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


King Crimson

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3 stars I don't understand why always this disc in put over Starless and Bible Black and Red. Ok, Exiles and Book of Saturdays are beautiful ballads, LTiA II is a incredible song, but the others are mere fillers. Beside that, the live versions of these songs are much better. From 1 to 7, I give this a 5.5.
Report this review (#15052)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars Aspic's Lark on the Tongue!

This album for a long time was my least favourite of 70's Crimson albums because of Wetton's voice and totally weird sense of dynamic sound-levels - only Exiles seemed of interest as well as Talking Drum but for the rest...... I was simply not into it!!

And then one day, a friend put this album as I was arguing (politics) with a girlfriend at 2AM, and the spark came, with the music blaring out of the speakers at a very unreasonable loud volume for the time of that time of night. As I said , prior to this I only enjoyed Exile and to a lesser extent TD, but those crazy percussions that had turned me off in Easy Money started making extreme sense and I actually stopped in mid sentence (I was about to nail the coffin closed on the argument I was winning hands down) and yelled: YYYYEEESSSS!!!!!!!!. She looked at me and said: no King Crimson!! But I was now instantly hooked, and asked for a repeat of the track. Needless to say that after this repeat, this first thing I did was to go home with the borrowed album and played it twice before falling asleep. To this day, that famous coffin is still lacking a few nails, and I will gladly leave it that way!! ;-)

The 2 parts of Aspic became clear to me also but it is the incredible percussion from Muir on Easy Money that convinced me that this was probably the creative high point of this band. I still have a bit of a problem with Wetton's singing on Book Of Saturday but it is a thankfully short number. Still nowadays, Exiles and Taking Drum are my fave on the album, but almost every track is now a pure classic on my mind. Definitely one of Crimson's best oeuvre, even if it is not the most accessible.

Report this review (#15064)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fripp and Bruford at top form. This album really pushed the boundaries of music. Lark's Tongues is still one of the best KC pieces, and unsurpassed in originality and orgasmic/climactic effect (really! Apparently, the piece was plagiarized for use in late 70s porn).
Report this review (#15058)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars saying that Crimson has been a major influence in my 'musicality' is an understatement, as it raised the bar considerably in my musical tastes and preferences.This particular incarnation of Crimson produced what may be a small quantity of work,but yet remains as one of the most incredible works created by any band at any time,regardless of genre.Lark's Tongue in Aspic is ,from beginning to end,musical perfection played with brilliance and intensity.Superb... but is there any 'bad' Crimson?.. NAAAAH! ;-)
Report this review (#15044)
Posted Monday, February 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Prog can truly be a terrifying genre at times. If people expect to hear slightly twee folky interludes and the likes, then well, they haven't experienced the whole shebang. For example, this album is one of the few that can scare me [&*!#]less without even trying too hard. An absolute classic and probably one of my favourite prog albums of all time. The two main songs "Larks tongue in aspic parts one and two" are frightfully harsh yet sonorous jam-rock tunes powered by some of Robert Fripp's heaviest guitar riffing, David Cross's demented yet passionate violin section, Bill Bruford and James Muir's death defying percussion freestyles and John Wetton's booming and powerful low-end. Obviously these newcomers fit the bill more then adequately for Robert Fripp's new vision of the Crimsoid legions and it shocked many who noticed the upswerve in agression and distortion and the slighter emphasis on the mellotron, whereas in previous incarnations the mellotron was more of a lead instrument, not to say that the other line-ups weren't capable of throwing out a good and hearty hard rock tune. The other songs within have been called fillers which is really a disservice as they are fine songs on their own right. "The book of saturdays" and "Exiles" are wonderfully languid ballads, replete with fine melodies and a fine vocal performance from Mr. Wetton. "Easy Money" is a fine piece of sleazy rock with a wonderful solo from Mr. Fripp. "The Talking Drum" is a fine piece of music in its own right also, showcasing Cross, Wetton, Muir, and Bruford's ability to kick out some fine rythimic music and of course Bob F as always turns out a fine performance. In general a wonderful album, although the sound quality is a slight bit thin here and there. Very recommended.
Report this review (#15059)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars After years of trying to equal the success of their groundbreaking debut, Robert Fripp would shake house and settle on an innovative drummer, Bill Bruford, Up and coming bassist/vocalist John Wetton, wild man eccentric Jamie Muir on percussion and keyboard/violinist David Cross, and this line-up would resurect the faith in the loyal Crimson fans, who did not abandon them in the band's erratic days. The faithful was rewarded with one of the defining moments in the band's history, "Lark's Toungue In Aspic" consist of six brilliant songs, which maybe due to the bands lack of familiarity with each other, was a bit tame, but the songs live took on a different life, which was the foretelling of a great future for this particular line-up. Charles
Report this review (#15055)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Almost perfect, this experimental work is still very important today for some of the bands within the so called "Zehul Music" in France and Belgium (MAGMA, SHYLOCK, ART ZOYD and so on). The title track is excellent and very influential, but also the song-format tracks like "Book of Saturday" and "Easy Money" composed by John WETTON, are not bad. Highly recommended and one of their best ones!!
Report this review (#15060)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This has been a tough one for me in that while being a very interesting and challenging listen it has been somewhat to "loosely constructed" for my liking. While I am blown away by the "sheer power" of the five note riff that emerges out of the thundering roar of Wetton and Bruford in Part 1 - I am also lost for a while in the violin playing parts that extend beyond what I consider to be my rock and roll attention level. The album as a whole is really one of the more unsual albums I have heard and thats a good thing!

Rock Madanoff

Report this review (#15061)
Posted Sunday, April 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This CRIMSON album has mellow parts and aggressive ones too. There are some good percussion parts, and the drums are very well played and elaborated. WETTON's voice is very good, as usual, and his bass is excellent, very present, and sometimes it has an aggressive powerful sound ("Larks Tongue In Aspic Part 2"). FRIPP's guitar is sometimes aggressive, sometimes more on the smooth higher notes like he uses to do on the early albums.
Report this review (#15062)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I 'm sitting here, waiting for "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" to explode all over again, convinced that CRIMSON is King. For all intents and purposes, this is KING CRIMSON Part Two. ROBERT FRIPP assembled a new cast, including seasoned veterans that invoked the maiden voyage of the KING: JOHN WETTON, BILL BRUFORD, JAMIE MUIR, DAVID CROSS, lyricist ROBERT PALMER-JAMES. Not since the original Court has so much talent been brought to bear on the KING's vision. In a sense, CRIMSON had handed the crown to EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER after their debut, only to reclaim it on "Larks' Tongues In Aspic". The addition of WETTON (a GREG LAKE soundalike) and BRUFORD now aligned CRIMSON with ELP, enabling them to again make propulsive music at once pretty and profane. Lest they be overlooked, the roles of Cross and Muir are equally important, expanding the range of what might be considered music and giving "Larks" a decidedly Eastern and adventurous flavor. Exotic percussion, violins, the mournful and otherworldly sounds of FRIPP's leads, strange noises, unconventional rhythms... the musical objects in this picture are to traditional drums/bass/guitar rock what the Sistine Chapel is to a simple portrait. "Starless" might be the more stunning record, Red the more remarkable for its simple cunning, but "Larks" is no less luminous an achievement. The records that initially followed Court tried to replicate its sound and effect while expanding the experiment slightly (e.g., adding orchestral elements). "Larks" is a reinvention of the band that stays true to their original mission statement. "In The Court of the Crimson King" asked the musical question: How do we take the rock music of 1969 and push it as far as we can?

"Larks" does the same, substituting "1973" for "1969", which as it turns out makes quite a difference. Every track on here is essential, though the improbably easy "Book of Saturday" and the caustic "Easy Money" have garnered the most attention over the years (in part because JOHN WETTON has kept them alive in his live repertoire). It's something of a daunting appetizer, so start with "Court" and "Wake"; by then you'll have developed a taste for "Larks' Tongues In Aspic". Do yourself a favor and save for a nice digital remaster of this, since many of the passages are very quiet (moreso than any other CRIMSON release).

Report this review (#15063)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Their finest hour. Most KC albums has its weak moments and dull streches - this one is engaging all along. Perfect mix of heavy rock and poetry. Great melodies, good singing from Wetton, marvelous guitar by Fripp and one of rock's greatest and most flexible rythm sections. An essential album in any collection.
Report this review (#15070)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars After having heard the live performances of these and other tracks in "The Great Deceiver" and various of the recordings the King Crimson Collector's Club have released, I must confess I find the versions on the album pretty weak. Of course, that was not my impression when I first listened to it! But I would strongly recomend to go for the live material, which is just amazing in all its unexpected changes from night to night.
Report this review (#15071)
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ushering in a new era for the band, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" shows a new solidified lineup after the personnel chaos of the previous albums, and a noticeably different approach- in my opinion, the best period of KING CRIMSON's history starts right here.

It's never a problem for Fripp & co. to open an album, and "Larks' Tongues pt. 1" is possibly the most compelling of all their intro statements. The rolling, tinkling percussion establishes the tension, which is given movement and shape by the dramatic string stabs and fuzzy descent that follows. Just as the thunderous climax is reached, the heavy riff explodes on the scene, instantly making music history (and sending chills down my back every single time). The song bogs down just the slightest bit as the improvisational sections kick in, but we're able to hear David Cross' incredible bowing, found vocal samples and eastern inflections among the novel sonic elements.

The melancholy tone and slightly jumpy rhythms of "Book of Saturdays" intoduce us to Wetton's wooly vocals. More personal and emotional than anything the band has yet done, the fine lyrics that Palmer-James provide give us a new dimension to the previously rarefied KC soundscape. It's slightly out of place between the noisier aural epics of the rest of the album, but this brief song is no less full of instrumental delights.

"Exiles" billows in like a slow-building storm, but then reveals itself to be plaintive rather than thunderous. The overall tone is evocative and lovely, like a more inspired and instrumentally adventurous MOODY BLUES composition- and the lead guitar is characteristically sublime. The exceptional drumming serves as a good example of why Bruford was so essential to the previous YES albums, and Wetton's warm but ragged tones fit the new sound better than Lake (or Haskell, or Burrell, or Anderson) could have done.

"Easy Money" could have easily been this album's rocking "21st Century Schizoid Man", but the song dares to follow brief, hushed tangents to create a more appealing and unpredictable structure. Wetton presents a unique bass presence that his predecessors often lacked, occasionally approaching Chris Squire's raspy brilliance, and Cross removes any doubts that a violin can work in louder, harsher passages.

"The Talking Drum" further represents the new exotic influences, due in no small part to Muir's contributions. Cross leads the movement as this unsettling, slow building track evolves around more subtle improvisations than those featured on the other instrumental tracks.

"Larks' Tongues pt. 2" is final, masterful evidence of the direction the band is taking; the unstoppable, hard-edged momentum on this song will be the blueprint for "Fracture", "Starless and Bible Black", "Red", and even later works (it's similar to the instrumentals on "Discipline" and of course "Larks' Tongues pt. 3" on "Three of a Perfect Pair"). Despite the later efforts of metal and punk to roughen up the musical landscape, this is the still some of the heaviest and hardest music in any genre. Listen close because I can't risk being overheard by the "Court of the Crimson King" diehards...this album is a much better reflection of the band than their debut.

Report this review (#15077)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars great stuff a must have for any prog fan!!!! robert fripp shows on this album why he should be considered one of guitars great players. this is a album you'll want to sit back put your headphone's on and just relax and enjoy.. we need more albums of this quality!! and i'll be looking.
Report this review (#15079)
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not a bad album at all with a good blend of mellow and aggro.I think at times it get's harsh criticism for Wetton's vocals but this is a wonderful prog album from a solid outfit of musicians.Both of the Lark songs are awesome. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#15080)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Very experimental album, larks pt 1 starts quietly then chaotic drums and percussion introducing to a hevy guitar riff, as im a drummer, this a track i realy like, very energetic using drums and percussions so quiqly. But the record does not keep this rithm, wilth two pretty balads in the middle. Easy money is another good song. The talking drum is very pointless and lost, larks pt 2 is heavy and repetive but not so good as the first part. This album has no organ, and no time changes as in others prog album, full of noises and strange sounds, experimental and strange but still a good album, considered ahead of its time.
Report this review (#15081)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
el böthy
5 stars Talk about a flawed masterpiece.

This is, at least for me, King Crimson's second best album, and probably also their second most important one, for it was the beginning of another era, arguably the best of their career. And the songs are all astonishing, and I mean all, specially the instrumental ones.

Lark's tongue in aspic part I is probably Crimson's best instrumental ever, and one of the whole Progressive genre for that matter. The percussion intro, the violin build up, the heavy (really heavy) riffs, the perfect rhythm section (man, where ever Bruford goes the rhythm section is great), the spooky hidden voices in the back, the dramatic final. what a masterwork of a song, absolutely brilliant!

Book of Saturday is a shorter number were Wetton makes his debut as singer, while Fripp plays some jazzy chords. It's the simplest song of the album, but it´s just as effective and it follows perfectly the madness of the previous song and brings it down a notch, so we can relax.

The third song is one of my personal favorites. Exile, with it´s beautiful melodies, thanks to Fripp and Cross´s solos is a piece of heaven. A delicate yet powerful use of the mellotron wraps it up and makes it a highlight of the album.

Easy Money is, objectively speaking the weakest song. but, hey! There are no weak songs in this album! And so it's the case with this one, although it's probably not up there with the rest, that doesn't mean it's bad. It's just very good, while the rest is brilliant. I don't know about you, but I can live with that.

The talking drum is a build up. Yes, the whole song, the whole 7 minutes is a build up. and you know what? It kicks ass! It's the best build up you can ask for. Wetton´s simple but effective bass, that fly flying around (yes. I know, it´s pretty strange), Cross hypnotizing solo and Fripp´s angular fills make this the mother of all build ups. and just when it seems to get to the climax. Lark's tongues in aspic part II starts. More rhythmic, less diverse, but just as powerful this second part proves how tight this line up was playing 7/8, 5/8 and more like it's a walk on the park. This would become a classic in their live settings, and rightfully so!

But, and this quite a "but". it´s not perfect. No, no, no, no. sadly this is not the case, for you see there are two flaws. One is Wetton´s singing, which is not quite developed. it would however get better, achieving some excellent work in Red. so really, it´s not such a big problem. What is a big problem, at least for me. is the production. This alum sounds. well. bad! Very bad if you ask me. By far their worst produced album in the seventies. what a shame. But is that enough to deny them 5 stars? .mmm, oh Lord, why do you put this weight upon my shoulders (man, am I melodramatic)? Well, it's really a 4.5. and I'm feeling generous.

Report this review (#15083)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album changed my view of listening to music forever. After hearing Crimson's debut I was already blown away but this one was a completely different story musically, with an entirely new line-up and a whole new musical path ahead. This was a whole new source of inspiration not only for King Crimson but also for other bands listening to this record after it's release. Crimson's new sond was really experimental, which is even further expanded with the new drums/percussion section of Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir respectively. Bruford's clean and polyrhythmic style is an excellent contrast to Muir's manic and assymetrical approach, having equipments enough to fill your living room completely. Robert Fripp also was wise in the choice of David Cross on Violin/Mellotron and John Wetton on bass and vocals, and the overall result is very interesting, diverse and eclectic.

The stand out tracks here are definitely the title traspic, effectively sliced in two to both open and close this album. This piece toys with multiple genres including jazz, contemporary classical and proto-metal and makes you think that Fripp hit the nail right on the head when he came up with the title. The keyword for this album is experimental, but don't be afraid, it's all worth it.

Report this review (#15084)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars " Life became dangerous again, decidedly dangerous." - Bill Bruford, 1972

After King Crimson was dissolved after the remarkable 1972 Islands LP it was reconstituted with arguably the finest lineup the band ever had. In between this lull leader Robert Fripp issued warnings to the music world that this coalition and the ensuing album would be the most "magical" Crimson formation to date. Deviating drastically from any other Crimson style, Bob`s threats were confirmed as early as October 1972 after their first performance at London`s Rainbow Theatre. While some of Fripp`s guitar innovations had their origins on Islands it was the overall enthusiasm and desire of all the musicians to do something daring and explorative which was what made Lark`s Tongues In Aspic an album that would fascinate and enthrall when it was released in February, 1973.

The final product would contain a balance between instrumental and song structured compositions which would be cleverly book-ended by the two Lark`s Tongues pieces ( Parts I & II ). While the title, Lark`s Tongues In Aspic, is completely abstract, it is wholly suitable for the esoteric music found here which does not adhere to any semlance of music convention. From the nervous opening of Lark`s Tongues part One a feeling of paranoia is established which is resolved briefly by power guitar chords which reach heavy metal proportions creating an even more disturbing atmosphere followed by frantic guitar/bass/violin interaction which carry on, musically, a theme of confusing isolation and detachment. This is reflected beautifully in two of the song oriented pieces sung in John Wetton`s astute barritone voice with some rather beautiful linear guitar lines from Fripp played over David Cross`s weeping acoustic violin which add even more melocholy and emptines to the overal mood. Extensive use of the mellotron takes this emphasis even further throughout the album and it is particularily effective on the other track with vocals, Easy Money, which seems to describe the shady, lonely life of a call girl and like all the pieces on the album it had powerful improvisational potential when performed live.

One of the more unlikely performers with this new line up was an enigmatic character by the name of Jamie Muir who brought esoteric avante garde sensibilities to King Crimson which gave the album an even more experimental sound. It seemed the only thing that was missing in his arsenal of improvised musical devices and percussives was the kitchen sink. They included a bowl of pistashio nuts, tuned plastic bottles, woodblocks, chimes, bird whistles and other more conventional percussion instruments ( referred to collectively as allsorts on the album credits ), but not what one would expect to find in a contemporary rock band in 1973. Perhaps the busiest man in the band, his performance here transcends art. While the other musicians were laying down the groundwork Muir was constantly at work putting on the finishing touches on every linear guitar passage, every slash at the violin and every drum beat with his carefully calculated accents , much like an artist completing a masterpiece with a brush stroke here a brush stroke there in order to achieve the final impact of each masterpiece featured on this intense work.

The closing sequence is constructed from two pieces which complement one another in an unconventional manner. The Talking Drum builds dynamically and rythmically over a repeating bass riff which opens with some wierd electro voiced horns which foreshadow the confusion and trauma with atonal guitar washes which hover throughout the piece giving a lingering effect throughout the piece subtly building up until it is cut off abruptly by the frantic overdriven rythmn guitar of Lark`s Tongues Part II which does not allow it to resolve itself. There are some soothing violin insertions creating periods of temporary respite but it cumulates into a kalaedescopic Maelstrom of noise leaving the listener with a sense of torment and anquish. Despite all the madness which occurs on Lark`s Tongues In Aspic, a controlled restraint is maintained and the tensions which are created are dynamically released at appropriate intervals both within the pieces themselves and where they appear on the album sequence. In other, words there`s a distinct beginning, middle and end on Lark`s Tongues In Aspic.

Larks Tongue`s In Aspic by King Crimson is a defining album in the development of the King Crimson creature which continues on as an ongoing work in progress to this day. It signaled the beginning of what many consider to be their most progressive ( 1972-74) era of this development. Much more experimental and less orchestrated than the 5 previous King Crimson albums it relied more on purposeful statements from the 4 principal instruments and became the framework for the band`s state of mind over the course of the next three years. One of many indispensable albums released in `73, the zenith year for progressive rock.

Report this review (#15085)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of their best, a superb mix of eclectic instrumentation and good playing. The best track , Larks tongues in Aspic part one, transcends any genre, coming across as a mix of heavy-metal, prog and new age-music. Far ahead of its time, it has probably influenced scores of musicians. Jamie Muir's percussion stands out, being both rhythmic and completely asymmetrical. Easy money is also a favourite, phenomenal vocals by John Wetton and precise, distinct group dynamics. The softer tracks, Book of Saturday and Exiles counterpoint the funkier moments. All in all, a treat for the ears, standard is probably too high to be sustained throughout their later LPs, especially since Jamie Muir left the group only months after this. Extremely recommended, not only for fans.
Report this review (#15088)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another of those perfect KC albums, the experimentation in this album is certainly much more to the forefront than in their other works and is particularly evident in the astounding tital track. While the intro to the album may seem to drag on for a little long, it is all building up to a fantastic climax that leaves you wishing you could play guitar and create that sonic experience yourself. The middle tracks are once again of a slightly different, perhaps more acessible, nature. Exiles is a truly beautiful song, on a par with I talk to the wind, while Easy Money reveals a little seen side to the band, and is perhaps slightly reminiscent of Lizard. While it's not the easiest way to get into the band, for anyone who wishes to deepen their knowledge of KC, this is an excellent direction to head in.
Report this review (#15091)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I haven't yet written a review for a regular album from the classic Crimso era (1969- 1984, you retards!!). I hadn't owned a copy of Larks Tongues In Aspic until around easter 2004. I was in for a new listen - AND BOY OH BOY WHAT A LISTEN IT WAS!!!!!

A soft marimba intro does its job well but it doesn't set the pace for the album though. In fact, this album is no easy listening at all. Soon, other percussion starts to take force and becomes so powerful, it's necessary for some guitar to step forward. And what an explosion it makes, ladies and gentlemen! The guitar uses so much power, it almost makes the track impossible to take in one dose. Later on, some unintelligible talking and some frantic violin spontaneously combust with some more subdued guitar making this track a definite highpoint in the album.

The award of the best track, however, goes to Book of Saturday. A great love song in which we first hear the vocals of John Wetton in King Crimson. His voice takes a little adjusting to (much like Jon Anderson of Yes), but he does he take good control of the band. The guitar solo is also great. I don't know why, but this song reminds me of that old hit by No Mercy called "Where Do You Go," that was a hit in late 1996 (when I first heard this song!).

The follow-up "Exiles" has more of the feel of In The Wake Of Poseidon. It's a very subtle, very moving track. However, it's my least favorite, but it's still a great track.

"Easy Money" possibly pioneered a lot of 90's alternative rock. You can hear it in Robert Fripp's guitar which he plays with great power. The drums are also very powerful, as well as the lyrics. John Wetton also sounds like he's full of power.

"The Talking Drum" is a slow track that takes a while to find its focus but it is a powerful track nonetheless. What's odd, though, is there are no African sounds on the track.

The last track, "Larks Tongues In Aspic Part 2," bites the first one is the ass and is much more powerful and doesn't feature any fade-outs or subdivisions. In fact, this track is probably the third best track on the entire album.

Five stars for another great drive with Robert Fripp & co.

Report this review (#15094)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This goes beyond the concept of progressive rock: in a time when prog was becoming a matter of dressing up in a strange way and pretending to be artistic, Fripp and friends were ready to take the step from the rock group to what I see as a "modern popular group". This is not prog, THIS IS MODERN POP.... if we didn't have MTV and the false european avant-garde music movement, which is just a matter of fashion (and doesn't produce anything but cool looking thinny-punky-druggy-guys), people would be listeng to THIS stuff in our times, modern times. The emotions and lines of thoughts of the set of the songs ( from the ironic excitement of the 2 Larks to the warmness of Books and Exiles, the excess of Easy Money) transmits are deeply linked to the ones the average modern man can feel in a normal day at work. The two instrumental compositions, one of which I believe was kind of butchered by the band by offering it to every concert without the proper attention, to the recreate the best sound and sheer power, are the best thing Crimson ever made. Probably, Fripp didn't know at the time his fabolous discovery..... this stuff elevates pop music very nearby the world of art (jazz and classical music). It's like a bridge that links two different worlds, the one of effectiveness and the one of intellect. So do yourself a favour: listen to it. It's almost impossible it won't strike you, though you'll probably not admit it at the first time..... but you'll know you have become interested in it. And then, if you're sensible enough, a process will have started, which will bring your attention to other incredible and more difficult albums....... far, far away from our usesless underground sexy boyz-with-dreadlocks-and-a-little-beard [&*!#].
Report this review (#15096)
Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Larks `Tongues in Aspic, weird name isnt it?

But what a masterpiece.

If one thing we know and remember very well about King Crimson, it has to be it`s different line-up changes, i like them all, but the peak, the best could be this, at least for me, i have always dreamed about a concert of Crimson with Wetton and Bruford and Cross playing this stuff , and Bible Black`s stuff, because i feel very pleased and excited with this music.

So , the fact is, after another line up change, David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir gathered to create a memorable album, which is for sure a masterpiece and loved by so many of you. Another thing, Peter Sinfield is not here, and he never came back!

It starts with the first of several parts of Larks Tongues in Aspic, and personally i think it has been the best so far, despite i love Part 2 and the other ones, the opener song is a clear example of what progressive rock is , it is instrumental and long , an epic , starting with a very soft and calmed sound of percussions and kind of instruments, but it is progressing little by little, the sound is increasing by the time, the music and instruments are playing its`respective role, and suddenly all are there to create a magnific sound, which sometimes after that calmed sound becomes very powerful, with a crazy guitar playing , and a superb violin, which maybe is not so fast etc, but the quality of David Cross is showed at his best, it also could sound like an improvisation, which is not strange in KC, honestly, this song is marvelous, it has everything what a prog lover could wish (well, except vocals if you need them).

Book of Saturday is a beautiful song composed by John Wetton, so the first contact with vocals is shown here, the song could sound sometimes a bit relaxing and calmed with that soft nice voice, but it has alwasy the great guitar sound.

Exiles is a superb song, reminding me to the early Crimson tunes when ITCOTCK was released, a song which also contains the superb and beautiful sound of Mellotron so characterized in Fripp`s career, which makes the song so much enjoyable to a prog fan, again with vocals and an amazing playing.

Easy Money, hell, i can always remind the begining of this song, those bass lines and that nasty also annoying guitar sound, but for the oposite, it sounds great, and i always remember the first words which actually aren`t words, but i hope you get what i mean, a classic and reat song.

The Talking Drum and Larks Tongues in Aspic Part 2, are the last 2 songs of the album, which actually could make only one song, both songs are instrumental and great songs, when we can notice the elegant and superb drum playing of Bruford, and the amazing musicianship between them, these both songs are loved by all of us, of that im sure, maybe the best or my favorite parts of this album are the instrumental songs, not because i dont like Wetton`s voice, not at all, i like it, but i prefer this time those superb songs.

So as you noticed i love and am very pleased with this album, quite a masterpiece.

Report this review (#15097)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars This is a good album. Great music and solid lyrics. The downside to this album is that the bright part caomes early with LTIA. a fantastic song. Also not the best starting point for thier music. But besides these flaws a great album that will be remembered in the history of great prog rock. Buy it!!!
Report this review (#15098)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first album by the most famous Crimson line-up after a period of coming-and-going bandmembers. It's a sublime collection of avant-rock, highlighted by the skills of each subsequent bandmember. There are 3 actual 'songs' here, the rest given over to lenghty instrumentals which ranges from a superb build-up (The Talking Drum) to impressive riffage (Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt 2) to a mixture of that and the quieter moments of some of the vocal pieces (Larks'Tongues In Aspic pt 1). The 'songs' consist of a quiet, poppy little song called Book Of Saturdays, a lengthy, misty ballad (Exiles) and a quite effective avant-rocksong with some great instrumentation (Easy Money). This definitely is an album you should buy, a classic!
Report this review (#15104)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my third King Crimson disk, and it really showed me what prog was all about. Before, I had experience with other bands such as Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, but I was still looking for the type of prog that I liked best. Each of those bands had a place in my favorites, but King Crimson with this album made me into a giant prog head. From the fat tones of Wetton's bass to the subtle brilliance of Muir's percussion to the tour-de-force guitar and drums given by Bruford and Fripp, as well as the excellent violin from Cross, the ensemble was a magical one that would never be matched. The giant climaxes of Larks Tongues in Aspic 1 to the somber tune of Exiles, to the funky masterpiece of Easy Money, to the last endearing climax from The Talking Drum to Larks Tongues Aspic II makes for a nearly flawless album. My only minor dislike is Book of Saturday, but it's just quibbling. As a ballad it is quite wonderful, but it doesn't fit on the disk.

If you're looking for an eclectic, heavy prog album, this is about as good as you'll get, besides other KC releases.

Report this review (#35452)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This one shows us a new King Crimson on about every sense. The first title track is amazing: scary, complex, powerful, innovative, shocking. The second one is basically a hard rock one, with powerful guitar and violin sections. The rest's not as good but "Easy Money" is a classic (a very special song too, but I can't seem to realize why). "The Talking Drum" is an interesting progression with some eastern feel and lots of violins, but the other two aren't so good: "Exiles" is pretty but boring when compared to the other songs, and "Book Of Saturday" is a pretty ballad with a good melody but completely unnecesary. The jams here are good. If you hate KC's improvisations this one will appeal to you, since the jams here are good and there's nothing like "Providence" or "Moonchild". If you, however, prefer those long improvs, try their next album instead.
Report this review (#35743)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am currently in the process of purchasing all of King Crimsons albums in chronological order. After purchasing Larks' Tongues in Aspic recently, I must say that it is outstanding. With almost an entirely new line-up, King Crimson is able to make a new original sound off of their already original sound. The percussion by Jamie Muir is fantastic, and I would highly recommend this album to anyone. DEUCES
Report this review (#36670)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think carefully before giving 5 stars to any album but this deserves it; their best work. The line up was for me their best; Fripp clearly established as leader now; Bruford arriving from Yes; John Wetton with his rough voice and fuzz bass; David Cross on violin, and the eccentric Jamie Muir, banging all manner of things. The way "Talking Drum", with simply my favourite bass line of all time, develops and explodes into "Larks Tongues II" is stupendous, and also worth checking out live on numerous Crimso recordings, especially "The Night Watch".

Report this review (#36744)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This studio album opens the most creative era of this band. It also differs stylistically from the other major progressive albums of the year 1972, as it is more avant-garde and aggressive than average symphonic prog releases usually are. The opener "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part one" starts with a beautiful long layer of percussions and bells. A very aggressive and powerful riff emerges from this sea of calmness, and two jazzy themes follow it. Bill's drumming accompanied with Muir's percussions is amazing! The composition continues with Cross's solo violin, and he does some patterns from a violin number "Larks' Ascension". This affected Muir, who described as the title of this album how their music sounded. This number was also an exceptional concert number in the bands repertoire during the tours of following years. "Book of Saturday" is a short a beautiful ballad, which has amazing backward guitars from Mr. Fripp! This makes this a version, which I prefer on this studio album more than on their concert recordings. "Exiles" is also a fine studio track, though their performance from their last concert from 1974 of it is a true killer. This version is still nice as it has piano and fun fake fade-out in the end of it. "Easy Money" worked usually better on stage, but this version is also interesting, as it has very rich tapestry of percussions and noises. "The Talking Drum" is a tritonic intro for "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part two", and this coupling also got interesting treatments on the stage. These versions are still very good, and the studio sessions have been used to create an interesting fake echo for David's violin solo at the end of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part two". A classic masterpiece.
Report this review (#37354)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The 2nd best album in this era of King Crimson. The core group of Fripp, Bruford, and Wetton are here, along with David Cross (who made a guest appearance on Red, but here he's a member) on violin, and the borderline insane Jamie Muir on percussion. What you get on this album is some of the best music Crimson has created, but mediocre lyrics are the low point of this musically perfect album.

The opener of the album, the instrumental masterpiece Larks' Tongue in Aspic Part One, is easily one of the best Crimson instrumentals. Starting off quietly with Mellotrons and Cross's violins, Fripp's buzz-saw guitar comes in the background around the 3 minute mark. Muir's insane percussion also takes shape during this hectic minute of nirvana. When the main riff kicks in, the listener is presented with a thunderous guitar and off the wall drumming. Within the next few minutes, the guitar shallows out and Cross's violins take the forefront again. Overall, a masterpiece that no one should miss.

The songs with vocal are a mixed bag, the best of which is Easy Money. The music created on these varies as well. The laid back music to Book of Saturday suits the mood. The agressive guitar on Exiles and Easy Money is also very suited for the mood presented. Wetton's vocals, while not as good as Red (My favorite vocal performances by him), are sufficient enough to sing the material written by Fripp and Palmer-James. The other two instrumentals, the Talking Drum and Larks' Tongue in Aspic Part Two, are incredible instrumental voyages that keep the hard and rough Crimson sound alive.

Overall, this is a good addition to your King Crimson collection. The Red era of Crimson is my favorite, and I'm sure that there is something on this album that will please everyone. 5/5.

Report this review (#38593)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator

That was the headline of Melody Maker July 22, 1972 which brought the following news: "The New King Crimson rehearsed quietly this week - with Yes's Bill Bruford on drums alongside leader Robert Fripp". Wow! What a great news for those who loved King Crimson when this news was heating the ground. And you can imagine what disappointment for Yes fans club at the time. We all knew how great Bill was with Yes during his tenure with the band. And he proved it with this album where his drumming style characterize the new music of King Crimson.

The chief reason I purchased this album was actually not because of Bill Bruford because at that time I was not aware about it at all. Ttrack 4 "Easy Money" and track 2 "Book of Saturdays" (which I first heard through friend's LP set titled "The Young Person's Guide To King Crimson") were the only reason because the music really fit my personal taste. When I got the album, at first listen I found it difficult to enjoy title track "Larks' tongues in aspic part one" (13:36) because it's too explorative in nature. I especially lost my passion on enjoying quiet passages with some solo work in mellow style. But when I look into perspective and putting the whole album in a complete picture then I could understand why the band positioned this "hard to access" track as the album opener. In a way, this track is positioned this way because it sets the whole atmosphere of the album. The combination of complex sounds and quiet passages brings smoothly to the next track, a very nice song "Book of Saturdays" (2:49). It starts with great voice line of Wetton: "If I only could deceive you. Forgetting the game .." oh man . what a great melody singing part! This drum-less song is really nice especially on the combination of violin, guitar work and powerful vocal. It continues with another song-oriented track "Exiles" (7:40) in mellow style with great violin. A very memorable King Crimson classic track!

"Easy Money" (7:54) is my all-time King Crimson favorite track. It has a harsh and hard drive opening combining great drumming with unique snare sounds, solid bass lines, and rough guitar work and great vocals. What makes this song so wonderful with me is the combination of complex and high point segments with quiet passages like: "Your admirers on the street / Gotta hoot and stamp their feet / In the heat from your physique / As you twinkle by mocassin sneakers". It moves with heavy mellotron work, excellent percussive and great guitar from simple to complex until the music turns into complex segments. Oh man . this is really greaaaaattttt ..!!!! . "The Talking Drum" (7:26) is an exploration of Jamie Muir percussion blended with David Cross nice violin and Bill's drumming that builds the music into crescendo. It's a very nice music. "Larks' tongues in aspic part two" (7:12) concludes the album with great (and rough) guitar work combined with great drumming and inventive bass lines. Bass lines are also excellent.

Oh man . I cannot give this album less than five stars rating. It's truly a masterpiece! Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,


"We lay cards upon the table / The backs of our hands / And I swear I like your people / The boys in the band" King Crimson "Book of Saturdays"

Report this review (#39143)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music. This album "Larks'Tongues in Aspic" is one of the most important albums in the history of Prog Rock. The uniting power and the experiment spirit of the unit named KING CRIMSON have reached the peak. Music that unique doesn't feel old the originality and quite is still astonished.

Report this review (#39409)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
3 stars This album is conclusive proof that high quality musicians do not lead to great music. With Wetton and Bruford in the rhythm section, backed by Muir on percussion, and Fripp and Cross to provide the melodies, this should have been awesome as they have all made good music elsewhere. As it is, the songs range from soft ballads to heavy riffed passages laced with strange noises and it just doesn't do much for me though it's not actually unpleasant. Wetton's vocals are mediocre here (he was much better than this in Wishbone Ash) and the lyrics are hardly inspiring. Monumentally overrated, it's not bad and worth one or two listens; definitely not worth buying.
Report this review (#41770)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album contains some of the best musicians together, yet it is not a great album. The weirdness of the music can be unpleasant at times, the mellow parts scream filler, and the vocals are not that good.

Larks' tongues in aspic part one ( 8.5/10 ) : This is the opener of the album and easily the strongest (and least accessible) part of the album. The first 2-3 minutes is a very slow (and overlong) buildup. When violins and electric guitars begin to appear, they show that something will happen and yes .. one of the most powerful and outstanding guitar riffs blow you away ... then it goes soft again, builds up again, the same riff appears and changes into some very weird music that you need repeated listenings to get used to. After that chaotic music fades, there is another slow buildup that ends up with one of the most amazing, unique, and bizarre moments in prog rock ... its hard to describe ... that's how the song ends. 2. Book of Saturdays ( 4/10 ) : One boring ballad or something .... mmm how did it go?

3. Exiles ( 4/10 ) : Another boring song that I had to listen to it to read the review to remember. I press the skip button again.

4. Easy money ( 5/10 ) : This song is not that pleasant, but it is very memorable and unique. The vocals stink though, I miss Greg Lake in King Crimson.

5. The talking drum ( 4.5/10 ) A boring instrumental buildup song to the final one. The drumming is something to pay attention to.

6. Larks' tongues in aspic part two ( 6/10 ) : An good finisher of the album. It is very hard rock and reminds me of the instrumental 'Red'. The main riff of the song is good, and headbangers would like it since it comes close to metal.

The album is not bad, but it can be very boring ... I'd rather go back to 'Red'

My Grade : C

Report this review (#41773)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I want so much, almost like Lizard, to give this album 5 stars. It is an absolutely fantastic and mind-blowing album. Masterpiece? Flawless? No. So I guess I can't give the rating I so really really want to. But I'll restrain myself and get on with it, mainly because, well, you wouldn't be reading this unless you were interested in this album. Ha. I can laugh at you now. I wasted part of your life with you reading this. I feel better and worse about myself at the same time. Ever feel that way? Anywho, on with the review:

This was my second Crimson album, after their debut. My first listen to this album was disastrous. I was expecting ITCOTCK. I didn't realize that I had to let go of that Crimso. I didn't know Crimso changed so much that I would have to let go of a version of them. Granted, I knew they had a lot of line-up changes, but I didn't know that their music changed dramatically as well.

