96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars '80s band creates their own masterwork.
Several years after the band broke up, Robert Fripp resurrected King Crimson, but in a way no one would have expected. Returning was drummer Bill Bruford, and joining was bassist/stickist/backing vocalist Tony Levin and one of the few who could stand next to Robert Fripp holding his chosen instrument and not look inept, guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew. Originally a band...
Published on November 4, 2005 by Michael Stack
12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really what I was hoping for
As a long time fan of progressive or art rock from the likes of Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and more recently, King Crimson, I am always eager to find "new" music. By new I generally mean music from the 1970s that has a sensibility similar to the bands I just mentioned. And although I only recently began listening to King Crimson, I liked them enough to buy their first...
Published on June 17, 2010 by Gary A. Lucero
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96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars '80s band creates their own masterwork.,
This review is from: Discipline (Audio CD)Several years after the band broke up, Robert Fripp resurrected King Crimson, but in a way no one would have expected. Returning was drummer Bill Bruford, and joining was bassist/stickist/backing vocalist Tony Levin and one of the few who could stand next to Robert Fripp holding his chosen instrument and not look inept, guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew. Originally a band called Discipline, Fripp realized this was King Crimson and renamed the band. Wrapped in a red sleeve with a Celtic knot on the cover, this album is in many ways as the cover implies-- intertwining and interlocking-- Fripp and Belew's guitars play complex lines that live with each other and don't stand without each other, supported by Levin's thunderous bass and melody vs. countermelody playing on the stick. Below all of this, Bruford is easily holding it all together. The album is one of the true greats of its era, and is certainly among the best Crimson has ever recorded.
From the opener, "Elephant Talk", you know you're in for something different-- Levin's melody/countermelody intro overlayed with two intertwined guitars, elephant squeals on guitar, a half-spoken vocal, and two bizarre guitar solos. Five minutes later, you're overwhelmed, what's amazing is that its got a groove, its a great rhythm, its just plain amazing.
The rest of the album pretty much follows suit in terms of being brilliant to the point of overwhelming while the environment and the mood changes-- interlocking guitars rule several of the songs (the breathtaking "Frame By Frame", with impassioned vocals and some of the fastest guitar licks you'll ever hear, the frantic "Thela Hun Ginjeet", and the title track-- an instrumental where you can really hear Fripp and Belew get into a groove). These are offset by a couple great ballads ("Matte Kudasai", with its beautiful slide guitar seagulls and an almost lazy feel to the vocal, "The Sheltering Sky", featuring a horn-toned Fripp guitar melody). In the middle of all of this is a piece that sounds like it would fit the last generation of Crimson better-- "Indiscipline". Building tension until the release-- an explosion of guitar pyrotechnics and a blazing solo that almost seems out of place here, but works.
Something of note-- this is NOT a progressive rock album (in terms of the genre)-- in fact, its got more in common with new wave acts like the Talking Heads and the Police than it does with Yes and early Genesis. One of the reasons why I love Crimson so much is unlike many of those other progressive rock bands, they didn't stand still, they grew and changed and became something else over time.
Bottom line though-- this is one of the greats, highly recommended.
70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musicianship So Good It'll Frighten You,
As I listened to that album, I immediately wanted to know who in the hell the WILD guitar playing was by. It obviously wasn't Mick Ronson. Earl Slick? No. Carlos Alomar? Nope. I turned the album over: Robert Fripp......huh? Never heard of him.
Fortunately, at the time I was also into the Talking Heads & Zappa, so I was following the career of another new avant-garde guitar player named Adrian Belew. In an interview he mentioned that he had joined the newly "reformed" King Crimson. I had heard of them, but wrote them off as old prog rock bastards like ELP & Yes with their 100 year long flights of boredom. However, Adrian mentioned that his fellow guitarist was Robert Fripp.
CooL! That was the dude I'd been looking for! This was going to be a hellacious band.
I had no idea at the time how right I was, and how utterly ignorant of the Crimson version of prog rock I had been.
Quick trip to the record store: Hey! New King Crimson album!
At home on the turntable the most frightenly good musicians I'd heard since Jimi Hendrix came storming out of the speakers Like a rolling thunderclap in a summer storm that had snuck up on me, I stood back awed by the intensity of what I was hearing.
Elephant Talk. I knew it was Adrian singing, but he sounded out of his mind: "Advice! Answers! ArTIC-yew-lut AhNOUNCE-ments!
Two more songs went by. Beautiful. "Matte Kudasai" & "Frame By Frame". They were haunting.
