From the Vault...


King Crimson

© E'G Records

Year of Release: 1981

track listing
  • Elephant Talk
  • Frame By Frame
  • Matte Kudasai
  • Indiscipline
  • Thela Hun Ginjeet
  • The Sheltering Sky
  • Discipline

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    King Crimson

    King Crimson is labeled as a Progressive Rock band, much like their former allies Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the early Yes and early Genesis. Yet when the band reformed in 1981, their music tended to move more towards the direction of upbeat Jazz with a different sound than your normal Jazz, possibly you could compare it to later years' International music. The first album that would be released from this reformation was 1981's Discipline, an album consisting of a different kind of Jazz, International Music, and uniqueness in sound.

    Adrian Belew's guitar playing is what makes this album unique. He would also become the lead singer for King Crimson. His fast-style playing on numbers such as "Elephant Talk" and "Frame By Frame" does have future guitar players wondering how they themselves could play such as Belew.

    "Matte Kudasai" is very relaxing, after hearing the first two tracks. It does fit the New Age Jazz category, with favorable guitar and synthesizer work. Even Belew's lead vocal does make the listener drift into their own world, along with the soothing music.

    "Indiscipline" favors the Progressive Rock style than the previous Jazz/New Age Jazz formulas. It's also strange in sound, with spoken vocals, and with its Progressive Rock sound, and title it does fit this song as a whole. (Probably considered the least track to listen to.)

    "Thela Hun Ginjeet" continues the strangeness, as heard in "Indiscipline." In comparison, it does have a new wave sound, with a mix of International music, as heard on The Talking Heads' Remain In Light.

    International Music is best described on "The Sheltering Sky," an instrumental, featuring distinct African-sounding drumming and unusual sound effects. This song could easily fit a scene in a movie in an African jungle, where the main characters are searching through the jungle, in mystery and suspense, trying to find their ultimate goal. The final and title track, "Discipline," experiments once again the "minimalist chords" and repeating guitar lines, making this song unique and interesting.

    Discipline is very different. They would continue this style of music on their next album, 1982's Beat. Leader Robert Fripp would encounter many personnel changes since its beginnings in 1969, and would experiment in different types of music when reforming King Crimson. 1970s Progressive Rock would define the "first" Crimson, from 1969-late 1970. The "second" Crimson was reformed in late 1970, continuing the Progressive Rock style, until 1972, when they combined the likes of gothic metal and free improvisation. The band broke up (again) in 1974, and Fripp would reform his "third" Crimson in 1981, aiming towards International music, which would later be accomplished by such acts as Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads.

    Like his fellow allies in International Music, Robert Fripp was adjusting to the times, and viewing the different stages of popular music. Where Discipline's style may or may not attract Rock fans, King Crimson has always been an interesting band, and you could even say they may have been ahead of its time. All in all, King Crimson is an interesting place to visit, and has the listener thinking differently on how music is interpreted through the eyes and ears of leader Robert Fripp.

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    Previous Review: #805
    Next Review: #807
    Billy Stewart--One More Time