Once I got past my own mental barrier, I was greatly rewarded by this album, again, like Lizard. Don't parallel those two albums though. They are truly different experiences. I probably prefer this album, although that might probably be like 7 or 8 days out of 10. The other 2 or 3, I'll be in a Lizard mood. I'm wasting your life again. Anywho:

Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 1: I couldn't stand the opening 3 minutes on my first 5 listenings or so. Why do that, I thought. It seemed so pointless. However, once I realized the album for what it is, it made more sense. Anyway, after that, the violin starts up in the 5/4 time signature, and the amazing Fripp guitar starts in. This blasting riff will leave you speechless when understood completely. The whole violin break in the middle is wonderful, as well as the climax/ending. Perfect.

Book of Saturday: My real thought on this song used to be "piece of absolute junk." I didn't want the almighty Crimson making little 3 minute songs. That's not what they were supposed to do. And, of course, once I broke through my ITCOTCK barrier, I realized what a great little song this is. Wetton, although impedimented a bit by his speech, still has a great voice.

Exiles: A favorite of mine. Wetton's vocals here really stand out for me. Truly, a beautiful song. Hard to describe. I absolutely love this song, and my feelings about it cannot change. Bruford's simple snare work is perfect.

Easy Money: Picks up the pace a bit, with weird sound effects and lyrics as well. I couldn't get over how strange the song appeared, but it grew and grew on me until it became, of course, like everything else. Fripp's guitar work is nice here, and I love when, towards the end of his solo, it comes back in with Wetton's chanting.

The Talking Drum: Actually my least favorite track here, possibly the reason that I can't give this album a 5. Something about it just doesn't grab me and pull me in. Granted, it is a good instrumental, in typical Crimso style, but it doesn't do it for me to the same extent as the other songs on the album.

Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2: The mother of all album closers. Which is why this also became a concert staple for them. Absolutely mind-blowing with the amazing guitar bringing back the 5/4 time signature arrangement from Part 1. Every member of the band work together, it is really heard on this song. Very very cohesive. And of course, it's ending lasts over a minute. Mind-shattering. Hard to believe how incredible it gets.

Now for my recommendations. Crimson fans: You already have this. If not, that isn't my fault that you've been deprived, but you can help yourself out and go get it. Looking to get into Crimso? Just like Lizard. Don't start here. Not as radically different as Lizard, but still, this is not the right Crimson to start with. Go to their debut. 4/5 stars, phenomenal album.

Report this review (#42407)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars About this album my point of seeing is that it is worth to listen from the first song, the title track part one. It is a great example of live band performing in studio. Excelent mr Fripp solo, played with his unique style. The rithm session is very powerfull and it works very well in the closing set, the talking drum (with a tipique mr. Bruford drum riff) and the explosive LTIA part two, which is a masterpieace of all time KC. Note the way mr. Cross fuse the violin into this complex architecture, soloing or accompaining his fellows along the album. It needs several listens to this album to enter into it, but it deserves the attention. Any prog orientated follower should consider it into its collection.

Personally it is a very generous and energic album. It has some part less fluent, sometime even boring. Please consider that this band has a very specific approach to music, which is demonstrated by the high quantity of live improvised material that they produced in their career (which we have an extensive catalogue... from collector to very famous gigs).

It is so high output that we can admit KC hides into different forms. It can be very hard prog or soft sounds atmospheres. Sometimes our taste might differ, and this can happen into the same album. Considering this I would pick up as masterpieces in the court of Crimson King (dispite Moonchild second part), the present album (dispite some less brilliant passage into the soft ballades) and Discipline as a Must of everybodies collection, who consider KC as part of the propellers of the prog rock

Report this review (#45937)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the album where the 70's era crimson coalesced into a monster progressive rock unit and Fripp finally got a semi-stable band with which to play: John Wetton on bass, vocals, Bill Bruford on drums, Jamie Muir on percussion and allsorts and the underated David Cross on violin and keyboards. Gone were the symphonic and jazz pretentions (if not the tonality and time signatures) of the previous incarnations. Gone were the romantic and sometimes embarrasingly overwrought lyrics of Pete Sinfield (he almost single handedly ruined their previous album Islands). With LTIA the Crims decided to become an avant-rock rather than a symphonic-rock band that could play intense and complex instumental workouts, a la Larks' Tongue in Aspic parts 1 and 2 and beautiful ballads such as Book of Saturday with equal facility. They truly redefined themselves and drastically changed their sound. The music of LTIA is much more personal, muscular and dark than that of the vast majority of their contemporaries and Crimsons' own previous work. For the first time since the original line-up Crimson sound like a band rather than the Robert Fripp project.

So why is this a flawed masterpiece? The studio versions of these excellent songs, while very good, are too polite, too measured, too thin sounding to rate a five star rating. Except for the drummers, the band sounds as if its holding something back. Fripps' guitar and Wettons' vocals sound somewhat subdued. If you listen to the Great Deciever live box set of this band (minus percussionist Jaimie Muir) or the Nightwatch you'll hear what I'm getting at. Live the band is one of the most amazing and powerful units of the progressive rock era, able to destoy listeners eardrums while massaging their craniums. On LTIA however, well they just don't go as far as they should in terms of passion. For example on LTIA Fripp is a very good guitarist with a unique style, live he's one of the best rock guitarists in the world. Likewise the entire band. Their ability to perform group improvisations is uncanny, but not heard on LTIA. Perhaps Crimsons' live prowess was the reason why two thirds of Crimsons' next album Starless and Bible Black was recorded at the Amsterdam Concertgebou and Glasgow with the audience edited out (The original Concertgebou concert can be heard on the Nightwatch CD). That LTIA is a milestone for the band is true, its just that it could have been otherworldly rather than merely excellent.

Report this review (#46793)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I say this album could have been better and they knew how to reinvent themselves. Yeah, it could have been better if they had better writing skills.

The problem is that after this album, they were never able to really reinvent a concept and sound again. Everything from that moment seems to me like the re making of "lark´s" . With "RED" as the better crafted from then. Their 80's output was a remake of this album with more accesible sounds, but that was it. No wonder why they issued Lark´s part 2, 3 ,4 5, 6, etc.....

Also. This album seems to be masterpiece. However, everyone seems to ignore the large amount of filler in this album. Take "Lark´s first part"; the core and true interesting part of it´s long 13 minutes, lasts for only 3 minutes. The rest of the song is repetitive and not precisely appealing.

"book of saturday" is nice to listen to but it´s not challenging at all. "Exiles" is the same case but this one is overlong for the amount of ideas presented

"Easy money" is somewhat interesting and still can´t manage to grab your attention. It lacks of passion and appealing texture.

"The talking drum" takes 3 minutes to begin and then it´s more of an atmosphere theme than a true composition. Interesting on the first listens but pointless after the 5th.

"Lark´s second" may be the better crafted theme here, still, is way too repetitive. Could be better as a 4 minute song.

Report this review (#51178)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First of all, let's get one thing clear: I love this album and I listen to it very often. However, to be perfectly honest, I also think it falls short of being a masterpiece because of a rather unfortunate flaw. Musically it's one of KC's very best, more accessible than its follow-up, "Starless and Bible Black", and definitely more energetic than its predecessor, the slightly soporific "Islands". Jamie Muir's weird presence and extremely imaginative array of percussion instruments add a pinch of spice to the band's already idiosyncratic take on prog rock. Bruford needs no introduction, and bassist Wetton, with his aggressive, powerful style, is possibly the best choice for KC's new musical direction.

So, where does the problem lie? In my opinion, Wetton's vocals are what prevents LTIA from being the 5-star masterpiece it deserves to be. Before joining KC, he was not used to singing lead, and had to reinvent himself as a lead vocalist because of the band's long-standing tradition of having a singing bass player. As I once read in the forum, Fripp tried to get all his vocalists to sing like Greg Lake, often with very poor results. This is quite evident on this album too, with wonderful songs such as "Book of Saturdays" and "Exiles" which would have been perfect for Lake's voice, but are instead marred by Wetton's still uncertain, at times downright flat vocals.

In spite of all that, though, the music is just plain stunning. The title-track bookends the album, with the first part being subtle and understated and the second almost heavy-metal in its intensity. The above-mentioned "Book of Saturdays" and "Exiles" are both wistful, moving ballads, the second punctuated by Cross's romantic violin strains; while "Easy Money" has an interesting structure, with an almost funky feel and rather weird lyrics. The quirky "The Talking Drum" leads then the way for the monstrous riffing and complex rythmic patterns of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic pt. 2".

It's a shame not to be able to give 5 stars to such an exciting record, but I must admit to being very particular about vocal performances. Nevertheless, 5 stars or not, this remains an essential listen for every prog fan.

Report this review (#57422)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Larks tongues in aspic is by far the most heavy album from the king crimosn in the seventies. I believe there is something special about this line up. Robert Fripps guitar work is something to be heard by everyone. It is raunchy loud, aggressive...but at the very same time, entirely precise. John Wettons bass playing and singing are a big step up from the out of place haskell era. Bill bruford...welll...he is bill bruford, the best drummer technically, and imaginitivly of all time. David cross compliments the line up perfectly, while jamie muir gives it icing on the cake. Each song is good, especially the two title tracks. I recommend this for any Crimson fan or a general interest in music fan.
Report this review (#60568)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson second period begins with this excellent, excellent album. Lark´s tongues in Aspic introduces new elements to King Crimson already vast music. First of all David Cross violin and viola, which many will think will made KC more symphonic...but no. This instruments aren´t used in the conventional symphonic way, more like Avan garde if you ask me...nice!!! Then we have Jamie Muir percussion...strange percussion if there ever was one! I´ve never seen Muir as a member of KC, more like a helper to refine the sound of this album. And last, but not least the superb rythim section in charge of Bruford and Wetton. But all this musicians and new musical ideas would have mean nothing if the brain of KC woulnd´t do his part of the job...and what a part that is! Robert Fripp shows all his habilitys as one of progs best and most important guitarist (if not the most) with musical ideas never done before. I take my hat of Mr. Fripp.

Now, having said that lets go song by song.

Lark´s tongues in Aspic part I. If I had to choose an instrumental song to hear for the rest of my life, this would be it! This song is perfect and it captures the whole spirit of the new line-up and this album. Fripp´s guitars are as heavy as they could get in 1973, playing one ass kicking riff and some weird passages. The rest of the band does a very nice work, specially Cross with his violin solos.

Book of Saturday. This song is not as adventurous as the previous, but its good anyways. Frpp plays a sort of rythem jazzy guitar and Wetton sings for the very frst time as a lead singer ever! His voice is good (it will get better in Red) and Cross does some work here and there.

Exile is a beatifull symphonic song with great melodic appeal. here we have an old friend of the Crimson music: the mellotron! I love that sound, pure beaty and darkness!

Easy money brings the heavy guitars from Fripp back into action and Bruford and Muirs percussion. The song is very good, but it works better live!

The talking drumm is somewhat an intro for the next song, as it builds up from a buzz and goes on until all the instrumets play a some what arabic melody and finishes with a high note which starts the next song

Lark´s tongues in Aspic part II. This, again is an instrumental but this time of pure rythim. The sound is hard at times, soft at others. Cross plays a nice violin solo. This song like Easy money usually sounds better live.

This album is a masterpiece in a way, not only because of the quality of all the songs (specially LTIAPI) but also because this is music never done before. Just like they did in 1969, King Crimson made an album which is miles ahead of the rest!!!

Report this review (#65112)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Marvellous, one of the greatest prog album ever!!!I love this album in whole its parts and all its tracks...starting from Larks tongue in Aspic pt 1, ending with the second part....The songs are strictly dominated by Cross' violin and they follow the perfect rythm of the drumwork of Bruford. Wetton is able to imitate the voice and the basswork of Lake, (and sometimes he seems better!)...and finally the genius, the mind of the group, the mind of prog: Mr Fripp!!!!Just fantastic playing his guitar (a gibson les paul!!eheh!!!). There are lots of jazz and classical elements (listen to the violin) but also new elements that try to break the old 'early 70es' tradition of symphonic prog and which permit to the group to enter in a new stylistic current that will end with Starless and Bible Black.
Report this review (#66824)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another masterpiece from Crimson King. It's probably their darkest seventies work. The tittle track, divided into two parts, staple the whole album. It is vewy dark and moody with very good guitar work and nice viola parts. Book of Saturday is a very sad and beautyfull sonq with great jazz guitar accompaniment and superb fiddle solo. Exiles is next beauty fiddle-acoustic guitar song with nice solo. Easy Money is another great dark song. Talking Drum is very nice and dynamic improvisation. And finally the second part of tittle track. Great guitar work by Mr Fripp. Very dynamic and of course dark song. Excellent.

Album recommended for everyone!!

Report this review (#67279)
Posted Sunday, January 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Larks' Tongue in Aspic is one of the most consistent albums King Crimson ever recorded, along with Starless and Bible Black. Whereas their past albums always had one or more noticeable flaws-for example "Moonchild," which mars the otherwise stunning In the Court of the Crimson King and Red-Larks' Tongue doesn't tread this well-worn road. All of the tracks are stylistically different, but the album holds together well. The violin era of Crimson is ushered in with both sad melodies and atonal madness, indicative of the forthcoming years. I find Larks' Tongue in Aspic to be a bit more exotic and worldly than most other King Crimson albums, but an album can hold different meaning and significance for different people.

The two sections of the title track which bookend the album are vastly different. Part I encompasses many mood changes from soft and meditative to all-out chaos. The use of mellotron and various devices give the song an Eastern and exotic feel, while jarring, unsettling violin melodies and bursts of distortion upset the a good way. Part II is more of a straight-forward rock song, with a somewhat less random song structure than Part I. There are violin breaks and softer passages, which work to contrast the intense bulk of the song, just as the distorted bursts contrasted the soft in Part I.

Each other song on Larks' Tongue in Aspic has its own personality. "Book of Saturday" is a soft, minor-key tune with gentle lyrics. "Exiles," my favorite song on Lark's Tongue, begins with various noises and an ominous introduction reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Sysyphys" in a way. The main violin-driven then arises with excellent acoustic picking underlying the main melody. This is one of my favorite Crimson songs and is one of many times where all of the members of the band come together to write a cohesive, brilliant song. "Easy Money" is a churning jam with a rocking opening riff, great improvisation, and appropriate use of the mellotron. "The Talking Drum" starts off as a desolate and sparse atmospheric piece, then, starting with a simple hand drum, instruments are added. After time, tension builds until the whole thing blows over!

Any fan of early King Crimson needs to have Larks' Tongue in Aspic in their collection for it is just as satisfying as any other of Crimson's classic albums.

Report this review (#68715)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The first album with the excellent John Wetton on vocals. The line-up now also includes Bill Bruford (drums) and David Cross (violin). Definitely a stronger line-up considering the last two albums.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" (a composition from the whole band) is very experimental - the intro is very boring and then you get all those rhythm changes (mellotron/heavy guitar/violin...). Not the type of music I like from King Crimson. First vocals appear on "Book Of Saturday" - a great soft song with minimal instrumentation (mostly mellotron) than is even better when John plays it with the piano (see "Live in Moscow" from Asia). "Exiles" is another great soft song - once you get over the first minute of experimental noise. "Easy Money" is probably one of the greatest songs from King Crimson - a real rocking/swinging prog song without too much improv. "The Talking Drum" is one of those songs that grows minute by minute - starting with drums then bass then violin/mellotron. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two" ends the album on a heavy note - but it sounds too "noisy" and lack a bit of coherence.

Rating: 77/100

Report this review (#70532)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Its one of the most difficult albums to rate and an interesting classic to explore. Lark sounds completely different from its previous KC album Islands and from this point on, Fripp starts sounding quite "hard"-- that is much harder than before. In many ways Larks and its follow up two albums Red and Starless have similarities of sounds-- though Lark's soundscape can be distinguished by Muir's percussion. The opening track stimulates vision of a dark and hard journey to me. and this is a non-tiring highly experimental piece while the ending track Lark-2 is much more organised and as interesting as Red it self. The album's other instrumental talking drums starts off very mildly and slowly turns very hard. the remaining three pieces are songs-- which are not very remarkable, but not bad.
Report this review (#71873)
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ah, now this is much better. Absolutely no shortage of flavour here. Instead we have an excellent mix of interesting musical passages and thoughtful melodies that will definately keep your attention through out the entire record.

The title track and Easy Money show a much better use of Fripp's heavy guitars than that which was attempted on Red. There is also a great deal of experimentation and 'calculated chaos' as I like to call it. If you enjoy music that takes large risks than you shouldn't hesitate to add this to your collection.

Report this review (#72076)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars To each his own with Crimson albums, and I think each person has their own era of Crimson music that they like the most- 1969-1971(In The Court, In The Wake, Lizard, Islands), 1973-1974(Larks, Starless, Red), 1981-1984 (Discipline, Beat, Three of A PP), and even those who just like everything afterward....although almost everyone I've known sticks to one of the first three periods, since I have to say Thrak, Construcktion and The Power To Believe is some of their poorer work and I can't stand Gunn and Mastelotto. But, anyway, about Larks' Tongues In Aspic, which I happen to be listening to right now, WHAT A MASTERPIECE! I've been listening to King Crimson since 8th Grade, and I'm 17 now, so I've listened to all of their albums at least five times. In fact, KC was my first intro to prog rock. But I used to like their earlier stuff the stepdad liked the LTA, Starless, Red period the most. I thought it was cool, but in my opinion, could never touch Lizard or In The Court. Well, anyway, KC was the ONLY band I listened to in 8th Grade, and I even saw them live then, too. But after ninth grade, I toned out on Crimson, and started expanding my prog tastes. But then I got into KC again. The first albums I listened too, conceivably, included LTA. And my eyes opened for the first time. And I realized what a godly album this is! Again, KC broke the records on their own music, and progressed from floaty, orchestrated rock, directly to straight, tight madness rock. And this stuff is amazing. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part I" is such a maddening instrumental. 13 minutes of head-driving, levitating, frightening glory! The first time I actually cared to listen, my legs were shaking just after that very first song! "Book of Saturday" is this album's token excessible song, but it doesn't fall to pop-level, which is good. "Exiles" is stunning, and thrills me without bringing me into prog rock spasms, like LTA Part I does. "Easy Money" is my least favorite track. I dunno, it just could never reach me. "The Talking Drum" is a instrumental that goes at a good pace, and gears me up for "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part II", which is almost as good as the first. All in all, this is a stunning example of prog rock, and it is one of my favorite albums of all time...I have no problems giving it five stars. It deserves more.
Report this review (#72443)
Posted Monday, March 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my top three records of all time, only behind of Dark Side of The Moon by you-know-who and Led Zeppelin II. I remember the first time i listened to it, i experienced something that i hadn't experienced before, it was amazing. I already had In the Court... and Starless and Bible Black, then i got into this one and later i bought Discipline when i realized there couldn't be best music to be made... and if there was, only King Crimson could play it.

Now i got all the official studio albums and some live stuff, but i can honestly say there is no other i like more than Larks' Tongues... I Recently purchased the 30th anniversary edition and i was immediately blown away by the much improved sound quality of this new edition, i must say i also detected new sounds that i hadn't discovered yet. Thanks to technology and Thanks to KIng Crimson for giving some sort of sense to my life.

Best Tracks: Larks' Tongues in Aspic part II, Book of Saturday and Exiles. Rating:5/5

Report this review (#72601)
Posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Where's the beef?

I don't know. I do not know why people are giving such a great attachment to such a hard piece of candy. If In The Court is easy as chocolate, this would be an 'everlasting gobstopper Willy Wonka style' ! You could suck on this for hours without going to the core.

Ha ha. I don't really have a problem with Book of Saturdays, Exiles and Easy Money; they're fairly 'easy listening' and frankly, very good material. On the other hand, the Talking Drum and the Lark's Tongues suite I and II is giving me severe headaches to dissect correctely.

Even with lots of hearings, they still have the free-for-all-anti-melody-atmosphere that's giving me 3 stars. Even after many years of progressive material, going through difficult albums (Violent Silence, Anglagard, Echolyn, Universal Totem Orchestra, Zappa), this one is still giving me a hard time to digest. This kind of Crimson experimentalism is probably good for me, in a while I'll probably forge a better appreciation for lesser complicated material.

No go, sorry.

Report this review (#73278)
Posted Monday, March 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I wouldn't go so far as to rate this as "essential," like I would for their first effort, but nonetheless, this album is excellent. With the new-and-improved era of Crimson that came crashing into the year 1974, we see almost a complete change from their earlier works. A soft crescendo introduces the album, and from there Fripp and the boys show that Progressive music doesn't have to necessarily be all about lengthy, complex compositions. In fact, this album, for the most part, adheres to a very pastoral, yet experimental and ground-breaking sound that shows that the "Rock" in "Progressive Rock" isn't there to serve as a mere footnote in the anals of Rock-n-Roll, and to be shrugged off with an arrogant wave of the hand. Hold on to your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, because there's more where that came from out of this era of Crimson. A high recommendation for this gem.
Report this review (#75933)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my introduction to King Crimson back in 1991 (though I had actually heard bit and pieces of the debut album before). I was completely blown away. I had never heard anything like it before. I was listening to it on the tape player of my fathers mini van while driving down a gravel road in pouring rain, stoned out of my mind. I wondered why I was feeling so tense and anxious, then I realized it was the music :-) Ever since, it has been my favorite Crimson album. Sure it has dark and sinister character in songs like Larks Tongue, but also a kind of pastoral beauty in songs like Book Of Saturday. I find this album to be a perfect blending of early period and mid-period Crimson. Songs like Exiles harking back to In the Court, and songs like Larks Pt. 2 pointing the way to the future, while Easy Money represented the here and now (of the band in 1973, that is). The only song that is a bit trying for me is The Talking Drum, and really only because of its repetitive nature (it is still a good song though).

Anyway, one of those rare perfect albums for me. 5 stars without question. Crimson begginers be warned though! This is not an easy listen if you are familiar with this band (though I suppose that could be said of nearly every Crimson album). The debut is probably the best place to start for you. But ultimately, every prog head should hear this album at some point.

Report this review (#78602)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
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 ;)

Report this review (#81753)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think that with this album King Crimson started their most experimental period during the seventies, and the band also had a new line-up with very good musicians. Bill Bruford, IMO, was, with Mike Giles, their best drummer, and he really found a good place in King Crimson. In this band, he found a way to show more his skills as drummer, and his playing became more "heavy" in comparison to his work with YES. John Wetton also was a very good bassist and lead singer, and in King Crimson he found the first opportunity to be one of the main composers and the lead singer. He and Bruford worked very well in King Crimson, and they became one of the "heaviest" rhythm sections in Progressive Rock. Jamie Muir, maybe the most "experimental" musician in the band, also worked very well with Bruford. Muir`s percussion instruments sound very good in this album, but he left the band after this album was released. David Cross was maybe the most "conventional" musician in this line- up, with his classical music influences. Robert Fripp also became a more "heavy" guitar player with this line-up, and he also started to enjoy more the freedom of improvising, as this line-up was very good improvising in the studio and in concerts. So, IMO, this band closed their history in the seventies with two years (1972-1974) of very good music,very "heavy", really, IMO.

"Larks`Tongues in Aspic Part One" sounds more like a song with a basic structure on which all the members, particularly Muir, improvisd and experimented with sounds.

"Book of Saturday" is more a "pre-composed song", a good song with lyrics written by Richard Palmer-James (former guitarist and lyricist with Supertramp in their first album only). He also wrote most of the lyrics for these King Crimson line-ups (1972-74). Wetton also performed this song wit the band ASIA in their reunion tour in 1990-91, and he also has played this song as soloist.

"Exiles" is the best song in this album, with mellotrons, violin and a flute part (uncredited) by David Cross. This song sounds more related to the early years of the band in sound.Cross influences a lot this song, and he also was one of the composers of this song.

"Easy Money" is another good song, more "heavy" in sound, and with Muir`s good percussion, and a sinister laugh at the end of the song.

"The Talking Drum" sounds like another improvisation recorded in the studio. It has Wetton and Bruford playing in very good synchronization.

"Larks`Tongues in Aspic Part Two" is another instrumental song, the heaviest song in this album, with very good guitars by Fripp and sound effects maybe played by Muir.

In conclusion, this is a very good album in one of their most interesting periods.

Report this review (#81762)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.3 Virgin 2000 release, 24 bit remastered 30th anniversary edition. Very clear sound and good quality.

This, in my opinion, is a very aggressive record, with a harsh coarseness. However, the kernel is soft, consisting of ‘Book of Saturday’, ‘Exiles’ and ‘Easy Money’, which are the best three tracks of the six. The album, therefore, is well structured, starting loudly, then calming, and then rising at the end.

‘Exiles’ is pure syrup, the thick tones pouring through ones ears to lubricate ones mind, and in my opinion the best track. ‘Book of Saturday’ contains some very good lyrics sung over dreamy music, with ascending and descending bass and smooth mellotron.

The musicianship throughout the album is to a high standard, and there is a wide angled interpretation of the music available, but the majority is too aggressive – too experimental - for my taste. This, though, makes for an interesting listen.

Report this review (#81814)
Posted Friday, June 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW! I'm sitting here listening to Larks' Tongues in Aspic for the second time in my life and I'm about to puke. The music is so good that it makes me want to puke at my own innability. I play guitar, and every time I hear Fripp play I want to kill myself, I want to puke, I want to throw my guitar out the window, Fripp makes me feel so inferior.

I recommend this album to everyone, but don't frett if you don't get what the band is trying to do at first try, or even second try, or even third...just keep trying. Sit down and listen to this album and all of its details, once you do and you keep your mind open you will understand the beauty of all this chaos! Highly recommended!

Oh man, Larks' Tongues in Aspic part 2 just started...I think I'm gonna be sick...

Report this review (#84109)
Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second King Crimson album which is a real breakthrough in rock music after In the Court of the Crimson King. And what a breakthrough it is! While their debut was pushing the use of the mellotron further and provided a new way to play rock music, Lark's tongue in aspic made the the Earth crumble up to its center. With only Fripp left from the original line-up, we were bound to get another different album. The addition of John Wetton, Bill Bruford, Jamie Muir and David Cross was meant to be great.

The first time I put that record in my stereo, I had heard every one of the fourth precedent albums and didn't know what to expect. After the really smooth Islands, was I to get a hard-rocking album? Larks tongue in Aspic part 1 started and I realize I was wrong. Smooth little xylophones or something playing for a little bit of time. I was in for another smooth ride. Then, the violin came. A nice addition to King Crimson this is. The menacing little violin riff building up tension didn't even prepared for what was left to come. BANG! The heaviest riff ever just brings me to the floor. Oh yeah! That's it! Not like Islands at all anymore. The rest of the album just left me drooling.

This was my first encounter with the album but it hasn't changed much since then. All of the songs on this effort are what I consider true classics. From the two really harsh and hard rocking parts of Larks tongue in Aspic to the beautiful ballads (Book of Saturdays and Exiles), this album is well-made. Easy Money is the perfect song which blends radio-friendly elements with totally blown-out prog. The Talking Drum is the first one in a series of songs King Crimson will be fond of in the future. It's a kind of improvised and atmospherical jam. Excellent! I don't think I can find enough kind words to describe this album.

This album could have come out today and I think it would still be actual. A timeless masterpiece that every prog fan must have or hear.

5 stars! Suprised?



Report this review (#84199)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Most of the songs on this album have far better versions, which can be found on the live album The Night Watch. Compared to that album, these versions sound lifeless, and the poor production makes Fripp's guitar sound less powerful.

The only song on this album not on The Night Watch is LTIA Part One. I haven't heard a full live version of this song, buit the studio version is brilliant. It starts out with some very strange and interesting percussion from Muir (who isn't on The Night Watch), and then suddenly builds up with powerful guitars and bass. Fripp shines on this track, proving himself as more than just a supporting member. On this song he proves that he can play the lightning fast solos as good as anybody. Wetton and Cross also get solos to show off their technical ability, and everyone sounds great. The song continues to build up throughout, becoming louder and even more chaotic. The song ends with the same quiet percussion that it started with. Some would consider this "filler noise", but it sounds very brilliant if you listen closely.

The album might be worth buying for the first song alone. Also, this is easier to find than the Night Watch, so if you have no way of hearing that recording, this is the one to get. But considering that there are better versions of most of the songs, this can't be considered an essential purchase.

Report this review (#86560)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson's sixth offering is nothing less than masterpiece. In many of the above reviews, some of our reviewers suggest that certain songs (Book of Saturday, for instance) do not fit in with the overall concept of the album. One thing the Crimsons always have done, ever since the first album, was to establish that concept is nothing more than a suffocating framework, a means by which formula can be duplicated ad nauseam.

Larks' Tongues in Aspic, more than any other Crimso release, defies any preconception of what concept is. From loud to soft, from abrasive to beautiful, from bone-crushing to subtle, this album forces us, despite its LP-length time constraint, to blow away those narrow boundaries that inhibit our enjoyment of any genre in music and to open us to new possibilities of sound. Part I of the title track takes us on a sonic journey that begins with the strummed pluckings of a subdued kalimba followed by white noise, followed by a lead-in replete with Fripp's (or Wetton's?) fuzz-toned fills and Cross's violin getting more frantic with each succeeding measure. When the bone-crushing metal riff finally explodes (they should use this song for demolition--it makes my whole house shudder), we are treated to a throwback riff reminiscent of Schizoid Man. But this riff is repeated only once and is never heard from again. Instead the band takes us through an improvisatory romp, featuring Fripp on his fractured guitar and Wetton on his liquid bass, before Cross settles in with an arching solo on violin. Bells and chimes are then played at nearly inaudible levels before what sounds like a theme to a chase scene in a scary movie fades in and builds in momentum, thanks largely to Cross who bows frightfully manic in his impassioned delivery. The coda then explodes after Bruford's roll forewarns us a little too late; but instead of blowing our socks off, the feeling of this last section is beautifully transcendent, not unlike a blaze of sunlight shooting through the countours of a giant crystal (sounds New-Ageish, but it aint).

Book of Saturday, Exiles, Easy Money,and Talking Drum follow. As if an apology to music purists, BOS is a delicate song, using Fripp's backward guitar and Cross's bowing to send it flying through the upper stratospheres of beauty. Exiles features Fripp's nimble acoustic guitar. When Wetton finishes his vocal, thankfully, the piece is taken over by Fripp, who allows this diamond to shine for its remainder. Another transcendent moment ensues. Easy Money is reminiscent of Ladies on the Road (on Islands), although Fripp's improvisations start and stop, building then releasing the tension ineherent throughout. Just as we think the band has lost their momentum, Fripp builds it back up, along with Muir's exotic touches and Bruford's driving punches and counter-rhythms, before coming to a head with the final verse punctuated by Cross's see-sawing violin. Making Easy Money was never so hard.

Talking Drum serves as an improvisatory introduction to the excellent Larks' Toungue in Aspic Part 2. The final track starts with a scream, and then the mayhem begins. Listen to Bruford's off-kilter rhythmic attack. Listen to Muir--he sounds positively insane. Listen to Fripp--his guitar's distortion throws my VU meters into the upper extremes of Red. When all is said and done, following the explosive climax that, again, could probably demolish a house, this new (in 1972) lineup of King Crimson had put together a tour de force. They were a band to be reckoned with, and the memory of these mind- numbing perfomances are as fresh today as ever. Even though this music is vital and relevant, it is still too radical and unnerving for most, if not all, of those timid radio program directors, who do music a disgrace by not including them on their "classic rock" playlists. Grow some balls, guys, doesn't playing endless tracks by Boston and the Eagles get really old? King Crimson is truly a classic. Their music will live on, despite what you nabobs in Radioland think.

Report this review (#87493)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album is absolute masterpiece and probably my favourite KC work. Starting from the title track part I, with dark and horror strings, and ending with part II with heavy guitar riff, which would surface now and then on several subsequent albums, Fripp and Co. demonstrated they perfection and mastery of composing and performing. In the vocal tracks, John Wetton plays bass and sings in a way that I was wondering how on earth is it possible to sing and play bass in that way simultaneously!. Bruford is one fine drummer and his beating on this album (listen to percussive instrumental "Talking Drum") is unbeatable. David Cross plays electric violins and shares Mellotron duties with Fripp. "Larks Tongues in Aspic" is a demanding album, even for KC fans. Forget about Greg Lake's ballads from the first two albums. This one rocks very hard and is extremely dark and experimental at the same time. But once you got acquainted with it, you will never let it go.
Report this review (#87507)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
con safo
5 stars One of the most influential albums of all time. King Crimson yet again proves how very far ahead of the times they are with this astounding album of experimental bliss. Book ended by two epic's of the same name - "Lark's Tongue In Aspic" the first being an absolutely stunning composition, one of KC's finest. One of the highlights is the sublime percussion by Jamie Muir - it adds a ton of depth to this already deep track. Opening with a beautiful percussion intro, and soon exploding with one of the heaviest riffs anyone had heard at this time in 1973. David Cross contributes nicely to the overall sound, bringing his classical influence to the overall piece- listen for the very emotive solo after the first climax. Of course, we cannot ignore the amazing drumming skill of Bill Bruford, who really opens up and explores new territory on this album - along with John Wetton, they come together to form one of the heaviest rhythm sections in rock.

The album now takes a turn into (somewhat) more traditional rock territories. "Book of Saturdays" is a beautiful little track, including what sounds like some backwards guitar playing by Fripp. "Exiles" is probably the most easily accessible song on the album- reminiscent of their debut. This is quite a beautiful and atmospheric track, Wetton impresses with a superb vocal performance. The next song is a rather gritty, heavy track with extremely unique and imaginative percussion through out. The improvisation style that KC would soon embrace to it's fullest is apparent in this song, and another fantastic guitar solo by Fripp. The song crescendos around Fripp's guitar - and returns to the main theme. Great stuff. "The Talking Drum" is a very improvisational song in nature- an intense crescendo of pure musical splendor. I still have trouble believing this was recorded in 1973, it's absolutely mind-blowing! The album concludes with the second half of "Lark's Tongue In Aspic"- and return to the extremely experimental nature of the first half. Dark atmosphere and heavy riff's make this song sound like nothing else recorded.

More than an album, an experience. A true testament to Fripp's vision, aided by the incredible composers and musicians he surrounded himself with. A Timeless recording. 5/5

Report this review (#88010)
Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars *playing «Easy Money»*

I got this album about one year ago. All this time, I've been ignoring it; mostly due to the first song's soft start and the lack of metal-like power in the remaining tracks. I'm a metal guy, and have this bad habit of skipping tracks after 30 seconds of listening... How I regret it!!!

Lately, I found Bruford's jazz projects and enjoyed them a lot, so much that it compelled me to look for Bruford's influence in King Crimson's albums. Soon, I came across Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Yum-yum!), and left it playing. Oh, my...

The first song, Larks' Tongues in aspic, starts with a nostalgic blend of sweet sounds, forming up a mellow melody. Then comes the thrill I'm looking for-- suspense: Fripp's guitar lets you guess powerful rhythms through an extremely dark introduction. Soon, Bruford rolls in and... AW!!! THE POWER! Not for long, though. They steal the power away from your hears, and leave you again on suspense. You know that it's coming back. You wait desperately for 40 seconds until it blows your hears once again. It does. Then, the true message of this song comes at last. The guitar is dread, the bass talks, and, all around, drums hit in chaotic discussion -- a percussion feast. I cannot describe it because of my lack of musical sense, but deep inside I beheld insanity at its best. However, it won't last enough to bore you. No, no! Until the end, you'll be visited by mature experimentations of musical emotions. They shift graciously, leaving the listener pleased and waiting for more... More suspense! The thrill is up again, yet carrying a few surprises. Behind it, radio-like speeches (or chats) fill the atmosphere. As it blows up once again, you're hit by novelty: now, it's the bass leading the emotional pathway to the graceful end, through whispers and a sweet melody, progressively meeting the nostalgic sounds that make up the relaxation. Objectively, I can describe this song as a multiple-orgasms sex experience, without need for cigarettes. The end is just LOVE.

I won't describe the remaining songs, there's no need for that. Most reviews here have already made enough description on this album's potential. It's not just an excellent addition to anyone's collection. If one must truly understand the variety, power, emotion, graciousness and thrill of progressive music, one must have this album. It's essential.

It's been said that this album's recording quality isn't the best, and the live versions of the songs are quite better. That's all I needed to read to go out and look for live albums. You see, if you can bring so much musicality on studio, imagine on stage!

Ah... I'm utterly addicted to King Crimson. Eh, eh; Opeth and Cynic will have to wait!

Report this review (#89491)
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It will change the way you listen to prog

Say what you may, but this actuall is essential for any prog fan. It's prog, it's heavy, it's mellow and it's innovative. Is it good enough? It sure is. This is in some way a pinnacle for KC and I consider it to be their most representig asset.

It's all here: the definitive KC sound - Lark's Toungues Pt. 1 & 2 and Money, the moody ballads of their first period - Book Of Saturday and Exiles, a glimpse of their 80's instrumentals - The Talking Drum... you can read their history in an album. Not to mention the artwork on the front cover which is perfect in its simple symbolism. Listening to the album you may start wondering if it's not the 70's period KC from which all the others sprung, defying the space-continuum [since it's probabely the last thing these guys haven't defied].

For a long time, I paid little attention to parts such as Book of Saturday or the begining of LTIA 1, but nowadays I just can't get enough of them, especially LTIA. It's a thrill ride and I keep re-discovering it with each play. As for LTIA 2, well, it's as much of an anthem of the Crimsons and prog generally as is 21st Century Schizoid Man. Speaking of which, this album raises the bar for prog heaviness and if people thought 21st Century was rough, boy, were they in for a surprise with this one. This might very well be the birth of prog-metal as it's nothing prog rock in the 70's had seen and would see for a long time.

Yet, this is not a treat for everyone. Strange to say this about an essential album? Not quite. I'm stating this in the sense that, although most will appreciate the composition, the strangeness of it all, the over-the-top musicianship, not all will actually enjoy it, let alone every bit of it. Some may say that the first track seems disjointed or that the overall sound doesn't tie together. But if you just sit back and try to enjoy you may discover that everything falls in the right place and that it's actually so well thought and written that it leaves you in the right mood at the end of each track for the beginning of the next (it could've even been a concept album).

I'm not even gonna start on the different dialogue bits and strange sounds inserts or on all the other things on this one. Just follow my advice and listen to it. This one belongs on the same league with Wish You Were Here, or even higher. It truly changes the way you listen to music.

