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Old 06-29-2007, 07:24 AM   #35 (permalink)
boo boo
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Discipline - 1981

Personnel:
Robert Fripp - Guitar, Devices.
Adrian Belew - Lead Vocals, Guitar.
Tony Levin - Bass, Chapman Stick, Backing Vocals.
Bill Bruford - Drums, Percussion.

In 1974, Fripp decided to disband King Crimson and has since spent the next 8 years persuing other venues, such as collaborations with Brian Eno, David Bowie, Blondie, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Peter Hammill of Van Der Graaf Generator and Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates, as well as developing his unique Frippertronics tape delay system.

However in 1981, Fripp met up with his old bandmate Bruford with plans to start a new group. They soon recruited a fellow by the name of Tony Levin.

Levin was an incredibly prolific session bass player who had worked with John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach, Peter Gabriel, Buddy Rich, Ringo Starr, Carly Simon, Karen Carpenter, Art Garfunkel, Don McLean, Peter, Paul & Mary and many many others. And has since went on to work with many more. Levin has appeared on more hit records by more artists than any other bass player in history except maybe James Jamerson, earning him a reputation as the human bass machine. In addition to bass, Levin also plays a curious and obscure instrument known as the Chapman Stick (see weird instruments thread) which he would soon popularise. This instrument would help shape the new sound of King Crimson.

Also on board was Adrian Belew, a guitarist who had previously worked with Talking Heads, David Bowie and Frank Zappa. In addition to being a second guitarist, he would also take on the role of the bands lead singer, as well as its primary lyricist.

The group teamed up in spring 1981 and played live under the name Discipline, with The Lounge Lizards as their opening act. By october, they decided that this band would become the newest incarnation of King Crimson, so they went back to using that name and as a result their working band name Discipline became the title of this album.

Perhaps influenced by Belews previous work with Bowie and Heads. The new King Crimson sound was not like anything before it. The classical music elements were abandoned for a more New Wave sound, though the music was still progressive at its core. Belews vocal style had more than a passing resemblence to his former collaborater David Byrne. He also introduced the synthesizer guitar to King Crimson, which both Belew and Fripp use on this album, becoming a defining part of their new sound. Levins more Fusion/Funk oriented style, his thirst for experimentation as well as his skills on the Chapman Stick made him a far more flexible bass player than Greg Lake or John Wetton ever were. Together with Bruford, they would provide more exotic, World Music rhythms. In addition to this, Fripps own guitar playing has become noticibly more refined and complex.

This is a period that devides the hardcore Crimson fans. Many prefered the more classical/jazzy refinement of the Lake era, or the avant garde experimentation of the Wetton era, while others (me) think of Fripp/Belew/Levin/Bruford as the the best KC ensemble yet. At a time when prog was declared dead and bands like Yes, Genesis, Jehtro Tull and Gentle Giant abandoned their prog roots for a more modern New Wave/Pop sound. King Crimson managed to reinvent themselves for the New Wave crowd but without cheesing out, and without selling out their genre. A more accessible King Crimson, but still King Crimson, and therefor still the kings of all that is prog.

Overall this album is right up there with ITCOTCK and Red for me, and its their best post Red album.

Elephant Talk: This song opens with an awesome line on Levin's Chapman Stick before kicking off into a funky pop song (thats right, a pop song) that is as catchy as it is awkward. Belews erratic Byrnisms (and even more erratic guitar solos) may leave you with a raised eyebrow at first, but you (like me) may eventually find yourself loving every minute of it.

Frame By Frame: Beginning with a nice riff by Belew and some incredibly fast licks by Fripp as Levin and Bruford manage to keep up splendidly. This is a pure example of just how tight of an ensemble this really is. Some of KCs most complex instrumental work since Larks Tongues In Aspic.

Matte Kudasai: Anyone will tell you that no King Crimson album is complete without at least one ballad to balance out all the crazy stuff. And Kudasai proves to be one of Crimsons strongest. Opening with some gorgeous slide work by Belew, which sounds remarkibly like a lap steel. And some great Jazz Fusion esque guitar and bass by Fripp and Levin respectively.

Indiscipline: The weirdest song on the album, and the heaviest. With lyrics that were taken from a letter by Belews wife. A throw back to Wetton era Crimson. One of my faves just for its pure weirdness.

I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.

Thela Hun Ginjeet: Argubly the best song on the album. With frentic guitars by Belew and Fripp (Belews is in 4/4, while Fripps is in 7/8) and some funky basswork by Levin. Some truly psychedelic guitar work here. This song is notable for featuring a taped recording of Belew talking to the police after being mugged in the streets, setting the grim, urban atmosphere for this song.

Oh yeah, Thela Hun Ginjeet is an anagram for "Heat in the Jungle".

The Sheltering Sky: This is an instrumental, with tribal percussion by Bruford and some AMAZING guitar synthesizer work by Fripp. One of KCs most psychedelic songs.

Discipline: Also an instrumental, and the final track on the album, and mainly a showcase for Belew and Fripps dueling guitars. This album could have had a better closer, because this one only leaves you wanting more.

If you dont think this review is insightful enough, you can always check out the laughably horrible reviews of it at prog archives by 12 year old snot nose punks who hate everything that dosen't sound like Dream Theater.

Don

Last edited by boo boo; 06-30-2007 at 03:04 AM.
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