rock underpinnings are a good summary of all three of the band's 1980s albums. So it's doubly odd that "Discipline" would be the final track of Discipline.

But the way the entire album is sequenced is odd. Although the most accessible songs appear early, the spoken-word opener "Elephant Talk" is probably not the way to hook casual listeners. But it's a fair introduction of what's to come. "Elephant Talk" is the only Discipline song with stream-of-consciousness spoken words over a somewhat conventional instrumental song structure, but most of the album juxtaposes convention and contravention.

There are only two songs which approach traditional pop form: "Frame by Frame" and "Matte Kudasai." Maybe that's why these are two of my favorites here. After a one-minute introduction, "Frame By Frame" follows an A-B structure (verse 1 - instrumental - verse 1 again - instrumental again). The final fifty seconds mirrors the introduction. The haunting "Matte Kudasai" has an even more traditional verse-chorus form, and if longtime King Crimson fans didn't lament its near-poppiness, it might have been because its undeniably lovely melody.

Perhaps to the relief of some of those fans, each 1980s King Crimson has its circumambulatory, experimental pieces. Here that box is checked with "Indiscipline" and "The Sheltering Sky." I would've preferred to have these songs, along with their Beat (1982) and Three of a Perfect Pair (1984) counterparts, consolidated on a single album, kind of like what the group did with Space Groove in 1998. But i suspect that on this point, I'm in the minority among prog-rock fans.

So Discipline is a proverbial mixed bag, including three very good songs, and two which I skip over every time. Definitely a three-star album: "good, but not essential."

Report this review (#2231926)
Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars No wonder that when this record came out, the fans were full of expectations if KC can fare better then their commercially growing contemporaries such as Genesis, Yes (going commercial in 1983). Would it be a decent prog-rock record, pop-oriented effort or simply a flop? KC prove that they are not a stereotype band because they evolve with each new phase. Two new members, this time from America, step in: Andrew Belew on the mic and guitar and the great Tony Levin on the bass. While the singing style of Adrian Belew might be an acquired taste (took me time to get used to it), it retains sense for melody and has an interesting feeling. Tony Levin provides some busy bass line (listen to Frame by Frame). Fripp is a master in his own sense well adapted to the fusion/contemporary rock music of that time.

Songs are overall shorter but still memorable and provide great instrumental interplay between the guitars, bass and the drums. "Elephant Talk" is a typical KC 80's track with a good melody and guitar decoration. "Frame by Frame" features quick guitar fingerprinting and quality vocals even with harmonies. The romantic touch can be felt in "Matte Kudasai" and on the next track, we briefly get close to the Wetton's KC era in the first intensive instrumental play marred by the following spoken word before the instruments take lead again. Bruford really shines here playing no 10 seconds alike. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is intensive put still feels lightweight and improvisational. "The sheltering sky" is a relaxing moody track with guitar effects and electronic drums. The last track is completely instrumental with creative guitar textures.

Overall, this is a convincing return to the shape by KC.

Report this review (#2232832)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars As an album this was brave in many ways; new line-up, new instruments and ambitious experiments with sound that certainly differs from the sound of earlier albums such as 'Red' and 'In the Court of the Crimson King'. Therefore, it is fair to call this a true example of 'prog' rock due to Fripp's determination to progress the sound of King Crimson within their own catalogue but also in the wider world of music generally. It's not their best album but it comes close and is certainly the best Belew-era album.

The first track 'Elephant Talk' introduces Levin's Chapman Stick to the world through a very funky riff that drives the song throughout. The more electronic sound of the stick, that can be likened to a keyboard, gives it a very cool electronic bass sound and it works very well in the context of this song. The other notable feature of this song that exemplifies the albums experimental tendencies is Belew's manipulation of the guitar to create elephant like noises ' very cool indeed. Belew experiments with guitar sound throughout the album; in the chorus of 'Frame by Frame', he uses a combination of the whammy bar and striking the strings above the nut to make the guitar screech and wail. Likewise, in 'The Sheltering Sky' Belew creates what is known as the 'windstorm and clouds' sounds with his guitar aided by a series of pedals. It is nice to have the mystery of trying to figure out who or what is creating such strange effects on a song rather than being able to pick out the predictable sounds we are all used to. 'The Sheltering Sky' is the longest track and probably the most experimental on the album; as well as Fripp and Belew's creation of abnormal guitar sounds, Bruford adds to the mystery of the song through the use of a very African sounding slit drum. The song definitely isn't a long King Crimson epic, but its ambiguity is certainly thought-provoking. The other track that is perhaps quite ambiguous is 'Indiscipline' which has only two main sections, but their complete juxtaposition makes the song so interesting to listen to. The song goes from being a loud wall of noise, drums crashing and guitars wailing; then suddenly everything cuts out and we hear only Levin playing a menacing line on the Chapman Stick underneath Belew talking. A very long guitar trill takes us back into the chaos of the song ' the repetition of these contrasting sections is relentless.