Report this review (#91479)
Posted Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this album is simply amazing! I would argue that it is possibly the best crimson album. I like it more than in the court of the crimson king. This album starts off with a highly experimental 13 min or so track. First you here tiny, tinkling bells..then what sounds like a creaky gate. Soon after, sinister keyboards leak into the mix...then...bam! fULL ON DISTORTION!!! After a loud experimental section, we go into some oriental violin work. After that interesting passage, some really creepy music. Next are a couple of more accesible tunes, both of them being excellent! Then comes a less accesible, but not too experimental track with some very strange, and unidentified percussion. After that comes one of the coolest, wierdest songs you'll ever here! Closing comes pt. 2 of the first track. This is heavier than any metal you'll find today! This is my favorite album of all time, period, and I don't say that lightly! A must have for fans of crimson! 6/5!
Report this review (#96202)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progressive rock doesn't get any more inventive than this. Muir, Bruford, Wetton, Cross and Fripp were a team to be reckoned with. If you read the reviews this album got in the seventies, you'll hear some critics complain that Cross's violin only gets the most basic lines to play, but this doesn't bother me at all. It's the violin's TEXTURE (together with the sheer weirdness of the percussion, and the explosive interruptions of John Wetton's bass) that turns 'Larks' tongues in aspic part 1' into such an extraordinary listening experience; all the virtuoso lines you desire are provided by Robert Fripp's lead guitar. No matter how many times I play 'part 1', it never fails to surprise me. This kind of instrumental chamber music (fairly abstract, but never grating) is unlike anything else in rock. As for part 2, which concludes the album - well, THAT happens to be based on one of Crimso's classic riffs, and it's great to hear it here in its crisp original incarnation. Between parts one and two, the listener is serviced with two lovely ballads (first appearance of John Wetton as KC's best ever vocalist!), one charming novelty song and seven minutes twenty-six seconds of delirious instrumental mayhem. Absolutely gorgeous.
Report this review (#97575)
Posted Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Perhaps one of the strangest albums I've ever heard, but it is also among some of my favourites. Eerie violin, bouncy percussion, dark guitar, fantastic bass and very good drumming by Bruford (his first album with the band). Exiles, Easy Money and Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two are, for me, the easier songs to get into. Part One, along with The Talking drums are, in many aspects, better songs (to me), but often need patience and much attention to get through. But when Part One explodes, oh man....Book of Saturday isn't a bad tune, but it is the weakest of the album. There isn't much that sets it apart, in the sense that it is a basic pop-ish tune.

The great thing about this album is how different it is to most modern music, or even to most progressive music. It very dark and compelling, so creative. I've heard nothing like it before, and Crimson can reinvent themselves magically every time. With the high level of talent, originality, elegance, and intrigue, It has climbed into my favourite albums. I consider this album to be essential in a collection because it is one of progressive music's founders at one of their best points, however I only gave it a 4 star rating because it is not altogether perfect, or lingering.

Report this review (#100707)
Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this album is one of the best and important prog music ever. The perfect work of Wetton make the album so wonderful. The album make me feel magicly, something special and not understood. just WOW! 10/10
Report this review (#101168)
Posted Thursday, November 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my more recent discovories, I loved this album almost from the start.

The key was, being in a altered state of mind on the first listen.

Anyway, Bruford had joined, KC was looking to make a comeback after Islands, and suceeded wonderfully with Larks Tongues in Aspic. The addition of David Cross on violin added a new dimension to the band, and it fits in very nicely with the two other maniacs in the band, Jamie Muir and of course, Fripp.

Muir's one and only album with KC, he contributed to the atmosphere of peices like The Talking Drum and Lark's Tongues in Aspic Part One. Word on the street is, he retired to a monastery and was never seen in the music world again. Strange..

The three wetton compositions are te most accesible and introductorily enjoyable, Book of Saturday is a warm vocal peice, Exiles has some nice soaring vocals, and Easy Money is a highlight.

The other peices are manical songs of deep greatness, insane violin work, crushing guitar riffs, its all there. King Crimson's best, in my opinion.

Report this review (#101422)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Muir.. somebody please stop that wacko!

After a deserved year break from the last effort, the infamous "Islands", Fripp decided to yet again reform Crimso; this time, Sinfield would depart as well, being replaced by a less-metaphoric Palmer-James at the writting table; thus the band's nucleus reduces to one Robert "Freak". By then, future bandmates would include ex-Family John Wetton, Bruford (obviously of Yes fame) one crazed jazz-fusion flavoured violinist named David Cross and even more crazed percussionist, Mr. "everything-he-could-bang-he-does" Jamie Muir.

Indeed Jamie dominated great part of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part 1", in which he showed his compulsive manner of making random percussive noises from various percussion instruments integral in King Crimson's musical prototype. It was a mix of Zappa and fusion, as simple as that (if simple); it has a meandering middle section; saving the powerful segment B and the climax. Exiles, on the other hand, is the album's obbligatory symphonic song, with bits taken from a former concert staple called "Travel Weary Capricorn"; Wetton introduces his sweet timbre for the first time in KC (to our ears anyway); as the awaited Lake's contender, possibly Wetton has better projection of his voice, always trying not to force notes unintentionally. Cross exposes his consonant side as well as Fripp, and the Muir-Bruford duo is very conservative in this track. "Easy Money" is easily the most banal song of the album (yes, I figured it out all by myself *laughs*); basically is an extended rocking jam with a pleasant vibe and some rare effects; the bass guitar adds groove and Fripp practices his arpeggios. "The Talking Drum" sets your mind in the desert itself, with a certain egyptian charm; it's consistently based on the same pattern adding the fade-in effect to increase intensity. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part 2" hardly reprises any idea left by the 1st part; it's the most "metallic" song on the album, with emphasis on power chords and odd time signatures (10/8, 11/8 and so); David Cross shrieks his violin like a madman in the bridge, and the power chords resemble early Metallica (or in that case, Black Sabbath). Needless to say, this album explored the same avant-garde turf as Islands... only this time in heavier mood.

This record is what could be called the first prog-metal album, at least in my opinion; even so, it's not bad for my taste considering that it's an experiment; and it's not as condensed as your "normal" prog-metal record. 2.5 stars rounded to 3. Perhaps not for all fans, so anyone could either like it or dislike it. I suggest you give it a spin and set your own criteria.

Report this review (#103322)
Posted Saturday, December 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A new beginning, with a new line-up, so it's no surprise that the sound has changed a bit. Still very recognisable as King Crimson, mostly due to the insistent rhythmic explorations, soft quiet development, with agressive guitar bursts which has remained an integral part of the King Crimson sound over the years.

The great songs are Easy Money, The Talking Drum, and Larks Tongues in Aspic part 2, while part 1 overstayes it's welcome a bit it still is a very nice song, the rest is unfortunatly mere filler. It's a new direction for sure, but while they found their right sound it wasn't untill the next album that it worked on an entire album.

Best elements on this album are the violin parts of David Cross (Larks Tongues and The Talking Drum most notably), the rhytmic section, with good drumming and percussion from Bruford and Muir and the great guitars on Easy Money and Larks Tongues. I'm not a huge fan of Wetton's voice, and on this album he again doesn't convince me really.

Nice album and a must for King Crimson fans, but not all that great.

Report this review (#103389)
Posted Sunday, December 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ageless classic.

One of the most progressive and experimental albums of the early 70's was King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Bruford's presence has an instant effect on the band's quality, taking KC from an outstanding band to a god-like force. This is the most sophisticated, most rewarding, and peak for the outstanding and sometimes overlooked tour de force that was King Crimson.

The album is complete throughout, with no noticeable weak points, even though the highlight is the title tracks. This is no looking back, no second-guessing, powerful and moving experimental prog. LTIA is ripe fruit for squeezing which never loses its juice, a real ageless wonder, thanks to the dynamics of Fripp and Bruford, who click as a duo like few do, and the presence of Muir, the unsung hero of the album, truly make this a ride that will be enjoyable for years to come.

Larks Pt. 1 is one of the most engaging songs KC ever wrote. This is some of creativity at it's peak, with just wicked compositional skills that are baffling. KC may have never been the most appealing band (too quirky for many Yes and Genesis fans) but in my mind they have always been far superior and far more creative in their approach. This is the KC album that blows every other one out of the water. Red is perhaps more likeable because it is less difficult to understand, but if you really dig deep and find everything (or most everything) about this record, then you will have labored and loved, because few experiences are as gratifying as this.

Wetton's vocals I find quite enjoyable, despite his limited range. This album is as fun as getting 'Easy Money'. Enough with the bad puns, if their's one album to start the New Year with a bang, that one you never got around to getting, make it Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Report this review (#105089)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I'm not usually into albums where the band experiments and improvises a lot but "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" really blew my prejudices right out of the water. It must have been an amazing time back in the early seventies and the news that Bill Bruford (the drummer for YES) was joining KING CRIMSON must have freaked a lot of people out, and CRIMSON fans must have been on cloud 9 in anticipation of their next album. Well the fans would not be disappointed as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" would be their best work since their debut. Mellotron is played by Fripp and Cross and used beautifully on the 2 tracks "Exiles" and "Easy Money". Mr.Fripp has stated that he prefers the live versions of the songs of this record over this studio album.

We get started with "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One" an instrumental that opens with percussion from Jamie Muir. He gives us various experimental noises for about 3 minutes and then it stops as violin and guitar sounds come in. We get outbursts of guitar and drums that come and go quickly.This sequence happens again followed by percussion and a guitar melody. Drums come in and it all stops around 8 minutes in and we get violin melodies to the end of the song. "Book Of Saturdays" opens with vocals, guitar and bass as violin comes into this mellow song. Some cool vocal melodies from Mr.Wetton. Nice tune ! "Exiles" features various noises for 2 minutes until violin,guitar and drums come in.This is such a beautiful song with mellotron and great vocals. One of my favourites on the album.

"Easy Money" is another favourite of mine. With heavy drums and some cool guitar as vocals come in. Various noises again from Mr.Muir then the mellotron floods in. Great ! We get a funky rhythm and Fripp's amazing guitar as a hypnotic soundscape is produced. The laugh at the end of the song is priceless. "The Talking Drum" opens with different noises followed by percussion followed by violin then by guitar. Talk about building a mood ! The full sound is incredible after 5 minutes. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two" opens with a riff and drums as the violin comes in and the melody softens. This is another great tune !

This one may be very different from their debut, but it is equally a masterpiece !

Report this review (#109287)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a truly a masterpiece of progressive music.. and beyond. I was not even born when the record was made and I do not know the musical or philosophical climate around this work - which does not prevent me from enjoying this contemporary art piece! The question is not "is this prog?" but "is this rock?". But the question is not important. The answer is! King Crimson provides the answer and the words like "rock"," prog" dissapear under the sounds of this "album". I think they have created something that can be really described as contemporary music without any genre attachments. Do not get me wrong , just the use of classical instruments does not mean that some rock thing can be something bigger than it is but the attitude of making music without restrictions can ! Can it be done better ? It was just a step into unknown, maybe some day the others will walk there too until then all we have is this.. (and a little bit more).
Report this review (#117589)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars As you might have already noticed if you have read some previous reviews, KC is not my favourite band. What I like the most with KC is their symphonic side. Do you remember ITCOTCK ? I have always had a hard time in getting into their jazz-rock or experimental effort. I'm trying though but this seems to be hopeless...

Still, I believe that if reviewers only post reviews of their beloved bands and albums, all of them will reach a five star rating on this site, and this is not the purpose, right ? My choice was to review bands (almost) all the way through their career (even poor albums). I will go on like this with lots of other bands and probably end up with 3 or 4,000 reviews on this site, at least. So, here we go...

Wetton is in charge on the bass and on the lead vocals whereas Bruford is on the drums. Will this change KC sound and inspiration ?

The title track (part one) is purely experimental, almost jam session oriented. I cannot find a single second of this track interesting : a marimba session to start (almost three minutes), some cacophonic minutes to follow. The song keeps up with this hectic tempo till the end. If you have read my intro, is then almost normal that "Book of Saturday" sounds almost like a dream to my ears. Just a pity it is so short a track. Nice and melodious.

"Exiles" is another song I can live with : although the intro sounds quite weird (for about two minutes), it turns into an interesting violin playing, nice and romantic melody. It is the matching piece to "Talk To The Wind" from ITCOTCK : the violin replacing the flute. Very nice KC moment I must say. This type of thraks is keeping my interest in this band. I guess most of their fans would not really be found of these type of songs, but I just love it.

"Easy Money" is something different. A bizarre track I must say : noisy for half of it, almost good for the other half. All the complexity of KC to non die-hard fan (like myself) is there. "The Talking Drum" is another experimental and dull track. The "sound" is almost unnoticeable during the first half unless you turn your volume on at full capacity (it was also the case for "Moonchild" and globally for "Islands" by the way). I must admit that the last three minutes during which the beat catches up with good violin and ryhtmic section are quite interesting.

Part two of "Aspic" is substantially better than the Part I. At least it is more structured and can be called a song. The hypnotic riff works very well. It is my fave here. I would rate this effort with two stars although five out of ten would probably better reflect my opinion. This is really for KC fans only.

Report this review (#118362)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

In 1973, Robert Fripp assembles a new KING CRIMSON line-up with the well-known BILL BRUFORD who just left YES, a ''crazy'' talented percussionist JAMIE MUIR, a violin player (no more sax in KC) DAVID CROSS and a young bassist singer JOHN WETTON who played bass for FAMILY.

Listening to the beginning of the first track LTIA part 1, you know Fripp has reached a point of no-return to the musical landscapes of ITCOTCK. The guitar of Fripp has become heavier , meaner, noisier.What's new also is the sound of the rythm section, maybe the most impressive pair that has graced the world of rock music. Bruford adds new textures to his drums sounds that were never heard before and the bass, ..ah! the mighty bass, pounding, resonnating so loudly in your speakers.What a treat! Poor David Cross: you can hear him almost only on the parts when the other 3 keep quiet.

The only bridge with the past is ''EXILES'' a beautiful ballad in the vein of Epitath, beautifully sung by J. Wetton , the only song where Fripp's guitar sounds like in the good old times But now these the good new times. This is a different Crimson, but definitely a great Crimson. One of the only few bands that never repeated themselves album after album. And the good thing ( and quite surprising!) they were always successful commercially, even with the music and line up changing all the time.But i guess it was a strength as well.

This is an album of pure raw energy like the 2 parts of the title track, but beautifully executed. I never get tired of the intro of part one with first the percussions of Muir, then the appearance of the sad sound of the violin and the climax leading to the hard- rock riff of mr Fripp; a great pleasure. Part2 is still played these days live by the current KC line-up. And John Wetton always had EASY MONEY and BOOK OF SATURDAY on his set list.

I remember when i got the album back then in 1973, i was not enamored with it at first. i guess i needed time to adapt to changes. The curious thing was i didn't like the voice of John Wetton at the beginning; found it kind of rough. The thing is , i think, his voice like the old wine got better and better.On RED, i can see an improvement and later on ,with UK, ASIA or his solo carreer, he became one of my favorite singer, very powerful.

How to grade this album? i would give 4,5 stars but as it is considered a monumental cornerstone to most prog fans, will be 5.

Report this review (#119179)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What makes this album so unique and groundbreaking is it's absurdity and there is plenty of it. The insane percussion(Jamie Muir) that builds the title track to it's crescendo's and the crazy(larks?) sounds in the first minute or so of "Book of Saturday" not to mention the approach the band takes to the arrangements of the songs is not for the impatient listener. This is an album for the open minded and as far from the mainstream as possible. It sounds to me that in a lot of the opening track as well you have Wettons bass going through a wah and the triangle is used effectively in "Easy Money" a song which if done straight actually could have had some commercial play to it. Fripp's guitar playing is harsher on a lot of this album and the stuff he does in the title track is amazing. David Cross's violin is not heard in large doses but the interludes are very effective throughout the album and add just another level of depth to an already complicated play. His jam with Fripp on "The Talking Drum" is very cool and again I think Wetton's bass is going through a wah. Watch out for the crazy Lark sounds though at the end of this album. Somewhat startling I might add but a fantastic transition to Larks Part Two. Really a fantastic album and hard not to give it a five star rating as it is so unusual and innovative. Bill Bruford as usual is spectacular and my favorite stuff from him comes with Larks Part Two although he shines throughout. It is important to note that this is an album which has to be played very loud as some of the quiet parts just will not be appreciated.
Report this review (#119304)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a couple albums of experimenting with airy jazz, King Crimson remember the joy out of ear splitting noise and brute force. Fripp surrounds himself with David Cross, who can make a viola sound like a bunch of carnivorous squirrels eating your kids, the meanest rhythm section on the planet (Bruford/Wetton), and a Jamie Muir who takes to percussion with a punkish ferocity. A band always keen on filler, they get it out of the way first on this disc with a couple minutes of pointless thumb piano viruosity. They then get down to business with an entire album which takes a jazz mindset to their garage prog thrashing. Once the first part of "Larks Tongues in Aspic" gains momentum, it takes voyages through blistering guitar workouts and a breezy viola solo before a creepy climax which sounds like aliens landing on the roof as you watch television. "Book of Saturdays" is a pretty and minimalistic pop tune which would sound at home in the repetoire of a modern twee pop band. "Exiles" is a stately and clumsy tune hearkening back to their earlier era. Bruford is relegated to be a little drummer boy and the track is only saved by some menacing mellotron interludes. "Easy Money" is a slinky and as glam as King Crimson can get, with a rhythm section that literally sounds like its walking through mud. The real meat of the album is in "The Talking Drum"/"Larks Tongues pt 2" in which the shrieking improvisation of the former gives way to a song so powerful in its mass that it violates the Geneva convention. How Wetton played that bassline with such power without dislocating anything is beyond me.
Report this review (#120463)
Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars With their fifth studio release King Crimson effectively combine the quasi-metallic noise and heaviness of the debut with the free-form jazz that the band had switched to for Islands and Lizard. Lark's Tongue shows Fripp and his new group of cohorts back on top of their game with technical precision balanced by loose improv. David Cross makes the violin into a downright terrifying instrument, while Bill Bruford (fresh from Yes) joins with mad percussionist Jamie Muir to cement the rhythm section with bassist/vocalist John Wetton.

The album opens with part one of the title track, with several minutes of rolling percussion from Muir with occasional violin that builds ever so slowly until the dam bursts and Fripp's riff fills your ears. Wetton and Fripp thunder along with Bruford and Muir, though eventually Cross gets his moment with some great improv. In order to ease off of the throttle, "Book of Saturdays" and "Exiles" are exquisite ballads that manage to display all of the instrumental virtuosity of the title track but without the crushing volume. Still, "Exiles" has its moments where you can hear the band only just refraining from exploding.

"Easy Money" is probably the most recognizable track of the album, and its pounding bassline and abrasive guitar sound make it so memorable. The lyrics are nothing special but they stick in your head, but not in an annoying way. "The Talking Drum" builds like the intro track from near silence into borderline cacophony at the end. The interplay between Cross and Mr. Fripp is simply stunning. The albums closes with part two of the title track, is even more precise than part one and it's the kind of song that can both encourage listeners to learn an instrument and dissuade them because they'll never be that good.

Bruford and Muir's interplay, Wetton's pounding bass, Fripp's new guitar tone, and the unique bowing of Cross make this album as must have for prog fans. Larks' Tongue in Aspic is one of the earliest examples of prog metal (the earliest being Deep Purple), but, unlike Purple, it has not been used as the blueprint. So singular is the sound and music of this album that none could ever hope to mimic it. Only now have bands like Tool been able to capture the spirit, and even then that's taken more from the accessible Red than here. Newcomers to KC should certainly not start here, get ITOTCK and Red, their two best and most accessible, before braving this.

Grade: A

Report this review (#123733)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the album that got me thrown out of my own car when I insisted we listen to it instead of Ted Nugent in 1978. My beer-swilling midwestern friends felt that this was "wussy" music and that girls would have nothing to do with art rock freaks. They dumped me at the diner and took off, "Cat Scratch Fever" blaring on an 8-track tape player. I'm certain there are those here who understand.

30 years on and this is one of the albums that I only listen to on vinyl. The big fat analogue mix invalidates digital here (as it usually does). A proper listen at generous volume of "Easy Money" is almost obscene in it's clarity and breadth.

What they didn't know was that there was a certain type of girl who LIKED those meandering improvs and crunchy sounds. And the beer-swilling nugent-heads ended up real losers, by the way.

Report this review (#126336)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say about the greatest album KC has ever put out? With the coming of a completely new band, all at the height of they're game, Bruford, Wetton, Cross, Muir, and of course the only original, Robert Fripp set out to make one of the most musically challenging albums I've ever heard. All six songs are great, but the instrumentals are the greatest parts hands down, I still have yet to hear a band to surpass KC's musicianship.

Larks ongues in Aspic Part I- Amazing opener, starting with some goofy sounding percussion from Jamie Muir, then busting out with drums, violin, and mellotron, to get the song moving. The guitar comes in with some intense riffing sprawling all over the fretboard, then the guitar and violin drop out and Bruford shows off one of the best drum beats/ solo's I've ever heard, and Wetton breaks out the wah peddle for his bass to anchor down the drumming. Afterwards a very lovely violin solo for about two minuetes, just to explode again with John's Bass. 5/5

Book of saturdays- A much more relaxed song, and the only one that's under seven minuetes long, John shows off his voice while Fripp does some pretty chord changes. 4/5

Exiles- This is the only song tha I am not so fond of. There are some good acoustic guitar parts and violin section, but John's voice sounds absolutely gross, he sound's like he's singing out of his nose the whole time. 2.5/ 5

Easy money- Great song! Although it sounds like it's made for mainstream purposes, I dont care!You cant beat the guitar solo! This is Fripp's declaration of him being the greatest guitar player of all time! After the first versus (witch are also amazing), Fripp starts very soflty then builds for about three minuets and completely rips it up! 5/5

The talking drum- This song was completely directed by Fripp, it's very subtle at first with just some conga drums with basically nothing else for a couple minuetes. Fripp and Cross come in with some flying solo's with they're instruments that are very cool. From then on a steady rythym keeps going right into the greatest instrumental ever! 4/5

Larks tongues in Aspic part II- The absolute masterpiece of the album! This song goes through many different time sigs, only going to 4/4 once, and everything is still in it's place! It starts with a raging guitar then full bands come in and completely knock you off your feat, with an almost metal sound! Then a slower mellotron/ violin part break it up... just for Fripp to come in with an over powering riff... Just to give Frip and Wetton a very satisfying kick-in-the-face riff/ rythym thingy. Then a crazy, weird, haunting violin solo comes in with all the madness, usually I am not a fan of violins or any of those classical instruments, but Wetton can pull it off! The soft violin/ mellotron part come back in and leads to the grand finale where everybody explodes the ending chord, honorable mention to Bruford with a mini drum solo. THE greatest instrumental to ever pass through my ears. 7/5

Report this review (#127069)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Can there be more of a progressive album than this? Methinks it would be difficult to find one after listing to this masterpiece!With this album KING CRIMSON had been reborn again, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, waiting to unleash a maelstrom of sounds courtesy of the bearded maestro Fripp and his all new cast of players.

John Wetton (previously of FAMILY) shines on this album with his rough vocals and pounding bass lines. David Cross brings the violin to a whole new level in rock music, an example being the soft melodic part of LTIA Part 1, where he shows some amazing skills. Ex- YES man Bill Bruford shows that he isn't a slouch either, and in this writers opinion, his best work was done on this, and the two following CRIMSON albums. However, insane drum fiend Jamie Muir steals the show, and in his only appearance on a CRIMSON album, he uses everything but the kitchen sink.....well, he may have even used that! For a perfect example of this madman at work, one should lend an ear to the first title track and Easy Money.

Every track is a standout on this album (there really aren't any weak ones.) The title track (both parts), is where Fripp astonishes with some of the heaviest guitar work ever recorded. Muir also shows why he's totally certifiable, conjuring sounds reminiscent of creaking floorboards at the start of LTIA part I. Easy Money is another personal favorite, beginning with an obnoxious crunchy guitar riff before setteling into a strange type of chant by Wetton. Book of Saturdays shows that Crimson can accomplish alot in a little over two minutes, the highlight being Fripp's backwards tracked guitar. Exiles and Talking Drum are the two tracks that never really grew on me, but they are still worth many listens. Exiles has some glorious mellotron waves splashed over it, and sounds as if it could have been at home on ITWOP. Talking Drum is an ever evolving piece, featuring some furious guitar and violin dueling between Fripp and Cross at its conclusion. LTIA part II is a brash, metal-like piece that is equally as good as part I. The entire band shines on this one, and the song is carried into the outer limits by the sound of what appears to be screeching Larks.

Overall, LTIA is CRIMSON's finest achievement and certainly captures the band at their most daring and experimental stage.

Report this review (#128217)
Posted Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Review Permalink

Lark Tongues in Aspic, in fact, has the hardest moments of early Crimson. I don't dare to say if it's the rockiest KC's CD of all, as a whole album, because it has its moments but IMO the successor Red is almost completely hard while this release has very quiet (and beautiful, btw) passages, in songs like Book of Saturday or Exiles.

The rockest moments aforementioned can be found on both parts of the self-titled track, although the first one has more versatile stuff, starting with african-like percussions with some strings appearing, and just then deriving into a very hard riff. In the other hand, part II is an entire rocking track with hard riffage all along the song.

What if you like previous discs of King Crimson: no problem. 'Cause all KC albums are quite different from each other, that's indeed true, but Lark Tongues in Aspic has all you can desire as a fan: hard-rocking periods, one or two ballads, the experimental moment (The Talking Drum) and that track which you can't forget once you hear it. In this case, Easy Money. Starting loud, nevertheless having soft and slow-paced interludes, and one of the most accomplished performances by Wetton's vocals in the album.

Let's speak about the quiet moments. Book of Saturday is one of the most beautiful Crimson ballads; useless to compare to previous ballads which are mostly acoustic: this song is electrically driven, with great guitar work by Fripp. And I love its lenght: 2:50. Isn't it lovely?.... The other slow paced number is Exiles, a track in the vein of 'Epitaph' or 'In the Wake of Poseidon', very nice too.

The fact is that, as a whole album, this one kills you at the first listen. Simply awesome. First real sketches of prog metal? Why not?! Five stars.


Report this review (#132986)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars I remember when I was a kid and a making his first advances in Prog, when a good friend tried to introduce me in wonders of KING CRIMSON, his dream was to make everybody a fan of his favorite album "Lark's Tongues in Aspic", no matter what effort he made it was too much for me, I simply wasn't able to understand that cacophony with no sense at all (IMHO). The years have passed and the situation has changed only a bit, now I can listen the album once each every 5 or 6 years but still can't get into it, no matter how much effort I have placed, and believe me, listening people talking about it as the greatest example of Prog perfection there have been moments in which I felt like an ignorant that isn't able to get it.

"Larks Tongues in Aspic Part I" sounds to me as a as five guys playing their instruments randomly without any sense of melody, some guitar sections have some meaning, but the rest is simply cacophony. It's clear that Fripp, Cross, Wetton, Muir and Bruford are outstanding musicians, but the lack of melody just eliminates me as a fan.

"Book of Saturday" is a simpler tune but thanks to God Wetton's wonderful voice at his peak and the nice melody make perfect sense, even the distorted violin by David Cross fits perfectly in the track, give me melody or better don't give me the album.

"Exiles" starts confusing with a serious of sound effects that I prefer to call noise, not spooky, not dramatic, only senseless for me. But then a wonderful change, the violin adds a new dimension to what was a complete cacophony, maybe a bit too high for John's vocal range but very nice, after the first vocal section another instrumental that says nothing to me leads back to the melodic passage, Fripp's performance is simple outstanding and again the violin is extremely beautiful. Liked the song, but honestly where is the Prog icon?

Good melody, nice vocals, dramatic violin and delicate piano but adding weird noises to a beautiful and basic melody doesn't make it Prog, good song, I like it but not remotely outstanding IMHO.

"Easy Money" beginning reminds me of 21st Century Schizoid man, distorted guitar and vocals with great percussion by Bruford and Muir lead to a melodic section, not very memorable and again the strength, this is Prog without any doubt but not all Prog has to outstanding for everybody, after 7:54 minutes I keep asking myself what they pretended.

"The Talking Drum" is another excuse for calling themselves experimental and more advanced than the rest of the bands, maybe I'm wrong at it's a full masterpiece, but the intro is just noise without any logic, I understand Bruford left YES among other reasons because with KING CRIMSON he would have more chances to improvise, and sure he had, but the music says me nothing. The song goes always in crescendo until the end but again I can't stand it.

"Larks Tongues in Aspic Part II" is a prove that you can be risky, advanced and experimental and still make sense, love this track, my favorite, the radical changes the mysterious viola and the perfect drumming are outstanding and have a reason to be there, it's not just noise, this is music of the first class. The guitar and bass section is out of this world proving how underrated John Wetton is, he can be the perfect complement for Robert Fripp much better than Greg Lake ever was on bass and still be a great vocalist on other tracks, the gem of the album.

I know people will probably hang me, but if it wasn't for the final track, I would rate this album with 1 star because if I have to be honest almost nothing of it says too much to me, but I will rate it with 2 stars only because of this track and the simple but effective "Book of Saturday" (If possible I would give an average rating of 2.5 stars, that would be perfectly adequate IMO, but sadly this is not possible).

I could easily live without "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" and I understand a review has to be an honest personal impression of the album, I would lie if I placed it in the level of ELP's debut or other excellent albums I rated with 3 stars.

Some bands are better than their individual member, this is not the case of KING CRIMSON, we all know the members are all outstanding but the music of the band says nothing to me in most of the cases. Maybe I'm wrong and we are before a masterpiece, because millions who love this album shouldn't be wrong, but that's how I feel.

Report this review (#133420)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fripp unleashes his heavy side.

Being such a dynamic band it's no surprise that we'd find King Crimson embarking once more into uncharted waters. Having reformed the King, Fripp was ready to do just about anything, including somethig as crazy as touring with all new, yet to be recorded, experimental material. There's no way you could get away with that in today's market, yet King Crimson managed to make one of their best albums by doing just so.

With the new line-up (Which would shed members with each new album) consisting of a violinist, a drummer (fresh from Yes, no less) and a percussionist, as well as bass and guitar, this was going to be a crazy outting with some very original sounds.

Starting with a quiet violin intro we're soothed into a lull then quickly blasted by Robert Fripp's excellent heavy riffs. LARKS TONGUES IN ASPIC PT 1 continues on this roller coaster ride until it finally decides to let you rest, after about 13 minutes, giving way to the next, slower tacks. These next four tracks are not quite as noteworthy as the bookending title track, but they are quite good and worth mentioning. The first of which, BOOK OF SATURDAY, is a nice quiet tune that soon gives way into the haunting EXILES, which is a great piece with well done vocals that give it that dark feeling. EASY MONEY follows up with no less success, a frantic track that blasts the audience consitantly until THE TALKING DRUM, with is more or less an intro to the next big standout, LARKS TONGUES IN APSIC PT. II. PT. II is more conherant and consistant than it's PT I counterpart, a little more listener friendly, but no less heavy and no less fantastic.

All in all, while the title track is likely the biggest attraction here there are several Crimson classics to be heard on this album, however, it might take you a few listens to really get into. 4 stars, a great album.

Report this review (#134114)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What happens when 4 geniuses and a madman come across?This roaring monster!!!

I still can't understand what was inside Fripp's mind at those days,back in 1973.He decides to break up the current incarnation of the band(Burrel,Wallace,Collins,Sinfield),a line-up which seemed to be in love with bluesier sounds,and starts the band from the beginning.Furthermore he drafts the pretty succesfull Yes drummer,a mad percussionist,a totally unknown violinist and one of the most groundbreaking bass players in rock history.But the most groundbreaking of them all,is the music path he chooses to follow.It's not exactly art rock,neither blues nor jazz.It's the perfect mix of them three combined.It is the most revolutionary piece of music i've ever heard.For the love of God,it's 1973 and this album sounds as if it were recorded in the 90's... All 6 tracks are tremendous,especially Ltia parts1&2 which develop around the same schizoid chords.The album has the feeling of "tension&release" as almost all tracks start softly and slowly developing into music tornados.

Fripp's guitar playing is out of this world as he doesn't always follow the common used pentatonic and blues scales(except from the great "Easy Money".His guitar playing is like a surgical laser blade,so powerful and precise.

Bruford&Muir are a perfect beat pair.I've heard numerous live performances of the album's tracks and everytime he plays totaly alternate parts and fills,simply incredible.Muir can hit everything that's making a sound,sometimes even himself!!! David Cross' classical training is obvious but nevertheless his sound is tottaly innovative for a rock band,as he uses distortion pedals for his viloin.You can hear him playing so softly and moments afterwards he plays frenetic solos. John Wetton is a living legend.I am a bass player myself and i'm still trying to find out how can he produce that sound???His flicking technique is incredible and he sounds so solid.He plays like a trooper,using wah-wah and distortion pedals.I recently heard he occasionally played with apiece of glass instead of a pick.His bass parts are extremely complexed and mind challenging. Tottaly i give the album 5 stars without hesitation,since the songs are perfect.And when i mean perfect,i'm referring to all circumastances.Try having a listen to it while having sex...

Report this review (#134667)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rebirth.

Considered by many to be their best, LTIA nevertheless has some lacks. A theme here can be abandoned on its very progression (“Easy Money” opening riff, LTIA-1 coda’s 5/4 violin bridge), or mutilate into something hardly bearable. On the other hand, “The Talking Drum” is a simple jam over catchy bass-line, and it goes this way all his length. But the record has “Exiles” and LTIA-2, and that’s enough to regard it as a Masterpiece. The best rhythm section ever existed (Wetton/Bruford) plus Muir and Cross talents made live shows of those times simply awesome and amazingly captivating. Musical press was completely shocked: KC step on the stage and play for 1,5 hours anything they wish!!! You need not to understand this music or try to analyze it; you must simply listen to it to know if you like such stuff or not. LTIA caught this atmosphere even better than SABB or “The Great Deceiver” recordings; this is an ultimate KC, hated/loved for these tracks all over the world. LTIA-2 is still a mandatory live number, should I say more? Highly recommended

Report this review (#135373)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars A twisted revamping of sound, personnel, and direction makes "Lark's Tongues" a much more dynamic, powerful, and ultimately enjoyable album than anything else the band has done up to this point. Fripp actually PLAYS his guitar! There IS a rhythm section-- not just ham-fisted mellotrons screaming slow-paced chords in the background! This combined with Wetton's talking bass and enjoyable tenor voice makes this incarnation of KC one of the best, and makes "Lark's Tongues" one of the bands few essential classic albums.

A must for those interested in getting into King Crimson, and a better place to start than anything that came before it.

Report this review (#138850)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Quite some time ago I bought this record with high hopes because King Crimson is after all the cradle (or at least one of them) of progressive music. The other two are of course YES and GENESIS, I already knew them and have the greatest respect for these two bands. It's not quite the case with KC I'm afraid. It already starts with the first song, an "epic" of over 13 minutes but I was waiting till it really started. That was after 3 minutes !! I don't like that. I want action from the first seconds. And even after 3 minutes my patience kept being tested, I waited and thought: when does it REALLY start ? It didn't. And so was in fact the entire album. Only the last song starts to go slightly towards the vein of their later album RED which I appreciate much more.

Why this is such a high valued album , I don't understand. It will be a matter of taste. Not my cup of tea this one.

Report this review (#140584)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first listened to this album, I was a bit confused but it grew on me like no other piece of music I ever listened to. This is one of the greatest masterpiece of Progressive (and I mean Progressive = makes music progress!) Rock. Every piece is unique, and the finale is quite impressive. I would recommend this album even to everyone who wants to discover King Crimson. Robert Fripp is unique and talented like no one, and every musician that surround him too.
Report this review (#140586)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Talk about wiping a slate clean!

The easy thing for Robert Fripp to do after the last collapse of the band was to throw a group of decent musicians together and continue on the way they had been going. They would have at least gotten decent sales from the original, loyal. But what did he do? He pretty much started all over. New band, new music. He brought in Bill Bruford, fresh off artistic and commercial success of Yes, after telling him it was time to "grow up" (as a musician). On vocal duties is John Wetton, who does a very good job, despite only singing on three of the tracks. His bass is also very good and a bit underrated in my book. It fits nicely on this album. Another change is addition of the violin and viola of David Cross. I can't express how much I enjoy this. It truly holds the album together and is used at the forefront of many of the songs. The improv-based percussion of Jamie Muir also is an imporrtant part of "Larks Tongues". It adds a subtle flavor to much of the music and supposedly he taught a lot to the band, specifically, Bruford. I doubt I need mention who's in charge of guitars. Every person held a critical part on this album. This lineup of five superb musicians resulted in a very special album that comes every once in a while.

The music is just brilliant. The first track is part I of the title track. This starts off with loops of percussion instruments by Muir. It builds up over three minutes and really grabs your attention in wondering where it will lead. Then the violin comes in with its dramatic 5/4 riff until Fripp explodes with heavy guitar parts. This repeats and goes into a jam like state for a while, relying heavily again on the percussion. It ends with very nice and subtle violin.

The vocal songs are excellent as well. Wetton's voice is perfect for the album. There seems to be perfect balance and interludes between experimental parts and vocal passages backed by violin and Fripp's beautiful and powerful guitars. The album finishes with two more instrumentals. "The Talking Drum" utilizes the exotic percussion and violin. The whole song is also one giant crescendo. It goes right into part II of "Larks Tongues", which focus more on Fripp this time. At times, he shares the leading line with the violin and bass. Great finish, though, to a truly perfect album. This is a cornerstone in progressive rock and has evolved into one of my favorites of all time.

Report this review (#141595)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars What a strange album: so much to love, and also so much to irritate.

It takes guts to put out music like this, and for that I applaud Crimson simply for adding this to the land of prog. However, different is not always good, and that's the case here for me. The experimental stuff is not consistently engaging (for me, at least), and the more straightforward numbers by and large suffer from noticeable flaws (vocals among them).

Larks Tongues in Aspic (I). When it's good, it's phenomenal, but unfortunately it's only good for about a third of the song. We've got 3 minutes of basically random noise until the frightening guitar comes in. Then it's over 5 minutes of an absolute BARRAGE of rock: truly bombastic percussion and brilliantly chaotic bass and guitar. There's simply nothing like it elsewhere, and maybe this is the musical equivalent of being in a beseiged city, with 1000 pound bombs dropping and artillery shells raining. Then it dies down and features a meandering violin for a few minutes before the cool (yet anticlimactic) distorted bass finale.

