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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 Here is music so enigmatic, so unique, so genre-defying, it's as if it has come from another world. That inimitable, skewed strangeness of the Crimson sound returns intact from previous incarnations - the broad lyricism, stark mellotron, and Fripp's living yet tightly disciplined, angular, muscular guitar work - but delivered now with colder, heavier resolve, as intellect meets and tempers high emotion.

Bill Bruford joined the band for this album, and his responsive drumming accomplishes the above standard perfectly, rarely just keeping time and more often making the percussion a formidable voice in itself. He is helped out by Jamie Muir, also on various tuned and untuned percussion, who has a strong presence on the album and is responsible for the many unusual sound effects that give this album an extra worldly, organic atmosphere that is notably absent from the next couple of albums. John Wetton introduces a confident, smoky vocal to the proceedings, as well as outstanding bass guitar work ranging from the smooth to the thunderous. The new sound is completed by the violin of David Cross, unexpectedly complementing the rest of the band with his distinctive, delicate tones, and enhancing the album's aural stamp of being neither old nor new.

The title 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic' presents the image of something fragile and essential captured and preserved. It is almost disturbing, removed, alien, but it is also evocative of the process of recording music; catching the rare, fleeting wonder of group creativity, their message, and tying it down to a permanent state. It's a message of diverse themes, ranging from the incredible opening instrumental 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One', which moves through moments of both intense energy and aching loneliness, to the more traditional Crimson ballad 'Exiles', which still takes on very new properties to create an epic piece on yearning and remembrance. Meanwhile, 'The Talking Drum's menacing pace and the gritty mid-section of 'Easy Money' point towards the raw, improvisational edge the band would explore more while on tour - and on the next album. The entire album is consistently interesting, clearly brimming with fresh ideas from five great talents, and stands once again as a reminder of a golden age of progressive music that is no longer with us. Possibly King Crimson's finest album.

As a general rule, if you can't make out each individual note of the thumb piano at the very start of the album, or the congas at the start of 'The Talking Drum', you don't have the volume up loud enough ;)

ThulŽatan | 5/5 |


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