Discipline (King Crimson album)

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Discipline - Original Vinyl Cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released22 September 1981
RecordedMay – June 1981
StudioBasing Street Studios, Notting Hill, London, England
King Crimson chronology
King Crimson studio chronology
Singles from Discipline
  1. "Matte Kudasai" / "Elephant Talk"
    Released: September 1981
  2. "Thela Hun Ginjeet"
    Released: September 1981

Discipline is the eighth studio album by English progressive rock band King Crimson, released on September 22, 1981 by E.G. Records in the United Kingdom and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States.[5] This album was King Crimson's first album following a seven-year hiatus. Only founder Robert Fripp and later addition Bill Bruford remained from previous incarnations. The rest of the band were American musicians Adrian Belew (guitar, lead vocals) and Tony Levin (bass guitar, Chapman Stick, backing vocals). The album resulted in a more updated 1980s new wave-oriented sound.

Background and composition[edit]

"Matte Kudasai" (Japanese: 待って下さい) literally means "please wait". The original release of Discipline featured only one version of "Matte Kudasai", with a guitar part by Robert Fripp that was removed from the track on a subsequent release of the album. The latest versions of the album to be released contains both versions of the song – track 3, "Matte Kudasai", without Robert Fripp's original guitar part; and track 8, "Matte Kudasai (alternative version)", with the guitar part included. [6]

The lyrics of "Indiscipline" were based on a letter written to Adrian Belew by his then-wife Margaret, concerning a sculpture that she had made.[7]

"Thela Hun Ginjeet" is an anagram of "heat in the jungle". When it was first performed live, some of its lyrics were improvised around an illicit recording made by Robert Fripp of his neighbours having a vicious argument when he was living in New York; this recording is featured on the track "NY3" on Fripp's solo album Exposure.[citation needed] While the track was being recorded for the Discipline album, Adrian Belew, walking around Notting Hill Gate in London with a tape recorder looking for inspiration, was harassed first by a gang and then by the police. On returning to the studio, he gave a distraught account to his bandmates of what had just happened to him. This account was recorded by Fripp, without Belew's knowledge, as well [8] and is featured on the Discipline version of the track (as well as almost all live versions), in place of those earlier lyrics that were based on Fripp's New York recording.

"The Sheltering Sky" is named after and partially inspired by the 1949 novel of the same name by Paul Bowles. Bowles is often associated with the Beat generation, which would be an inspiration for King Crimson's subsequent studio album Beat.

Later versions of Discipline featured this design by Steve Ball.

Live versions of "Elephant Talk", "Indiscipline", and "Thela Hun Ginjeet" included partial vocal improvisation during spoken-word parts. One such example can be found in the 13 August 1982 performance, which, as of 12 August 2014, was still available for download in both MP3 and FLAC formats from DGM.[citation needed]

The back cover features the statement, "Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end". The original front cover features a variation on a copyrighted Celtic knot design by George Bain.[9] As it was found to be used without Bain's permission, it was replaced on later releases by a knotwork designed by Steve Ball on commission from Robert Fripp.[10][11] Ball's design is also used as the logo of Discipline Global Mobile, the music label founded by Fripp, which has become the label for King Crimson, Fripp, and associated artists.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[12]
Robert ChristgauB[13]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[14]
Trouser Pressfavourable[4]

Discipline reached number 41 in the UK Albums Chart[15] and received mixed to positive reviews. John Piccarella's review in Rolling Stone praised the talent and artistry of the four musicians of King Crimson, particularly Belew and Fripp's "visionary approach to guitar playing", but criticized the "arty content" of the album itself, concluding "Here's hoping that, unlike every other King Crimson lineup, this band of virtuosos stays together long enough to transform all of their experiments into innovations."[14] Robert Christgau described the album as "not bad--the Heads meet the League of Gentlemen."[13]

Greg Prato's retrospective review in AllMusic gave his approval of the album, particularly applauding the unexpectedly successful combinations of Fripp and Belew's disparate playing styles. According to him, "the pairing of these two originals worked out magically."[12]

Pitchfork ranked it at number 56 in their list of the "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s".[16]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, Robert Fripp and Tony Levin.

Side A
1."Elephant Talk"4:43
2."Frame by Frame"5:09
3."Matte Kudasai" (待ってください, Please Wait)3:47
Side B
5."Thela Hun Ginjeet"6:26
6."The Sheltering Sky" (Instrumental)8:22
7."Discipline" (instrumental)5:13

2011 40th Anniversary edition[edit]




Chart (1981) Peak
US Billboard 200[18] 45
UK Albums (OCC)[19] 41


  1. ^ a b Dome, Malcolm (29 January 2019). "King Crimson: a guide to their best albums". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  2. ^ Bruford, Bill (2009). Bill Bruford: The Autobiography : Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks, and More. Jawbone Press. ISBN 978-1-906002-23-7.
  3. ^ Prato, Greg. "Beat – King Crimson". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b Grant, Steven; Fleischmann, Mark; Robbins, Ira. "TrouserPress.com :: King Crimson". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  5. ^ Phillips, Matt (10 October 2016). "King Crimson's Discipline: 35 Years Old Today". movingtheriver.com. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  6. ^ Fripp, Robert (9 January 2001). "Chop Em Out Mastering Olympia". Robert Fripp's Diary. DGM Live. Retrieved 29 July 2017. We are listening to the alternative version of "Matte" with RF on sustained guitar lines and solo. This is the version included on the original 1981 "Discipline" release, and was later replaced by the original pre-overdub minimalist mix on releases after 1989. In Island studios, recording and mixing of the album completed, Adrian & I agreed that something more was needed for "Matte". He left it to me to come up with something, flew home, but when he heard my contribution wasn't convinced. I agree. This new re-release gives us the opportunity to include both versions, in accordance with a suggestion made a while ago on the Guestbook.
  7. ^ Arthur, Stephen (8 February 1995). "Interview with King Crimson in Trouser Press". ET Wiki. Trouser Press. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  8. ^ Belew, Adrian (3 April 2007). "elephant blog: Anecdote # 808". elephant blog. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  9. ^ Bain, George (1951). Celtic art: The methods of construction. London: Constable Press.
    Bain, George (1973). Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-486-22923-8.
  10. ^ Ball, Steve (1 October 2001). "Saturday September 29". Steve Ball diary. SteveBall.com. Retrieved 29 February 2012
  11. ^ Ball, Steve (21 May 2009). "Steve Ball extended history: Side note". Steve Ball Roadshow: Extended press-kit. SteveBall.com. Retrieved 28 February 2012
  12. ^ a b Prato, G. "Discipline - King Crimson | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  13. ^ a b Christgau, R. (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: king crimson". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  14. ^ a b Piccarella, John (2011). "King Crimson: Discipline [Caroline Bonus Track] : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  15. ^ "King Crimson | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  17. ^ ""Discipline" Celtic Knotwork". et.stok.ca. 22 December 1998. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  18. ^ "King Crimson Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  19. ^ "King Crimson | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 14 November 2017.

External links[edit]