Monday, March 04, 2013

King Crimson - Discipline: 30th Anniversary Edition (DGM, 2004)

When guitarist and conceptualist Robert Fripp broke up the legendary progressive rock band King Crimson in the mid 1970’s, it seemed like the bands days were finally over. Fripp spent the rest of the decade working with new wave groups and producing his own solo LP. Then in 1981 he formed a group called Discipline with guitarist and vocalist Adrian Belew, bassist and “stick” player Tony Levin and drummer Bill Bruford. After working and performing publicly for a while, Fripp revived the King Crimson name for this band and named their resulting album after the earlier moniker. What resulted was one of their most accessible albums, using shorter song forms and instrumentals and a bit of wit and whimsy where there may have been grim faced virtuosity before. “Elephant Talk” opens the album with a driving rhythmic chant merging vocals to music, keeping both edgy and potent. Haunting and a bit slower, “Frame By Frame” would become one of their most well known songs of this period, with Belew shifting between the dreaminess of the chorus and the slashing music that follows. “Indiscipline” is a seriously fun song about an artist who can barely can to look at their work despite their obsession with it. The spitfire refrain “I repeat myself when under stress/I repeat myself when under stress” is classic. Equally fascinating is “Thela Hun Ginjeet” where complex music is used as a backdrop for a breathless Belew recounting a story about being harassed on the street in London and then by the police. The album ends with two quite beautiful instrumental songs, hinting at jazz fusion, but definitely unique in their two guitar interplay. “The Sheltering Sky” has a majestic feel, developing slowly over a length of eight minutes but fitting in well with the overall vibe of the album. The set ending “Discipline” features complex music with intricately woven guitars in a potent performance. I had been meaning to check out King Crimson more deeply after reading Bill Bruford’s biography and was really impressed by this album, it draws on a number of different influences and melds them together in a powerful and effective manner. Discipline - amazon.com

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