King Crimson – Discipline

Released in 1981 on E.G. Records/Warner Brothers

Embossed cover


Review:
“Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end”

It’s not very often you can say a classic 70’s band got better in the 80’s, but that’s exactly what King Crimson did after their 5 year hiatus. Discpline marks the first in a trilogy of complex prog-meets-new-wave masterpieces that have been relished by anxious overthinkers for decades. While the earlier incarnations of Crimson never really held a solid lineup (yet still created a couple masterpieces along the way), this incarnation featured a band infused with telepathic chemistry and a spirit of innovation. In addition to founding guitarist Robert Fripp, this lineup brought over  legendary drummer Bill Bruford from the 70’s incarnation of the band, and introduced Tony Levin on bass and his signature instrument the Chapman Stick, a 10-string tapping instrument perfect for complex polyphonic melodies and basslines. After going through four different singers in their earlier era, King Crimson really needed the perfect frontman to tie everything together, which they finally found with Adrian Belew, whom Fripp connected with during their work with David Bowie. His overwrought sing-talking and counterpuntal, polyrhythmic guitar playing made him the perfect foil to Fripp’s unique guitar textures and intricate riffs, not to mention his charismatic stage presence that allowed the shy Robert Fripp to play comfortably out of the spotlight during their live performances. Discipline is the perfect demonstration of a band refusing to look backwards and never ceasing to explore and innovate. 

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