Book of Saturday, Exiles. Tender yet ominous music with a great texture added by the violin, these songs are another highlight of the album, although Wetton's wheezing voice is a definite limitation.

Easy Money, The Talking Drum. Usually 8 minute songs are desirable, but when hardly anything exciting happens throughout, as is the case here, they are just a drag. There's some memorable guitar and a good extended jam on Easy Money, but The Talking Drum is just another forgettable Crimson improv piece.

Larks Tongues in Aspic (II). Crimson finally put it all together here and show that they can rock for more than a few minutes at a time. The riff is relatively simple, but when you throw in those cannons for drums and the violin texture, you get something special...and that's not even including Fripp's often maniacal guitar. Great finish to the album.

I may be committing prog sacriledge, but I'm only going to give 3 stars here. I definitely think this album is worth having for its originality and the excellent parts, but overall there's a lot of average, and even boring, material.

Report this review (#141815)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply, some of the finest music ever etched into vinyl or burned into shiny plastic. It's all here -- a virtual encyclopedia of music.

Oh sure, it starts out innocuously enough, only a little melody played on a kalimba which imperceptibly evolves into a bit of violin and fuzzy guitar suggesting a mere hint of of the usual KC menace, and then LTIA Part 1 explodes, with Fripp hammering power chords which tend to favor the tritone...just in case we weren't sure this was going to be standard KC. What follows is probably my favorite Fripp solo, which initially sounds like he's playing utterly random notes, until you've heard it a few hundred times and come to aurically understand that he's playing themes at hyperspeed that repeat throughout the song. And it just progresses from there:

Book of Saturday: a great KC 'quiet' song. Exiles: a beautiful composition in the tradition of Epitaph. Easy Money: the best pure rock song KC had recorded up to this point. The Talking Drum, a prognostication of what was yet to come in rock and roll.


LTIA, Part 2. As Hunter S. once said, "Mother of Sweating Jesus!" Just when ya think this is the perfect album, the band brings it all up to a new level, and it's not just perfect, it's sublime. Listen to Fripp, Wetton, and Bruford just pounding away. This is Heavy Metal as it was meant to be composed and played. It's as if Fripp is issuing an ultimatum, "Screw Led Zep, screw Black Sabbath, screw all pretenders now and forever, this is the standard you'll have to meet from here on out!"

So, as always, there are possible objections:

Wetton's voice not all that great? Okay, maybe he's straining here and there, does that detract? Umm, no, it's rock and, prog rock. No problem.

A tendency to meander (I'm thinking Talking Drum here)? I don't hear meandering, I hear innovation that will eventually be picked up by Eno, among others. No problem.

Now that we have the objections out of the way, what's the final deal? This is the finest KC album since their first. Bruford and Wetton as a rhythm section totally rejuvinate the band. Fripp's playing is his best in years, obviously buoyed by the new blood. He plays, to use a cliche, like a man possessed. Muir is the most inventive percussionist this side of Dom Um Romao, and Cross knows exactly how to squeeze a violin into the constricts of a loud rock band.

Maybe I'm getting carried away. I've listened to this awesome album at least a thousand times in the past 35 years, but it never disappoints, and even now I come away with a new appreciation of it with each listen. There are not a lot of albums that meet that standard. Simply, essential.

Report this review (#146130)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Truly an incredible album, LTIA is probably KC's second best. The music on here is just so intense. The title track is one of the most powerful instrumentals ever. Part one is a tension builder that ends in one of the greatest releases of all time, part two a great riff oriented piece with some very catchy parts. Book of Saturday is a very relaxing little ballad with this great kind of lamenting guitar that just melts the listener into his seat. Exiles, my favorite track on the album, is one of the greatest, most epic laments of all time with Fripp's most sympathetic guitar playing ever. Easy Money is a funky catchy number, and The Talking Drum is a great eerie groove that evolves into some nice improv. This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest, most powerful albums of all time and truly a masterpiece of progressive music, and I truly do not throw the term around. There are albums that I give 5 stars because they are extremely good, but this is a masterpice, it's a whole 'nother story.
Report this review (#149784)
Posted Friday, November 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson finally matches their debut with this sort of quirky avant garde masterpiece. The album is a bit unusual, and takes some getting used to. First, the music needs to be played loud. It has attitude, and plus the volume brings out the subtleties. Such as the dual drumming between Bruford and Muir. Bruford is mostly the set man, and muir is mostly the auxillary man, but muir is sometimes on a set too. The first track is full of brilliant riffs, melodies, grooves, and whatnot, which are are related in theme, but aren't tied together very cohesively, resulting in what sounds like an inhumanly good improv, but is actually almost all composed. The violen in this album is very tasteful, going from sweet to violent with the music. Fripp sounds better then he ever had previously to this point, with the loose nature of the music giving his extraordinary creativity a chance to shine. Bill Bruford infamously left Yes to join this band on this album, pissing off a good deal of yes fans. However, Bill accomplishes a lot more with king crimson in the future then he ever did with yes, and besides, King crimson is better ;). Jamie Muir is absolutly nuts on this album, in a good way. His creativity is unmatched on this album. This album is missing one element: Peter Sinfield. The lyrics as is are not as great, but are still very good.

Book of Saturday is a beautiful balled, possibly their prettiest balled yet. Exiles is interesting in that it begins with noise, and then transitions into a song, which fades from the various sounds that the band somehow makes. When it comes in full blast, it is very pretty. This song reminds me a bit of the islands album. It features a nice crescendo in it, similar to epitaph, but different in its resolution. Easy money is most memorable to me for it's starting riff, which is delightfully sassy. The whole concept of the song is a huge crescendo, but not before Jamie Muir has a lot of fun with his percussion. It is such a fun song, really. Like ladies of the road, it playfully describes a rock star life style in an over the top style. I love the laugh at the end. The next song is a sort of loose adaptation of the Mars/devils triangle they had performed earlier. This track has an identical structure to mars, and a similar feel, but completly different instrumentation. It features, as you might guess, a talking drum. The drum gets overpowered though. It is very creepy in a way, and is one of my favorite king crimson songs ever. It builds up slowley, with a violen solo over dark music. The song Reflection by tool is very similar to this song in the beginning. This song keeps building up though, with violen and guitar both soloing over a menacing build up of bass, drums, and muir. It keeps building up until it explodes in fireworks. The song is essentially a musical version of an orgasm. Then it segues into the final track, which is heavy metal through and through. It has a rough tribal feel to it, and a sort of driving riff. It is the classic I--I--I-I- -I--I-I--I--I- rhythm which dominates here. The drums are awesome, with muirs clattering stuff at the end really making it drive forward.

This album is absolutly essential to anyone who loves good music.

Report this review (#157418)
Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2008 | Review Permalink

This is my favourite Crimson album, its a hard decisition to take, of course, considering Crimson as one of my favourite bands, and with VDGG, the best of Eclectic prog subgenre.

Well, to explain the geniality of this album, first I will talk about the band members in it, and why they were so important in the make of this piece of art.

Robert Fripp: He was looking for a new band, new artists, and of course, he was developing a new Crimson sound, a demoniac sound that might change every listeners life, and so it was...

John Wetton: A fantastic Bass player at that time, he has the fame of breaking the bass chords, with a rude style and virtuosity; also, a very good singer, that may explote the potential of his voice in King Crimson.

Bill Bruford: He left Yes, after a huge succes with masterpieces Fragile, and Close to the edge. The best drummer of music history (with Carl Palmer). He was Fripps ambition in his new crimson, and he wanted to join crimson as much as he left Yes....THE BAND was becoming real....

David Cross: A violin in crimson? symphonic crimson? not at all, cross combine his violin, with the violin guitar of fripp to create an atmosphere hard to believe.

Jamie Muir: Percusionist, geniality, insanity, this means Jamie Muir, and much more, strange sounds, atmospheres, the perfect partner for bruford drums, and Fripp Guitar; a pity he left the band after this album, but a pleasure to enjoy him in it.


Larks tong in aspic part 1: The first masterpiece of the album, strange sounds, a powerfull riff, the first part of a whole masterpiece, the best one of the album, and one of Crimsons history. Muir is essential, with strange sounds, and effects, and the power of fripp are the highest points of the song. Of course, Cross had a great lavour, Bruford put a great rithm, and wetton joined him.

Book Of saturday: A relax song, to rest our ears after larks, and an introducion to the most beautiful song of crimsons history

Exiles: Another masterpiece, Wetton labour is excellent, the best one in his crimson era with fallen angel (as a singer of course, as a bass player he was always excellent), and Cross work with his violin its also the best one in his crimson era (even shorter than wetton one), a beautiful song, a great melody, and the crimson touch, what more can yo expect!?!??!?!

Easy money: A classic of this era, maybe the more comertial song of the album (IS THIS COMERTIAL!?!?!??!?!) Powerful, balanced, and crazy.

The Talking Drum: As the name says, Bruford and Muir are the main event of this song, the rithm is agressive, also wettons bass is great as fripps guitar (as in the whole album).

Larks tong in aspic part 2: The best finish for these magestousic piece of art, now Fripp is the central part of the song, creating a fantastic guitar session, impossible to forget.....

What more can I say???? I highly recommend this album, it is a must to every prog listener, and should be to everyone, but of course, crimson it is not or everyone, it may change your life....

Report this review (#159783)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wooow! Talk about an hard album to get into, this was my second KC album after the debute and i dont think i culd have picked a worse album as my second KC album then this. It took me a very long long time to get into and understand this, might awell be one of the hardest albums ever for me and still tough i think i have got most of it today some years later i cant realy say i keep finding new stuff with every lisen end keeps growing on me, everyone say that Yes Tales is a hard one, that one was no problem at all compared to this one. Anyway now i think i can safely say that this is a very good KC album surely not the one for the KC beginer to be honest this is one of the last one you shuld get when your realy familar with thiere other ones but if you like a good chalange this is it. The style is hard rock with lots of improvisation violins and crazy drum sounds my favorite songs are Exiles and the Larks tougnges in aspic suit the other songs are good but drag the album down a bit from the masterpice status most other gives it. a good KC album 4 stars however start with the debut, in the wake of poisedon, Islands and Red after thos you might be ready for thisd album and its follow up Starless ansd bilbe black which follows the same patern as this one. I whuld allso gues that Lizard is close to this album in hardness to get into but i bought it after this one so i never hade any real problem with it. However the album is no doubt an excellent addition to any prog music collection a album you simply must hear. And Wetton is a great singer / bassplayer.
Report this review (#160402)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A dive in Great Crimso's most experimental side. Emerging from a doubtful past (a continuosly changing line up, an uncertain album like Islands...) King Crimson rises again with new, awesome musicians: John Wetton's (previously in Family) mellow and pleasant vocals- along with a good bass guitar playing style, David Cross' twisting violin, Bill Bruford's precise and crazy drumming and the misteriuos percussive presence of James Muir. And, not to be forgotten, this is definately a guitar-oriented album, with Fripp's peculiar soloism flowing through all the songs like it rarely had done previously. It can be seen in the two parts of Lark's tongue in Aspic, a free jazz edged, confounding jam where his guitar battles with all the other instruments, especially Cross' violin. It's quite a difficult piece to get into, one of the most extreme numbers by King Crimson. But even a song like Exiles- appaerently nearer to a more traditional scheme- stands in its beauty: it begins with weird sounds followed by a blissful passage with Fripp's acoustic arpeggios and Cross' mellow and classical melodies, and Wetton recalling warm memories from the past. Easy money is a jazzy superbe number: Fripp bites hard with crunchy and bitter riffs and clean, bizarre solos, and the band overall creates a wild and urban atmosphere. The Talking drum is, as the title track, a strange and good jam with great contribuitions by every member. And don't forget the pleasant and short interlude after LTIA part 1, Book of Saturndays, it's easy to miss among all these long and complex songs. A great album, maybe not as the following Starless and Bible Black and Red, but a good warm up and creative effort to get prepared to them. Don't miss it.
Report this review (#161340)
Posted Saturday, February 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I really tried to love this album, as ITCOTCK and Lizard were revelations to me, but I cannot stop pressing the fast forward button. Too much melodic percussion, too many uninspired impovisations, too many and long smooth parts, the cacophony moments of the violin, the struggle of Wetton to stay in tune. I find Lark's Tongues I, Exiles, Easy Money and Talking Drum unnecessary long. Lark's Tongues II is a magnificent piece, although I would prefer it with shorter soft passages, with less melodic (random?) percussion and with a less annoying violin solo sound, but to my humble opinion, it cannot take the whole of the album on its shoulders. I would say that this LP sounds like a brain-storming rehearsal for something more cohesive in the future: Red maybe...
Report this review (#161763)
Posted Thursday, February 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This record represents a sample of art-rock at its very finest.

The overall mood of this record is dark and mellow but VERY organic. It has a characteristic that's quite its own and for that alone it merits a higher than average rating. It's VERY unique in the way that the dynamics are used to create emotional crescendos and bridging slower, acoustic sections with more aggressive electric passages. MASTERFUL in that regard.

However, I will point to what I think it's the albums major flaw:

This album suffers severely from poor track sequencing. I would NOT have chosen LTIA as the opener of the album, since there are MUCH stronger pieces that would have set a better tone for the rest of the CD(Easy Money is one example or better yet LTIA part II....or even Talking Drum). The opening track winds and turns and soars and crashes and gets light then dark, fast and slow but it doesn't create either an atmosphere or a mood that sets the tone for the rest of the album. It's just bland randomness. It would have served a better purpose to place LTIA somewhere in the middle of the album; or even at the very end. It's a good song to drift off and sleep to!

Flaws with the opening track and sequencing aside, this is a VERY strong KC effort. The pieces that are good are EXCELLENT and some are CLASSICS(Book of Saturday and Easy Money)

Wetton's vocals are my favorite feature of this recording. He sings in a very convincing yet raw style that makes the listener believe that what he''s saying is something he's personally experienced. His bass playing is also very prominent and in your face! There are parts where the bass is so strong and nasty that it merits raising the volume to the where the woofers start to crackle. As another reviewer mentioned, this record MUST be played loud. Mandatory to do so.

Brufford's drumming on Easy Money is nasty, tight and LOUD! He's not tapping away like he did on Close To The Edge or Fragile. He hits his kit with everything he' s got on this song!

As he did on most of the KC records from this time period, Fripp plays screechy, distorted guitar with angular lines and crying solos. The closing track is a CLASSIC Fripp piece where he creates an industrial chordal march that should please the most ardent hard proggers.

A FOUR STAR effort by KC and a record that keeps getting better and better with age. Specially if you're willing to burn the CD to mp3s and rearrange the sequencing by taking the first song and placing it ELSEWHERE!

Report this review (#165808)
Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars King Crimson. A band I instantly fell in love with after hearing Red. And yet a band that can be so alarmingly disappointing that it hurts. Because shameless experimentation, brave and ground-breaking as it might be, isn't always my cup of tea. Melody and structure makes me a happier man. With Starless and Bible Black and its extensive improvised live jamming, the real 'songs' on the album were the only things that saved it from a negative review. And those songs are among my all time favourites.

The funny thing is that on Larks' Tongue In Aspic, it's almost the exact opposite. The two parts of the title piece is truly amazing and, for a change, actually feel like they have a direction. Thus, a rare (for me) song-by-song review is required.

Starting with a great xylophone-dominated part, Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part I is just something special. One of those moments you know you're in for a real treat. And via some sinister Fripp-work and strings you're soon nailed to the wall by such an ear-shattering heavy riff that it just blows your socks off! And sure, this aggressiveness is a very integral part of the whole KC experience and one of the greatest assets in making their sound so utterly boundless in time. It feels perfectly fresh. While the following cacophony might appear way to free-form to some (which should include me...), I think it's a tight, frantic and very interesting combination of great percussion, drums, bass and on top of everything the nervous, wandering guitar of Robert Fripp.

Indeed, the title suite is pure bliss if you like to hear some talented musicians. Bill Bruford is everywhere together with percussionist Jamie Muir and the impressive bass playing of John Wetton, who also fills the role as vocalist. I stand in awe wondering how it's possible to keep the instruments synchronized, and for some time mr. Fripp actually finds himself overshadowed by his rythm section.

After such an intense experience, it's only healthy with a long violin passage. Painful, screaming tones makes it sound very desolate, nothing more than a vague touch of percussion (and perfection) accompanies the lone cry of the instrument. Suddenly, after a dark crescendo, it all finishes just as quietly as it began.

No wonder it's hard accepting Book of Saturday after that. A typical Crimson ballad, if there ever was one, not far from Lament on Starless and Bible Black. It's beautiful, melancholic and surely one of Wetton's better vocal performances but feels...a little flat? While Lament had a certain edge, this one just lacks it. Pretty much the same outline for Exiles, but since it's a lot longer, there's also a lot more space for the song to grow. Consider it the upgraded version of Book Of Saturday, with tasteful guitar, piano and violin. The Mellotron is really nice here and all I can say is - atmosphere. Feel it.

Then we have the two songs Easy Money and The Talking Drum. While neither is bad, they both have serious trouble taking off. After the promising start of the former, it gets a little stuck in the mud, conjuring up images of a Fripp noodling along with closed eyes, while the rest of the band just follows, with little or no space to do something really good. And how fun is it to listen to a drum beat with just one bassline over it for seven and a half minutes, even with a massive violin-coated ending?

After all these so-so moments it all falls into place once more on Larks Tongue In Aspic, Part II. So once again this is a KC album which gives me very mixed feelings. Charming as that may be, it would be highly unfair to rate this very high for loving the title suite. It is better than Starless and Bible Black though, and that means 3.5 stars.


Report this review (#165906)
Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars STUNNING , THE CREATIVE SOURCE OF progressive . Glorious , Lark's tongues in aspict was released in 1973 ,it was simply one of few albums released that time ,((( Nameless ))))) . In my opinion progressive rock was created at that time . Experimental kind of music that the very few of listener can tolerate at that period . It took me from 1974 till 2008 to discover what the meaning of this giant work , every new day comes with new dimensions ,it opens windows consisting of turning points against the future & the past . Also it's not easy at all to review this album track by track , it's not an easy going work . From Aspic part 1 , book of saturdays ,exiles ,easy money , the talkin drum & asic part2 , are all one track , Amazing work , by the best team ever known in the world of progressive , fripp , brufford, cross , wetton & muir . this work simply touch your feelings if you're a musician yourself . I'm in fact 54 years all , and i'm living around this planet since 1953 , So , nothing before & nothing after this album needs your attention more than this amazing work proggers . i was brief in this review , i'm sure that Crimson's Aspic can be reviewed by itself . 5 STARS for all tracks with no exception . And , one extra brilliant star in addition to the rate from an honest old man . Tracking Tracks of Rock . tracks toni
Report this review (#166045)
Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5 stars, really .

This will be a short review, what can I say about this album that hasn't been said before? . Larks' Tongues in Aspic is the most experimental album from King Crimson, and my favorite from the Wetton era. This album is excellent, with subtle instrumentations, heavy sounding sections, awesome drumming and use of percussions, some contemporary classical moods at times and great vocals. King Crimson's most well known instrumental songs like The Talking Drum and Lark's Tongues in Aspic Part I and II. Also Book of Saturday-Exiles-Easy Money are awesome, great lyrics and great singing.

King Crimson prove with this album to be ahead of it's time, a tendency that will continue in the next incarnations of the band. Truly an awesome album. Be sure to get it!

Report this review (#168984)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this is the most complete and complex experimental-rock made ever..

Really the best line-up of the band, not only for Bill Bruford and John Wetton, great historic members that Fripp will keep in the band for other two discs, but also for the hypnotic sound generated from the violin of Cross and from the percussions of Muir, that realized different atmosphere (sometimes oriental and acoustic psychedelic) that made this album a masterpiece of art in general.

In this work, Fripp is mature, we can ear this. John Wetton is breathtaking on the voice and on the bass. Bill bruford and Jamie Muir are two genius of drums pattern. And David Cross a master of violin melodies.

a masterpiece with no doubt.

Report this review (#169028)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There is no doubt that the fifth album from King Crimson called Larks´ Tongues in Aspic bears witness to a significant change in King Crimson´s sound. There are more avant garde tendencies and dissonant notes here than on previous albums and the music has become much more heavy with loud bass and Bill Bruford´s brilliant drumming.

The whole lineup has been changed since Islands except for Robert Fripp of course, and I think it´s one of the main reasons for the change in sound. The new blood includes former Yes drummer Bill Bruford, bassist and vocalist John Wetton and violinist David Cross. There are also a percussionist on Larks' Tongues in Aspic called Jamie Muir.

The music is very dark and there are none of the hippie ideals that sometimes occured on the previous albums here on Larks' Tongues in Aspic. The second era of Kind Crimson´s career begins with this album. This is indeed a very groundbreaking prog rock album but I must say that IMO it lacks some real good song writing. There are way too much noodling and trivial noises throughout the album which is what I would call avant garde. The most significant change in King Crimson´s sound is the addition of David Cross though as the violin is omnipresent throughout the album which to me is both good and bad news.

Much of Larks' tongues in aspic part one which lasts for 13:36 minutes is made up of those trivial noises and some avant garde violin playing that hurts my ears. When there is some structure in the song it´s really brilliant though. From the moment the heavy guitar part sets in this song is a prog rock classic. The good part only lasts for a very short while out of the 13:36 minutes though and it´s not satisfying to me.

The next two songs Book of Saturdays and Exiles are allright and they serve as an introduction to John Wetton´s voice which I have never liked much. Toneless and flat IMO. Both songs are good without being anything special.

Easy Money is one of the very good songs here and to me this is the second best song here. It´s a great track with a great solo.

The talking drum on the other hand is the worst track here. Why on earth did they smoke all that weed before mixing this song. The volume control is totally wrong. The song starts so quit that I can´t hear anything unless I turn the volume all the way up. But if I keep the volume there by the end of the song I will blow the roof of my house as the volume is gradually turned up through the song. Besides that problem the song in itself is a useless jam in my ears.

The real gem here is without a doubt Larks' tongues in aspic part two which would be the only song on Larks´ Tongues in Aspic that would make it unto a best of King Crimson album if I had to chose. It´s wonderful dark and heavy with the coolest bassline and great drumming. The guitar riff might well be the world´s first tech metal riff. This is a masterpiece.

The musicians are outstanding everyone of them and the sound quality is also very good.

This is an album that divides King Crimson´s fans for sure. Fans of the first four albums sometimes have a hard time with the new sound while others see this as a great renewal and feels Larks' tongues in aspic is a great step forward for the band. I´m ambivalent as I like the new dark and heavy approach but on the other hand I don´t like the avant garde moments that are too many and fills too much of the album´s playing time. My personal opinion is that this is only for the fans and that it doesn´t deserve more than 2 stars but I will recognize that significance Larks' tongues in aspic has had on progressive rock and give it 3.

Report this review (#169192)
Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the must-have-prog-albums of all times! With a very agressive line-up, Crimson started another round of Crimsonism in only 3 years of existence. Fripp called the fat-bassist Wetton, the agressive & technicist Bruford, the avant-gardist Cross & the lunatic Muir to record a formidable effort in the otherwise simply called avant-garde rock. Fripp and colleagues started a new way to heat the prog rock with atonal incursions into jazzy veins, hard-angular guitar riffs & disconnected percussions mixed with trully beautiful symphonic Crimson. The two parts of the title track are memorable anthems of this mid-70´s-Crimson: nut-notes into a hurricane of ferocious Fripp-Bruford interludes. Wetton also display beautiful & melancholic Crimsonism in Book of Saturday and in the epic and mellotronic Exiles. Fripp just tried to adventure himself in a groundbraking rock territory - the experimentalism: and he did it very well. He choosed the right guys, in the right place, at the right time.


Report this review (#170110)
Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
5 stars Review 28, Larks Tongues In Aspic, King Crimson, 1973


This is not only the King Crimson album, but the album. Experimental in the extreme, flawless throughout, continually providing challenges, bizarre visions and layers for the listener. From the gentle xylophone-led opening to its swelling, tidal conclusion, we move through several styles and atmospheres, emotion flowing freely from all the musicians. Not an album to be judged instantly, and one that needs a lot of time, consideration and energy to appreciate to its fullest, but . I love every single second of it, can't bring myself to question the validity of the pieces, and can attach an idea, a flowing vision, sane or not, to each moment.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic part one begins with a gentle xylophone, which continues with some unusual variations on the basic idea and some tingling and ascending percussion and humming mellotron additions, gradually and calmly building a soundscape of fragrant and exotic ideas. The tingling percussion gives way to a mantric violin, a snarling guitar from Fripp, and a combination of manic percussion gives way to a burst of raw guitar aggression. Swirling variations on the guitar and fanatical mellotron lead up to a second and equally powerful emotional explosion. Fripp contributes a curious, intricate solo while the percussionists and John Wetton combine forces to add an even richer exoticism. Next we are treated to a demonically inspired rhythm section showcase with Fripp providing some accompanying driven guitar reminiscent of Sailor's Tale. Suddenly everything disappears, leaving David Cross's lone violin dreaming out some distant romance. A harp-like sound drifts in, before the gentle violin vanishes to German voices, a forceful violin and driving Bruford percussion, Fripp shows up on both acoustics and electrics as the piece glides along to a beautiful percussion end. Fully progressive, with no seams or rifts between the soft or loud sections. No bridges required, no moments of relaxation, just pure musical ideas. Jamie Muir's title describes the piece perfectly, an exotic journey from start to finish.

Book Of Saturday follows in on the gentle end of Larks', with a crystalline acoustic guitar part weaving into John Wetton's heartfelt bass and a delicate, virtuoso violin. John Wetton's clear, distintive vocals convey the real sense of loss and uncertainty from Richard Palmer-James gorgeous lyrics. The careful interplay between the three musicians is flawless throughout, developing ideas, . Gorgeous violin brings the song to a close.

The chaotic opening of the lengthier Exiles, with its distorted mellotron-voices and wedges of thick sound, conveys another, almost-martial atmosphere, a forceful segregation from society. A strong violin and cymbal-touches lead in to the main theme, combining an improvised violin with a humming bass that seems to alter the emphasis of the violin, a full, yet unobtrusive drum part from Bruford (I presume), and some dancing acoustics from Fripp. Richard Palmer-James lyrics are richly sung by Wetton. As the song continues, we move through a number of ideas, receiving tragic solos from Fripp (on electrics) and Cross. A tragic mellotron build-up more reminiscent of Epitaph leads to a curious acoustic from Fripp. There's a real feeling of absence of definition. Deserted, empty, echoing, and emotional. Another absolute masterpiece.

Easy Money leaps sarcastically in, providing an opportunity for Jamie Muir (and indeed the whole band) to have some more fun with his bizarre percussion. John Wetton provides a thick, jumpy bass sound, while Bruford experiments with a more hollow percussion set and Fripp flexes his sense of humour with some self-parodying solos. David Cross is presumably responsible for the gleeful mellotron-butchery we see in places. The band slowly and carefully escalate from the sparse punchiness of the song's first part through a complete instrumental workout to a masterly return, with Wetton's exuberant vocals and a typically bizarre Cross violin striking out over a development of the earlier verse. A mad laugh brings the song to its conclusion. Great music, and I suspect the musicians had as much fun making it as I did listening to it. Masterpiece.

The Talking Drum took the longest of any of the pieces to make its impression on me. Still, it has done so, with a fast bongo and Wetton's bass, which manages to provide the illusion of consistency, leaving room for Cross and Fripp to improvise powerfully over the top with sometimes independent and sometimes intertwined ideas. The piece develops gradually with Wetton and Bruford/Muir giving increasingly heavier and more substantial sections. Not at all easy for me to describe, but truly brilliant.

Suddenly, Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt. 2 breaks in with its thick guitar riff and a shapeshifting rhythm section that doesn't stay still. The parts change so frequently that it's futile to list the changes. Wetton takes a brief bass solo as well as being the vehicle for a lot of the changes in the music. Muir gets to play around with metal sheets, among other things, creating a spiralling percussion duo. David Cross gives out the some of the strangest sounds I've ever heard on a violin, squeaking dissonantly. The heavily-rocking song slowly builds up to the most bloated, powerful conclusion I've yet heard, throbbing out with everyone contributing. A piece where the subtleties may initially be hidden by the sheer noise, but once they reveal themselves, they'll delight on every single relisten.

Rating: Six Stars. This is my favourite album. A quintessential masterpiece of prog rock.

Favourite Track: All of them, but Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt. 1 and Exiles might be chosen if I'm forced to pick.

Warning: I don't have the intelligence to distinguish between a violin and a viola. My review may be compromised.

Report this review (#170598)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply stated, this album rocks out harder than any other KC albums preceding it. Here, they were completely reinventing themselves, creating intense softer passages that build into climaxes! The work of David Cross and his violin give the album a greater sense of immediacy. Many people, myself included, find the first generation KC albums boring. This isn't true for the second gen albums. How could anyone be bored by this album; it's totally phenomenal. Highly Recommended!
Report this review (#170835)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably my favorite King Crimson album. A like this one for a number of reasons: 1) It has great experimentation, and a creative, positive and truly inspired atmosphere. There are a great variety of sounds and instruments throughout the album, including the wonderfully creative percussion of Jamie Muir. The band in my opinion truly reaches a high point here and the magic that is created here had not and would not find itself present to this degree on any other album of theirs. 2) It is very versatile. The album contains the great emotive, violin-, mellotron- and acoustic guitar-laden Exiles, the very experimental work of genius Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part I, its heavy but still experimental counterpart Part II, the nice ballad Book of Saturday, the buildup jam The Talking Drum, and the powerful, experimental jam-encapsulating Easy Money. 3) Every song on here is great. I can easily listen to this all the way through, as well as many times over and still enjoy and appreciate it. It is the Crimson album that has worn least on me, while Red has worn a lot. I appreciate Red, probably my 2, but it has grown somewhat tiresome for me, mainly because of the continuously heavy (and mostly only three-instrument) climate of the first three songs and their relatively simple song structure, as well as the imbalanced, inconsistent nature of the album. Tough call on some days though (Starless is great!).

All together, this is a magnificent and nearly essential album. Great stuff.

Report this review (#170856)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars I don't understand why so many people think this is a masterpiece album. In my opinion, there is only one song on this album that is really good all the way through, and that is Book of Saturday; a nice little song, but nothing remarkable (like the excellent Starless from the next album, for example). "Exiles" is also a pretty good track, with some nice parts. "Easy Money" starts out good, but soon drifts away into improvisational territory. (John Wetton have performed this song live recently, with his solo band, as can be seen on his great live DVD Amorata. In my opinion the Amorata live version of "Easy Money" is much better, than on this original album. BTW, Book of Saturday is also performed on Amorata).

So far so good, nothing bad, but nothing remarkable either. "Talking Drum", however, is a completely pointless, very repetitive, meandering instrumental (reminds me a bit of Hawkwind). And then there is the title track. Divided up in two parts, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" takes up about 20 minutes of this album. The first part has too much of a jam character to it to be considered good in my opinion. It lacks focus. And it really isn't enough with one good riff to fill over 14 minutes of music! The second part is much better than the first, but it is still based on one riff only, and some improvisational variation on that one riff. Not enough to make a masterpiece in my opinion, yet alone an album that is good all the way through.

There are some good parts here for sure, but they are too few and too far in between to make this a good album overall. The people involved in this album, Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Robert Fripp himself are all people I respect. But I think they have all done much better work on other albums. Bruford with Yes and UK; Wetton with Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, UK and Asia; Fripp with the excellent In the Court of the Crimson King album. In the Court of the Crimson King was a groundbreaking masterpiece, Larks' Tongues in Aspic is not!

Report this review (#177339)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite King Crimson album, and the only ony deserving a 5 in my opinion. This album is so powerful, dark and creative. Lark's Tongue, the 20 minute exposition is a true progressive epic, bordering classical composition more than rock music. Definitely not something easy to listen to at first, but with patience, it's hard to deny that this is a classic of prog rock. Exiles is another personal favorite, such a true expression of emotion. Easy money is also an excellant track, and Book of Saturdays is not to be overlooked due to it's short length. Amazing album, worthy of a 5.
Report this review (#177573)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Lark's Tongues In Aspic begins with Part One of the title track and we are immediately transported into the world of King Crimson: a world of jazz fusion, eclectic musicianship and wild virtuosity. In simpler terms - definitive prog rock. Glockenspial style bells are played, almost sounding like air chimes that you sometimes see outside people's homes that chime when the wind blows. But underlying this a strange twisted shimmering can be heard, and it's growing louder and louder. The bells cut out and the 'Psycho' style violin locks in as Fripp's tortured fuzz guitar blazes. The drums are erratic as ever and the sound is almost like a free jazz festival. The violin sounds similar to Van der Graaf's "The Quiet Zone/ The Pleasure Dome" in some respects, perhaps VDGG were influenced by LTIA.

Cross, Bruford, Wetton, Muir and Fripp - a super group of immeasurable proportion and more influential to prog rock than most of the other bands the early 70s had to offer. This is experimental rock at its most profound. On every level the album causes us to question the function of music. There are lyrics, sung by Wetton, but they are subdued and overshadowed by the incredible instrumental prowess of the Crim's. There is even an oriental feel, with viola and mellotron. The dynamics of the album are second to none, moments of tranquil beauty, Cross's sparse violin, the true essence of minimalism, is punctuated by sudden bursts of jagged guitar and drums.

Other tracks of note are 'Easy Money' and 'Exiles' but nothing compares to the end track, 'Lark's Tongues In Aspic, Part Two. This track features a killer riff that virtually tears through the melancholy nature of the track. Bruford's drums pound relentlessly sometimes without a discernible rhythm, at other times in the drums are in time to what is left of the beat that has been mangled by spurts of guitar and bass. It's a tour-de-force of verbal soundscapes that astound the ears and reinvent music as a medium for atmospherics: a sublime patchwork of electronica and rock carefully interwoven with visceral violins and percussion vibes. The remastered Lark's Tongues In Aspic is flawed in places but still remains a must purchase for 'Crimsonites' and prog rock fans alike.

Report this review (#177739)
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Happy-go-lucky experimentalism.

King Crimson will always earn my artistic respect simply because they kept reinventing themselves. Those that loved the symphonic beauty of the debut will be in for a sore awakening. Only ''Book of Saturday'' and ''Exiles'' carry any similar vibe to those days; both are pretty good but not overly strong pieces of balladry.

The real meat of the album comes from the heavy sound punctuated by Fripp's guitar dexterity, Bruford's kit and Wetton's bass effects. Of particular mention of where this sound is used at best is the middle of the first ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' part. ''The Talking Drum'' also employs this sound to the fullest even if the song has to develop for five minutes to do so. As for the others, ''Easy Money'' sounds like a jammy rock song and the second part of ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' has a heavy metal vibe.

It has the experimental edge, hard hitting guitar work, and ''stick-to-one-idea'' song development that I enjoy out of progressive rock. More traditional progsters won't like the noise, though.

Report this review (#178205)
Posted Friday, July 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1973 signaled the start of a new era for King Crimson. After sacking Boz Burrell, Mel Collins, and Ian Wallace, KC guitarist Robert Fripp was looking to form a new lineup. John Wetton, formerly of the band Family, replaced Burrell on vocals and bass. David Cross, a violinist was brought in as well. To complete the percussion section, ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford joined along with percussionist Jamie Muir. This album would prove to definitely be one of their most aurally significant out of their entire discography.

The album opens with the instrumental title track "Lark's Tongues in Aspic Part 1". After hearing a quiet intro dotted with the sounds of marimbas andchimes we hear Cross's eerie violin playing entering the picture. After what sounds like the themeto the infamous Psycho shower scene, Fripp's bombastic guitar playing enters the picture tearing open the quiet canvas we were treated to before. After that destructive piece, we are treated once again to a soft moment with the second track and shortest on the album "Book of Saturday". Wetton's vocals are mournful and are accompanied by a bluesy guitar piece and wailing violin.

"Exiles", the third song starts out with some discordant noise before Cross enters with his usual tortured violin playing and Wetton literally screaming the vocals, sounding like an exiled refugee himself. Exiles is actually quite a beautiful sounding song and proves that King Crimson is quite capable of putting together some lovely pieces of music rather than sounding like a dark moody group. "Easy Money" the next song is a hard rocking foot stomping rocker with Wetton scatting along to the music. It has some interesting percussive backing, with what sounds like castanets being played. The song ends with ten seconds of maniacal laughter, as if the Crimson King himself is making an appearance. The fifth song "The Talking Drum" is a fascinating song. It opens with the tribal drumming we've heard so far on this album and leads into a Middle Eastern tinged violin driven melody. Wetton's bass chugs along as this instrumental song spirals out of control.

The sixth and final song is another instrumental and the sequal to the first song. "Lark's Tongues in Aspic Part II" is a very heavy dark piece where the guitar and violins keep going higher and higher before reaching a thunderous conclusion. Fripp sounds as if his guitar amp has been possessed by some unnatural force and the rest of the band plays along effortlessly. This is quite an astounding end to an already astounding album.

This album I feel is one of the essentials to progressive rock, mainly due to the heavy blend of intricate percussion, violin, rhythmic bass and snakey guitar work. If you're going to get a King Crimson album, this is definitely a must have.

Report this review (#182879)
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Following the mildly disappointing release (to many) of Islands, King Crimson returned to form with the impressive and experimental Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Bracketed by the two instrumental title tracks, this album is the first to feature the classic vocal stylings of famous John Wetton (also well known for his role in Asia). However, due mostly to the title tracks, this album is mostly instrumental, and you won't get nearly as good of a showcasing of Wetton's supreme singing ability until, in truth, Red. This release is a wonderful gap bridger, looking back on Lizard and forward to Red. The aggression dives in and out of the songs here, but instead of sitting among melancholic sections, it plays between melodic and creative bits. Robert Fripp's guitar is on fire here, too, and fans of his more extravagant abilities should certainly look here sooner than into any of the albums the band release prior to this one.