Then: "I DO remember one thing....it took hours & hours..." This next song was scary: "Indiscipline". Adrian sounded even more out of his head than before, like some mad genius trying to comprehend the frustrating act of intellect that had been forced on him. (Later found out it was based on a letter from his wife. How different than I imagined). And the entire time the band weaved in & out doing MONSTER riffing, sounding like they were going to explode, but still keeping it tightly together. And the drumming...I'd obviously been WRONG about Bruford. This guy was incredible!
And so my introduction to King Crimson went.
This album still has the same effect on me to this day. Whenever I'm playing in a band and some young punk kid starts talking about boring old dinosaur bands, I laugh & think of me. THEN I lay this album on them. It never fails that they come back obviously changed by what they've heard.
I still love old school punk. I still hate a lot of the pretentiousness of '70's bands....
.... But I FREAKIN' LOOOVVVE KING CRIMSON!
Want your mind changed about prog?
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New, Brilliant (And Controversial) Crimson,
This review is from: Discipline (Audio CD)After the release of 1974's "Red," King Crimson guitarist/leader Robert Fripp declared to the press, "King Crimson is over. Forever and ever." But seven years later, Fripp changed his mind and resurrected the band. Hooking up again with Crimson drummer Bill Bruford, and with new recruits Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals and bassist Tony Levin, King Crimson came roaring back to life with 1981's "Discipline." But this was certainly not the same Crimson of yor. You still had Fripp and Bruford from the classic Crimson line-up, but with the addition of Belew's soaring voice & frenetic guitar, Levin's ominous basslines, and a more streamlined approach to the music---including some more melodic elements than usual from Crimson---the band's sound was practically re-written from scratch with "Discipline." And some fans didn't like it, dismissing this version of King Crimson as "The Adrian Belew Band." But, for the more open-minded Crimheads, "Discipline" was exciting and fresh, a glorious new direction for this classic prog-rock band. And I agree. Even with more melodies, the band are still very much in a prog mode on this album. They didn't go pop. It's just *different* prog music than what they did before. From the great, interlocking grooves & sonics of "Elephant Talk," to the wistful beauty of "Matte Kudasai," to the frantic musical AND lyrical attack of "Thela Hun Ginjeet," to the hypnotic sounds of the instrumental "The Sheltering Sky," this album is simply amazing, the musical chemistry between Fripp, Bruford, Belew and Levin outstanding. With "Discipline," King Crimson opened the second chapter of their impressive musical career with a daring, challenging, powerful work. This is easily one of the band's very best albums.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar Tracks by Seasoned Professionals,
The playing here is stellar, with each musician performing at the top of his game and further inspiring each other to do the same. From the wild musings of "Elephant Talk", "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and "Indiscipline" to the laid-back reflections of "Matte Kudasai", this is an album that influenced a new generation of young guitarists including Living Colour's Vernon Reid and members of Primus. Songs such as "Discipline" and "Frame by Frame" weave the work of the band's two guitarists like fine silk while the rhythm section creates its solid foundation.
For the veteran musician, this album is so packed with hot licks it begs to be studied. For the seasoned listener and newcomers alike, Discipline is an amazing collection of spirited songs and the all-out efforts of its disciplined band members. Each of the four band members is among the greatest to have ever played their respective instruments. There is not a bad moment on the album as it pleases moment by moment, track by track.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars and more.. an enduring classic.,
The important thing in KC's music is that even in the midst of all the calculatedness, the emotion, melody and sheer inventiveness always come through. "Elephant Talk" shows Belew's feedback-drenched guitar squealing like, well, a live elephant. "Matte Kudasai" has Fripp adding some soaring birdcalls to a beautiful jazz ballad. "Indiscipline" howls with manic laughter, its lyrics suggesting an obsession that's gone over the edge. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" (an anagram of 'heat in the jungle') is a hyper trip through dangerous city streets. Musicians take note: another of the band's approaches, as a challenge to themselves, was to avoid conventional structures. There are no simple E chords or I-IV-V progressions or the like here, and trying to play along with this head-spinning disc is quite a challenge.
When the album was first transferred to CD, for some reason they cut out a Frippian guitar lead to "Matte Kudasai." This edition includes the original version from the vinyl record tacked onto the end as a bonus track. (Why didn't they simply restore it in the regular order? Who knows?) I haven't noticed a tremendous increase in sound quality from the previous release, but then I know next to nothing about mixing and recording. I just know what I like. One last note - I have to mention the eight minutes of musical bliss known as "The Sheltering Sky;" its soothing rhythms and sweetly singing guitars are inexplicably captivating. Discipline has been a highlight in the Crimson catalogue for twenty years for good reason: it's a highly intelligent, challenging, dynamic piece of musical craftsmanship and the performances are top-notch. Plus, the cover design is just really cool. What are you waiting for?
