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King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 2978 ratings

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Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars After a string of 4 consecutive masterpieces, each with their own unique flavours and mood, some reinventing themselves completely from the last, King Crimson manages to do it again.

In 1973, prog went ham. Notable groups in the genre were putting out their most ambitious material, and King Crimson seemed to be following suit. This album, though, went just far enough that it was decades ahead of its time but somehow still retains an air of sensibility and control that makes it listenable today.

With a completely new lineup, including Yes drum virtuoso Bill Bruford, Fripp had assembled a brand new freak show flying circus of musical madmen and it proved to be one of the greatest decisions of his musical career. Gone are the woodwinds and extensive mellotron use of yore, and while I initially rejected this, the album's sound redeems itself with the addition of some real strings (David Cross on violin) and the eccentric percussion assortments of Jamie Muir.

On the surface, nothing about this album should work. It is incredibly experimental and by experimental I really mean to say the "high school chemistry teacher we all had that liked to blow up pumpkins in the hallway" type of experimental. Brutal, explosive, almost sadistic at times. But, through the genius of all those involved, it still maintains a surprising amount of listening enjoyment. Side one, although it sounds nothing like what King Crimson had done before, still offers some familiarity in its structure. "Larks' Tongues Pt. 1" offers the sort of occult-brewed jump scares and unrelenting tension that we got from "21st Century Schizoid Man", only with the dial cranked so much higher. "Book of Saturday" provides much-needed breathing room, a la "Cadence And Cascade". Then we're swept off our feet by the gorgeous "Exiles", where Cross' violin is brought to its full atmospheric effect and Robert Fripp contributes some of his finest soft guitar work. Side two offers a whole new variety of sounds, from the proto-metal "Easy Money" to the crescendo of "The Talking Drum" to the final coda of "Larks' Tongues Pt. 2", which is guaranteed to wake you up in the morning any day of the week

Ultimately, "Larks' Tongues" is a masterpiece of chaotic prog. If you're looking for some soft, melodic prog that holds your hand, pats you on the head and wipes your bum for you, then don't even think of putting this one on for a spin. But if you're looking for an album that will dominate you, perplex you, throw you in the dirt and bring you along for a ride you'll never forget, this is the album to look out for.

Magnum Vaeltaja | 5/5 |


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