Towards Better Democracy

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Why I like King Crimson’s Discipline so much


Robert Fripp has said of Discipline that the composition was intended to allow each player to have an equal place in its performance, that no one player dominates. That Fripp, so self possessed a man, can produce such often loud music with a rock beat seems sometimes a contradiction but I adore the fact that he does so.

What I like so much, and, to my mind makes the piece so powerful, is the wonderful broken rhythm, its circular motion, and, of course, its sheer intensity. The work has a power and energy about it: that intensity that grips you as a listener and simply will not let go. Perhaps the tightness of it structure comes from the  17/16 time signagture, for which I am indebted to Bert Butler in his post of the DAW version for pointing out. I hear the 16 beats but I would have to study it with repeated listenings to hear the 17. I wish it were longer.

The changes of key with a simple repetition of the two, or is it three, I am not certain, themes help give it shape without wandering away from the hypnotic drum beat. And it has no vocals which would have served to distract from its power.

Perhaps the best relialiazation of the work is the performance by The Guitar Circle of Europe. The players play in a circle and there is a concentration that results from their being able to follow each other and masterfully capture Fripps invention in composing the work. Particularly attractive is what I think is a bass acoustic guitar, one or more of which break away to the underlying line of the score. But nothing supplants the original.

Absolutely wonderful work and a most successful composition. Disciple is one of those works of which one never tires.

Malcolm D B Munro
Wednesday 9 August, 2017

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Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

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