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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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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A compendium of controlled explosions, composed improvisation and cool metallic groove. The artwork hypnotised me years before I bought the album, and now that omniscient Sun has a soundtrack; it's fantastic.

'Larks Tongues in Aspic' has a very professional and refined sound, that of five virtuosos who are in complete control of their music, yet manage to simultaneously be crazy, maniacal and very fun. Fripp leads his army into a continuous flurry of experimentation, heavy riffing, meandering solos, and plenty of simple melodies too. The two (four?) part title track embodies the best of this recipe. 'Part One' is a linear journey of contrasting themes which vary in their complexity and volume (quite considerably). The guitar is very angular and distorted beyond belief, delivering either flurries of chromatics or power- chordal riffs that drive each section into the next. Cross' violin is either atmospheric or beautiful, Wetton's bass thick yet fluent, Bruford's drumming powerful and clever, and Muir's percussion essential to the piece, decorating every gap in the sound with interesting rhythms and sound effects. 'Part Two' delivers a condensed version of this in a more song-like and catchy way, making it less successful as a piece of music but enjoyable nonetheless, and precursive of the Red style.

The other tracks show different aspects of this impressive band. The all too short 'Book of Saturday' is cool and bluesy, showcasing some nice violin and Wetton's emotional voice (which people are divided on, but I like it). 'Exiles' would make a nice symphonic epic if it weren't literally interrupted by snippets of random dissonant wind, although it kind of doesn't fit with the album's style anyway. 'Easy Money' on the other hand, is the pinnacle of the blues-rock style that increased in quality with previous songs such as 'Ladies of the Road'; its very cool and great to listen to, with a nice length and some moments of suspense. And as an arabic-tinged crescendo instrumental, nothing surpasses the feel of 'The Talking Drum', the solos here are among the best of this line-up's era.

This album took surprisingly little time for me to get into, but then I knew what to expect. In 1973 it must have blown people's minds. The first track remains a truly intense musical experience every time it comes around again, and there are no other compositions like it. Crimso's second "debut" is as shockingly brilliant as the first, and much better on top of that. Chemistry is the keyword here.

thehallway | 5/5 |


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