The first Larks' Tongues track is the longer one (and, out of the four total present on different albums [the third being on Three of a Perfect Pair and the fourth on ConstruKction of Light], this is the longest total) of the two present here, and it also is the better constructed, in my opinion. Some really neat percussion marks the intro before King Crimson's heaviest and most evil riff until 2003's Dangerous Curves. The song builds and falls, builds and falls for its remainder, featuring some really neat bits but still struggling to find its identity as a song. Book of Saturday arrives next, and it's a sweet and gentle little ballad bit, something very much straightforward to realign the band and the audience after the thirteen minute onslaught of the opening track. The final track on side one, Exiles, is another mellower piece with nice vocals from Wetton and some spectacular drumming from Bruford. The acoustic guitar is nice and the violin nicer, but on the whole, it is a slightly uninspiring tune.

Side two begins with Easy Money, the most aggressive and accessible tune on the album. Deep tom work by Bruford and a heavily distorted main guitar riff back a powerful intro. The tune meanders in an almost AOR sort of way, reminding me a lot of early Black Sabbath without being remotely unoriginal. A solid guitar solo in the middle continues this feel and builds the song back to a stunning conclusion. A very fun track, probably the most since Cirkus off Lizard. The next track, The Talking Drum, just happens to feature some of the most impressive drumming Bruford did not only with Crimson but out of any musical act he found himself in. This song builds very, very slowly, but it comes to a splendid climax. Lastly, the album closes with the second part of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, which is still neat and still features some frenetic fret work by Fripp (no alliteration intended), but is overall not as inspiring or powerful as the first part.

In the end, this is a wonderful Crimson album to have, though it still is weaker than several other of their 70s releases. Most the album is instrumental, so fans of that side of King Crimson need to buy this.

Report this review (#185136)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator

Say what? OK, I'm not sure if it is because I live in the United States, or if it is because I didn't start listening to progressive rock music until the late 1980's but as I remember it I really didn't know who King Crimson was, other than that they were the 21st Century Schizoid band. On the other hand, I was then and I am still a really huge Yes fan. Being a Yes fan, I am on a mission to collect all albums that Yes and former Yes members appear on. A highly unlikely goal since there are so many, and many of them are out of print, but it was fairly easy to find albums from Bill Bruford's side band King Crimson. Yes, I know that this is Robert Fripp's band, and that this is the 5th King Crimson album with the 5th different lineup, but for me it was just another band that I needed to collect for the Yes collection.

As usual, Robert Fripp plays guitar and mellotron on this album, but joining him in the band for the first time was the lineup of Bill Bruford on drums, John Wetton on bass guitar and vocals, David Cross on violin, and Jamie Muir on percussion. In addition, Richard Palmer-James replaced Peter Sinfield as the band's lyricist. This album consists of 6 songs and is quite simply a progressive rock masterpiece. Bill Bruford makes his presence known very quickly on the opening instrumental track Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One, which starts off with Jamie Muir showing his chops on percussion. This is followed by the mellow Book of Saturdays, which clocks in at two and a half minutes and is the only song on the album not over seven minutes. This song as well as the next two feature John Wetton's fabulous voice on lead vocals. The last two songs, The Talking Drum and Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two, are both splendid instrumentals. Although, the song is called The Talking Drum, it is not a drum solo as one might expect. All band members participate in this song, and it seems to me that the lead instrument is actually David Cross on violin. The final track, Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two, is also an instrumental that features all band members. If you listen closely enough during the songs the band makes noises reminiscent to the sound that larks might make.

When I first started writing reviews for PA over a year ago, I had a goal to review all of the King Crimson albums. This was to be a way for me to get to know King Crimson better as a band, since they are probably the giant prog band that I know the least about. Since then I have also learned that there are quite a few classic prog bands that I am not that familiar with. Anyhow, I previously reviewed the first four albums and then I stopped. Ironically, I reviewed Islands exactly one year to the day that I am reviewing this album. Hopefully, I will review the others before another year has passed.

Anyhow, I am giving this album 5 stars. Larks' Tongues In Aspic is most definitely an essential album for Progressive Rock fans, and a masterpiece of progressive music. A must have for all prog rock fans.

Report this review (#187299)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson - 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic' 5 stars

One of the most experimental albums to date.

The opening track, 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part One)', is still a song that has yet to be topped with bringing a completely new sound to music such as this one did. The wonderful new additions to the King Crimson name were almost too tough to handle. Arguably, the best drummer to ever live, Bill Bruford, was now in the ranks. Patrick Muir's unconventional percussion skills were enlisted as well. The biggest addition would go to John Wetton, for his heavily distorted bass, which is an instrument that never stood out in the Crimson mix, along with his nice vocal works. The first part of the title track puts the heaviness in '21st Century Schizoid Man' to absolute shame. The rhythm section by Bruford and Wetton was tough to top also.

David Cross had yet again more significant contributions. His distorted/delayed work on 'Book of Saturdays' was just perfect, making that a really short and sweet track. The three middle tracks, all around the same length of time, gave some decent sized varying works, really heavy on the newly found rhythm section.

The last track which is part two of the title is again superb. It is the most 'songly structured' pieces of all the experimental and avant-garde like tracks on the album.

This album is absolutely unbelievable and could still stand up as one of the most unique of its time.for all time.

Report this review (#190363)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not unlike most King Crimson albums, Larks' Tongues in Aspic is an extremely forward-thinking and influential masterpiece of rock music. You can hear the jazz-metal riffage and percussive arrangements of bands like the Mars Volta on the first title track alone (now that's influential)! Without Larks' Tongues... and the magnificent Red, prog metal may not even exist. But that's beside the point: Larks' Tongues... is pretty much the only album of its kind and pushed the boundaries of rock in ways not previously imaginable. The first instrument one hears as they pop the disc into their CD player is an mbira (a.k.a. finger piano) played by the one and only Jamie Muir. After a while, other sounds such as bells and maybe some squeaky violin join the mix and it builds to a heavy as $#[email protected] riff courtesy of Robert Fripp. That is only the beginning of part one of the title track. Next is Book of Saturday a short jazzy-rock-pop ballad with some cool backward guitar. The following track is Exiles which I don't much care for but it features mellotron and David Cross' violin. After that is my favorite song on the album Easy Money which shows off the amazing improvisational skills of the dual percussion section (prog drum legend Bill Bruford and the aforementioned Jamie Muir). A pair of mindblowing instrumental tracks close the album: The Talking Drum and Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two. The former number builds over a sinister but grooving bass line and a solid drum beat with Cross and Fripp playing off each other and interweaving until a climax of what sounds like shrieking saxophones. Then the intense Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two begins. This song is full of catchy distorted guitar riffs, complex drumming, and the clunking and clanging of sheet metal. It is probably one of the best Crimson instrumentals in their entire catalog and is a more than appropriate close to an album that is beyond exceptional. Any fan of music should listen to Larks' Tongues in Aspic for its inventiveness, ground-braking improvisations, and eclectic blend of musical genres.
Report this review (#190788)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A number of excellent reviews of this recording are already present and I shall not belabor you with another love letter. With the name of this reviewer, it is doubtful that you will believe you will receive an evenhanded review. You are probably correct. It suffices to say, however, that descriptive words cannot adequately paint the picture of the musical experience here. This recording represents Crimson at its most daring, experimental and virtuosic. If one has to find one flaw in the album, it is the thinness of Wetton's vocals in a number of areas. The musicianship of the entire band, however is unquestionable and this record broke new ground. The only way to get a sense of it, however, is to listen to it.
Report this review (#191816)
Posted Thursday, December 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This happens to be the first King Crimson album that I ever listened to, and what a strange one it is. The only reason why I am not giving this five stars is because that I think it might be a little inaccessible for some and Wetton's vocals sound strained in the higher register on Book of Saturday, Exiles, and Easy Money. Besides that, I think this is one of my favorite albums and definitely one of the most creative albums I've ever heard. The Lark's Tongues in Aspic suite is just great. I love when the violin comes in with that driving riff before the distorted guitar part kicks in. Book of Saturday is just a beautiful tune, showcasing Fripp's sense of touch on the guitar. I like Exiles a lot, too, but Easy Money is, pardon the pun, easily the single off this album. The lyrics in the song are great, and you've gotta love Wetton's bass tone. It's just so freaking punchy and growly. King Crimson was lucky to have a handful of great bassists play for them, but Wetton is my favorite (just inching out Tony Levin). Wetton just had a style that was ballsy, in-your-face, and aggressive; it gets me every time, especially on the Red album. Anyway, this early seventies incarnation of King Crimson is my favorite, along with the modern day Crimson. Both of these lineups give the middle finger to accessibility and try not to push the envelope, but go to war on it. I love this album, but I find myself listening to Red and Starless and Bible Black more because I think those were more mature albums that continued to explore the sound that was created in this monumental album.
Report this review (#192191)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Easy Money is the weakest track on this record (and was weak as well in live concerts from the line-up of the Whetton era, IMO). Highlights from this record include Larks' Tongues in Aspic parts I and II, which are among the best pieces that King Crimson has ever written. Exiles is an excellent, very beautiful ballad. (No offense, I don't think it's very prog, apart from it's symphonic characteristics.)

To me, this album is important in that it marks the beginning of really radical song construction as compared to their earlier efforts. I agree with some of the other reviewers on this site that Whetton's voice is strained and flat (especially on Exiles). In spite of such minor defects (including the relative weakness of Easy Money), this is still a masterpiece.

Report this review (#196367)
Posted Monday, December 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars King Crimsons's second truly masterpiece. When robert Fripp came back with this new version of his band, the expectations were high: after all it included Yes recent departed drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruffod, ex Family bassist John Wetton, classical violinist David Cross and fabulous percussionist Jamie Muir. With such line up one could only hope for a great work, but, boy, could anyone guess it'd be that great?

Lark's Tongues In Aspic is one of the very few records I know that can blend avant guarde music, free jazz, eletronic, prog, pop and even metal into something that is at the same time unsual, groundbreaking and still accesible. That may explains why such a 15 year old like me enjoyed the album so much a the time. In fact, I almost worn out my vinyl copy. And, believe me, I was never one to like complicated, atonal music.

The secret seems to be the fact that even on its most intricated moments KC music here was focused and convincing, while their most commercial stuff was too sophisticated for the untrained ear. So while the title track first part sounds like a collection of noises in the first moments it does develop into well structured tune and you'll ending up appreciating it. On The other side, something so simple as Book Of Saturday is really no simple at all if you listen carefully to the arrangement (great subtle guitar work by Fripp!). The only song that I really don't like much is The Talking Drum, but thats just my personal taste.

While the album was not well produced (in fact, badly recorded), the music still shines. For a first, this new encarnation of King Crimson proved to be every bit as good as the one they had on their outstanding and classic debut. Every band member does a great job and John Wetton proves to be one fo prog's best voices (plus a strong bassist - something a lot of people tend to take for granted). The delicate balance of the experimental and the melodic is one of the most difficult things to achieve, but they did it. I can't give it five stars because of the poor production and some little flaws here and there. But something between 4 and 4,5 stars is quite fitting. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#200072)
Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I bought this album right around the time my son was born. Despite what sentiment it owns due to that fact, it remains very much a King Crimson album for me, which is to say, a hit and a miss all at once. I think the experimentation that permeates the album is much too much for my tastes. But as with all King Crimson albums, there is a great deal to enjoy even if one is not more than a casual fan.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1" For the first three minutes, the first part of the title track consists of experimental percussion. Fripp's heavy enters like a descending jet before exploding in enraged-sounding power chords. Both he and Wetton are all over their respective fretboards, Fripp more so, almost as though he were playing a game requiring him not to play the same note twice, and Bruford's percussion is lively as ever. Wetton uses a phase effect on his bass during the section where Muir and Bruford sounds like they is hitting everything in the room. The cacophony suddenly gives way to Cross and his lonely violin. The final minute is the best part of this instrumental journey, with mysterious voices in the background and a very pleasing guitar tone.

"Book of Saturdays" The jazziest and most subdued song on the album, this features subtle vocals and clean bright notes and chords from Fripp that pop in all over. He delivers one of his short, processed guitar solos before Cross enters with his violin. The bass is deep but also restrained. Fripp adds more processed guitar as the song comes to a close. The brevity of this song adds to its overall beauty.

"Exiles" Almost two minutes of experimenting with sound precede the song proper, but the beautiful violin and acoustic guitar make it worth the wait. The bass stands out, and that lazy snare drag lets me know that it is indeed Bruford on the throne. Drawn-out (but pleasingly so) atmospheric sections bridge the verses. I love the vocal melody and Fripp's gentle electric guitar solo, which works alongside Cross's violin in polyphonic glory. This is easily my favorite song on the album.

"Easy Money" After some loud music, Wetton's voice struggles over subtle instrumentation. Even when it is bumped up in volume, it is not as audible as it should be. This one has some amusing sound effects. It features some subtle guitar, as well as some intriguing percussion from Bruford. In fact, I would say it is the combination of Bruford's drums and Wetton's bass that keeps this track exciting. I happen to find that it's the vocals that brings this one down. The laughing at the end is nothing short of psychotic.

"The Talking Drum" As the title suggests, this track features various percussion work, even if it doesn't actually talk. Ironically, it is the bass that I find the most interesting thing to listen to, but the violin over it has so much going for it. Overall, the music has an Eastern European feel.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" Coming right off the heels of the preceding instrumental is the second part of the title track. The guitar is better here, in my opinion, and the subtler parts are more interesting. Even though it is shorter, I find this part far more enjoyable than the first part. Bruford goes nuts on his drums at the end.

Report this review (#204402)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I just got this album a week ago and it is immediately clear why some people love this album and some do not like it. If you are one of those people who like progressive rock, but can't stand jazz or experimental music, then this album is not for you. King Crimson's debut album and possibly red are the only ones that I would tell someone to listen to if they don't like the jazzy experimental side of prog. On the other hand, if you aren't one of those people, then I think you will find this album to be thoroughly enjoyable. The first half of the title track starts the album by slowly building up, then bursting into one of the heaviest songs I have heard from King Crimson. This first track is probably my favorite on the album, it is a jazzy, but heavy track featuring great instrumentals. Overall, this is a very unique album in my opinion as it blends elements of jazz, prog metal (before it even really existed), and experimental music. Fans of the band will probably love this album, but be careful if you are a general prog fan looking to get into king crimson, because this is not the place to start. I enjoy this album a lot, but it is really too jazzy and experimental to be essential for all prog fans. Lark's tongues is great album for many, but it is not for everyone.
Report this review (#207625)
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, this album is hard to get into. If you have listened to In the Wake of Poseidon or In the Court of the Crimson King and want more, don't buy this. If you want to hear some extraordanary, different and demanding music, then buy this. It's not at all the Crimson we have heards before. The similarity is that the music stills walk from mellow to chaotic all time, and now it's not only change between the tracks, it also does several times in the same track. The music feels more minimalistic than before, but at the same time more intense, and there are some almost metal-sounding parts. It is constantly moving, and you never know whats coming up. Not as much mellotron as before, but more electric guitarr, strange percussion and violin.

Larks Tonques in Aspic Part I starts out with a ambient feeling of some experimental noodling. Nothing wrong with that, it makes you on your guard and really fits before whats coming up. The tepo rises a fearful violin warns you, and the track explodes into a majestetic guitar-riff! This is followed by some experimental virtouso guitar and percussion, that adds a very chaotic mood in the song. Then things calm down into a very mellow and slow part, with just some percussion and violin noodling. Finally, the haunting viollin part from the beginning appears again, this time developing into a bass-explosion, and the track is over. A little bit too long mellow parts, but thats a minor problem. 8/10

Book Of Saturday is the only really non-experimental song here. It's a short, mellow song with lyrics, and a nice song after the extreme titel track. 8/10

Exiles is similar to Book of Saturday, but with more instrumentals and lenght in the track. It is very good, but the strange pats with cat-sounds should have been removed or at least shortened. 7/10

Easy Money is another song which begins rather mellow. It features some nice percussion, guitar, bass, mellotron, catchy lyrics and violin, and really explodes to end. Althrough a little bit too long, maybe? A minor problem as before. 9/10

The talking drum is a long build up, named after the drum that appears in the beginning. The song increases strange all the time, with more instrumentals added and also a higher volume. Sadly the drum is so weak, it just dissapears in all instrumentals after a while. 8/10

Larks Tonques in Aspic, part II. One of the hardest and most effectful songs by King Crimson in this era. It has an angry, struggling, but at the same time very purposeful mood. The song is hard and extreme throughout, but like the previous track the power and anger just increases all the time. A lot of guitar and bass, and very disturbing violin parts. The instrumental explotion in the end will make the whole room vibrating. 10/10

This is such a hard work to rate, when it is so demanding of the listener. The hard part is that the album either is veery calm, or veery chaotic and angry. Buy it if you are a patient person, completely open for something new. Even so the album maybe will sound awful at first, but listen to is some more, I promise that it grows on you.

Report this review (#207992)
Posted Sunday, March 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Well, I hate to be the first person to give this album a 1 star rating. However i just can't wrap my head or my ears around this album! To me everything that could go wrong went wrong here. Don't get me wrong I love King Crimson but this album just didn't work for me.

Lets start with the lack of pleasure gained from listening to this album. Lets not forget that the whole point of music, from the beginning of time was enjoyment I don't receive any from this album. I no the whole idea of progressive music is to venture of the main road and explore different sounds, and I love experimental music, but this is a little to abstract for my liking.

I salute Crimson for there willingness to try new things but for me I'll stick with Red and In The Court

Report this review (#209214)
Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red Jelly Babies escape from the box and finally reach maturity

The quantum leap represented by this album in the Crim catalogue cannot be overstated. Everything that followed should have cast an unflattering light on the unfocused and misguided promise of Crimson's prior juvenilia. But no, for reasons of perhaps lazy journalism or plain ignorant stereotyping, the red critter will be forever depicted as a bloated 'dainty' wheezing in the slipstream of a crushed velvet underground it had long outpaced and left miles behind. (The guys behind you sometimes turn out to be a lap ahead of you)

So much of the music presented here flies in the face of the prevailing prog zeitgeist of 1973 that were it not so facile a contention, we could be forgiven for stating that King Crimson were the first punk band. Gone are the stupefied noodlings of Islands - the twee gothic romance of In the Court - the self conscious cleverness of Lizard and the wet stoned nonsense of Poseidon (Yep, this is a U- turn incorporating six wheelies and the smell of burning rubber)

Instead, we are confronted with an unflinching and unforgiving discipline that somehow manages to harness jazz, classical, blues, pop, musique concrète, gamelan, african, raga, rock, metal and all points in-between (and unknown) during this record's duration. The 30th anniversary edition, which I'm reviewing here, has been lovingly remastered to salvage many hitherto sunken treasures from the original vinyl mix. Bruford's polyrhythmic kit work and the percussion salvo delivered by Jamie Muir are noticeably enhanced here to mesmerising effect.

It's a long time since I listened to Bartok's string quartets, but there are discernible quotations from these via the violin of Cross and the guitar of Fripp throughout Larks Tongues. I know that Bob has expressed a fondness for Bartok's chamber music in the past and of all the albums in Crimson's discography, the influence is at its most palpable here.

Our old buddy the tritone (augmented fourth) makes its presence felt in thrilling fashion on the corruscating Talking Drum which builds in ominous brooding fashion until the screaming and visceral climax is reached leaving the listener drained but delirious (like sex for the ears but without the mopping up and the cigarettes) PS Why then is it that every live version I have heard since butchers the original by playing it just way too darn fast? (Someone should tell the lads about foreplay methinks)

The spoken dialogue that uncloaks itself from the background on Larks Tongues in Aspic Part 1 just prior to the eastern tinged conclusion I think must belong to that of Jamie Muir (being the owner of a suitably thick Scottish brogue) but as to its significance re:

and hung by the neck until you are dead

still remains completely unfathomable?. It takes a lot of listens for the underlying structure of this track to reveal itself, but you will be rewarded for your patience, with music that lives long in the memory afterwards, so stick with it.

From the plaintive balladry of Exiles through the unadorned and exquisite brevity of Book of Saturday to the guttural funky rock of Easy Money there is not a single damp patch on the red mattress anywhere. The strident rock riffing, 'whisper to a scream' dynamics and instrumental interplay as evidenced on Larks Tongues Part 2 are worth the admission price alone, so buy the damn thing prog buddys and congratulate yourself on the gift of impeccable taste.

This is perhaps one of the most significant rock records of all time and one that completely dwarfs In the Court of the Crimson King in terms of innovation, daring and influence. If ever a band were deserving of the epithet 'eclectic' it is surely King Crimson, who have perhaps unwittingly, given many sympathetic musicians entire genres within which to extract their lucrative careers. The irony of the Crims parlous financial plight at around the time of this album will not be lost on you I am sure gentle readers.

It might be best to let Jamie Muir have the final say. After all who's going to argue with a man who played a musical saw on stage, left one of the greatest prog rock bands ever to join a remote Monastry in Scotland then finally became a painter?

- The way to discover the undiscovered in performing terms is to immediately reject all situations as you identify them (the cloud of unknowing) - which is to give music a future - (Jamie Muir)

Report this review (#210185)
Posted Saturday, April 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars It seems to me that Larks' Tongues in Aspec is curiously overrated. I bought the album after meeting a die hard King Crimson fan in the store, who told me that the album was completely essential. I went to a friends and we sat and listened to it. The thing is, it starts off very boring for the first three minutes of larks tongues in aspec prt 1 there is just a bunch of wind chimes... it reminded of me of my Nana's back porch on a windy day...ok so then in builds into a heavy distortioned guitar over top of some violin... just very odd melodies and rythms...

And as we progress through the album, There continues to be a lack of consistent melodies...every time I thought I had grasped ahold of the song the dynamics changed, forcing me to be confused and uninterested... to me, not only does the album not blend as one piece, but the songs themselves contrast to each other. Don't get me wrong, I love being creative and not just hearing the same thing over again, but these songs are like pulling out 3 or 4 puzzle sets and cramming them in so they fit.

I am quite a big fan of Bill Brufford, but I think he really does not shine in this album like he could.

I believe album is not the best representation of King Crimson, so, do nat be discouraged if this is the first album you hear!

Report this review (#211627)
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars On this album, Robert Fripp has assembled yet another lineup. John Wetton takes the mike as well as the bass chair, drummer Bill Bruford jumps from one legendary band to another, David Cross (not the comedian) adds his violin to the mix, and Jamie Muir brings with him an amazing mustache. With some minor tweaking, this lineup will last them until KC disbands in 1974.

The album begins with "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part I" and is closed with the "sequel" Part II, which along with "The Talking Drum" best showcase to date (1973) what would become a Crimson signature of making improvisation a large part of their live performances. Part II seems to be the most structured of the instrumentals and is most certainly one of their most performed songs to date (Translation: There may even be a better version out there, so have fun looking). Each of these instrumentals allow all band members to shine and won't have you looking at your watch waiting for vocals to come in.

The tracks with vocals, "Book of Saturday", "Exiles", and "Easy Money", have just as many interesting musical ideas as the instrumental tracks. Wetton's vocal performances are top notch. "Book Of Saturday" stands out for it's simplicity (just under 3 minutes) in an album where all other tracks stretch past 7 minutes. If I'm not mistaken, I hear the refreshing sounds of acoustic guitar on "Exiles", which despite the fact it shows up a few other times in the Crimson discography, it is a nice change of pace from the metallic clanging normally being produced by Fripp (though I wouldn't change that for the world). "Easy Money" has a very jammy (for lack of a better word) vibe, and while I don't listen to the radio, this is the song I'd imagine would fit best on any classic rock radio station.

This is one of only a few KC albums that I would consider giving five stars to, which says quite a lot considering they are one of my favorite bands. I'd probably have more to say if I hated this album, and if you're a frequent visitor to Prog Archives, you know that's damn near impossible. :)

Report this review (#212704)
Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson introduced a new era of excellence with this 1973 album. Featuring the classic rhythm section of new members Bill Bruford and John Wetton, their pulse gave life to a band in a newfound state of creative flux. With a vast assortment of textures and timbres, Larks' Tongues In Aspic does indeed have a little bit of everything from hard rock to world music. It is a treat for every listener who appreciates a good bit of Robert Fripp weirdness tempered with good melodies and vocal sweetness from John Wetton. With the addition of percussionist Jamie Muir and violinist David Cross and the colors that they bring, Larks' Tongues In Aspic becomes a chronicle of reinvention.

The lengthy experimental track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part I" starts off with an array of mallet percussion courtesy of Jamie Muir. This segues into the urgent violin of David Cross building tension and finally leading to an explosive guitar-driven crescendo, which is then followed by a polyrhythmic exercise showcasing the mighty Bruford/ Wetton rhythm section.

"Book of Saturdays" quiets things down with John Wetton's lead vocals over a nice mellow chord progression and lovelorn lyrics. It gives the listener a chance to recuperate from the sonic intensity of the opener. Overall, it's a nice tune, but it does come dangerously close to tranquilization rather than relaxation.

The mellow vibe continues with "Exiles". Although it is a beautiful song with a lush soundscape and a fine melody, it commands attention with John Wetton's soaring lead vocals and a lovely understated lead guitar solo by Robert Fripp.

The intensity returns with "Easy Money", perhaps the best song on Larks' Tongues In Aspic. John Wetton gives another excellent vocal, but this time it is much more intense. Cross provides more greatness in the string section, and Fripp performs some rather jazzy guitar heroics. It ends with the peculiar sounds of a laugh box, but it somehow fits in with attitude of the song.

"The Talking Drum" comes next, and it recounts the experimentation of the opener. This dynamic track starts off very quietly before building to a crescendo of Cross' Middle Eastern-influenced violin over the tight Bruford/ Wetton pulse and leading to Fripp's screaming lead guitar at maximum volume.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II" closes the album, and there is a good reason why the Crims continued to perform this song well into the 21st century. It is an extraordinary instrumental with heavy guitar riffs, powerful drums, and incredible bass guitar. The Bruford/ Wetton rhythm section are at their finest on this closer.

The greatness of King Crimson may very well have been in doubt in 1973, but those doubts were put to rest with the release of this album. Although they would continue to reinvent themselves at various points throughout their lengthy history, this reinvention was one for the ages, and this album is an absolute classic. It is indeed essential, and I gladly give it 5 stars.

Report this review (#215165)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Finally I Understand

My experience of King Crimson was limited to their debut album for years. While I enjoyed their post-Moodies organ rock, I was never able to reconcile their reputation as musical explorers and visionaries with what I heard on that record. A few weeks ago I picked up Larks' Tongues in Aspic on a hunch, mainly based on a review here that Anglagard's sound was at least partly based on the music of this album. I am so glad I followed that hunch, because this album fits so perfectly with the reputation KC has on this site and elsewhere. It is so much more adventurous and challenging than ITCOTCK, you'd think it was a different band. Of course, with the exception of bandleader Robert Fripp, it is.

This is a classic album with many reviews, so I think the main role of my review is this: for those like me who didn't really buy in to the hype of the debut album, explore the band a bit more. Unlike the symphonic debut, this album truly is eclectic prog and resembles more a mixture of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Gentle Giant than Genesis or Yes. Especially for those with a taste for a little more avant music, this is truly a masterpiece album. The intro and outro tracks are especially experimental, starting with a bell solo and evolving through heavy riffing, interweaving thematic lines, and plenty of dissonance. Nicely, I almost never get the feeling that we're descending into free form chaos. I like my avant music with a sense of structure and this album is a perfect example of that. John Wetton's vocals are more than adequate, though secondary and certainly not what you buy the album for.

For more detail, see the many other reviews of the album. Just know that this is the album to buy when you're looking for the eclectic KC, an almost completely different sound from the symphonic debut.

Report this review (#218993)
Posted Saturday, May 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars |A| One of the most timeless and adventurous albums of all time.

King Crimson's Lark's Tongue in Aspic was one of those few strange albums that I somehow knew it was going to be one of my favorites before even hearing a single note of it. I'm still unsure why, maybe it was the awesome title, the album cover, a friend's description of it that I forgot, or something along those lines. Either way, my first impressions didn't blow me away, but I felt this was a worthwhile album with which to become familiar, and eventually became and remains one of my favorite albums of all time. It cuts through any stereotypes, boundaries, categorizations, anything that might group it with other albums... truly one of the most unique albums I've heard yet. I put it on right after being exposed to god-awful dance music as rebellion or right after having my mind been stretched by obscure classical music as a form of rejoicing. There's almost something spiritual about the work in this album, though I don't think I could ever really put my finger one what makes it so. I just know it's one of those works that truly stretches the musical imagery of the listener, taking them on one hell of an adventure.

So just what about this album makes it so unique, so strange compared to even most other progressive music out there? Well, I think it has to do with Fripp's composition moment of brilliance combined with the incredibly intricate and delicate musicianship. Many unconventional composition techniques were accomplished in this album, and it leaves me to believe this was some of Fripp's most adventurous and experimental work yet, that probably being the understatement of the year. Here's a sample: Lark's Tongue in Aspic Pt. 1 starts off with what sounds like a marimba, and incredible marimba work at that, soon adding in soft percussion and sound effects. In come violins playing staccato notes in 10/8 (3+3+2+2, judging by the accents created to distinguish the macro-beats, I think) eventually layering on distortion guitar lines, building to the main riff of the track. That intro alone tells you what you're in for with this album. You won't find much in the way of melody (except for the perfect vocal lines) or anything structurally conventional. Most everything contributes to the overall mood and musical elasticity of the moment, the sound effects, the percussion and drums, the almost frantic guitar and bass parts, almost everything serves an almost atmospheric purpose, and certainly not in the sense that Pink Floyd does. I think I'm even hearing some eastern music influences especially from the violinist and percussionist. Also, somehow this album gets away with being overall incredibly thinly scored, not usually more than two or three parts going at once, yet rather than constrict the sound of the album, this rather seems to enable more freedom to create various musical textures. Few albums match the creativity of almost any moment on this beautiful piece of art.

As far as tracks go, each one I can gladly say is among my favorite King Crimson tracks, and thus some of my favorite tracks in all of prog are all on this album. The instrumentals Lark's Tongue in Aspic Pt's 1 & 2 as well as Talking Drum mostly include incredible use of ethnic percussion and various colors and textures within each track, even more so than the tracks with vocals. These tracks include the voice of bassist Wetton, which would be the most likely thing in my mind to scare off most people from this album, for most people don't seem to like his tone and singing style very much. I personally don't mind it, in fact I'd say it fits perfectly with the underscored music. I guess I'd be willing to admit it's slightly pitchy in some spots, but it's never bothered me much. And that's something that usually bothers me with some prog bands. Exiles reminds me a bit of Epitaph in the use of acoustic guitar arpeggios, but the track itself is really quite different in almost every other way, especially with the violin long tones. I especially love the flute, very reminiscent of ItCotCK overall. Easy Money is probably my favorite track in that that drummer and percussionist just go mad towards the end - I find few things in music more exciting than that build towards the end.

So yes, I do adore this album, and do consider it essential to every progger. It's really hard to give any comparisons to any music the material here sounds anything like this, as it usually is with King Crimson. Only I'd say this album transcends even prog itself. I find it hard to review albums I view as masterpieces because I feel I can never really do justice as a reviewer to the quality of the album, but hopefully I've come somewhere close with this one. If you like more overall experimental music that focuses mostly on textures and somewhat avant-garde sensibilities, or just want more challenging music than your usual prog, boy do you need this album. This is my favorite King Crimson record by far, and one of my favorite pieces of artistic music for me to have ever heard.

Report this review (#221510)
Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first exposure to KC and is still my favourite. I love it for the iconic sun motif cover (or whatever the hell it is), the exquisite 30th anniversary re-master that helps draw attention to the light and shade between the acerbic bookends; Larks Tongues I and II.

Robert Fripp, ever the iconoclast had attracted a bohemian group of musicians to craft an album so of its time, yet jarringly timeless. As nonsensical as that sounds, the 70s were pretty grey in the UK, yet LTIA evokes a wistful nostalgia for an idyllic pastoral world that for most of us, didn't actually exist.

I'm drawn to John Wetton's lovely fat bass, Fripp's discordant lines and Bill Bruford's knack for subtlety, but the real emotional focus on this album is David Cross's violin, at times melancholic often vitriolic. And let's not forget Jamie Muir who colours the album in such a way as to make one wonder if his inclusion could have made "Red" even better??

I've got no problem with Wetton's vocals, I enjoy the relative calm of Book of Saturday after Larks 1, while Exiles is a haunting landscape preceding the more upbeat and groove laden Easy Money. The percussion and violin at the beginning of Talking Drum stirs more rose-tinted memories of the 70s, although this time with a trippy eastern flavour, building to a wonderful crescendo, but as magnificent and varied as all these tracks are, they are merely the starter.

Larks 2 is a lesson in controlled tension, we wait until the violins and percussion are released like bottled lightning and finally the guitar is unleashed with discordant and uncontrolled fury.

This is an album of widely different songs that just happens to hang together perfectly. If, like me you're looking to try out King Crimson, I can't think of a better place to start.

Report this review (#221733)
Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
4 stars Strange sounds of bongo's, bells and other exotic percussion... that could only mean one thing... a new King Crimson era! The era Larks' Tongues in Aspic opens is KC's heaviest and my personal favorite era. This era will bring along some of the band's greatest songs, some amazing live albums and of course another King Crimson to discover, this time a King Crimson with Bill Bruford on drums, Jamie Muir providing percussion, and John Wetton being the new vocalist and bassist. The biggest change is David Cross on violin, the sensitive instrument takes KC's music to a whole new level. After the big dissapointment this could only be better, and yes, it is.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt.1" introduces us to the strange sounds of the new King Crimson, with its strange percussions and experimental violin playing. The first part of the the title track is very powerful and very typical for this era, as the band would be more experimental than ever when performing live. Great track.

The next song "Book Of Saturdays" is a very short one, but still very good. It is guitar driven, but Fripp is soon joined by a great vocal job of Wetton. The song has a very emotional feel to it, which makes it very pleasant to listen. The track is the least experimental on the album, that's why it might feel like a bit as being on the wrong place... but it's a good one.

"Exiles" is one of my KC favorites, it is a true epic wrapped in a 7 minute coating, it really is great, and everything feels good about it. The vocals are magnificent, the gentle guitar playing is pretty laid back compared to the other instruments, giving it a very atmospheric feel and the percussions and violin show its experimental powers. Exiles is one of the highlights of this album.

"Easy Money" is just as "Exiles" one of my favorites, though I'm not really a fan of the version on this album. I rather listen to a live version, cause on the version on this album the percussion gets too much space I think, and it doesn't do the song much good. Also, on this album it sounds pretty stiff, which it absolutely isn't when performed live.

"The Talking Drum" also is a very experimental song. The title of the track might make you think it is some kind of drum solo or something like that, but it isn't. The talking drum is just like "Larks' Tongues... pt.1" a very experimental and loose song, and it's pretty good.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic pt. 2" starts out pretty rough, with distorted guitar and heavy pounding bass, and of course percussion. The song isn't just a strange jam, as it is in fact pretty structured compared to the other instrumentals on this album. The song is however, just as "Easy Money", pretty stiff, and I prefer live versions of the song.

I think Larks' Tongues in Aspic is a very good and experimental album, but some of the songs sound pretty stiff and are much better when being performed live. In my case I had heard most of the songs played live (Great Deceiver box set) before I heard them on this album, so maybe that's why I find the songs that stiff. Nevertheless, I do suggest the live versions of the songs on this album, but if you're a big fan of wacky percussions and King Crimson, you really should check this album out.

Report this review (#222352)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Larks' Tongues is the official start of King Crimson's experimental period, with Islands being just a mere introduction. King Crimson were known as prog rock idols, with every album of theirs becoming an instant success, ever since their debut was released. It seemed like Crimson couldn't get no rest, so they just went into the studio, and recorded the most experimental album quatrology they could write, and Lark's Tongues is one of the results. The quatrology did not stop the endless praising of King Crimson albums, but made fans take Crimson in a much more serious matter, unlike when In the Court of the Crimson King was called the best album of all time, or such.

Lark's Tongues has great songs, but this is an album review, not a song review, so I'll keep it to that.

Fripp started writing his insane lines, in complicated time signatures, with diminished chords, and dissonances like never before. But it takes a few listens, to get all of Fripp's time signatures and things. On Part II, Bill Bruford plays 4/4 on Fripp's 5/4 on Part II only to reverse into Fripp's 5/4 on the 3rd bar. Wetton provides bass-line harmonies to not make it sound like a complete dump, which is how it would sound without Wetton on the album. David Cross' violin playing is an extravaganza, even when it's all insane dissonances, as those dissonances wouldn't sound the same, if these guys were not, the band we today call, King Crimson.

This album definitely has it's prog defining moments, in terms of composition, and maybe even lyrics, but I'm not sure Crimson wanted prog defining, or, mindblowing as headlines all over the magazines, I bet they wanted a good review that is not judged by the fact they're King Crimson. This is the last album by King Crimson until the start of the eighties to feature 4 members in it's line-up, which makes this album, to me, more special than Red.

I think a lot of people appreciate Red more than Larks Tongues, but I'll leave it until somebody makes an argument thread on the forums.

Richard Plamer-James was the man with an aim here, writing fantastic lyrics, which just make you crave for more. Palmer-James' writing was inspirational, as it was poetic, unlike all the fantasy-related prog albums of that decade. This proves that King Crimson is not only drum-banging and guitar shredding.

Lark's Tongues overall, is not a masterpiece, but a great album. I love this album, but I will not rate it a 5, as it is just, not what I feel about it.

Report this review (#230191)
Posted Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is another masterpiece by King Crimson. The mellotron: it is impossible that it sounds better than in the first song. The last remaster version can only do that. Also, Larks tongues in Aspic Part II composed by the guitarist Robert Fripp is really fantastic. Even they still play this track in the concerts in the 90's. It is a pity that Jamie Muir was only in this album. Bill Bruford learnt a lot from him, but he could have learnt more. Five stars, of course, it can not be in another way. Probably, it will take you some time to discover the details.
Report this review (#235940)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars However much I would want to love this album it's not going to happen any time soon. I've given it 20 years and still find it hard to get into. It's an album that reaches lonely heights where it concerns originality and attitude but on the downside, I find no passion in it, some of the songs are inconsistent and the singing is generally off-putting.

Lark's Tongues pt i has a great main theme but most of its 13.35 improvised minutes sound chaotic, overworked and either too far-fetched or sleep-indulging. It sure is a big artistic statement and it must have provided a stunning alternative for the increasingly mellowing prog scene around that time, but that doesn't make it quality material. Crimson have plenty more inspired improvisations from this era.

