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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 2975 ratings

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5 stars If you only buy one King Crimson studio album, make it this one. Here Fripp re-invents the group(for the first time) and creates music superior to anything the band had done previously. Being the only original member he is joined here by ex-Yes drummer Bruford, ex-Family bassist/vocalist Wetton and newcomers violinist/keyboardist Cross and percussionist/weirdo Muir. Ex-Supertramp member Richard Palmer-James now writes the lyrics, replacing Pete Sinfield. At this point Fripp might as well have retired the 'King Crimson' name and called this group something else.

This is, to my ears, the best sounding of all Crimson's studio albums. This sounds better than DSOTM. I love that album and Parsons work on it is terrific. But this sounds better. It is better recorded/mixed/engineered than DSOTM is. LTIA has one of the best mixes from the mid-70s of any rock album. (I know Steven Wilson thinks he could improve the original mix but he's going to fail). This has more sound effects than any other Crimson album. They only compliment the music, never becoming a distraction. I just love the part in "Easy Money" where you hear a zipper sound and then somebody goes, "Mmm, my-my". Hilarious! That's just brilliant, I wish this band had more moments like that. The sadistic laughing at the end of the song is just wicked cool.

That song is segued, via wind noises, into the instrumental "The Talking Drum". Which is really just one big crescendo leading up to the album's highlight LTIA pt. 2. On it's own it just sounds like a jam, but in the context of the album it works great. The lyrics here are not as poetic as Sinfield's but they work in the own weird way. Wetton did better singing with UK and Asia. His vocals here are not bad and are adequate for the music. He rarely played better bass though. You will hear some of the best wah-bass this side of Bootsy Collins here. For the longest time I thought his bass at the end LTIA pt. 1 was a synth!

This is the only studio album to feature Jamie Muir. After Crimson, he joined a Buddhist monastary. Here he plays all sorts of percussive things like chains and whatever that instrument is at the beginning of the album. Some kind of African xylophone it sounds like. This guy *influenced* Bill Bruford. How the hell do you influence Bruford? I thought the world's greatest scientists got together and concluded that Bruford could only influence other drummers, none could influence him. Speaking of B-boy, his drumming here is fantastic. Better than anything he did with Yes. I like the part in LTIA pt. 2 where he plays a straight 4/4 beat for about 5 seconds. It's like the musical equivalent of trying to drown someone under water but you let them up to breathe for 2 seconds and then try drowning them again.

The band has a fairly original sound here. Sometimes the guitar and violin playing is similar to the first two Mahavishnu Orchestra albums. The music is a blend of hard rock (almost metal), jazz-rock, symphonic rock and all out avant-rock. The weakest moment on the album is the quieter section in LTIA pt. 1 with the violin as the main instrument. Not bad but doesn't add anything. One of the strongest moments is the end of the same song. You get some nice electric violin with the sound of a Scottish play from the radio. When Bruford recorded his drums for this part he had to sync his drums with the talking; he had to stop his drumroll at the exact same time "dead!" was said. Then when get some beautiful wah- bass from Wetton while you are hearing different people talking at once. Perfect.

"Book Of Saturday" is a nice song with mostly just guitar, bass and vocals. There is some lovely violin and backwards guitar here too. "Easy Money" is one of the best songs with an almost spacey middle section. There isn't as much Mellotron here as on earlier albums. Somebody, I assume David Cross, plays piano on "Exiles", which has a great Fripp solo at the end. Crimson were always better live, but they never made a more consistent and better sounding album. A true classic of progressive rock. 5 stars.

zravkapt | 5/5 |


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