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still genre defying,
This review is from: Discipline (Audio CD)"Court of the Crimson King," "Lark's Tongue in Aspic" and "Starless and Bible Black" may define the "classic" King Crimson, but "Discipline" has to be high tide for Fripp's creativity, inspiration, musicianship and genius.
This disc only qualifies as prog-rock because, even after all of this time, there isn't a genre it comfortably fits in. Fripp had just completed groundbreaking collaborations with Eno and Bowie, as well as work with Peter Gabriel. Out of that experience he created a very personal distillation of the most exciting elements of African poly-rhythms, new wave esthetics, minimalism and Berlin electronica filtered through his own neo-classical approach, and the result of that was two absolute masterpieces (his solo album "Exposure" and the reinvented King Crimson's "Discipline").
"The Sheltering Sky" is a timeless gem. Part soundscape, part ambient piece, part improvisational instrumental, this piece creates a sound world I could stay inside for another 20 minutes without tiring of.
"Discipline" combines Steve Reich style minimalism (in fact, this track reminds me of the best aspects of Reich's "Drumming" but is far more pleasurable listening) with rigid classical structure weaving in and out of a bed of African poly-rhythms.
"Indiscipline" is more amusing when you know that the bizarrely cryptic lyrics are in fact a letter Belew's wife wrote to him describing a sculpture she completed while he was away recording.
As great as this CD is, it has some weak spots. Belew's guitar on "Elephant Talk" sounds more novelty than clever with 30 years of perspective. Up against the rest of the tracks, "Frame by Frame" feels more like filler now. And the song's lyrics don't quite match the brilliant musicianship on "Matte Kudasai."
If you want one album to represent King Crimson in your collection, choose one of the three "classic" albums. But if you want King Crimson at their most inventive, get this one.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tight! Oh, so Tight!,
This review is from: Discipline (Audio CD)Let's go back to 1981, when the Talking Heads were waking up the experimental musician in all of us, and we saw a new way of grooving to the beat. I found myself browsing in the "Alternative" section of a music store. I was looking for "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" under Byrne/Eno but somebody just stuck this album under "B". Would you believe that I bought it because I THOUGHT THE COVER ART WAS COOL?????
So, I bring it home, and take it out, and pop it onto the stereo. I left the room for a second and IMMEDIATELY CAME RUNNING BACK IN to hear "Elephant Talk", the ABSOLUTELY TIGHTEST PIECE OF MUSIC I'D EVER HEARD!!! I danced, I jumped, I yelled, I raged, I slammed, I called friends to get over as fast as they could and listen to it. I wore that album out in less than a year, and had to have the store order me another one.
This album opened my mind to how tight music and beat and interweaving of different instruments to make one single sound can be done. In my opinion, it has never been matched. This album is so perfect in its composition. It is balanced, it rocks, it is complex, it is simple, and you can rage to it but it's also trancelike.
Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp are at their highest form on this record. It stands the test of time - I own the CD and it's a favorite of mine. You can't go wrong. Try it now.
Oh...I still think the cover art is cool.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Pure Music",
This review is from: Discipline (Audio CD)My first exposure to the 80's incarnation of King Crimson was in the early 80s when I bought Beat after seeing and MTV News bit about how the classic progressive rock group had defied history by maintaining the same lineup for two albums in a row.
I probably just lost a lot of you with a sentence that seems incoherent but yes, at one time MTV did acknowledge a wide variety of music. Bear with me.
Raised on FM radio and just beginning to scratch the surface of prog rock with Rush I was thoroughly underwhelmed by King Crimson's effort which sounded poppy and more than a little like Talking Heads.
Fast forward 20 years and I had read glowing reviews of Discipline, the KC album recorded prior to Beat. I decided to give it a listen.
I was thoroughly amazed.
Discipline is almost transcendent- it not only captured what was happening in music at that time but looked forward to what music could become as well as standing as an example of what King Crimson as a band is all about.
If you want to understand Yes, listen to Close to the Edge.
If you want to understand Rush, listen to Moving Pictures.
If you want to understand King Crimson, listen to Discipline.
When you have soaked this record in you may say to yourself, "I just heard pure music- music that exists outside time."