Book of Saturday is a pleasing short ballad and Exiles is a classic among Crimson's more melodic material. Still, the vocals are a major flaw, strained, slightly out of tune and insecure. The same goes for Easy Money, it's a great tune but losing effectiveness due to the grating vocals. Due to extensive touring, Wetton's vocals would gradually improve and any live version of these songs is better then the studio versions here. Also the instrumental closing tracks Talking Drum/Lark's Tongues pt II suffer from a dull sound and lifeless performances.

Despite the obvious shortcomings, this album is too much of a landmark to put it into the fans only section. It has huge historical value, but if you want to appreciate this incarnation of King Crimson, I would strongly suggest one of the many live albums from this era.

Report this review (#237076)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some smart guy named Eric Hoffer once wrote that "It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities" and, in the case of this particular version of the inimitable King Crimson group, I think that quotation is dead on. The talented musicians that mastermind Robert Fripp assembled for 73's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" had one thing in common: They had each tasted a modicum of success in other bands/venues and found the fruits of the promise land to be unfulfilling. They all yearned to resurrect and revitalize their naive, unspoiled inner adolescent and set the boy free to run without confines on the playground that is the recording studio with other restless Peter Pans like themselves. The album they put together just may be the prime model of what is referred to, in theory at least, as progressive rock. It has no identifiable precedent. Comparisons to other forms of music, even within the prog arena, are futile. It stands forevermore as an enduring work of late 20th Century aural art.

I must alert the reader to the fact that, like a lot of fine albums that populate this eclectic and liberal genre, it ain't for everybody. You won't want to slap this on the stereo at even the most casual of dinner parties unless you want the guests to depart the premises in a stampede. It's not top-down, cruising-down-the-interstate-with-a-nasty-redhead-by-your- side, yodeling "I Love L.A." fare, either. In all likelihood, your significant other will probably despise it and you for subjecting them to its radical musical ideology. It's anti Top-40. Don't overreact to those warnings, however. It's not some kind of dissonant/boring/confusing everyone-play-whatever-they-want-and-we'll-call-it-jazz free-for- all. No way. There's a calculated method to this madness. It has a planned structural integrity and a designed purpose. At the same time it sounds like nothing else you've heard. Robert, Bill, David, John and Jamie left all preconceived notions of convention out in the busy street and proceeded to manufacture magic. A copy of "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" belongs in every progger's stash. Period. Otherwise, why are you here?

Okay, that was pretty uppity/prog-snobbish and I must admit with a red face that I was guilty of intentionally avoiding this album until this year when another prog reviewer whose taste in music I greatly respect gave it his highest rating. So I put it on my wish list and my son gave it to me as a gift. I expected it to be good, no doubt, but this is so astoundingly inspired and genuine that it'll strain my ability to literately describe it. Yet I'll give it the old college try. It's my calling in life. (Or so I tell myself.)

"Lark's Tongue in Aspic, Part One" draws back the curtain to the strains of a percolating Kalimba accompanied by an odd assortment of light percussion items. It's like entering a stranger's room through a doorway of hanging hippy beads (the abode of that mysterious, exotic siren you just met at the bar, perhaps?). The lighting is slightly surrealistic and there's a faint odor of some kind of spiced incense in the air. You're not scared; you just know for sure that you're not in your mom's house. Soon an intriguing electrical white noise arises as if you're being guided through a huge mass of neurons excitedly exchanging impulses. This is followed by some tense violin bowing from David Cross that graduates to a heavy metallic riff performed by the full ensemble. They segue to a dense rhythmic groove, then John Wetton cranks up a wah-wah bass solo surrounded by frenetic Fripp guitarisms, Bill Bruford's rumbling drums and Jamie Muir's wild percussion. Suddenly the number drifts into a sad, mournful violin piece that slowly becomes agitated and angry in its mood before leveling out into a strange oriental aura. Then, without notice, the whole thing detonates and disseminates like nuclear fallout. Exhilarating is the closest I can come to doing it justice.

At this juncture you might think you've been irrevocably altered, but along comes "Book of Saturday" to clear your head. Robert's delicate chording and phrasing on his fretboard is beautiful and John's adventurous bass lines never distract, only compliment. The song's memorable melody is delivered by Wetton without unnecessary affectation in his customary fool-on-the-hill style and David's violin injections (both backwards and forwards) are exquisite. Since long-time wordsmith Pete Sinfield had left the think tank in a snit after the previous KC album, former Supertramp Robert Palmer-Jones was enlisted to supply lyrical content and his splendid contribution to the project shouldn't be overlooked. "Reminiscences gone astray/coming back to enjoy the fray/in a tangle of night and daylight sounds," John intones with a melancholy slant. Profound? No, but poetic nonetheless.

The ironic "Exiles" creeps in like an ominous fog from which the cries of unidentified, tortured creatures can be heard in their vain attempts to escape, then the landscape clears briefly for Wetton's moonlit vocal to reassure before said dark mist returns. I love the way Cross' violin twines around the melody without choking it. The inventive bridge with its graceful piano is a revelation. Here the insightful words capture the very essence of what this incarnation of King Crimson was all about. "But Lord, I had to go/my trail was laid too slow behind me/to face the call of fame/or make a drunkard's name for me/though now this other life/has brought a different understanding," John sings without a trace of bitterness. The tune ends with a fantastic mixture of guitar, violin and the Mellotron dancing atop Bruford and Wetton's intricate rhythm track.

The sarcastic "Easy Money" begins with what sounds like a chain-gang of inmates chanting cheerily-but-not-really as they slog down a muddy road on their way to a day of hard labor. That may not seem like something that would interest even the most dedicated of proggers but somehow it entertains. It's that cool. The song features one of the more unusual verse/chorus compositions you'll ever encounter, adorned as it is with Muir's eccentric "allsorts." (I didn't make that term up; it's what he's credited as playing in the liner notes.) The group collectively snubs their nose at the trappings of rock star fame and fortune and its obligatory indenture to the record company moguls. "And I thought my heart would break/when you doubled up the stake/with your fingers all a-shake/you could never tell a winner from a snake/but you always make money/easy money," John sneers. The number's extended musical interlude ebbs, flows and breathes like some sort of primordial life form in which Fripp displays the unconventional approach to lead guitar playing that justifies his genius labeling. The song comes full circle to reprise the convicts' hymn as well as another verse/chorus go 'round (this time with full-throttled gusto) before it all collapses into a fit of canned, taunting, demonic, impish laughter that'll send a chill up your spine. He's laughing because there's always a price to be paid for stardom. And it's steep. Easy money, indeed.

A ghostly wind blows across a desolate plain infested with carrion-eating flies as barely- perceptible fingertip rhythms initiate a steady pulse for "The Talking Drum." David's stark violin steps in and Robert's eerie guitar springs up alongside him like a new species of wildflower. Suddenly a growling, menacing bass guitar effect bursts in boisterously as all the combined elements finally rise up and reach a fevered crescendo after which destitute lemmings scream in crazed delight as they race toward the ragged precipice of the beckoning cliffs. This instrumental track is a perfect example of cultivating tension through patient manipulation of dynamics.

The album's finale, "Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" is not just some weak regurgitation of the opener. Surely you jest. The tune's extremely heavy, dense metallic theme dominates without mercy, and then the band descends into a hypnotic 9/16 rock pattern before repeating that sequence. Jamie's incidental sound effects rival those cleverly instigated without caution by the Beatles at their most imaginative and free. Cross' mean-spirited violin solo sounds like it was transcribed by Ol' Scratch himself and I could swear that Muir and Bruford are tossing their drums down a staircase to achieve the sublime cacophony they were striving for. It all ends in a fat, gloriously noisy finale that distills slowly into one single solitary note.

The musicians that comprised this short-lived form of the entity known as King Crimson knew coming in that they were walking away from everything safe and secure in order to find liberation from the shackles of commerciality. Their aim was not to shock, denigrate or assault their fans. They simply wanted to create something totally original yet comprehensible and satisfying to thinking, open-minded human beings. If I'd bought this recording when it came out in '73 I doubt that I would've had the maturity or patience to recognize and appreciate its brilliance. It would've required that I tune out the world and still myself long enough to absorb its powerful subtlety and the superlative uniqueness of this cooperative conception. As my esteemed fellow reviewer told me, there's nothing to compare it to and he's right. Most music is a derivative of something but this album has no ancestor. It's a towering Sequoia without roots; an anomaly. It's a bonafide masterpiece, everything progressive rock is supposed to be, and an example of why this branch of music bores its way into our souls in ways no other can.

Report this review (#242173)
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Easy Money
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars As early as 1973 the future of Progressive Rock was not looking good. Mellotron dirges, fake jazz excursions, pseudo mythological lyrics and pointless pastiches of incongruous styles had just about run it's course. Somebody needed to do something! Somebody did. Thankfully Larks Tongue in Aspic opened the door to all manner of directions and styles that 'prog rock' could head towards in an effort to keep evolving and moving with the times. Each song almost represents several future genres that Progressive Rock would eventually fracture into.

Although Progressive Rock started out as a mostly British pastoral music, Larks Tongue was about to take us to many different lands including Asia, North Africa and urban USA, while substituting sprawling excess with tightly focused compositions that finally put a rock beat to true concert hall sensibilities. Although each song on this album is a powerhouse that could inspire entire genres, four songs in particular really sum up what this album is about.

Larks Tongue in Aspic Part I is a beautiful wandering Asian fantasy that recalls Rimsky- Korsakav as well as classic tense film noir soundtracks. Easy Money is probably one of the first rock songs that successfully fused gritty US funk with progressive tendencies without sounding like a weak British copycat of James Brown. Talking Drum takes us to Africa and the Middle East and is a precursor to the huge world beat explosion of the 80s. Larks Tongue Part II finally realizes Robert Fripp's dream of melding Bartok styled compositions with rock like energy and drive. This is the true melding of rock-n-roll and modern chamber composition that many others had tried but fallen short on.

Unlike many other progressive rock albums from this era, Larks Tongue still sounds modern and still points the way for young rock bands who want to do something more with their music. Possibly the finest Pogressive Rock album ever.

Report this review (#244581)
Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Lark's Tongues in Aspic marks the beginning of King Crimson's experimental 73-74 period. It's quite different from the later two albums- less abstract than Starless and Bible Black, and less metal influenced than Red. What it is, however, is a very surprising, unique record that manages to cover many bases in its 46 minutes.

The first song is, in my opinion, the best; the way delicately chiming percussion turns into explosive, dirty guitar crunches is simply beyond human- some of the best moments in the world of prog. That then turns into an idiosyncratic, quintessentially Crimson mass of instruments- frolicking guitar, strange percussion, and bass in the background. Then comes a quiet part made only of Cross's violin- I don't like this part all that much, but then again, I'm not usually a fan of "quiet parts" in general. Near the end, the old instruments join the violin in an unintelligible argument, and the song dies.

Book of Saturday isn't more than a moody, melancholic pop song- though it's not by any means generic. It is very well-made, and pretty catchy, its simplicity a counterpoint to the massive, sprawling complexity of the previous epic.

Exiles begins with a murky fog of noises, before turning into a somewhat sad song with great vocals from Wetton. However, it is not really one of my favorites, as it feels a bit long to me.

Easy Money turns the mourning feeling of Exiles around and assumes a more jolly, but not necessarily joyful feeling- I cannot think of any words to describe the feel exactly, but the best I can some up with is pompous and rich. However, like Exiles, this song seems longer than it needs to be to me, and is not one of my favorite songs on the album.

After Easy Money comes The Talking Drum, which returns to the percussion-centered experimentation of LTIA pt. 1. This is probably the second best on the album, as it slowly builds up from gentle drumming into a heavy, powerful instrumental frenzy that leads directly into...

Lark's Tongues in Aspic, which tames the chaotic madness of The Talking Drum and turns it into another heavy song. This may actually be my least favorite here, not that it's bad, but it just doesn't appeal to me as much as the others.

Lark's Tongues in Aspic is a very interesting, unique album that has earned much praise from the progressive rock community- King Crimson is definitely one of the weirdest, most eclectic prog bands out there, and this album is a great example of that. Though it on;y gets three stars for me personally, I shall give it four because it is one of the most shockingly experimental albums out there- I wouldn't hesitate to call it an excellent addition to anyone's prog collection.

Report this review (#247736)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incredible experimental rock of King Crimson reaches its highest point.

Every time I put it on I get a shiver, however to get into this album I needed about half year. Not till than I realize how perfect and truly progressive "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is. With this effort King Crimson made yet another revolution not only in progressive rock but also in experimental music as whole.

The improvisatory approach is most to see on the title song which first part opens and the second closes the album. Heavy guitar riff, using of electronic devices and percussion parts are only as example for innovative work on the record. Unmentionable would be also the finest Mellotron and violin play. Unless every track on the album is great, the outstanding highlight is "Easy Money", catchy, violent and heavy track, which will be for years the trademark of the band. Also the short ballad "Book of Saturday" plays its part, adding with Mellotron touch of magic.

King Crimson has so many faces that it's very hard to point out the first-rate album but this effort is undeniable one of their finest. Still impossible to compare with pastoral "Islands" or emotional "ITCOTCK" this album makes its own history. It's essential and still up-to-date.

Report this review (#249046)
Posted Sunday, November 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973)

This review was edited due to change of opinion

The progress Robert Fripp's Crimson made in just four years is unbelievable! First they've set the standard for symphonic prog, secondly they showed how to use jazz influences in prog on Lizard. Now the time had come to make all the heavy metal bands of the seventies look like they are shy neighbourhood-friendly bands. This album has a lot of progressive elements; the first trash-metal riff, progressive music with a violin that play's solo parts, a percussionist playing a strange assortment of percussions and totally new harmonic interpretations of rock. Only for this varied combination of inventions this album should be listened to by every listener of progressive music.

It took me some time to learn to appriciate this album. At first I though it was mediocre for a King Crimson record. Over the years I've learned to sit through the confronting passages and I got more positive excitement during the passages I do like. Still I think the album could have been better with a mix that's less extreme on the dynamic aspect. The difference between soft and loud is to big throughout.

The opening-section of the album with it's soft percussions is a bit boring, but as soon as the exciting double violins and the guitars tune in you can feel this is really something. The thick sounding fade-in guitars are a good warm-up for the main riff of the song, that could be seen as the first trash-metal riff. After that we get to listen to some furious and disjointed guitar exercises by Fripp, and to be completely honest with you; I never liked the combination with the percussion to much and on this part it really ruins it a bit. After the main body of the song Larks' Tongues in Aspic part I has a silent interlude with nostalgic violin and the band makes an exciting comback with a punchy rhythm and sound-effects (I think recordings from tv).

Book of Saterday is 'the relaxing' track of the album, as most King Crimson albums seem to have one. The vocals of Wetton never suited my tastes, but the chords and backwards-sounding guitar melodies create a nice piecefull atmosphere. Exiles has a great intro with a low-playing string-instrument and some sound-effects, before evolving into what is perhaps the most beautifull song of the album. It's nice to hear King Crimson do some mellotron-based chords progressions once in a while. The violin sounds relevent on the main theme, though I wouldn't have mind a more pitch-perfect take on this melody. A majestic ending for side one this is.

Easy Money is however the complete opposite of majestic, for it could be discribed as a raw, rhythm-driven semi-punk song that's a bit out of place here. There's however plenty room for some more silly percussions by Jamie Muir (perhaps I'm not his biggest fan) and a solo section with some interesting interplay. On the next offering in line, The Talking Drum, King Crimson shows some of their interesting developments in the improvisational aspect of the music. Though based on a simple bass melody (with the unholy tritones or raised fourth), the track has a nice dark sound. Again, I would not have mind a more pitch-perfect violin recording. The track ends in something that sounds like an awfull scream, but as soon as you realize what is going on you are being launched into Larks' Tongues in Aspic part number two. Often perceived as the bigger brother of part one, it indeed is a great track that has a bit more body (or completeness) then most of the other tracks of this album. The main riff in 11/8 (you can't just use your fingers for this one) is highly exciting and it's lovely how the distorted bass guitar of Wetton suits the music fine. Near the ending of the track we get to listen to some recognisable instrumental panic and franzied drums over the main theme and it's time to close the album with some last shrieks.

Conclusion. Yet another King Crimson album that could be listened to as if watching a good movie; with full dedication and a fresh explorative mind-set. The heavyness, the strange percussions and the big dynamic differences (the long quiit passages) may leave some of us dazzled, but overall this is a great King Crimson record that stood the test of time very well. I'm going to give this one four stars.

Report this review (#251479)
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, this is one of the most experimental album of the 70's and that's saying something. Fripp again reformed the band with wonderful new members, as we have former Yes drummer Bruford, a crazy new percussionist with Muir, a violinist in Cross, and a vocalist and bass player in Wetton. And now the album is quite weird if you don't have an open mind for experimentation, this is clearly shown for example in the title track ( both parts). What we have there is more or less structured chaos, if that makes any sense. Definitively those are the best songs of the album. The other tracks are pretty good, with my personal favourite being Easy Money with great bass work from Wetton. You have to keep in mind that this isn't symphonic prog like the first albums, this is more on the lines of hard rock influence. Anyway this is a wonderful gem, my favourite Crimson album. Recommended for those looking for experimentation.
Report this review (#252168)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of absolutely best ever progressive albums, and one of the best King Krimson work as well. Possibly, most experimental of KC work, it sounds absolutely mature, without any weak points or even few seconds fillers.

I believe that King Crimson reach their top of seventies in this album. You have absolutely great sound of each musician there, and very complex structures and musicianship is perfectly melted in very fresh,unusual,experimental sound. Even more traditional Wetton songs sound there absolutely in place. I love this music, it's sound,atmosphere.

I love KC debut, and I like very much SABB from their seventies (I like Discipline trilogy as well), but I believe that near KC best albums, this one is best of the bests!

Report this review (#252469)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Robert Fripp re-invents KC yet again, this time in the embryonic and innovative violin trio format. Mel Collins is gone and Peter Sinfield's lyrics have been replaced by those of a certain Richard Palmer-James. The mellow jazz of "Islands" is pummeled by heavy fusion and even early metal minimalism. This is groundbreaking stuff for sure, having influenced many a RIO band to this day. It is also loosely adhered to for the next couple of albums, making "Larks" the beginning of a relatively stable, albeit typically short lived, phase of the group.

Finally, it marks the beginning of the end for me as a quasi fan of KING CRIMSON. Apart from 2 fine tracks in the spare "Book of Saturday" and the effusive "Exiles" (which owes more to ITCOCK than to the new KC), this disk is an atonal unstructured schlemazzle, which is fine for those who like it, but anathema to a sizable number of listeners here. The two title tracks are both in this category, with the first flitting from one incomplete theme to another and the latter doggedly sticking with its only idea, and "Talking Drum" just never develops at all. "Easy Money" is like an unpredictable precursor to PINK FLOYD's predictable hit "Money", but I can't find much value in either.

If any of the less accessible cuts had been decent, I would have been able to round up to a good grade, but have to settle on two stars for the first time in the KC discography, no lark.

Report this review (#256704)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, this is a perfect album to follow up with if you own Red and/or ItCotCK, it's that bit less accessable and that bit more 'prog', if you're willing to put in the time and listen to it you'll be suitably rewarded with a successful blending of composition and improvisation- and unlike with the above two albums there aren't any obvious 'skippable' tracks (as with Moonchild and Providence). this does however, mean that the tracks suffer slightly collectively instead.

This is one of those albums that form a pleasing cohesive whole- you'd be pained to listen to these tracks in any other order as they ebb and flow in a well thought out and structured way. The King Crimson penchance for musical dynamics is quite extremem here- on the opening track especially- don't turn up your stereo too much to hear the chimes and percussion at the beginnning, or when the evil seeps in you'll open yourself up to Robert Fripp jumping right down your throat and thrashing around with some of the most agressive playng he's ever unleashed. The title tracks second section is by far the most widley know peice on this album, everyone's heard Pt II, there's not much I can add, timeless writing, great playing, possibly overrated. But IMHO the first part gets more and more rewarding with repeated listens wheras Part II kind of stays exactly the same. But this is of course due to Part 1 having far more improv, which can get a bit meandering and pointless in parts, and perhaps could've been edited more stringently, but it's hard to critizise the timing of the dynamics, which are pretty much spot on.

Book Of Saturday is a track which I find myself listening to a surprizing amount, because a lot of complex playing is hidden beneath its deceptive serenity- the lack of percussion hides its quick tempo. Exiles- well... it's alright, I guess. I think they stretch it out a bit too much. It has some great moments, but they are built up to for too long and don't last long enough- I imagine the more I listen to it the more I shall like it. Easy Money is a classic in my eyes, an inspired and well performed mix of composition & playing about with sounds. The dynamic contrast between sections is one aspect of prog that I love. The Talking drum is little more in my eyes than an extended intro to the last part, padding but an essential peice of padding if you get my drift- like with Fish (Schindelria Premataurus) on Fragile, blatant padding, but you wouldn't cut it from the album, nossir!

So in conclusion, IMHO it falls just short of five stars due to it's slight meandering that wastes space that it could have used to fit in more brilliance, but there's no way I could give it less than four as it's definalty one of KCs best efforts, and one I'll be listening to many, many times. Easy Money.

Report this review (#260343)
Posted Monday, January 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pseudo-refined work of grief.

Hailed as one of the best albums in progressive rock genre, Larks' Tongues In Aspic defines the style of King Crimson. I would say it's a good King Crimson album, but not one of progressive rock peaks, in my opinion. King Crimson proves to make a lot of good, but strongly flawed albums. All of their albums contain highly experimental inimitable compositions with specific spirit and melancholy. But almost all of their releases contain obviously meaningless and weak songs as well. So this formula is not an exception on Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Sometimes the experimentation, the depth and some cyclic depressive tunes are woven into simple and stronly flawed tunes of the production and songwriting. The violin is just like a outstretched hand to the hell. Moreover, there are too much repetitions everywhere on the album. The balance of the sound could be described as a sudden death. It full of sudden change of the course of sound. At the beginning there are slow and quiet tunes, suddenly followed by joyful scratching, meaningless jazz rock fusion tunes. The statics rules all around the creativity of King Crimson (not only on Larks' Tongues In Aspic). There's no dynamics. There's no logical links between the motifs on most of the songs.

All these conditions on the album are not exception. They are frequently existing practice (not just Larks' Tongues in Aspic, but all the albums by KC). Larks' Tongues in Aspic consists of six songs, of which the homonymous Larks' Tongues in Aspic suite (I and II) is best. There're nothing special outside this suite. For me King Crimson is productive machine of disguised pseudo-masterpieces! Larks' Tongues in Aspic has been disguised as a masterpiece, but regretfully it's really not!!!

Report this review (#266460)
Posted Monday, February 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I seriously can't understand what this band has that makes people drool all over their releases. I can agree with the near-perfection of ITCOTCK, a brilliant album, one of the best in all rock (not just prog), but this one, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is for me nothing but self- indulgence taken to the extreme, trying to disguise showing-off as "experimentation".

Just like another respected reviewer who rated this album with two stars, I have to say that, where it not for the last track, I would've given this exercise in musical indigestion a 1-star rating. The first track is nothing but jamming of the lesser kind recorded, with the addition of violin to make it sound "experimental", even though the inclusion makes no musical sense (I have to admit that, for the few minutes when the violin is present, at least the music appears to have some direction.) There's no discoveries here. Nothing new. This was done decades ago with real purpose. The next three tracks are more traditional but rather forgettable, nothing like the monuments in ITCOTCK. Wetton's voice (who, if you are a modern prog fan who has never heard KING CRIMSON but has heard THE FLOWER KINGS, sounds exactly like Roine Stolt) is good enough to make these tracks better than they actually are. "Easy Money" in particular is a totally average affair. Finally, the album raises from the darkest pit with the second part of the title track, where Fripp seems to have decided to bring some sense into the music with interesting riffs and playing with odd time signatures.

Experimentation doesn't equal quality. And uninspired cacophony doesn't equal experimentation. Then, this album is neither experimental nor is it a high quality one. It's just an attempt by first-class rock musicians to become larger than life, it's an ego show based in nothing but an image. The band created an image with their debut album, and by the time this thing was released, it's clear they really thought they were above everything. Their image as prog gods got to their heads, and they really believed they were ones.

And gods can do anything... even make art out of drivel.

But they really aren't gods.

Report this review (#267654)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album introduces a new era of King Crimson's music: Some heavy metal and a great experimental rock are found, without a care of made erudi themes. Lots of rock improves and with only a few symphonic elements.

Basically, the music is built on two instrumental lines: The line of chords. With guitars, bass, pedals and a violin. And the percurssion line, with master Brufford on drums. The harmony between them and inside them is really complex, a great instrumental work!

The song "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is the most experimental and it is fractioned in two parts. In this song, sometimes, Fripp plays on achords - in all the other songs we found only solo and arpeggio. Actually, this album has lots of exciting guitar passages.

"Book of Saturdays" is beauty and also has electronic distorcions... an interesting idea. "Exiles" and "The Talking Drum' haven't great ideas but they are nice.

"Easy Money" is just the albums best song! Its instrumental part and its outcome are incredible, really ecstasy moments! It is pure Rock'n'Roll with such a great instrumental work!

An excellent addition!

Report this review (#270424)
Posted Monday, March 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first time I listened to this album it intrigued and mystified me. I love the emphasis on rhythmic ideas, and the effective use of silence. The viola solos are very nicely constructed, great use of dissonance!

I love the contrast in texture, ranging from a solo instrument to a full blown instrumental section with each part playing its own melody. This is something that a lot of bands never explore.

The melodies for the tracks with lyrics are beautiful.

In my prog rock collection for starters, including titles from King Crimson, Genesis, Rush, Riverside, Transatlantic, Pink Floyd and Dream Theater, this is by far my number 1 album. How do you define King Crimson? They're not really rock, and they're not really jazz. They should have a genre named after them.

Without a doubt, a masterpiece!

Report this review (#274481)
Posted Saturday, March 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now I realize that many people think this album is a masterpiece of progressive music. Fripp, Buford, Wetton, Cross, can it be anything less than awesome instrumentalists putting on a display of improv, rock, prog, whatever... Well, I can only give this 4 stars for my personal rating. I have tried many times with this album, but it just doesn't stand up to their 1st album, for me anyways. I think this album is just too soft in too many places for me. I get bored easily with Lark's Tongue Part I and find myself wishing it would get rolling faster. Book of Saturdays and Exiles are good Crimson but are also a bit short for me on interest. Easy Money is awesome but the rest of the album bores me a lot again. Too sophisticated for me, perhaps. Too eclectic for me, perhaps. However, because of who they are and because of the influence and sheer guts put into releasing this, I raise what would normally be a 3 star to a 4 star effort. Groundbreaking and influential, yes, but not really my cup of tea.
Report this review (#277891)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Again Crimson have gone through some major changes. Mel Collins: flute and saxes, Gordon Haskell: bass guitar and vocals, Andy McCulloch: drums, have all left the Band. Keith Tippet too. New members; John Wetton: bass and vocals, Bill Bruford: drums, David Cross: violin, viola, Jamie Muir: percussion and allsorts, a very special natural talent, who was later mentioned by members from the band to be of great influence and inspiration, in the short period he played with Crimson. Wettons vocal are perfect for Crimson, better than Haskell without any doubt, and maby the vocal that have best fit the vision's of Crimson . Bruford the best prog. drummer at the time. With no Keith Tippet on Piano and no Collins on Sax, infact no horns or flutes at all, the jazz feel from the previus recordings are gone. So what have we got instead ? We got David Cross, with his violin, able to do some stunning duets with Fripp on the power parts of the album, some eastern inspiration in combination with the super percussion backing, and some moments of classical inspired violin solo's, of a very very high quality. We now got a vocal, even though many instrumental parts, able to bring the Crimson sound to a new level, we got the best rythm group ever seen in rock music. But first of all we got a band, working together as a perfect unit.

The perfection of this "new" supergroup is most intence on the title track, split in two parts, the first at the beginning of the album, the later, as the ending piece, all together 20+ min. of instrumental prog. rock. With rock moments as heavy and wild as ever, amasingly odd and fast percussions, guitar and violin duels and soloing, complex bass riffs, but also moments of classical beauti, a very unik composition indeed. Fripp the prog. master composer and arranger. This track is a highlight in 70's Crimson and 70's prog. rock. DO NOT MISS THIS !

Two soft ballad type songs follow the title track opening, both showing Wetton to be the right singer for this type of Crimson song, both complet in composition, but ligth in arrangement, both with a classic and melancholy mood. "Book of Saturday", Fripp playing a melodic electric guitar, supported nicely by the violin. "Exiles", Fripp mainly on the accustic guitar, allthough a delicate electric solo near the end, the mellotron on this track, leads thoughts back to the first albums. Allthough a ballad type for the song parts, it contains odd breaks, great bass work, and though limited, very pleasent laid back drumming. No credit for a piano, but im sure I hear one.

The Next two tracks, very drum/percussion driven, when you got a rythm section like this one, you obviusly want to use it !, On "Easy Money" a song on the top, with a mid section of intence instrumental, the track have some good idears, but it drags a bit too long. The Talking Drum, an all instrumental, with a bass tritone as the basis, guitar and violin soloing. Starting out very quiet, and slowly getting more and more intence. Getting the listner ready for the "audio-orgasm" on "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2"

Another innovation in music, from the master(s) of Prog. !

Report this review (#279096)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars What must it have been like being a King Crimson fan in early 1973?

Perhaps you'd bought the first four or five albums. 'In the Court of the Crimson King': a bleak, clinical classic, steadfastly against the grain of peace of love that met its final death at Altamont. 'In Wake of Poseidon': more of the same pomposity but still better than most. 'Lizard': a very prog offering indeed, pastoral and jazzy by turns. 'Islands': a generally more traditional offering. And then what?

And then what...

One thing Robert Fripp has never been afraid of is ripping everything up and starting again and, boy, is 'Larks Tongues' the fruit of that. First, a bit of a clear out: get rid of the sax player and replace him with a violinist; get rid of the rockist Boz Burrell and replace him with the softer (and more technically accomplished) John Wetton; get rid of a competent but by no means exceptional drummer and replace him with the more-than-a-little cerebral Bill Bruford then pair him with Jamie Muir, someone on the verge of insanity. Then there was Robert himself. There had been vague clues to a more, shall we say, detached approach on earlier releases (notably his 'solo' on 'Sailors Tale') but nothing could have prepared anyone for what he pulls out of the hat here. Tracks 2 and 3 aside, the guitar is a bizarre mix of: a) very heavy riffing b) hyper-fast runs that sound like the solutions to differential equations and c) not playing at all. Cap that with a more minimal and inscrutable sleeve than seemed permissable at the time. In hindsight, it is the final track that predicts a great deal of Crimson's future but it is perhaps Jamie Muir's contributions that render 'Larks Tongues' such a glorious oddball, propelling an already strange album into the stratosphere. From the Coda to 'Larks Tongues Part One', to 'Talking Drum', to the exceptional slow section in the middle of 'Easy Money' to all the weird percussive eruptions throughout. It is clear that something genuinely transformational had happened in the few glorious months that this line-up were together and remains a tragedy that it did not last.

Nevertheless, it still stands out as a true left-of-field wonder, worlds away from the other prog acts that Crimson are so often bracketed with.

Collective genius.

Report this review (#279794)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "show the colour of your crimson suspenders"

One of the most challenging and unusual records in the Crimson catalog, and ultimately one of the most rewarding. I did not understand "Larks Tongues in Aspic" when I first heard it, but even so I could not help but feel as if the deficiency was on my part. This was King Crimson, after all! But soon it all made sense.

Initially I was infuriated by the first three minutes of the record, which consist of repetitive but quiet percussive sounds that don't seem to be going anywhere. But then BANG! It explodes into pure chaos, and lets the listener know that the mad scientists are at work. There is such dynamic contrast here that is carried not only within individual tracks, but over the course of the entire record. There is a logical flow here, and the whole record feels like a big crescendo, culminating in one of Crimson's most well-loved tracks "Larks Tongues in Aspic Part Two."

There is beauty here too. "Book of Saturday" and "Exiles" are played with such incredible subtlety, you forget that they are a rock band at all. Given the high degree of creativity that was occurring in 1973, it is really an impressive feat that "Larks Tongues in Aspic" stands out as particularly imaginative. While, it was hinted at in Crimson's first four records, this was the first time that Fripp fully incorporated atonality into a rock framework. This alone is worthy of a great deal of attention. "Part Two" sounds like it is a direct homage to Bartok's String Quartet No. 4 (fifth movement). The use of post-tonal harmony within the texture of rock allows Crimson to achieve a musical affect that others have not. Now it's the twenty-first century, but we have still yet to come up with a good answer to this curious disc.

Report this review (#281117)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can one say about this masterpiece? Surely that it is one of the greatest and most important progressive rock albums ever made. Why? Because "Lark's Tongues In Aspic" is one of those ESSENTIAL albums of this genre, because it gave a huge contribution in defining it. The album's year is 1973, a year that many consider the best prog period, due to the creation also in the same year of essential works such as "Selling England By the Pound" and "Dark Side Of The Moon".

"Lark's Tongues In Aspic" is truly an Eclectic album: all the songs are different and original, thanks to the extremely talented musicians in the band. An amazing and enigmatic presence such as the one of percussionist Jamie Muir gives a completely different touch of bizarre, not really that present in their previous albums. Also, David Cross's violin is always the main instrument in the creepiest and most mysterious moments, giving the listener a lot of tension. Fripp here puts on one of his best performances in the title track (both tracks), with the use both of mellotron and guitar. Bruford, of course, never disappoints. The first part of the title track is a masterpiece, thirteen minutes of heavy moments alternated calm but tense ones, using as main element a wise sense of bizarre. "Book of Saturday" is a nice and relaxing piece, perfect for an interlude. John Wetton's voice is really expressive and shows a huge amount of talent. "Exiles" starts with some wind sounds accompanied with a mysterious violin piece. It then turns into a nice ballad, where mellotron is the main instrument, along with the vocals. "Easy Money" is a KC classic, great melody, great arrangements, a fantastic live piece. "The Talking Drum" is a fantastic instrumental piece, very calm and mysterious, possibly along one of their best ones. Another live classic. the second part of the title track is the real classic, a guitar based song where Fripp shows possibly his best performance. Heavy, catchy, maybe the best instrumental song of KC (along with part 1)

An essential album, like I said, that should be listened by everybody who truly loves music.

Report this review (#283272)
Posted Monday, May 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I normally simply submit my overall rating and do not submit my guttural and (as music will have it) emotional perspectives.......However, I have felt ( and I usually think) for a long time that this true masterpiece of 'progressivity' (I know, not a word) has had some drag or, unfortunately, some musical stigma that has inhibited its true place in the progressive 'overall' genre. Therefore, if I may indulge the reader, (lest you have already fled for a more tangible and focused review/perspective (most likely below or above me by now)), I have not seen , felt, heard, or experienced a quintessential; masterpiece similar to this in quite some time, and I, unfortunately, only discovered this piece several years ago - -- despite growing up as a young American in the early 70's in Europe and being ensconced in the purest and and true evolution of rock related music...............Highly recommended for all with an open mind and evolving appreciation of the greatness of music.
Report this review (#285161)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars After the bland and boring Islands album, once again Robert Fripp changed over the lineup and the sound of King Crimson, and turned out one of the greatest prog rock albums ever recorded (if not the greatest). In fact, it was this album, when I borrowed it from my local library (in the seventies, libraries actually kept good music in their collections), that changed me from a casual prog listener to a full blown prog maniac.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One is one of the top prog masterpieces of all time, with amazing work from all players, and fantastic studio production. From Jamie Muir's tuned percussion intro, to Fripp's wild arpeggios, to the bone crunching power chords, this song is amazing from start to finish. It's too bad the live versions just don't do justice to this piece. Part Two is great as well, and is quite powerful, but Part One is just transcendent.

Book Of Saturday and Exiles allow the listener to catch a breath after the heaviness of the opening track. And although they are comparitively light, they are as entertaining as any of the softer Crimson works.

Easy Money is a more straight ahead rock song, and is helped quite a bit by Muir's crunchy rhythm sound and sparse percussion fills. And I'm glad they used different lyrics on this recording than on most of the live versions. Jokes about pedophilia just aren't funny.

The Talking Drum is a tension building jam, that buils with perfection, and leads with a scream into Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two, a song that Fripp loves enough to have kept in the repertoire for three decades.

I wore out more copies of this album than any other in my collection. I rate this, on a scale of one to five, a ten.

Report this review (#285583)
Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Larks' Tongues in Aspic". I always had my eye on it. I think it was the album cover; it always had my attention. The sun and moon and the white background. And so one day, I decided to get it and was I ever glad I did. This album is hard to explain. It is quite an incredible journey listening to the grandness of it. Very jazzy and experimental and I am not altogether fond of jazz either. It somewhat converted me to it, that's for sure. King Crimson really proved to me that they are masters of prog and among my new influences when playing guitar. Robert Fripp is just an extraordinary guitarist, showcasing his great skill on "LTIA Pt. 2" and my personal favorite. "Exiles". I would say this is my favorite KC album and it really is a marvelous record. The stylings of Fripp and Co. are just infectious.

1. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One" - 9/10

2. "Book of Saturday" - 10/10

3. "Exiles" - 10/10

4. "Easy Money" - 8/10

5. "The Talking Drum" - 8/10

6. "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" - 9/10

54/6 = 90% = 5 stars, well deserved!

Report this review (#286682)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars If there truly was one eclectic prog album, it'd be this one. It opens finger piano, and through the ambiance gives way to the avant-garde instrumentation the album is known for. The songs in the middle of the work are a huge deal more accessible to most Western listeners than the beginning and ending works. It's really interesting that everything works out. I don't think Fripp said "Ok, this song is going to be more jazz influenced than this classically influenced one." I can almost guarantee Fripp simply let things happen themselves.

I'm not going to give you my in-depth analysis of songs. You've probably already heard the album. But god it's brilliant. This album truly is unique. The only thing I can think of comparable to Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II is avant-garde classical music (Stravinsky's Rite of Spring or Olivier Messiaen's Turangalia Symphonie). Some of the more accessible moments on the album (specifically Easy Money) remind me of Jade Warrior's Last Autumn's Dream.

If you are looking for new music to listen to, you need to listen to this album. It's addicting.

