King Crimson is another progressive rock band which involves an ever-changing lineup of musicians. Robert Fripp, guitarist, is the founding member and has been present for the entirety of the King’s reign. After a 7 year break, and the album Red (1974), Crimson returned with a partially new lineup and completely new sound. Fripp returned along with drummer, Bill Bruford, who had been with the band since he left Yes in 1972. New to the group was bassist Tony Levin and guitar virtuoso, Adrian Belew. Belew made a name for himself starting out with Frank Zappa and later being high jacked by David Bowie. Both Fripp and Belew played separately on a few of Bowie’s albums (Fripp: “Heroes” & Scary Monsters; Belew: Lodger), two of which were his collaborations with Brian Eno. Fripp is also known to work with Eno on a regular basis.
King Crimson, 80s lineup
(From left: Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp)
Discipline incorporated a more new wave and faster sound. Tony Levin provides speedy bass lines which are slapping fun while Adrian Belew steps up to the vocal work. Belew’s vocals are very similar to that of David Byrne from Talking Heads, a band Belew also played with touring and on their album Remain In Light. The album kicks off with the musical thesaurus equivalent, “Elephant Talk.” The song’s lyrics are comprised of the many ways to refer to “talking” starting from the letter “A” to “E.” The track, “Indiscipline,” has contains lyrics which were influenced by a letter Belew’s wife at the time wrote to him about a recent sculpture she made. Constantly feeling the need to revisit it, vainly leave it be, analyze and perfect it. The track, “Thela Hun Ginjeet,” gets its title as an anagram from “heat in the jungle.” The track is an instrumental which contains vocals in the form of a recording. The recording is of Guitarist Adrian Belew retelling his experience walking the streets of London where he encounters and is hassled by a gang and then the police. Robert Fripp recorded Belew’s story without his knowledge. Discipline kicks off Crimson’s 80s new wave sound trilogy, followed by Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair. Its sound is entirely different from any previous Crimson album, yet all the elements are there. The new members bring energy and a certain animation (especially with Belew's on stage flare with his guitar) to the band’s sound and style that was not present before, thus making this King’s incarnation an entirely different beast altogether and with excellent results.
Track to check out: Elephant Talk