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

STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.89 | 1255 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK is a record I've had a love/hate 'relationship' with for over 20 years - only since the last few years have I accepted its moodiness, its somewhat directionless eclecticism, and unique strangeness. Whilst the album before this, Larks' Tongues In Aspic, featured an eccentric percussionist by the name of Jamie Muir, whose incredible skills help shape a most wonderful landmark of Progressive rock history, here Master Bruford has taken on the responsibility of playing all the percussive nik-naks, as well as the kit, himself. He learnt well from Muir (who reputedly dropped a gong on his foot and joined a monastery...) and applied this knowledge to the musical extravaganzae on this album. We still have guitarist/mellotronist Robert Fripp being his 'usual' self (and that means 'unpredictable'), John Wetton who is an exceptional bassist with a great voice to boot, and David Cross with his Violin/Viola contributions and backing keyboards (since some of this material is recorded live, I don't think Fripp mastered playing the mellotron with his feet whilst soloing on his Les Paul - though I'm sure he probably tried...). The first half of the album has six tracks between 3 and 6 minutes where the styling varies between almost heavy metal ('Great Deceiver', parts of 'Lament'), to funky ('We'll Let You Know'), pastoral and slightly folky ('The Night Watch'), to mellow, meandering and mysterious ('Trio' and 'The Mincer'). The second side features 2 lengthy improv pieces recorded live in Holland at the time - 'Starless and Bible Black' and 'Fracture'. These two tracks reflect the spontaneous nature of this creative unit, but lacks the collective 'magic' which was apparent on Larks' Tongues, and the focus of the next masterpiece, 'Red'. Overall, I am content to award SaBB with 4 stars, but it's easy to see how this album holds divided opinions.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |

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