My favourite song from the album has got to be 'Frame by Frame'. Fripp's impressively speedy guitar playing in the instrumental section is like being hit by a machine gun. Likewise, I am also in awe of the polyrhythms created in the next section which always makes my head spin when I listen to it. This song also showcases Belew's voice the best on the album as on the other songs he adopts a more unusual vocal style which involves a 50/50 combination of singing and talking in songs, such as in 'Elephant Talk'. 'Matte Kudasai' also does justice to Belew's fantastic voice, a much more mellow track that gives the listener a break from the heavy experimentation of the rest of the album. The whale-like guitar sounds are very ethereal and almost sound quite distant from the rest of the music. Although it's not as ground-breaking, it's probably the most beautiful. Despite the opinion that 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' is a highlight from this album, it's not as strong as other songs from the album. It's very catchy but for me it's too repetitive and is quite average in amongst a set of songs that are more ambitious in my opinion. 'Discipline' showcases just how well Fripp and Belew work together as guitarists, they play a complex dual guitar part seamlessly throughout the song which makes for an impressive result. Again, it's not a song I am instantly drawn to but at least with this one I can appreciate it more for its complexity and ambition.

Overall, this has become one of my favourite King Crimson albums, the interplay between the musicians is evident on nearly every song. Fripp's choice to bring in Belew and Levin was a wise one as they both bring so many ideas to the table; Levin adds the great sound of the chapman stick to the album, giving it a distinctive colour while also creating some catchy bass lines. Furthermore, the album is made even greater by Belew's experimental guitar effects and vocal techniques that give this album a unique sound.

Report this review (#2237791)
Posted Friday, July 12, 2019 | Review Permalink
Wicket
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Amazingly, this is my favorite of all the Crimson lineups, and yet produced some of the most underwhelming music of the lot.

Perhaps because I'm a fan of Tony Levin's work with basically 75% of Dream Theater in Liquid Tension Experiment as well as some of Adrian Belew's solo stuff.

But I've never been a big fan of "Discipline", "Beat" or "Three of a Different Pair". This era of Crimson has always been defined as a prog approach to the 80's sounds of new wave and post-punk sensibilities (or lack thereof). Sometimes it made sense, sometimes it did not, but nevertheless, I have marched down a path of no return. With my favorite Crimson albums reviewed, I must now review my least favorites.

Unlike "Three of a Different Pair", which had maybe one slightly catchy tune in the self titled track, it was basically blase tunes and spastic atonal playing. "Discipline" at least had a few tracks of note. "Elephant Noise" was not one of them. Belew's guitar playing resembling an elephant was fun and quirky, but his constant shouting and billowing of random words of alliteration was not. It grew old real fast.

"Frame by Frame" was nice. This is a good demonstration of the so called "Rock gamelan" sound that Fripp was looking for with interlocking and intertwining guitar melodies and riffs, as well as minimalist repetition. "Matte Kudasai" is fairly restrained for a Crimson track, almost ballad-like with its wilting lullaby mentality. Nothing super groundbreaking, but a pleasant song to listen to. This was probably due to Belew's tendencies to veer towards more pop-rock songwriting, so there's a balance between the accessible and unnatural. "Indiscipline" falls in the latter category, with Bruford just jamming in and out of time to his heart's content. Belew's talking underneath still Levin basslines underpin and a dark, broody jam filled with tension, angst and pot-punk influences.

"Thela Hun Ginjeet" is probably one of my favorites off the record. That repetitive guitar strumming "rock gamelan" style returns in full force behind a funky Bruford groove that just doesn't stop. It's a noticeable track for having almost no cymbals on it whatsoever. Bruford experimented with cymbal-less acoustic sets, and the band's dabbling with African type poly rhythms only emphasized the connection. "The Sheltering Sky" is a perfect example of that. Bruford begins the track by playing a traditional African slit drum, while Belew and Fripp use unique guitar synthesizers to distort their sound even further. Once again, the gamelan influences are prevalent and the track becomes almost meditative at times, while the closing title track is almost like a recap of the influences and styles heard previously throughout the album.

Sure, I'd consider it a throwaway track, along with "Elephant Noise" but for the most part this is a fairly solid album. Not only did it define the Crimson sound of the 80's. but unlike 'Beat' which felt uninspired and "Three of a Perfect Pair" which felt half-assed, there are a number of tunes that are both groundbreaking in style ("The Sheltering Sky", "Indiscipline") that that mesh with catchy, listenable tunes ("Matte Kudasai", "Thela Hun Ginjeet"). By the far the best and most telling record of 80's King Crimson.

Report this review (#2262454)
Posted Friday, September 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

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