Or you may say to yourself, "I know why Bill Bruford left Yes to be a part of this."
Or you may say to yourself, "I know why Robert Fripp told Bruford after Close to the Edge, 'I think you are ready for King Crimson now.'"
Or you may find yourself paraphrasing the words of the protagonist of Indiscipline:
I do remember one thing.
It took hours and hours but..
By the time I was done with it,
I was so involved, I didnt know what to think.
I carried it around with me for days and days..
Playing little games
Like not listening to it for a whole day
And then... listening to it.
To see if I still liked it.
In short, this album is King Crimson at their finest: less a band than a laboratory to create music that defies definition as it hits you on the intellectual, emotional and visceral levels.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant return of the Crimson King.,
After 1975's incredible Red, King Crimson was disbanded. Robert declared that he would continue to operate as "a small, intelligent, highly mobile unit" (whatever that means). After fruitful collaborations with David Bowie and Brian Eno, and his own experiments in ambeint music, Fripp decided to resurrect the King in 1981. Except for "batterie" Bill Bruford, the lineup was new (and stayed unchanged for more than one album, a Crimson first). Adrian Belew, formerly of the Talking Heads, was the new vocalist and also added a second guitar, while session master Tony Levin added his ample talents on bass as well as the Chapman Stick, a 12-string instrument that is a prominent feature in this and later Crimson releases.
What's really noticeable is how big of a departure Discipline is from Red. No longer the heavy, cerebral, avant/fusion/metal of the previous lineup, the new lineup sounds more like the Talking Heads taken in a more "prog" direction (being a fan of the T-Heads, that is a compliment). Bruford's polyrhythmic African-sounding percussion is a standout. He relies way more on his skins and very rarely on cymbals, which is a major change from his previous style. Moreover, his drumming is less "busy" here, less jazzy. The twin guitars add a totally new element to the band--no longer does Fripp dominate. There are lots of fleet arpeggiated guitar lines, often in harmony with each other. However this isn't dry or boring, but downright melodic and even (gasp!) funky. While this isn't overtly commercial by any means, I could see this album (along with its followup Beat) being played on the radio. ...
Another attribute present in Discipline that was missing in past Krim incarnations is a sense of humor. Belew's quirky, David Byrne-esque voice does an especially good job with the funky Elephant Talk (a favorite of mine) and fiery, deranged Indiscipline where he sounds totally out of his gourd, the victim of a strange obsessive urge to look at "it" (we're never told what "it" is). He's also got a great voice for ballads--Frame By Frame achieves an expansive, relaxed feel despite the frenetic guitars, and Matte Kudasai is downright gorgeous, something you couldn't really say for most early Krim. Thela Hun Ginjeet is a strange one, with tribal-sounding chants and tape loops depicting some sort of altercation in the city amid wild, overdriven guitars.
After Thela Hun Ginjeet, the album gives way to instrumentals. The Sheltering Sky is a trance-inducing ambient soundscape, with the guitars taking on some truly otherworldly sounds. The African rhythms are really pronounced in this track, and the resulting atmosphere is amazing and unique. I'd even go as far as to say that this might be my favorite King Crimson instrumental. The title track isn't quite as good, but it is still an interesting listen. I love the way the guitars harmonize, break off into distinct lines, then come back together again for the coda. The sound is mechanical yet very fluid, and the rhythm section once again is distinct.
This is my second-favorite Krim release, after Red. While Discipline doesn't hit the highs that Red does with Starless and its title track, this is more consistent and more palatable for the first-time Krim listener. Actually, this is where I suggest you start exploring. Then check out Red, Larks' Tongues In Aspic, In The Court Of The Crimson King, and THRAK (in that order).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Decade, New Sound,
Bill Bruford was back on the drumstool, albeit with a new array of sounds from electronic drums and "boo-bams." New vocalist/guitarist Adrian Belew had worked with Talking Heads, and brought a bit of that sound along to the mix. Bassist and Chapman Stick maestro Tony Levin almost makes you forget about John Wetton with his virtuosity. In their history up to this point, KC always had a sax or violin player to trade leads with Fripp, while Discipline for the first time found him playing off another guitarist. Belew's adventurous sounds pushed Fripp to follow suit, and the results were phenomenal.
In the early 80's I wasn't that crazy about the "new" King Crimson. I was also an idiot back then so that matters not a whit. Discipline is a stone cold classic. If you love this stuff you absolutely have, and I mean HAVE to get the DVD "Neal and Jack and Me," which documents this era of KC in 2 almost-complete concerts. Essential and priceless.
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