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

LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.39 | 1779 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Wied
5 stars The first time I heard this album, I nearly needed to buy myself a new set of ears so I could listen to it for the first time yet again. Little did I know, Larks' Tongues in Aspic, King Crimson's fifth studio album and the first offering from the new lineup of Fripp/Bruford/Wetton/Cross/Muir (with Palmer-James), only gets better with age.

The album opens almost silently. The dynamics in the first song, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1", are simply stupendous. Listening closely, you can hear, as Bill Bruford calls it, Jamie Muir's "tinkleberries", very light percussion. Soon, the calm is pierced by the sound of violins, and building percussion. Fripp brings in a fantastically powerful hard rock riff, but, soon, it's all over again, back to the quiet violin. This peace cannot last, and the power returns. This time around, the band lets loose into a great cacophony of percussion, drums, bass, and guitar. After this short piece, another hard rock portion breaks free. Again, playing with dynamics, the Mighty Crim breaks out a peaceful violin solo, perhaps so you have some time to reflect on what you've just heard. The solo makes a turn, and about a minute from the end of the track, a distorted section with strange vocalizations starts, before fading into more tinkleberries. 5/5

The next track is very calming. Bruford and Muir take a break, and let Fripp, Wetton, and Cross take over. "Book of Saturday" is a personal favorite of mine, perhaps not as much as the opening track, but it's a very beautiful piece. Wetton's voice is absolutely charming, and Fripp and Cross provide the necessary atmosphere to back it up. Richard Palmer-James provides some good lyrics to the track as well. A great track. 4/5

"Exiles" is a bit like the track that preceded it, though the tracks are independent of each other. It starts off with an elaborate introduction. The song then picks up and acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and violin provide beauty to back Wetton's voice. Cross is on top form here, his violin makes the track more somber. Fripp's acoustic guitar work is also top-notch. 4/5

Side Two of the album opens with power. A driving hard rock song, "Easy Money" is harsh, acrid, and awe-inspiring. Filled with percussion and vocals that deserve to be spat out at the listener, you can't hate this song. Wetton's vocalizations are perfect for the song, and his bass work is, from what I can hear, great. Fripp keeps the mood harsh with his distorted guitar. Muir provides the right percussion at the right times. Bruford, possibly my favorite drummer, is a maestro on this song. Cross provides great violin at the last chorus. The sound of distorted laughing ends the track. 5/5

Half of the songs on this album are instrumental. This next instrumental, "The Talking Drum", starts with the wind blowing, and some trumpet sounds, before Muir comes in with some crazy tribal percussion (I think congas or bongos). This whole track is about the buildup. From Muir's now rhythmic playing, Bruford and Wetton join in. Cross enters with his violin, slowly bowing for atmosphere. The guitar enters, and Fripp and Cross duel for the lead line position for the rest of the track. Everyone, even the rhythm section, wins this duel. A scream ends the jam. 5/5

Big Red has managed to keep the album together for the first five of the six songs. Surely, they can't end it as well as any of the other songs. Well, you'd be wrong. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" is absolute sonic perfection. There's no way to describe the track without listening to it, but I'll try. Unlike the first part, this section starts immediately. Fripp starts a riff, and the rest of the band joins in. Bruford is amazing at keeping the speed up here. Muir's percussion is also something to keep a watch for. David Cross helps the track along with some short pieces of calmer violin, and some really frantic, almost psychotic and wailing violins around halfway through. The song and the album end with a great wall of sound, capturing the essence of most of the album. However, paying attention to the dynamics at the end, there is quiet violin to close the piece, a fitting ending. 5/5

This album is a must-have. It's my favorite King Crimson album, and one of my favorite albums of all time. It's definitely a "desert island" record. Worthy of five out of five stars.

Wied | 5/5 |

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