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King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black CD (album) cover

STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.92 | 1875 ratings

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volta3
4 stars If Larks' Tongues in Aspic was King Crimson's Dark Side of the Moon, then Starless and Bible Black was their Wish You Were Here. Equally as adventurous and genre-bending as Larks' Tongues, Starless just solidified Crims' new sound (if they even really did have a sound). Full of experimental percussion and pieces of live improvisation, Starless and Bible Black showed that King Crimson were a prog band in every sense of the word. This album is even more ahead if its time than Larks' Tongues in many ways that one can only hear (at least I can't find words to describe my point). There is nary a dull or simply bad song on here except for Trio which I find to be a little bit too mellow--maybe that's because it doesn't have any drums(?)! But if I were to name a few of the HIGH-lights on here they would be The Great Deceiver, Lament, and the Larks' Tongues in Aspic-style Fracture.

In terms of musical performance, Bill Bruford's drumming on nearly all of the tracks is a high point on Starless. The lack of Jamie Muir on this album and Red really didn't affect his use of percussion of all sorts (wood blocks, glockenspiel, gongs, etc.). In my opinion, some of Bill's percussion lines are a bit more tasteful than Mr. Muir's. Robert Fripp also is VERY creative on here and never runs out of ideas. His riffs on The Great Deceiver and Fracture are stuck in my head. Unlike Larks' Tongues, John Wetton's complex and really melodic bass lines are higher up in the mix and actually add something to the music instead of just acting as extra places to fill in the musical holes left by Robert Fripp and David Cross. On the other hand, David Cross' presence on this album isn't nearly as noticeable as it was on Larks' Tongues but it still adds somewhat to the off-kilter combination of sounds present in this era of King Crimson.

I wouldn't recommend Starless and Bible Black to someone new to King Crimson but after one has purchased either Red or Larks' Tongues they should give this one a listen (chances are they will enjoy this one just as much).

volta3 | 4/5 |

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