Report this review (#293441)
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars And King Crimson reinvented. Any music lover (not only a prog lover) will be satisfied with this masterpiece. Maybe "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is an strange masterpice (as said Pete Townshend) and "In the wake of Poseidon" his photocopy. Maybe Lizard is an admirable effort to spread their sound into other limits, and "Islands" a comfortable paradise of great music. But with this new group, formed by ex-yes drummer Bill Bruford, bassits and singer John Wetton, Jaime Muir on astonishing percusives and, of course, Mr.Fripp, when the band find his definitely sound, the sound of a new era, the sound of King Crimson. Between killer heavy metal and sophisticated chamber music. Listening the opening track, "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" you don't know if you need to wear leather and jeans or maybe a tie and a jacket. Forget all the rock scene before and salute the greatest band of the mid 70s, without any doubt. "Book of saturday" is a great song that remind us that we are listening a rock album, a beautiful KC balad, and "Exiles" give us peace and let us the strange sensation that we are in a special album. But the second course is even better. "Easy Money" is enjoyable and funny, but with a touch of class, a funny masterpiece. And the next track is the best, "The Talking Drum", and bring us the feeling that prog music can be sometimes art. The last track, "Lark Tongues in Aspic part.2" is an indication of how King Crimson is going to sound the next albums, the next years or even the rest of their career. And of course all the followers. Pure energy. I have a great problem with the three albums with this new band (LTIA, Starless and Bible Black, and Red): I don't know if I had to keep them under the "prog label" with Yes and Genesis, or maybe with major music, with Berio and Ligeti. They are a rock band, but their music goes forward.
Report this review (#293943)
Posted Monday, August 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The disbanding of the precious King Crimson lineup did wonders for the band's sound! Besides the five instrumentalists, the band also recruited a new lyricist to replace Peter Sinfield. This position became occupied by Richard Palmer-James who, among others, was previously a founding member of Supertramp where he performed and wrote the lyrics for the band's self-titled debut album.

The combination of Palmer-James' lyrics, John Wetton's gorgeous voice and creative bass guitar playing, David Cross' prominent violin and Bill Bruford's technical approach to drumming is considered to be the best combnation of individuals that would ever play with Robert Fripp. The first results of this collaboration brought about one of King Crimson's most hailed achievements outside of their debut album and Red. Larks' Tongues In Aspic features beloved classics like the short ballad Book of Saturday, a longer mellower piece Exiles and the weird piece like Easy Money, that's outside of the 20-minute two-part title track!

So, how can this release get 'only' the 4-star rating from this King Crimson fan? The reason is simply the fact that I consider both of it's followup releases to be even better! The material on this album lacks the perfect flow that I expect of a masterpiece album and instead I look at it more like a collection of great compositions from a collective that were still finding their sound. Larks' Tongues in Aspic is undeniably a very important part of many King Crimson-collections out there and even if this release definitely is among their top 10 albums, I still hesitate to award it anything more than the excellent addition rating that it undeniably deserves.

***** star songs: Book Of Saturdays (2:49) Exiles (7:40) Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two (7:12)

**** star songs: Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One (13:36) Easy Money (7:54) The Talking Drum (7:26)

Report this review (#299161)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The last couple of Crimson albums might have more-or-less stunk (not that everybody agrees with me on that), but let's be fair to Fripp - he wasn't exactly surrounded with the mightiest of talent. Compounded with the fact that Fripp's bandmates weren't really on the same conceptual page as him - he wanted weird, they wanted more conventional jazz and blues modes - and it's no wonder those albums weren't quite up to par. So Robert fixed these problems - he surrounded himself with people with more playing talent than the band had yet fathomed, and (more importantly) who were able to share a common goal with Fripp. The result was the band's best album yet, and an album that (in many ways) served as the foundation for all King Crimson to the very end.

The new direction for the band, as defined on this album, can best be described (in my opinion) as "Heavy Avant-Prog." If we accept Robert's description of the initial King Crimson as "Hendrix plays Bartok," this new version can be described as "Hendrix plays Eric Dolphy plays Bartok." This album is prog rock, but rather than pushing the stylistic boundaries of the Court formula, like seemingly most bands in the genre were doing at the time (not that I'm putting those bands and albums down, you see), it instead seeks to totally break down and rebuild the genre from its very foundation. Combining the already established manner of "Schizoid" jamming with elements of avantgarde jazz, and framing these jams within a tight mathematical setup of climaxes, rises and falls, it's little wonder that some critics of the day referred to this as "outer limits" music. NOBODY was making music like this, and no wonder - nobody else had a combination of people conducive to making this sort of art, and it's doubtful that many others would have even if they could.

The new KC lineup included six people, counting a replacement lyricist for Peter Sinfield (who went off to join ELP), one Robert Palmer-James. Palmer-James, for better or worse, doesn't really have any impact on the album whatsoever - three of the six tracks contain lyrics, and while they're not blatantly icky, there's not much in the way of consistent imagery contained within. "Easy Money" does have some amusing anti-capitalist rantings, but I've heard better. Still, there's something to be said for the fact that there's no "Stake a lizard by the throat" to be found here.

Now, the lyrics may be irrelevant, but that obviously can't be extended to the rest of the players. The bass and vocals void is filled by one John Wetton, previously a member of Family and later of Asia fame. He's not a great vocalist, but he's unquestionably the best the band has had since losing Lake, and his bass-playing skills are simply superb. He's not afraid to play at a higher volume than normal, or to put different effects on his bass, and he's able to both create a solid foundation and to augment the general sound well.

The most novel part of the sound of this lineup comes courtesy of David Cross, master of violin and viola (and mellotron, as needed). The modern cynic might feel a bit uncomfy at the idea of a fulltime violin player in a rock (ha) band, given that history hasn't shown this can produce consistently tasteful results, but such fears should most definitely be laid to rest. Cross shows an amazing ability to accentuate the dark mood that permeates so much of the album, yet is also able to create occasional stretches of surprising loveliness. There are also a number of passages that show him playing his instrument in such a way that definitely doesn't match anything I've heard anywhere else - it's hard to be innovative in playing a violin in a rock context, but he definitely pulls it off.

The biggest coup for the band, however, came in the percussion section. First, Robert managed to snatch up a maniacal eccentric by the name of Jamie Muir. His percussion style was WILD, a kind suited to total avantgarde improvisation, and very different from almost anything previously found in prog rock. He's responsible for many of the most exciting and unexpected moments on the album, throwing in a useful enough dose of instability to really give the album an edge. Yet as interesting as this is, his brand of insanity is the kind that is much more effective in either a distilled fashion, or even better, a kind useful in a mentor-student relationship. In other words, Muir needed a student...

...and who should need a teacher but Bill Bruford. Bruford, by his own admission, had peaked with Yes' Close to the Edge - he believed that any followup by Yes could only be "Son Of Close to the Edge," and he did not see what else he could do within a Yes context. So he tendered his resignation from the band before that album's tour; Fripp was all too happy to snatch him up, and Bruford was all too happy to have a new start. In my opinion, Bill had proven within Yes that he was one of the top three or so drummers in the whole rock world, but he did have one slight weakness - his style tended to be a bit too anal at times with his precise, jazzy rhythms. Under Muir's tutelage, Bruford took his previous style and crossed it with healthy doses of spontaneous, instinctual power, and in the process made himself (in my mind) the king of all drummers. His drumming on this album is nothing short of spectacular, combining the best aspects of his Yes work with stretches that defy all possible expectations of quality.

This bizarre mix of players and ideology introduces itself to the world in a big way with the opening 13-minute title track (part one - part two closes out the album). The first 2:50 or so is devoted to a relatively quiet marimba improvisation, with bits of chimes here and there, and also with occasional bits of violin (I guess... it's hard to tell what exactly is what on this album) chiming in to increase the ominous effect. About halfway through, Bruford begins slowly riding his cymbals, gradually increasing their volume as the marimbas fade into the background, raising the apprehension and feeling of expectation of the listener to very high degree. Then the main piece begins - Cross begins playing an INCREDIBLY spooky violin line while Fripp plays some distorted notes here and there, then disappears for a couple of seconds, then builds it back up again, and then there's a MONSTROUS distorted heavy riff played a few times (with some soloing overdubbed). Then it's violin again, the distorted guitar notes come back with heavy bass in tow, the tension builds again, and then there's that riff again! Fripp throws in a very brief typical guitar line for him, and the band breaks into a weirdass jam, featuring Muir creating rhythmic woodblock noise in the midst of it all. This goes on for about a minute, the groove slows down, and then they break into another even wilder jam (app. 6:15-7:35). Fripp's guitar and Wetton's bass are most prominent here, but take special care to notice the absolutely INCREDIBLE drumming from Bruford here. The combination of power and speed here, oh man, this has few, if any, analogies in the rock world, I can tell you that.

Eventually, around 7:40, the jam ends, and the piece returns to Cross' hands. His playing over the next three or so minutes can't really be explained in terms of rock music, but ... have you ever heard the Camille Saint-Saens piece "Dance Macabre?" It has this whole creepy "dead people at dawn" atmosphere to it, and for whatever reason, I'm always reminded of it by Cross' playing here. But I digress. Eventually, this playing fades out, the initial violin lines pop back in (the ones before the "main theme" pop up), and we hear a bunch of really quiet voices mumbling things over the lines, before the violin and bass help fade things out. And that is how you build a brilliant introduction to an album.

The next three tracks aren't as brilliant, but part of the reason for that is that they have lyrics, and as such are closer to being "normal" songs than the exploratory opening track. Not that normalcy is inherently inferior to experimentation, of course - I usually consider prog tamed with "convention" to be superior, but let's face it, this incarnation (at this point) was better at experimentation than regular songwriting. Still, that hardly means these tracks are anywhere near bad. "Book of Saturday" is the weakest of the lot, a decent but thorougly unspectacular ballad with bits of weird guitar and violin sound to accompany an ok melody. "Exiles," on the other hand, is a major winner - the lyrics don't add much to the effort, but the vocal melody (and delivery) is terrific, and Cross' violin theme ads more than enough resonance to make up for the lyrical deficiencies. The song does have the drawback of a little too much meandering in the instrumental breaks, with Fripp messing with spacey feedback and ideas that have nothing to do with the rest of the song, but hey, at least he makes the song totally unique by doing so.

Flipping over to side two, we're greeted with a bizarre percussive rhythm, overlaid with all sorts of gritty guitar feedback and wordless syllabic vocals, serving as an introduction to "Easy Money." The song itself has a really cool vocal melody, with all sorts of neat percussion underneath that, and then it breaks into a really eerie, pretty quiet (yet suprisingly intense in its quietness, and I'd guess because of the quietness) jam, with Fripp leading the way with some absolutely terrific soloing. There's bits of mellotron here and there to augment it, but the emphasis is clearly on Fripp, until about halfway in, where Wetton becomes the highest instrument in the jam, not letting it down in the slightest. Not surprisingly, the song then closes out with another iteration of the verse melody, louder and more intense this time around, fading out with some VERY disturbing laughing sounds. It's hardly the best track on the album, but it's definitely a worthy inclusion.

So thus ends the sung portion of the album. But not the album itself! In fitting fashion, the band decided to close out the album with 14-and-a-half minutes of instrumentals, split over two tracks. The first, "The Talking Drum," is just about the textbook definition of how to properly work a lengthy crescendo. It starts off very, VERY quiet (with a buzzing fly sound, for some reason), with Muir randomly banging on bongos (I guess), until Wetton starts playing a simple bassline again and again about 1:40 in, with Bruford riding his snare in lockstep fashion. And then Cross pops up, working off a brilliant up-tempo (yet somber) theme and playing it every which way. Eventually Fripp joins the party, throwing in his own theme that he plays every which way. Slowly but surely, the intensity reaches an utterly feverish pitch, with all these seemingly disparate ideas working as one to drive the listener into a total frenzy. My brother and I once decided that, essentially, this is the music you'd hear on the elevator down to hell, and I still stand by that assessment.

Then out of nowhere, the piece grinds to a halt, there's a screech of guitar feedback, and we launch into "Larks' Tongues in Aspic 2," the best riff-rocker prog has ever seen. In some ways, I prefer later live versions to this studio original, but make no mistake, this original has an atmosphere and aspects untouched by later versions. Fripp manages to take his high quality riff and present it in (I count) three variations over seven minutes, with all sorts of cool interplay between guitar and bass and ESPECIALLY Cross' violin. The sound that Cross squeezes out of his instrument at the 4-minute mark of the song, over the heaviest riff, is just about the scariest noise I can imagine ever coming from a string instrument. I'll tell you what it sounds like to me - it sounds like a lark screaming (after all, the title is a recipe involving larks), and for whatever reason, the thought of a screaming bird just sends all sorts of horrid feelings through me. His soloing over the next minute or so shouldn't be forgotten either, though. In any case, after what seems like forever of building up the tension of the "softer" theme of the song, we hit the final climax, which has an apocalyptic sound not really matched elsewhere in music. It then seemingly fades out forever, and we end with a slow, slow slide until the last note of feedback disappears.

And there you are. If any significant general flaw can be expressed for the album, it's that it is most definitely music solely for ears and brain, and not at all for the heart. Even then, though, the band is excused by the fact that the music is so well constructed and planned out that, despite a dearth of actual heartfelt resonance, the band is able to simulate it pretty well by messing with your feelings of comfort and well-being. Point is, it's a friggin' great album, and one that NO prog fan worth a grain of salt can do without. Also, one last thing - do not try to judge the quality of this album after one or two listens. I tried to take that approach with it, and as a result I feared this album like nobody's business. Listen to it once, put it away for a while, listen again, put it away, etc until you start to get an idea of what's going on. One day, you'll find that the structured aspects of the album start to stand out from the chaos, and soon it will start growing on you until you wonder how you ever made it through life without it.

Report this review (#300275)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#300348)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#306128)
Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The start of something beautiful!!! The first album in the Wetton era of crimson. And IMO the best. This is like nothing you've heard before. Completely unique in every way. It features one of the best drummers of all time, one of the best guitarists of all time, a good bassist/singer, and a violinist. What a line up! The three instrumentals are great. The first LTIA is beyond great, it is flawless. Exiles was a concert staple and is my favorite track on the album, complete with a Fripp lead, and is David Cross's best track. Book of Saturday is a beautiful little track that is light and easy to listen to. Easy Money is more in the eclectic vain and not so melodic, and is slightly heavier. An essential album which might be my favorite from King Crimson. Deffintly the album in which David Cross played his biggest role. Thank God for this album, but it if you don't already have it.
Report this review (#306814)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The biographical arc of LTIA, SABB, and Red reminds me of the first three solo works by Peter Gabriel: the rebellious, under-appreciated reckless genius (Car), the neglected, somewhat underachieving middle child (Scratch), and the prodigal son (Melt).

Underrated in spite of its placement in the "Top Prog Albums" list, LTIA is the first in a trilogy of sorts, and it is a fully formed masterpiece. Cinematic in breadth and scope, it sweeps the listener up in aural espionage and intrigue.

The contributions of Muir and Cross are integral to this album, a fact made obvious in the opening scene. "LTIA Part One" flickers to life on thumb piano like a clandestine message; an ominous warning sent along jungle lines. Once smuggled into the encampment, it pounces upon the unwary like a panther in the sweltering jungle night. The gauntlet has been thrown down by this juggernaut. The blueprint for the trilogy has already been fully realized, and will never be bettered. All that will follow from the "classic" Crimson lineup is but a distillation of these first four minutes.

And there are no weak moments on the entire album. Replace Wetton and Bruford with Boz and Wallace, and you still have a masterwork. That statement is in no way meant to besmirch either tandem. It's more a case of what was to follow on the next two albums was (intentionally?) less open to alternative artistic interpretation.

Back to the movie: at 5:51 of the opening scene, this future primitive of flesh and steel skitters deftly down from the treetops, and the chase is on. Torch in hand, we pursue this avatar of our fears. Hunter and hunted are ambiguously cast together in a dervish of light and shadow.

Report this review (#316826)
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is crazy.No wait for the symphonic rock or jazz-fusion of the early albums: "Larks' Tongues in Aspic"is the craziest album that King Crimson has ever released.

This album also marks the band's new lineup: Frippp is still on guitar, John Wetton and have low on vocals and Richard Palmer-James in the lyrics, Jamie Muir on percussion, Bill Bruford (who had just come out of Yes) on drums and David Cross on violin.

The opening track, the first part of two (or four?) of the title track, was the most delayed to like.Her made no sense to me, but as I was listening to her more often, I began to like her, and everything became clear: the section of heavy-metal (which was actually the only part of the song I liked from the beginning), his strange introduction, the final section more strangest .Only the violin section still not please me.

"Book of saturday" is a short transition range which is endowed with a beauty indescritível.Is the premiere of Wetton on vocals, and maybe the song that contains the best vocal of it.

"Exiles"is the track who best refers to the later period of band.Is completely symphonic, except for his strange introduction.

"Easy money" is one of the two best tracks on album.To despite its long section of guitar (which could have been reduced), the rest of the music is excellent: the scores of bass there close to 5 minutes to cause me chills still today, Wetton's vocals never were better sinister laugh-until the end of the music moves me.

"The talking drum" is the only weak track here.Not matter how many times to listen, I still do not understand.Escuse me those who like this song, but it's horrible!

But all is not lost.King Crimson has the habit of putting a great song after another bad one (see "In the court of crimson king" after "Moonchild" the first album and "Starless" after "Providence"in "Red ").And here he gives us the second part of the title-track.This music is infallible! Perfect! I must say that is the magnum opus of album.Heavy-Metal in 1973?King Crimson does.When Fripp came with his unforgettable guitar riff I knew this song would be special.And is! Everything works fine, until the crazy violin solo.And what about percussion Muir? scary!

Ps: I found the guitar solo at the beginning of "Larks Tongues in Aspic pt. 2" A few sounds that would by John Petrucci in Dream Theater! Was I mad? (or not?)

Conclusion: a masterpiece, no doubt, but "In the Court of Crimson King" and "Red" are still my favorite albuns of band.


-Larks Tongues in Aspic pt I -Book of saturday -Exiles -Easy Money -Larks Tongues in Aspic pt II

(3/ 10) -The talking drum


5 stars

Report this review (#326822)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Okay, here we go: time to write the review of the most highly-acclaimed album in Prog World that I can't seem to understand or appreciate, much less like. 1. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One" (13:36) Okay, give a percussionist three-plus minutes and he's going to fill it for you. (I do love the use of the kalimba.) Then David Cross's Psycho-like staccato viola notes with Fripp's menacing guitar squeals! The band bursts into a well-known chord progression a couple times as Cross and Fripp's scary duets get scarier but then the music bursts forth into a couple minutes worth of whole-band jam-weaving. Aaron Copeland-like Cross and Fripp interlude in the ninth minute turns Vaughn Williams as David soars like a bird, soloing with a little support from Jamie Muir far below. Back to Copeland and Haydn before Cross and the band reignite the earlier theme in a subtler, milder form, for the final 90 seconds. Certainly interesting--and different! (26/30) 2. "Book Of Saturday (2:49) nice music ruined by John Wetton's pitchy singing. This pop song will never be a hit. (8.5/10) 3. "Exiles (7:40) Krautrock noises fill the first 90 seconds, then a cool, slow low end with cymbal play enters before the band just bursts into fully formed song. (Teo Macero-like editing, I presume.) Even asking John Wetton to stand 49 feet away from the microphone (as they obviously did here) won't solve the primary issue of his pitch-less singing voice. Otherwise, this is actually kind of a pretty, tender song. (12.5/15) 4. "Easy Money (7:54) cool march-like opening--sounds like the inspiration for all CLASH music. BEATLES vocal is weird way to start. Horrible vocal! The rest of the song just doesn't bring me in despite the nice drum and bass play. (12/15) 5. "The Talking Drum (7:26) exploring with the band exploring KLAUS SCHULZE/TANGERINE DREAM territory! Then hand drums join in. Who thinks Jamie Muir could keep up with Santana's percussionists? NOT ME!! Innocuous bass line paves the way for David Cross's viola. Weird to hear Bill Bruford playing such a straightforward drum beat. Fripp joins in, playing off of Cross's continued viola play. Obviously, these guys are not in the same league as the members of the band they're finding inspiration from, the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. Still, decent song. (13.25/15) 6. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two (7:12) Taking off from the start with the famous Lark's Tongue chord progressions, then backing off at 0:45 to begin from one and build and add, over and over, moving back and forth from the opening theme to the second twice before going into an improv/solo section. I never noticed before how very true to classical music constructs this follows! I always liked this song in concert--as did the musicians, apparently, cuz they kept playing it over the course of 50 years. (13.25/15)

B/four stars; an interesting display of the continued evolution of one of prog's boldest experimenters, here incorporating many ideas from many musical genres and sub-genres. When I listen to this next to some of Miles's work or Mahavishnu, or even early Chicago and Soft Machine, I am not so very impressed.

Report this review (#330929)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#354668)
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permalink

BACKGROUND: King Cirmson were one of the forerunners of progressive rock at the time. On this album, with a new line-up, they were re-inventing themselves, noticably, as a more hard-edged band, so how did it go?

ANALYSIS: King Crimson did re-invnet themselves as a harder-edged band. At this time they don't have a proper keybaordist, Fripp handles the keyboards himself. This is a sticking point for me; I mean they don't really need one, but the texture seems a bit incomplete and lacking colour at times, although, that is sometimes a good thing! The problem is, since this album, they haven't really re-invented themselves since, this album has come to define them and what they have been about since. Sure, they're 80's stuff has a synthy-glossy sheen, but underneath the production, it's the same sought of material as this.

The sounds is a lot of heavy guitar's that are often juxtaposed with quiet passages of music, so it's more of a 'shock' when the loud guitars suddenly come in. There are excellent tracks on here, the talking drum is a chance for drum-wizz 'Jamie Muir' to shine, and this is an excellent piece that slowly builds up and up, and just as it is getting very loud and raucous, it ends. A mix of slightly Eastern influences and avant-garde as well. That said, this album has a lot less outside influences than previous albums, and is actually fairly narrow-focused. This would continue with subsequent albums.

The classic 'Larks Tongues in Aspic' is excellent; begins with some Eastern/African sounding 'bells', but this soon makes way for a dissonant heavy guitars and wild violin. The second part is similar, but that song slowly builds to a crescendo, and rocks pretty hard.

There are three vocal tracks. 'Book of Saturdays' has some pretty guitar but is ultimately a sloppy ballad, Easy money is a simple hard rock song that is dragged out to 7 minutes with a fairly boring extended guitar solo in the middle, and 'Exiles' is a mysterious ballad, probably the best of the vocal tracks. John Wetton is not really a bad vocalist, but often his vocal parts are rushed, probably to fit in with the music, and too often his vocals are in the background, and are therefore hard to understand.

CONCLUSION: Because of poor vocals and a few weaker tracks, I feel that this deserves three stars. There are moments of pure inspiration, but I feel they reached even greater peeks on other albums, as well. The best songs are the two title tracks and 'Talking Drum'

Report this review (#359345)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best album of King Crimson's catologe.

Reduced to the three peice band, King Crimson decided to reinvent their style by bringing a former YES drummer, expirimenting with other sounds, and heavy up their music a little bit. The result? A classic underrated album which stands out the most in their discography. "Lark's Tongues In Apic Part 1" starts off with some jugle beats, before a dark violin kicks off and the Heavy guitar tone from Robert Fripp comming up, and then.... BOOM! This heavy catchy tune starts, not without adding some machine-like drums. After that part, it moves in to an atonal jam interlude (courtesy of Robert Fripp). Once it'over, the distorted guitar is replaced by the crisp, clean guitar challenging the machine drum. The ending ends with a soothing violin. Other songs such as "Exiles", "Book of Saturday", and "Easy Money" are not too bad either. But the two-part title tracks are the leading role of this album, with "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part 2" finishing off where the part 1 started. With heavy metal style distorted riffs, ecentric bass lines, and the machine-like drums!

Well, that's all my time and gotta say overall, that Larks' Tongues In Aspic is great great GREAT record, with very interesting progressive songs, so be sure to listen to this album. Bye!

Report this review (#393555)
Posted Thursday, February 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Larks' Tongues In Aspic is one of the best and most unique albums in King Crimson's catalog. The sound of the title track is slightly avant-garde with touches of metal, hard rock, psychedelia and jazz. The title track is split into two parts on this album, and the band would add more parts to this piece on later releases in their career, but none of the later additions live up to the creativity of this original version. The remaining tracks are mostly hard rock and jazz influenced tracks that include vocals, unlike the title track. Overall, this is one of the most satisfying and intense listens in the King Crimson catalog and is very highly recommended.
Report this review (#429382)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Larks' Tongues in Aspic ? 1973 (4/5) 12 ? Best Song: Anything on side 2, but Larks' Tongues in Aspic, especially. This is it! After a short slump the boys in dark red are finally back on top, and you know what they're doing? They're redefining what music is, goddamn it! If you can listen to the powerhouse electric guitar that whips in on 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part I' without immediately whispering to yourself 'that's [%*!#]in' metal', then you obviously haven't been listening to music for very long. Oh that statement was terribly silly. King Crimson would never sully their hands with ? let me rephrase ? Robert Fripp would never sully his hands with heavy metal, he's too snobby for that, but he sure will utilize some massive shock in his six string to blast your eardrums apart. And you want to know something? As much as I love Court to death, it's not the quintessential KC statement. It's better than this, but it doesn't showcase what made the group a blistering machine, no matter the incarnation ? their ability to blatantly jam so hard it melts your very essence. That being said, Part I leaves a lot to be desired for me. Half of it's a damn fest, the other half is kinda pointless. See what I did there?! Okay, enough of this shehooligarkery. We now have the second stable lineup with John Wetton contributing sparse, downtrodden vocals. 'Book of Saturday' is short, sweet, and to the point, but the real showcase is Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part II, one of the greatest professional jams cut to record, buddy. That riff is monumental, and the band carries it all home. Despite the big ending highlight, I wish the album were a little more consistent.
Report this review (#441706)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
5 stars King Crimson: Larks' Tongues in Aspic [1973]

Rating: 9/10

Larks' Tongues in Aspic is the first King Crimson album to feature the classic lineup of Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, and Cross (along with Muir on percussion). I consider this to be the band's most consistently excellent formation; some of Crimson's most adventurous, most innovative, and craziest music was created during this era. Larks' Tongues is a creative milestone for Fripp and company. The style of this album is eclectic and hard to describe; the music goes from ambient minimalism to heavy fusion to Mellotronic symphonics to experimental grooves to peusdo-metal. Larks' Tongues could not have been more different from its predecessor Islands, and is yet another testament of Fripp's ability to reinvent this band.

'Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1' is probably the best instrumental King Crimson ever did. It begins with an extended ambient intro played on tuned percussion. Intense violin builds up to metalesque riffing, and heavy jazz-rock insanity is combined with chamber-rock ambience to create a stunningly memorable composition. 'Book of Saturday' is a short vocal/electric-guitar piece that adds some melody after the assault of the title track. 'Exiles' is the probably the most 'traditional' Crimson track here, with bolero drums and Mellotron passages. Cross's violin and Wetton's vocals stand out here. 'Easy Money' is another amazing song. I find this track hard to pin down; is it rock, jazz, blues, or just King Crimson? The wonderfully unorthodox guitar soloing and odd percussion prove it to be nothing but the latter. 'The Talking Drum' is one of my favorites. An absolutely infectious bass groove dominates this piece, with Cross's manic string soloing bringing the song together. 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2' is the heaviest track here, and is probably the most recognizable piece on the album. The song mostly builds upon a main theme by adding increasingly complex and multilayered instrumentation.

Larks' Tongues in Aspic is another King Crimson masterpiece. Creative songwriting and unparalleled musicianship are displayed here en masse. I would heartily recommend this album to any fan of progressive/experimental rock. I would especially point this album out to any open-minded music listener who is not yet familiar with avant-garde music; although not crushingly experimental, this album opened the doors to my appreciation for avant-rock. This is a prog classic that has never truly been replicated, and I don't think that it ever will be.

Report this review (#442110)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've never really understood this album.

Sure, it's very experimental and very much in King Crimsons spirit, but there's way too much noodling and waste of time on this album.

I am a psychedelic-rock fan, and a space-rock fan, but somehow this album doesn't work for me that well. The production is awful. Yes, it's 1972-73, but there are other albums out there by other bands from the same period that sounds infinitly much better than this one.

I get bored listening to the first 5 minutes of just bells and beads of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One" Why did they want it to go on for SO long? To bore people? Did people HAVE to take psychedelic drugs for it to work and so they could bear to get through it? There are some great parts in it though, some great hard, muddy riffs, and some interesting rhyhms from both Bruford and Muir, but as a whole I dont find it interesting enough.

I never really got "Book Of Saturdays" and "The talking drum" either. Experimental YES, but good songs? NO.

The only good tracks for me on this album is "Easy money" and "Exiles." "Easy money" is a sleazy, bluesy number with great attitude & vocals from Wetton, with a cool jam in the middle part. "Exiles" is reminiscent of King Crimsons first era, like "Epitaph" and "In the wake of Poseidon" (the era I like the best) and is a good song, maybe for me, the best on the album.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two" ends the album, and I find this part more interesting than the first. Some odd timesignatures with cool violin-parts on top of it.

Not a BAD album, but a patchy and poorly produced one. One of my least favourite ones.. 3 stars.

Report this review (#468742)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars To be honest, I have never quite seen the fascination with this record. It is pretty good and enjoyable, but it has very little replay value for me. Even the one song that I really enjoy most of, the Talking Drum, has that ending with the screechy violins that is akin to someone jamming an ice pick into my forehead.

But King Crimson has always been a very hit or miss band for me; when they hit it, they connect and knock it out the park, like on records like The Power to Believe, Red and Discipline, but often times they swing and miss for me. I won't call this record a complete swing and miss, but it just always leaving me wondering, "Where is the magic?"

My opinion is that this record is for hardcore King Crimson fans only.

Report this review (#478801)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the end of the Islands tour, Robert Fripp was once again left with the task of reconstructing King Crimson's lineup from scratch. However, rather than continue down the path of trying to produce a symphonic followup worthy of In the Court of the Crimson King, Fripp took the more daring approach: he wouldn't just create a new lineup, he'd break down and rebuild what it meant to be King Crimson from the ground up.

In the Court of the Crimson King kickstarted a new genre of progressive rock and was immediately embraced by the prog community, who soon took its lessons to heart. Larks' Tongues In Aspic comes up with its own genre yet again, and decades later the rest of the prog world still hasn't caught up to it, except for perhaps a few bands right on the cutting edge of Heavy Prog or math rock/post-rock. With angular rhythms, avant-garde percussion, Bill Bruford unleashed to try out jazzy chops that had been suppressed in Yes, John Wetton providing the best vocals and basswork on a King Crimson album since Greg Lake left, David Cross adding a plaintive and enigmatic violin to the proceedings, and Fripp laying down some of the angriest and heaviest riffs seen on a rock album to date, the album introduces the mid-1970s Crimson lineup (around the rock-solid core of Wetton, Fripp and Bruford) with a true tour de force.

Easily the best King Crimson album since their debut, this is the album which reinvented the band, and in doing so reinvented rock music altogether, and it still yields secrets with repeated listens to this day. If you only like symphonic prog and have no love for the heavier, more avant- garde, or even (dare I say it) RIO-ish end of prog, maybe this isn't for you, but otherwise if you like King Crimson, you need this album. Like In the Court of the Crimson King and Discipline, it's one of the key puzzle pieces that's essential to putting the picture together; if you don't taste the Aspic, you don't know King Crimson.

Report this review (#504863)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson was going in a whole new direction. Gone were the saxophone and Symphonic sound of the earlier albums (except for maybe Lizard) and now with a new line up and a very experimental style, King Crimson makes a very ambitious album that is an acquired taste. It did take me time to enjoy this album but I'm glad I did.

Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part 1: Starts out with a good percussion intro with the band softly playing behind Muir and Bruford. When the Violin comes in then you know were off. I have never heard the violin sound so evil as it does on this track and I love it. To quote my friend "You hear this when you're on your way to Hell." Great song to get in touch with your evil jazzy side

Book of Saturday: Soft melodic song that could have been the "single" but I don't think that's what they were going for. Great song with nice guitar and fabulous vocals from Mr. John Wetton. To me, he is one of the greats

Exiles: Interesting start with a Mellotron intro that the original line-up of KC was playing called Mantra. It sounds, to me, an extended creepier version of the previous song but still well done

Easy Money: Might be my favorite song on the album, kicks in with that watery sounding percussion and great vocals from Wetton as always. I love the middle section where the song kinda stops and plays very slowly and sparsely until picking back up. Also love the mechanical sounding laugh at the end.

The Talking Drum: Has a real groovy aspect to it with the bass line and makes you feel like you're traveling

Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part 2: Has a very Heavy Metal feel with that awesome riff and heavy sounding drums bass and Violin. They end this album great with a classic staple of King Crimson

Overall a great album but getting 4 stars because it might take a while to really enjoy this album. 4 Stars. Highlights: Larks' Tongues in Aspic Parts 1 and 2, Exiles, and Easy Money

Report this review (#515122)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Lark's Tongues in Aspic? They could perhaps be used for the witch's potion, but for now is simply great music.

First of all ... what a strange title, dont'you think?

For that record, Fripp reformed the band recruiting Bill Bruford, John Wetton, David Cross and the enigmatic percussionist Jamie Muir. The result is a great album, with "Red" the best of this second season. The music is almost always unique, balanced between jazz- rock and experimental, and sounds are very hard at times.

Lark's Tongues In Aspic - Part One. The most experimental of all the compositions of the album, with an innovative use of percussion and a hypnotic violin solo by Cross. Robert Fripp's guitar erupts loudly and suddenly, and then the sound immediately becomes very hard, almost heavy. Memorable final crescendo. Rating: 8 / 10

Book Of Saturday. Echoes of a past not far away. It's a great song, magic, which follows on the heels of "I Talk To The Wind", "Cadence And Cascade", and "Island". The violin parts by Cross are of unmatched beauty. Rating: 10/10

Exiles. Another masterpiece. After a mysterious introduction, the song develops into a harmonious and sweet, with Wetton singing with great feeling. Still to report the wonderful violin parts of Cross. Rating: 9 / 10

Easy Money. Excellent track with Fripp and Wetton memorable protagonists of the central section, and good vocal parts. Rating: 7 / 10

The Talking Drum. Perhaps the less compelling of the album, but still not bad. It is a piece of experimental percussion, showcase for the talents of Muir and Bruford. The exotic violin melody of the central part, which is grafted on Fripp's guitar, ends with a crescendo that leads directly to the next song. Rating: 6 / 10

Lark's Tongues In Aspic - Part Two. It is the great and unique Robert Fripp's bolero. This song is a bit 'of everything: heavy distorted guitars and sounds, unique moments of sound experimentation, disturbing and sinister atmosphere and an excellent use of percussion. Everything is held together by a legendary main riff played with guitar and electric violin, which still remains one of the best things in the band's career. Rating: 10/10.

This album is very experimental and innovative (so it is not very easy to listen) and still one of the most successful works by King Crimson. Very close to get the fifth star.

Rating: 8 / 10. Four stars.

Best song: Lark's Tongues In Aspic Part Two

Report this review (#554691)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Larks Tongues In Aspic is already King Crimson's 5th effort with a totally new line up with Bill Bruford (primarely Yes) on drums, David Cross on Violin and mellotron, John Wetton on vocals and bass en Jamie Muir on percussion and of course Robert Frip (the king itself) on guitars and mellotron. After an initial largely succesfull period (The Court of the Crimson King, In the Wake of Poseidon and Lizard), their fourth effort was some kind of misstep. It hadn't the great refreshment of the King's previous releases and became a commercial backdraw.

Robert Fripp surely wanted to show it's fans that he was still full of ideas and so here is: the Largues Tongues: and totally differant sounding Crimson, because of the use of violins and Fripps use of heavy distorted guitars. Before this record Fripp was especially good on the mellotrons but on this release he shows his excellent guitar technique. And how: this is one of the earliest metal-sounding records, while not being metal in it's means. This is still progressive rock, but more heavy then previously heard.

The songs perfectly match with each other. This album is like a road: there is a beginning and an end and within there are lot's of sideways and bridges and landscapes. There are many silent passages wich lead to heavy passages. Most of the time is just filled with instrumental absurdities and within are nice ballads.

I thought this record to be a 4,5 star, but because of it's groundbraking sound I'll make it 5.

Report this review (#587025)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Crimson now rock even harder than ever, i.e. to such an amount that defines the band as founders of prog metal, but arguably, perchance. Robert Fripp decided to add crunchier guitar distortion to the band's sound. On a side of that the band brings us a greater emphasis on eclecticism. There are percussion, a violin, and experimental brush strokes in various textures. Expect some poignant and at the same time kitty-cat music like classical-influenced folk, something that sounds like flamenco (or some other sub-style of Spanish music), exotic minimalism, and something that sounds like kabuki, which is really cool. Other than that, if you want real rock music that is melodic and intelligently built, you got it. There are riffs, composed solos, and improvisations abound on this album. Is the element of insanity on this album, as I would usually expect it on a classic prog rock record? Yes. Come and get it. Sorry if I sounded a lot like a commercial to you. I personally don't treat some of my favorite albums as just products for consumption.

1. 'Larks' Tounges in Aspic, pt. 1' - *****

2. 'Book of Saturday' - ****

3. 'Exiles' - *****

4. 'Easy Money' - *****

5. 'Talking Drum' - *****

6. 'Larks' Tounges in Aspic, pt. 2' - *****

Stamp: "Highly recommended." Yes, finally.

Report this review (#613952)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.8 stars

Larks' Tongues in Aspic is one of the most successful mixtures of every musical genre imaginable that I have ever heard. The title track alone incorporates at least four genres that I can think of off the top of my head. This fantastic masterpiece has flaws, but the greatest things about it are so great that they easily outweigh these flaws. This album also contains some of what I would argue to be the greatest work be Bill Bruford. The beast that is Bruford is truly let out on the title track.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 1" is stunning. This song sounds like a prog-metal version of a jazz-rock song with a fabulous violin part near the end. Actually, this song probably contains roots in so many genres that it would be pointless to try to name them all. I absolutely love the way this song builds and slows down, only to build up again later. The guitar lines are absolutely genius. A true prog masterpiece. 5/5 stars, without question.

