When Robert Fripp declared in 1974 that King Crimson had ‘ceased to exist' nobody could have foreseen that they would break their silence seven years later with an album that perhaps had more in common with the then current post-punk new wave than the band's progressive rock past. Released in 1981, Discipline, was a startling reinvention with a new line-up performing radically different material that managed to delight fans, confound critics and pick up a substantial new audience along the way. 37 years later Discipline remains one of the key albums of the early-80s and one of King Crimson's most popular.
As different from the '70s King Crimson, as the '70s line-ups had been from the '60s band, the new quartet of Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, Adrian Belew (Zappa, Bowie, Talking Heads) and Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, John Lennon), rapidly established itself as a force on the live circuit. The longer songs of the '60s and early-70s and the extended improvisations of the live performances from the earlier touring bands were replaced with a series of mostly short, taut songs imbued with a minimalist aesthetic that featured complex interwoven guitar lines, (coined ‘rock gamelan') Belew's distinctive vocals, Bruford's new armory of electronic percussion and Levin's fluid bass and Chapman stick lines.
King Crimson achieved a rare feat for a rock group – becoming one of the very few acts to release a classic album in three separate decades. From In the Court of the Crimson King in 1969, via Red in 1974 to Discipline in 1981, with differing line-ups and radically different sounds the band's reputation for innovation and progression (in the best sense of the word) was unassailable. In a change from other King Crimson vinyl releases, the track-listing for the new reissue reflects the 30th anniversary edition CD with "Matte Kudasai" featuring Belew's lead guitar as track 3 side A and with Fripp's lead guitar version as a bonus track at the end of side B. The album was cut at Loud Mastering by Jason Mitchell from audio approved by Robert Fripp.