King Crimson – Discipline In Shibuya (Tarantura TCDKC-4-1, 2)

Discipline In Shibuya (Tarantura TCDKC-4-1, 2)

Shibuya Kokaido, Tokyo, Japan – December 9th, 1981

Disc 1 (44:47):  Gamelan Work, Walk On, Drive To 1981, Discipline, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Red, Matte Kudasai, The Sheltering Sky, Frame By Frame

Disc 2 (50:03):  MC, Neal And Jack And Me, Manhattan, Elephant Talk, Indiscipline (drum solo), Indiscipline, Walk On, Encore; Sartori In Tangier, Larks Tongues In Aspic Pt II, Walk On

After the reformation of King Crimson, the “drive to 1981” and the release of the new album Discipline, the band returned to live performance with gigs including their first ever trip to Japan in December 1981.  The new sound was unlike anything heard before.  It encompassed all of the advances of new wave in the late seventies and honed by Robert Fripp’s aggressive and surreal guitar lines.  

Also given equal time was Adrian Belew, who seemed to have as much to say for Crimson’s new sonic architecture as Fripp.  

Discipline In Shibuya offers the opening night.  Several other tapes are in circulation including one from the King Crimson archives posted on the DGM website.  But Tarantura utlize an uncirculated Mr. Peach recording.  The DGM source is a bit thin on the bass, but Mr. Peach is extremely bass heavy, perhaps too much so.  There are times when the bass becomes too loud and distorted.

But it is the best sounding recording of this important show which, according to the DGM website, “marked the start of King Crimson’s long-term love affair with Japan.”

Peach’s tape starts off with some Gamelan music being pumped through the PA.  (Gamelan is highly percussive native music of Polynesia).  The band walks on stage to the atonal Frippertronics before the band start with “Discipline,” the title track and erstwhile name of the new Crimso project before the more lucrative King Crimson title was resurrected.  The performance is a bit tentative but builds nicely to the point where the DGM site asks, “Is it too fanciful to suggest that the interlocking notes played at the climax of the opening number share the same brittle beauty of koto strings being plucked?”

Much of the first half of the show is plagued with the same hesitation.  

But the band pick up steam in the second half.  Before “Neal And Jack And Me” Belew says, “Sometimes while we’re on the road we write new songs together. This one began in Paris and it’s for the next King Crimson album.”  It is by far the tightest tune of the night and one of the highlights of the set.  

“Manhattan” is an early version of what would eventually become “Neurotica” but with big crashing chords.  “Elephant Talk” recalls some of Belew’s onstage improvisation with The Talking Heads a year before with echoes of the great guitar break in “The Great Curve.”  

The encores start with an expressionistic “Santori In Tangier,” one of Fripp’s more abstract pieces.  Finally, the night ends with “Larks Tongues In Aspic Pt II,” one of the rare older tunes played in the set.   

Discipline In Shibuya is a great Crimso title on Tarantura and is worth having.  It comes packaged in a gorgeous gatefold sleeve with artwork inspired by the first album and an obi strip out front.  What is most interesting on the obi strip is an announcement that the next Crimson release will be a box set documenting multitrack recordings from 1973.  Whether they are previously released tapes or brand new isn’t stated, but it will be great to hear.  

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