King Crimson
Discipline


4.5
superb

Review

by e210013 USER (115 Reviews)
August 12th, 2019 | 30 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is one of the most innovative and refreshing prog albums made in the 80’s. It reflects perfectly well the vision of Robert Fripp for King Crimson.

“Discipline” is the eighth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1981. The line up on the album is Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin and Bill Bruford.


Part of the story of King Crimson shows us that they had several musical changes that occurred inside the band all over the years, and Robert Fripp was the only element that never quit the band. He is undoubtedly one of the most respected musicians of the universe of the progressive rock. However, Fripp always said that he isn’t the group’s leader, but the consistency of the path followed by the band and the rotation of its members, has shown otherwise.

It was in this context that appeared “Discipline”. This is King Crimson’s first album following a seven years hiatus, after the release of their previous studio album “Red”. After Fripp disbanded the group in 1974, at the time, he had no intention of reforming King Crimson. However, when he decided to return to the music, his first step was to contact Bill Bruford and ask him if he was interested to join with him on a new band called Discipline. Only latter, Fripp decided that “Discipline” would be the name of the new studio album to be released with the old traditional name of the band.

Most fans were probably unprepared for the dynamic and otherworldly sounds brought forth on “Discipline”, a very modern sounding record at the time but still unlike anything you’ve heard before. Belew’s wild assortment of sounds from his Fender Stratocaster that can he heard on the raucous “Elephant Talk” to the more sedate “Matte Kudasai”, while the weaving arrangements alongside Fripp & Levin throughout “Frame By Frame”, “Thela Hun Gingeet” and “Indiscipline” are equally savage, awe inspiring, and jaw dropping. Part jazz, part punk, part metal, part new wave, and most definitely progressive in every sense of the word. As daring as this band could be, it’s also the gentle and beautiful moments, like on “Matte Kudasai” and “The Sheltering Sky” that are noteworthy, with lush tapestries of sound created by guitars sweeping over dreamy rhythms. But after all, we are talking about King Crimson. And King Crimson never was being afraid of changing. It always made part of their DNA. This is was certainly why Bruford once said: “When you want to hear where music is going in the future, you put on a King Crimson’s album.” - Bill Bruford, 1995.

In relation to the lyrics, in my personal opinion, Belew’s voice is what brings this music down the most. I enjoy his humorous spoken word listings in “Elephant Talk” and his strange monologue in “Indiscipline”. But his singing is what gets to me. I can’t escape how “goofy” his voice sounds. I’ll admit that I do enjoy the melodies that he somehow manages to craft into such complex songs. “Frame By Frame” especially showcases an excellent melodic ear. Lyrically, “Discipline” is all over the place. From “Elephant Talk” listing various “words with a ‘D’ this time”, to “Thela Hun Ginjeet”, lyrics regarding the treacheries of visiting New York, the lyrical content is nowhere close to boring, indeed.

In relation to the music, the main sound that sticks out immediately in tracks such as “Frame By Frame” and “Thela Hun Ginjeet” are the two guitars interlocked together in a poly rhythmic madness. Fripp playing complicated arpeggios and Belew playing counter point with carefully placed chords or alternate arpeggios. Quite frankly, it sounds incredible and no other band has quite matched this style since. Bruford further adds to the sound by utilizing a mostly cymbal less drum kit. Oddly enough, Bruford’s accents typically fall outside the accented notes in either the guitar or bass lines. Levin showcases a wide range of styles with his bass, somehow reeling in the madness surrounding him into a beat the listener somehow can tap their foot to. Levin also showcases his skills on the chapman stick, which adds an exceptional amount to album opener “Elephant Talk”. This is really an amazing album with a great amount of creativity.


Conclusion: I know this album since it was released and I was amazed when I listened to it for the first time. It’s hardly recognizable as a King Crimson’s album because it practically has nothing in common to the usual sound of the band that we were used to. King Crimson made a vital progression with this album, instead of keeping with the same sound like so many of their progressive rock contemporaries. “Discipline” has many elements of the new wave movement combined with the progressive rock music. Fripp’s guitar lines have never been so refreshing when combined perfectly with Bellew’s futuristic guitar style. To complete, we have the bass/chapman stick by the wizard Levin, the Bruford’s expansive drum solo and Belew’s vocals sounding like David Byrne of Talking Heads. “Discipline” is one of the best King Crimson’s albums, despite “In The Court Of The Crimson King” be their most influential and sentimental album and “Red” be a very special album, because it represents an influential album for progressive metal style. Even though this isn’t King Crimson’s ultimate album, all with an open minded will fully embrace this prog masterpiece of the 80’s.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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other reviews of this album
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...



Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
August 12th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And speaking about the participation of Bill Bruford in King Crimson, all would be incomplete if I not included a review of "Discipline" on Sputnik.

As many of you know, I'm not a great fan of the prog of the 80's. I like very much of some bands and albums of the 80's, mainly new wave bands. But, with the exception of some albums of neo prog bands of the 80's, with Marillion ahead, very few prog albums excited me.

However, there are fortunately some great exceptions and "Discipline" is undoubtedly one of them. "Discipline" is one of the best and most innovative prog albums released in the 80's, especially when we are talking about the classic prog bands. So, I hope you enjoy it.

Your comments are welcome, as usual.

wham49
August 12th 2019


4726 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

unfortunetely I got the 80's tinny vibe the first time I heard it, totally killed it for me, I have a copy so I will revisit it, but have a hard time getting past that kind of stuff

e210013
August 12th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think you must do it wham. The album has a clear vibe of the 80's, but it's a great album of those times, and very innovative, indeed.

rockandmetaljunkie
August 12th 2019


8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

progressive new wave shit has never sound any better

e210013
August 12th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree rockandmetaljunkie. Thanks for the comment.

Jethro42
August 12th 2019


15943 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Until recently, I had this at a classic status, but I prefer Larks' Tongues In Aspic wich I gave a 4.5, so i had to bump Discipline down a bit. I love that KC era/generation. I've seen them in Montreal for Beat, and Three Of A Perfect Pair. Belew vocals are theatrical, a bit overdramatic and wailing in places, but he's convincing and energetic. His guitar complements Fripp's guitar where we still recognize his unique picking found in past KC albums. Bruford's unique style is also recognizable. Belew era offers sophisticated material as always, but this time with more accessible stuff, but not enough to discourage their old fanbase whom in general, asked for more, I believe.



I didn't know that the album was meant to be named Discipline as a band name.

Sweet review, bro. I particularly found your 3rd paragraph (starting with ''Most fans...'') interesting.



rockandmetaljunkie
August 12th 2019


8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem, e210013. This is a good review. Keep em coming!



You have a great taste in music!

e210013
August 13th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, Jethro. You know, sometimes we are more inspired that in others. Tell me one thing, did you changed the rating of "Discipline" of 5.0 to 4.5 or you are going to change it of a 4.5 to a 4.0?

e210013
August 13th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@ rockandmetaljunkie

Thanks, buddy. I'm very flattered, indeed. I hope they can keep coming.

TheIntruder
August 13th 2019


417 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Another great review of an amazing band, dude. Yes, keep em coming. Have a pos.

e210013
August 13th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, Intruder. I hope so.

Jethro42
August 13th 2019


15943 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've relistened to Larks' Tongues In Aspic (4.5/5) in the occasion of your review for it, and I realized I liked it more than Discipline on which I gave a 5. So I bumped it down to a 4.5/5. Discipline is not as perfect as I used to think. I like every songs, but some more than some others. ''Sheltering Sky'' is like the obligatory improvisation track, and i don't think KC are very good at it. ''Thela Hun Ginjeet'' has good parts, but I don't really like the spoken words part. out of this, really enjoyable music.

e210013
August 13th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ok, my friend, I can see what you mean. Personally I think both are equally good in its own way, but aren't two masterpieces.

By the way Jethro. You said that you didn't know that the album was meant to be named Discipline as a band's name. That is true and I think we can even extrapolate, without a big margin of error, that the name of the prog band Discipline isn't a coincidence, with their heavy influences of King Crimson. After all, there's a prog band named Discipline, not created by Robert Fripp but influentied by him. Lol.

BigPleb
August 13th 2019


59553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Loving this review series e, easy pos.

e210013
August 13th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, Big. I'm very happy that you liked them, really.

BigPleb
August 13th 2019


59553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Always nice to see this album on the main page, so quirky yet unmistakably King Crimson.

e210013
August 13th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Absolutely. A rarity, indeed.

Jethro42
August 13th 2019


15943 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're right, e21; Discipline did not look far for their name. They were opportunist, but it's a winner and legit name. It would have been still more rewarding for them if King Crimson would replace their name for Discipline.

e210013
August 13th 2019


2498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, it's true.

tectactoe
August 13th 2019


896 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've always likened this to "70s King Crimson" + "Talking Heads" and it's great, though I've always preferred each of those constituents on their own, I think. Though it might be time for a revisit, it's been a while since I spun this start to finish.

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