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

LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.41 | 2920 ratings

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thesameoldfears
5 stars "show the colour of your crimson suspenders"

One of the most challenging and unusual records in the Crimson catalog, and ultimately one of the most rewarding. I did not understand "Larks Tongues in Aspic" when I first heard it, but even so I could not help but feel as if the deficiency was on my part. This was King Crimson, after all! But soon it all made sense.

Initially I was infuriated by the first three minutes of the record, which consist of repetitive but quiet percussive sounds that don't seem to be going anywhere. But then BANG! It explodes into pure chaos, and lets the listener know that the mad scientists are at work. There is such dynamic contrast here that is carried not only within individual tracks, but over the course of the entire record. There is a logical flow here, and the whole record feels like a big crescendo, culminating in one of Crimson's most well-loved tracks "Larks Tongues in Aspic Part Two."

There is beauty here too. "Book of Saturday" and "Exiles" are played with such incredible subtlety, you forget that they are a rock band at all. Given the high degree of creativity that was occurring in 1973, it is really an impressive feat that "Larks Tongues in Aspic" stands out as particularly imaginative. While, it was hinted at in Crimson's first four records, this was the first time that Fripp fully incorporated atonality into a rock framework. This alone is worthy of a great deal of attention. "Part Two" sounds like it is a direct homage to Bartok's String Quartet No. 4 (fifth movement). The use of post-tonal harmony within the texture of rock allows Crimson to achieve a musical affect that others have not. Now it's the twenty-first century, but we have still yet to come up with a good answer to this curious disc.

thesameoldfears | 5/5 |

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