"Book of Saturdays" is the weakest song on the album, in my opinion. Wetton's vocals annoy me here. Fripp has some fantastic sweeping guitar lines, which must have sounded so dynamic when people heard it for the first time considering it sounds that way today. Still, not a strong point of the album. 3/5 stars.

"Exiles" is a good song for soft, melodic King Crimson. I love the lines that Fripp includes, as they are so tastefully placed. Great violin here. Doesn't quite amount to the grandiose title track, but is certainly a solid track. 4/5 stars.

"Easy Money" is a great song. Very explosive and experimental percussion used on this track. I love the vocals, surprisingly, seeing as Wetton's vocals were always my least favorite part of this Crimson lineup. Fantastic guitar, as is always with Fripp. 5/5 stars.

"Talking Drum". I really wish this song would build quicker and last longer while built up. That said, it is a great song. The bassline is KILLER! I mean, tons of tritone, what else could a progger want? Wetton's tone near the end is amazing, once the song picks up. A great jam song, as King Crimson is a great progressive jam band of sorts. 4/5 stars.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2" is a great ending to the album. Much more structured than part 1, this very heavy song has a very math-rock type feel to it. It also gives the feeling of progressive metal, and I guess that's why Dream Theater covered it (although they seem to cover everything). It is a great way to close a classic prog album. 5/5 stars.

This album is highly recommended. It gets my absolute highest recommendation, and rightfully so, because it captures a mixture of so many genres just with the title track alone that it is truly "progressive" in the most pure form of the word. It has vision, and that vision is certainly accomplished.

Report this review (#652415)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson albums are often very challenging and "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is certainly no exception. This one took me years to fully appreciate. It marked the band's transition from a jazz-influenced vein to a more experimental one and was the first to blend violin and exotic percussion instruments into its sound. There are still strong jazz fusion influences, some classical too and portions of almost raw heavy metal from Fripp's guitar. The results are some eccentric and weird music. But it is also so dynamic that it's impossible to catch everything at first. John Wetton's vocals can't be compared to Greg Lake's I guess but he is a pretty strong bassist. This is not a perfect album but still important classic prog and also to its credit, it has stood the test of time extremely well. For all these reasons it touches a four star rating.
Report this review (#676595)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars So this is actually where it began for me. I had listened to Vanilla Fudge (liked most of it), was a Doors fan (especially "Strange Days" and "When the Music's Over"), and considered Spirit's "Mechanical World" to be absolutely brilliant (still do). I had acquired and enjoyed ELP's first LP and although I enjoyed it immensely, it really wasn't "out there" enough for me. I remember reading a review of this album (don't remember where- probably "Rolling Stone" or "Stereo Review") and feeling I should seek this record out. I also remembered a conversation I had with a schoolmate in which we were discussing music- he was really into Deep Purple at that time (well before "Machine Head") and he asked if I'd heard "In the Court of the Crimson King". I had not. My loss I suppose, but as groundbreaking as that recording was ( I did eventually listen to it)-it didn't resonate with me like "Lark's Tongues" did. I have lurked about this site for years, taking advantage of the reviews and expanding my music collection, and noticing that the demographic seems to be of a younger vintage than me. I'm sure there are many members of my age group, but probably a minority. Anyway, I feel at an advantage somehow when appraising "Prog" recordings since I first listened to most of this stuff when it was first released and new. I only regret that I am not a musician, so my opinions are based solely on my personal response to what I'm hearing and not so much on musical construction or technical ability. At any rate, as good as I consider this recording to be, I won't award a 5 star to it. I have a hard time giving a 5 star to any recording, differentiating between a "Masterpiece" and a "Classic" recording. This is one of the few that I give serious consideration of a 5 star. It is most certainly more than a 4 and my personal favorite KC studio release. I feel no need to provide a song by song analysis or interpretation- there are other reviews that have more than adequately covered that ground. I can only say that if you haven't heard this, you need to. And if it doesn't appeal to you, then you will seriously curtail any exploration into a rich sub-genre. One might argue that Genesis or Pink Floyd have been the most influential, encouraged the most spin-offs and copy-cats (or maybe Led Zeppelin, ha ha), but I would vote Fripp and company. I believe they have induced more "What the hell was that? Play it again, please" and "That was so cool, how did they do that?" moments than any other band.
Report this review (#684654)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars In 1972, Robert Fripp reformed King Crimson, this time consisting of himself, John wetton, Bill Bruford, David Cross, and Jamie Muir. They then made thier first album together, "Larks' Tounges in Aspic", named after the epic piece that was started on this album. King Crimson had a very new sound. More avant, more jazzy, and a little harder. The title tracks are very good and inventive, however, the other pieces just don't capture my attention. Anyway, 3/5

And now i shall rant untill I have 100 words. Okay, I need 13 more words. Bla bla bla bla bla. Seven more to go. Okay, last word.

Report this review (#740224)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is a trio of King Crimson albums which can (and should) be considered as The King Crimson albums. On these albums, King Crimson were what they were to become. I am reffering to: "Islands", "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Red".

What was before or in between are stages of becoming King Crimson (yes, I am also referring to the first one), what was after was, mainly, experimentation and creative leisureness.

In the album trio context, Larks' was right in between the other two. If Islands was a flight over the horizon, and Red was a claustrophobic burialment, Larks' has the feeling of touching (from the first song actually) the ground, with some moments of trying jump out into the open, again. The end of the record anticipates what lies on Red (and not Starless).

The polyrhythms, the riffs, the arrangements, the mixing, the production... all groundbreaking.

Report this review (#748952)
Posted Saturday, May 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is King Crimson dead ? NO !!! Fripp and his band is back, and better than ever.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic represents the first major change in Crimson's carrer. And the best one because they are closer to Black Sabbath and Mahavishnu Orchestra than to their symphonic roots. They became darker, heavier and had more balls than in Islands. Bill Bruford left Yes, John Wetton left Family, David Cross began his carrer and Jamie Muir began to find all sorts of percussion. Why ? Because they all wanted to join King Crimson. They made a good decision. Robert Fripp finally assembled the band of his dreams and they made their best album since their iconic debut.

My Grade: A

Report this review (#749637)
Posted Sunday, May 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first thought that this mysterious CD only deserved a four star rating , but I was wrong. After further listening I must give it the full five stars. I still do not know what this music is about. Yet there is this sinister power here that is compelling. As other have noted before, it it the two title tracks that are most notable. Sometimes I listen to songs closely trying to analyze them and dig deep into the lyrics or motifs. But I can't crack Larks Tongues in Aspic. Sometimes it borders on controlled noise, and other times it is mellow (parts of Easy Money). I don't get what this music is all about; but I feel this strange power and newness when I listen to it. When I hear this music I am reminded of William Butler Yeats wrote: "A terrible beauty has been born." This is a dark and beautiful masterpiece.
Report this review (#825895)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whether or not you consider Larks' Tongue in Aspic a masterpiece, it is arguably the album where King Crimson break away from the pack of the other well known prog rock acts. Having first demonstrated the scope for structure and extended sections in rock with their debut, King Crimson now seem to want to be liberated from structure. There is no neat sonata form in evidence anywhere on this album. The band seem to zealously avoid linearity of any kind. Unpredictability is the name of the game.

While the other biggies of prog - and by then a good deal bigger than King Crimson - had wonderful musicians indeed, Fripp & Co lay down a starkly different approach to performing the music on this album. The focus is not on any obvious demonstration of virtuosity. Instead, they take the jazz virtue of never playing a note the same way twice to heart. Whether the results of such an approach are blissful or messy probably depend on the listener's preferences and orientation. And it is an album that divides opinion. Depending on who you are, King Crimson's unorthodoxy could be the very thing that draws you to the album or repels you away from it.

As for me, one thing I personally detest about long jams or improvisations is the absence of a mood save that which is very much familiar in that genre of music. E.g A blues jam sounding very bluesy is not exactly what I am looking for. To me, any performance ought to serve a need, a goal and I get off very fast on generic showboating.

That is not a problem with LTIA. The two part title track is very atmospheric and the meandering nature of the music conceals a strong sense of purpose and resolution. The music does move towards a logical conclusion, just not in a particularly logical way. But I am too taken up with Bruford and Muir's creative percussion work to bother too much about that. The musicians create a very sensual experience, and I find it alluring for this reason. As I expressed above, King Crimson avoid obvious ways of interpreting their music. Where a Howe or Barre might play beautiful notes, Fripp finds several different ways to play the notes beautifully and that is a significant difference, at least for me. There are not very many prog rock bands who have consistently favoured this approach and among the big ones, the Wetton-King Crimson lineup is probably the only that adopted it. The result is a sound that is timeless and not dated in any way, much like the last work of this lineup, Red.

Having heaped superlatives on this album thus far, I am afraid it is time for me to nitpick. My problem is Book of Saturday and Exiles don't really fit into this package. The meandering, nomadic approach to music that works so well on the instrumental tracks hampers these vocal based tracks. Unlike Easy Money, they don't rock and don't have the almost frightening dynamic range of that track (just check out towards the end of Easy Money where Bruford explodes like a loud firecracker). It is down to Wetton to do justice to the melody. And the melody of Exile is quite beautiful but to me, he's just not up to it. While the band plays everything differently all the time, Wetton seems to sing everything the same way and that, frankly, makes it pretty hard for me to concentrate on the track even though I like the composition. I also feel that these tracks hark back to an earlier era of King Crimson and don't fit into the bold and abrasive approach of this lineup. Maybe Fripp could have somehow persuaded Lake to sing these two tracks instead?

For this reason, I am afraid I cannot hail this album as a masterpiece. But it is an amazing experience nevertheless. I have intentionally avoided trying to describe too much about these tracks for that would be to take away the element of surprise that pretty much makes this album. 4 stars.

Report this review (#846712)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love every single second of this album. Larks' Tongues in Aspic is one of my favourite progressive rock albums there is. With this record King Crimson experimented with a slightly more harder sound. This is often called as their heaviest album and it's no surprise. Especially the opener and the closing track have some very heavy parts here and there.

But even if the sound is a bit heavier than usually the songs are still delivered with the classic King Crimson style and class. There are six songs in here and three of those are instrumentals with a huge leaning towards both jazz fusion and experimental rock. There is no point in trying to pick up some highlights here because the album works best as a whole damn thing.

While this ain't as famous album as their ground breaking debut is I think this is just as great musically. This album has everything a progressive rock fanatic could want from the high class instrumental work to beautiful melodies and mighty/epic sounds. This album has it all and in my opinion almost totally flawless.

Report this review (#874460)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars We have arrived at a point in time where King Crimson finally had somewhat of a stable lineup. I believe it shows as the songs on here are much better than the previous 4 albums but is it a masterpiece??. Well let's see if I think it is. If you have been reading my KC reviews (chances are you haven't lol) you will see that I have been at best lukewarm about the band. Well, this changes somewhat here for me. You guys want me to rate this? Oh, I will rate this mother real good. So Bill Bruford left Yes to join the Crimson King as they pretty much completely revamped themselves with a new lineup. The lineup was now: Robert Fripp, David Cross, Jamie Muir(why only this album???), John Wetton, and Bill Bruford. To me there is no doubt in my mind that this lineup is and was the strongest that the band ever had and it shows. There were a few new things that the great Crimson Kings did on this album that were never done by them before. First off, they brought in violinist David Cross, I feel he brought another element to this band which made them sound different (which is good). Second, guitar man Robert Fripp decided to beef up his guitar a little more and for me as a metalhead I love that damn instrument beefed and charged up. My favorite work of Robert Fripp as a guitarist is actually on this album as before this his playing was decent at best (for me at least, so don't be a sour puss about it lol). Bill Bruford decided to join King Crimson because he felt he did all he could with Yes and King Crimson provided him a chance for him to improvise and test himself a little more (those jazz drummers lol). However, I feel Mikey Giles best suited this band. Bill says this about King Crimson "with King Crimson you are just supposed to know what to play" but how does that work for him on this album??? Here is my review of Larks Tongues in Aspic

1) Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One - This one is a pretty darn good instrumental. Even though some might not like the build up, I actually think it works well. However, there are moments when I feel like laughing at this track though as one part sounds like a cat getting strangled and it takes a little bit away from it. This one is really great track though. 9/10

2) Book of Saturday - This one is really great track in my opinion. Wetton's vocals (RIP buddy) fit in perfectly and Fripp delivers a tasty backwards solo. Great track, haha. 10/10

3) Exiles - This one might take a while for one to get but when you do you will be highly rewarded. It's a song that almost makes me want to be an actual fan of King Crimson's music (I do like it but I am not rabid about the band if that makes sense). An absolutely breathtaking track. 10/10

So far after 3 tracks I have no complaints whatsoever as I quite enjoy the album. However, here come the next 2 tracks. Let's get back to the review.

4) Easy Money - Initially, I quite enjoyed this song but with some time it became rather pretentious (or do they really like pimps?) as it started to really annoy me. So much to the point where I feel that it's really not that good (they could have done better). In the track they decided to rip off Yes with a vocal harmony but it doesn't work quite as good (did Bill Bruford have anything to do with the wannabe Yes vocal harmonies? If so, why???). Do King Crimson not Yes. What have they been smoking? Making a song about pimps and prostitution? Gross. Sadly, it's one of the songs that downgrades this otherwise 5 star album to a different star rating (for me at least). It's not Ladies of the Road though. 6/10

5) The Talking Drum - To me it's the worst track on the album. While it does crescendo it also repeats itself over and over and it goes nowhere (for me at least). Though I quite like the violins that make it sound somewhat exotic it's definitely used as an excuse for pretending to be experimental as it goes absolutely nowhere. It gets chaotic and violent towards the end of it and it's a real piece of crap. The dynamics are good but it has nothing else to offer. This song has a fly sound effect(I think). A fly knows when its around crap and this is most definitely crap. It is the true stain on this album for me. It ruins an otherwise 5 star album. 4/10

6) Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two - Arguably the best instrumental on the album. The first track gives it a run for its money though (for me at least). 9/10

Overall, I feel this is the Crimson King's finest hour as they blended the improv and the musicality as best as they could as it turned out quite well for them in my opinion. However, I also feel that it is missing something as it's not quite a Selling England or a Close to the Edge. Personally, I feel all King Crimson albums before this had some sort of similarity to them (musically or other wise) and this ushered a new era (that is a good thing). The guitar from Fripp sounded better on here than in any other album but was it any where near as good as say a Steve Howe or Steve Hackett? The answer to that for me is definitely not. He is Fripp though. Aside from 2 stinkers Larks' Tongues in Aspic is a darn great album. It just doesn't satisfy me as much as others. I will give this album an outstanding 4 stars!! Peace out!!

Report this review (#885372)
Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the twin peaks of seminal post-psychedelic debut 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' and the heavy shreddery of 1974's bone-crunching 'Red', this 1973 effort - the Fripp-led outfit's fifth - remains arguably the next best slice of available Crimson. Suitably glazed in the arty and experimental packaging that came to characterise many of the group's early-seventies offerings, 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' finds the five-piece of Fripp(guitar), John Wetton(bass, vocals), David Cross(violin), Jamie Muir(percussion) and defecting Bill Bruford(drums) churning out an at times exquisite rendering of Fripp's now avant-prog soundscapes, the whole washed down with a heavy dose of experimental jazz-fusion that takes this King Crimson into as-of-yet uncharted waters. The opening title-track, rather surprisingly, proves the weak link, as eleven-plus minutes worth of gentle rattling, strange ghostly noises and occasional half-formed melodies drag by, though all four of the shorter tracks prove to be well worth the wait. 'Book Of Saturday' - short, sweet, maudlin - proves both utterly compelling and rather beautiful, Wetton's note-perfect vocals particularly fetching. 'Exiles', however, proves even more satisfying despite a warped and ominous beginning that harks back to the album's soggy introductory gambit. Again, a deceptively sweet-natured centre and Fripp's striking use of mellotron tone-and- colour make for another faux-medieval mini-epic of deceptive grandeur; Wetton, as ever, delivers faultlessly on both his counts. 'Easy Money' finds King Crimson doing their very own take on straight-up head-nodding rock - again excellent - though 'The Talking Drum' reverts back to pompous art-pop territory; interesting but flawed, it's almost a novelty, yet not quite. The second part of the title-track trumps the first - the snail-pacing of yore dissipates under a welter of powerful instrumental passages - and makes a suitably grand and quirky finale. Though it may have it's faults, this is progressive rock in the vein of a true original outfit, made in a way that drips with the Crimson statement-of-intent. Intricate, passionate, darkly-ambient and always biting away at the very edges of rock's limits, 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' is another fully-formed challenge of an album that positively glowers with musical innovation in a very different way from the avant-edged rock 'n' roll grade of the era. And that, it seems, is exactly the point. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
Report this review (#893400)
Posted Sunday, January 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic was Crimson's first album that featured a stable lineup. John Wetton on bass and vocals, Robert Fripp on guitar and mellotron, and Bill Bruford on drums and percussion formed the core for the next three albums. With the addition of David Cross(violin, viola, and mellotron) for this and the next album (and as a guest spot on the third album) as well as the excentric Jaime Muir on percussion, including found percussion, we have more, and different, depth than Crimson had had in years.

I think that the title piece and its second part (as well as the later third and fourth parts in the next couple of decades) are seminal pieces that shout Crimson to the world. Talking Drum, as well as Easy Money (a concert staple) and Exiles are all excellent.

This lineup would do bigger and better work, up until its disolution. But Larks' Tongue is a great way to kick it out.

Report this review (#906579)
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Deserves NOTHING but 5 stars, this! The true validation of what King Crimson stands for, the effort to justify its band's name and the first (out to three) not to have section whcih are overlong neither underdeveloped. Oh, and it sounds just like the title suggests: slowburning and alternating between a dream and a nightmare.

The process leading to this album also forever changed the outlooks its members previously held not least because of the influence of strangeman visionary Jamie Muir and his industrial kitchen utensils omnipresent in every soundscape here and whose echoes will continue until King Crimson's "ultimate" dissolution in 1974.

To descibe the music is ridiculous and there are no highlights in a Himalaia, but the listener must be warned to get ready for truly heavy metal music without bullsh*t and populism, this is music in the service of an aim and whatever happens during its course is serving it, keeping the tension from Muir's initial chant on the mbiras to Bruford's faint conversation.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is one of my favourite albums of all time: I can easily recall being scared of it the first time I experienced it (believe it or not, Trey Gunn, later to play in KC, felt the same), and it is an impression that keeps living inside me and is awakened every time I listen to this disc - with Red, I consider it essential Crimson and is highly recommended!

Report this review (#931213)
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is quite possibly King Crimson's greatest albums in terms of sheer experimentality. With a whole new line-up to their previous post-psychedelic one-off "Islands" two years before, the band is given a brand new signature sound, arguably their best. With Bill Bruford undeniably expert drumming, retreating from the more melodic Yes, Jamie Muir's certifiably insane stage antics in what can just about be called percussion, David Cross - a keen violinist with a certain twisted childlike technique of playing (although very professional) - and John Wetton, formerly of Family to furthermore take King Crimson's music into a whole new world, with his slightly raspy vocals and one of the most recognisable bass sounds. The only real drawback about such an imaginative, alternative work is that you have to be in the right frame of mind to indulge into it but that's about it really! This album marks the beginning of a string of great works and a strong musical ethos between the band, who would go on in this particular partnership, to produce some outstanding albums - "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" being the first. What a way to start!

Part 1 of the title track begins with a 3 minute intro of tinkling percussion, reminiscent of various wind chimes and eerily squeaking desolate swings that occasionally pop up, really testing the audience's patience and willingness to sit through the whole thing! David's violin then start cutting through the airiness of the piece, almost like a scythe cutting down resistant crops blowing in the wind. Robert's guitar is quite a surprise, with an incredibly pure yet distorted tone bringing something great to the atmosphere (perhaps outdated by the overuse and ease of it now in the 21st century). Despite this, nothing - in the hundreds of thousands of albums ever created sounds at all like this whole cacophony of odd melodies, effects, percussion, and selection of instruments. About 5 minutes through, the musicians really settle down, with Wetton's rolling bass line, Bruford's distinctive drumming tunings, but particularly Robert's incredibly skilful guitar work, playing atonal arpeggios all over the place to a very definite pattern at breakneck speed, identical even in live performances!

The track builds with more percussion-centered improvisations, with an eccentric wah-wah bass and guitar tremolos refined to more melodic and sophisticated tones on their follow up "Starless And Bible Black" to ingeniously fit the new setting. The track then enters a lengthy violin solo, allowing David Cross to shine. Whilst he is a second-to-none violinist, he still doesn't quite sound original or experimental enough to be with the band. Still a superb section of the album, with Muir's tweeting birds and other inspired aberrant musical paraphernalia, constantly bobbing around. All in all, an excellent display of talent and some of the most enterprising songwriting and improvising I've ever come across.

"Book Of Saturday" is much more gentle, but still similarly innovative. The lyrics are very meaningful and set quite a detailed story in the short 3 minutes of the song. Robert's guitars display much virtuosity, including odd harmonics and open stringed riffs, teamed with a volume swelling solo that sinks in beautifully to the bed of the album, plus some of David's best violin playing (plus John!) Appearances of odd time signatures, a brilliant device that makes the song even more progressive. The absence of percussion subconsciously makes you relax and indulge more into the tranquility of Wetton's tremendous melodies and harmonies towards the end. Possibly King Crimson's best ballad, beating "Lady Of The Dancing Water", "Fallen Angel", "Matte Kudasai", and even "Cadence And Cascade".

Like the opening track, "Exiles" contains an extensive intro of isolated moanings emanating rather alluring from whatever is being played, and putting you in the place of the exile. More music in introduced as the character almost gets accustomed to his leaving of a great kingdom. Some almost arabic influences arise from Cross' violin and the ambient humming that outlines the atmosphere between the verses. More marvellous lyrics and struggling, relatable vocals from Wetton, and a more refined guitar arpeggio technique as that heard on "Cirkus". Attractive melodies with the occasional area of intrigue just to be different (but to great effect). An almost opulent weighty guitar solo by Fripp to juxtapose David's soaring violin. Some very symphonic crashing percussion is put to great use by Muir towards the end, as the track retreats back to a more melodic version of how it began. Yet another fantastic track.

"Easy Money" - probably the fan favourite off the album. Essentially a collaboration of jazz, heavy metal, and King Crimson's tendencies to experiment and go off on a musical pilgrimage of a tangent, exploring the depths of the genres that no-one else could reach! Love the scat melodies with the ringing bells and other varied percussion that constantly emerges in the piece. Brilliant chords and arpeggios also played throughout from the guitars, with hypnotic very fresh sounding effects and tones exuding from the respective musicians (a difficult feat to accomplish from something so avant-garde as this). Jazz comes through as the most prominent genre here, with some very modal improvisations on the brink of atonality from Fripp, and classic jazz drumming from Bruford here, but with quirk and obvious personality. The lyrics likewise are very "alternative", which are pretty self-explanatory and just a bit of fun. Ends abruptly with some sly laughter (the likes of which I've only really heard on the Gorillaz' "Feel Good Inc.") Upholding the towering standard of music, another excellent track.

"The Talking Drum" retreats back to a percussion-based improvisation. Not being a drummer, I know I won't be able to fully appreciate what these masterminds are doing, but it still sounds great to my guitar-biased ears! A very minimal track with more jazzy solos, entering from a slightly different angle as previously done though. Not an oblique display of musical insanity, but somehow conveys a much more personal feel to the listener. Once again, very unique and absolutely essential the album, ending on some demented monkey screams taking you right into the final track...

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part 2" is astonishingly one of the most accessible tracks on the album. Very clear dissonant melodies, with strange time signatures and instruments all complementing each other magnificently. For me, this is the essence of the album in one piece - a well-structured composition with occasional outbursts of improv from the musicians. Absolutely gorgeously bass lines appear, and Muir's percussion is more restrained here (probably for the better, seeing it doesn't take up so much place on the mix). Nothing really gives the piece a backbone, because they are all in the background in some way, so it allows room for the very complex track to somehow breathe, with each instrument taking its solos wherever necessary (including David Cross' best work on the album in my opinion, and likewise with Bill Bruford). Actually very tuneful for a King Crimson song, and ends on a thunderous tremolo of a distorted orchestra. The album is second to none in what it set out to accomplish, and of course a masterpiece!

A: One of King Crimson's many spectacularly unorthodox zeniths in terms of musicianship and improvisation. Exploring whole new territories in music, and a cornerstone of progressive rock.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part 1: **** Book Of Saturday: ***** Exiles: ***** Easy Money: ***** The Talking Drum: **** Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part 2: *****

Report this review (#984553)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars You know how some groups have that perfect album or that certain period of time when everything they do is perfect. King Crimson had a lot of those albums and periods. Their best work is more disbursed throughout their repertoire however. This album is one of their perfect ones. Words can't describe just how amazing it is. It was decades ahead of it's time. Listen to a lot of the post rock bands today and tell me that I'm wrong.

Larks Tongue Part One is the most following a classical music style than the other four (or five if you count "Level Five") in that there are string instruments and the ever amazing mellotron that balance out the heavy guitars that appear throughout, though not as much in abundance as the other parts. However, that doesn't diminish the quality and compositional finesse that are apparent in this track. Lovers of KCs heavier music might consider this one the least of their favorites of the entire suite because of the quiet parts throughout, but this one has it's share of tension building all throughout and in my opinion is just as great as the other parts. If anything, it's more original sounding than the others because of the variety of dynamics and instrumental leads throughout. Personally, I love all the parts, two of which are on this album and the other two are on later albums with Level Five also on a later album. This track is over 13 minutes and totally instrumental, but it is still over way too quickly.

The next track introduces John Wetton as lead singer and his voice fits so well with the music. Not the best vocalist out there, his voice can be too brash at times for some listeners but his voice works so well with this music because of it's dynamism. This track is quite short and mostly acoustical.

Nice bridge to the next track "Exiles" which clocks in at over 7 minutes. This one starts out sounding experimental but soon breaks out into a lovely interchange between acoustic and violin and drums and John's voice joins in the interchange. A pattern of freestyle sounding improve and tightly composed sections continue throughout and the combination is amazing. The dissonance here is understated never taking the song out too far into left field, but still there, and never drowning out the beautiful melodies that are evident in the sections of the song that are more tightly composed.

The next track "Easy Money" is more intense, but that is the feeling that remains throughout the rest of the album. It follows the same pattern as the previous track with tight sections and loosely composed sections. The difference here is this one is not as careful as the last, it's more humorous, louder and irreverent. The last section breaks the tight/loose pattern of the song and crescendos and levels off several times nicely to become more and more chaotic as it goes on. This is a very well developed track.

"The Talking Drum" is an instrumental which is an awesome study in building tension starting out pianissimo and constantly building with percussion over a driving bassline and a wandering violin. I love this! This one should get the blood moving and the heart pounding as you are anticipating where this whole exercise in tension is going. It builds in tension and in volume. Fripp's guitar soon starts to have it's say increasing tone, volume and more tension. The tension, chaos and craziness all culminates and explodes into a sudden frenzy that segues so beautifully into the heaviness of the guitar driven masterpiece known as "Lark's Tongue, Part 2"

Like Part One, we have a very dynamic instrumental piece driven by guitars and heavy bass and percussion. Nothing else was like this in it's day, but there is a lot out there nowdays that have been influenced by this music. Grunge and Post Rock roots are heavily embedded in this music.

Fortunately for all of us, KC would continue to explore this type of music throughout their albums. Amazing album. Influential? Absolutely! Essential? You better believe it! Enjoyable? Oh Yes! Everyone that appreciates rock should own and know this album. So hard to believe that it was released in 1973, except for a few minor passages, it does not sound dated as is the case for "In the Court of the Crimson King" does, even with it's own influence on earlier Progressive rock. If there is one band that you should listen to to understand where a lot of the current heavier Prog rock groups get their sound, this is the band to study. If you like this one by KC, you'll definitely want to listen to the albums "Red", "Discipline", and "Thrak" and there are plenty of tracks from their other albums that you will enjoy also, so all of their albums need to be explored.

Report this review (#1006822)
Posted Saturday, July 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is not an album that is easily forgotten. King Crimson's music was ambitious and experimental from the start, and ITCOTCK's "Moonchild" improvisation section was almost like the beginning of one of the band's trademark explorations in music that would continue throughout the band's lifespan. Still, Lark's Tongues in Aspic is much different in sound to the early Crimson albums, perhaps in the way it is so diverse. In only six pieces, the band explores a range of moods and intensities that is very rarely seen even from a progressive rock group. Even more startling is that there is a definite hard rock/metal presence in a few of the songs, which I think carried on into later Crimson works, especially some of the more recent albums like THRAK. Yet all the music is calculated, fluid, interesting, and intriguing even when improvised. I don't think there is any doubt that this Crimson lineup was one of the best in terms of improvising pieces either live or in the studio. The musicians work very well together and yet are able to push their individual skills to the max to create music that is both complex and exciting.

The first track, the instrumental "Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Part One" is almost a sampling of what you can find throughout the rest of the album. Steven Wilson, who remixed the album for its 40th Anniversary Edition (and did a great job) very rightly pointed out that the first song goes through basically "every extreme of volume in the first five minutes". This is undoubtedly true, as the legendary buildup to the main metal-like guitar theme proves. The serene, quiet sounds of Jamie Muir's small percussion items build every so slowly up into the pulsing violin riff that in turn gives way to the incredibly menacing fuzz of Robert Fripp's guitar. In my opinion, Fripp has one of the greatest guitar tones of all time, which he uses to perfect effect here. This opener is both experimental and hard rock, both classical and improvisatory, and truly is a wonderful example of King Crimson's ability to blend musical styles effortlessly.

"Book of Saturday" follows, a surprisingly short but satisfying tune driven by Fripp's clean electric guitar melodies and John Wetton's singing. Wetton proves to be a vital part of the band throughout the album by providing heartfelt vocals and solid bass playing. The melody of "Book of Saturday" is quite good and memorable, and is probably the most accessible song on the album.

"Exiles" follows with a similar sort of style and another solid melody. Yet it is also more atmospheric, due to the mysterious introduction and the melancholic violin playing behind Wetton's vocals. Overall, it is very soft, peaceful, and emotional, and does not pack too much of a punch musically. This is probably my least favorite song off the album, but it has grown on me after a little while, and I may come to like it even more eventually.

Now comes a truly startling and powerful track. "Easy Money" is proof that complex music can really rock, and can rank as one of Crimson's best ever songs. It opens with more of a bang than any other song on the album and even in its quieter sections never loses its intensity. The opening vocal melody playing over more of Fripp's hard rock riffage is nearly perfection, a truly inspired piece of music that Wetton sings with incredible power. The following lyrics are intriguing, the interplay between guitar and vocals works perfectly, and then a long section of improvisation between Wetton's bass, Fripp's fluid guitar, and the percussion accents of Bruford and Muir follows until the song returns to the original vocal melodies in a perfect circle. An amazing song, again showing the range of intensities that Crimson can go through in a single composition.

"The Talking Drum" is another instrumental which features Muir on the instrument itself and again follows a sort of fade-in structure with a grooving bassline that drives the piece. And that actually describes most of the piece; it grooves very well and gives David Cross a chance to do some nice improvisation on violin before the song segues directly into...

"Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Part Two", is the closing piece and a solely Fripp-composed piece that is very guitar heavy. It also has the heavy metal sound explored first in the opening piece and later in "Easy Money" (slightly), but of course King Crimson is not heavy metal, so the song features more varied instrumentation and complex time changes that nevertheless work perfectly.

This album in my eyes is 5 stars, yet I see how its audience could be very limited as opposed to an album like ITCOTCK, mainly because of its experimental nature and abundant improvisation. So 4 stars should be more realistic, since it is definitely a very worthy addition to the collection of anyone who enjoys more experimental prog.

Report this review (#1008681)
Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars inconsistency was the synonym for the band King Crimson talking about lineups, a lot of changes of people coming and going in just few years being Bob Fripp the only element which remained at all times. 1973 saw the discovery of David Cross, a talented violinist by Robert Fripp who immediatley invited him to join the new King Crimson force. Bill Brufford was seeking for musical adventures and found in the Crimsons what he was looking for. John Wetton had just departed from Family and was looking for a band, and Fripp for a bass guitarist and a singer, Wetton had the two of them. Jimmy Muir was the strange element in the band adding all kinds of sounds and percussions to the songs, something that nowadays it's very easy to substitute with computer programs. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, marked the beginning of a new Crimson era, and the one that would establish a trademark in the sound that would continue to our days. Definitely one of the best albums of the era, it was just surpassed by The Dark Side of the Moon, which talks about the great success of this album by the critics. It is quite obvious why this album should be considered at the top ... but wait a second, the best was yet to arrive!
Report this review (#1011590)
Posted Monday, August 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Talk about straightening out a mess! I am talking about the decline from the first album to Islands. King Crimson was in complete disarray with members joining and leaving within months of each other and the music ultimately suffered for it.. Out of the ashes left behind from the Islands era, where IMO was the weakest version of Crimson, came the mighty Lark's Tongues In Aspic. Fripp took a hard left turn in cultivating this new band of musicians. Gone are the woodwinds, saxes, Keith Tippet's awkward piano and the Sinfield fairy tales. In was the powerful bass player and singer, John Wetton, the extremely talented and inventive drummer, Bill Bruford., the mostly unknown violinist, David Cross and the wild card, the incredibly imaginative master of allsorts and percussion, Jamie Muir. What makes this album so special are the dynamics and the chemistry the band created from endless improv sessions. Pulling creativity out of each member. The dynamics diplayed on this record are unrivaled.

"Larks Tongues In Aspic Pt.1" - Introduces the listener to Jamie Muir, setting the tone with his array of sounds and patterns. Tension, release, mayhem, quirky funk, a chinese strings- violin duet and a huge finale all rolled up in the 14+ minute tour-de-force. There is absolutely nothing like this anywhere.

"Book Of Saturday" Shows the delicate side of this mean line-up. Nice violin and backwards guitar solos. We are also introduced to Wetton's first recoded vocal with the band. Assertive and smooth.

"Exiles" Another lengthy intro loaded with Muir's assortment of sounds. Using different objects creating totally different sounds than on the first track. Parts of "Mantra" are used here as well. The song shifts gears with soft violin, arpeggiated guitar and an understated bass and snare beat while Wetton's sings of leaving his homeland.

"Easy Money" Is a little bit more of a rock song than the rest. The song starts off with a cool riff with Jamie Muir making what appears to be the sound of someone slogging through mud. A nice middle section with a decent build up. This song was much better live.

"Talking Drum" This is another instrumental with an eastern feel that showcases more cool sounds from Muir plus the playing of a talking drum. The tune is one long buildup, fading in from the intro and getting louder an louder until..

"Larks Tongues In Aspic Pt.2 A very loud screeching sound from blowing into a bicycle horn introduces this chunk of heavy prog. A classic.

LTIA was a major resurrection for Crimson. They now had a band and an album that proved they didn't have to live up to their first line up and first album. Sadly, Jamie Muir left to join a monastery shortly after and Crimson ceased to exist a little over a year later.

This record belongs in any comprehensive progressive rock collection. No Question.

Report this review (#1014382)
Posted Thursday, August 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I labored over the star rating to give to Larks Tongues in Aspic. It's King Crimson, but it's not King Crimson at their finest IMO. As reviewers, I think we're obliged to compare an album to that band's other output, as well as music of other artists. Should those our reviewing standards? I personally think anything by King Crimson deserves 3 stars at the very least. Keeping that in mind, Lark's Tongues in Aspic gets 3 1/2 stars in my book. I'll round up to 4 since 1/2 stars aren't allowed here. It's not quite a KC masterpiece.

I'll start with individual band members. The rhythm section at this point in the band's career is simply beyond reproach. Of the 3 main vocalists King Crimson has had, John Wetton is my least favorite. He's not bad, I just don't think he has the skill of Greg Lake or Adrian Belew. Lyrics and vocals have never seemed to be a main priority for the band anyways. His bass playing for King Crimson, on the other hand, is outstanding. Considering how complex and wide-ranging KC's music often is, Wetton played it all skillfully. "Easy Money", one of the best tracks on the album, is just one example.

I am completely biased when it comes to Bill Bruford; I don't think anybody does it better. I simply can't find fault with anything he does, and he is brilliant throughout Lark's Tongues in Aspic. That being said, "The Talking Drum" is noisy and repetitive to my ears. My other least favorite track on the album is "Lark's Tongues Part I". One of the best things about King Crimson is the variety in their music and the level of ambition they show on their albums. However, "Lark's Tongues Part 1" is too scattered for me, taking off in too many directions.

For some reason, I seem drawn to the most melodic KC songs, such as "Trio", and the noisiest, such as "Lark's Tongues Pt 2." Wetton and Bruford are outstanding on this song, and I think it's one of King Crimson's best. Not all of the material on Lark's Tongues in Aspic measures up to their best releases, which earns it 3 1/2 stars rounded up

Report this review (#1035930)
Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This may very well be King Crimson's most experimental and consequently least accessible album. Being biased towards the more melodic side of prog, I find one hard to appreciate. Much of the experimental exuberance falls on flat ears, and mostly sounds like noisy drivel. Unfortunately, this is something the band is usually known for, and is quite prevalent here.

Though I will admit much of the album IS well composed. The opening to the title track is quite like the freeform styling of Moonchild or Providence but develops into a dark, uneasy-feeling section, with one of their more memorable and heavy riffs. In fact, this whole section before the aimless violins come in is what I think the band is best suited for, especially with the perfect reprise at the end.

Unfortunately, the remaining songs don't match the strength of the bookending title track. There is no shortage of atmosphere, creativity, and experimentalism; Brudford in particular absolutely kills it. But the melodic side just falls short. The vocals are weak and add nothing to the music, which can at times become convoluted, and at times simply messy. I would praise the songs for their themes and especially the development thereof. At the very least, each song has something unique about it; 'Exiles' has a symphonic sound similar to their debut, 'Easy Money' has a rhythmically intense atmosphere, and 'Talking Drums' has an undeniably remarkable buildup.

While this may be for sure King Crimson's most adventurous, experimental, and cerebrally difficult album, it is because of this that it fails to be one of my favorites, or even a good album in that regard. In the Court was where I felt they were at their best, employing melody in a more symphonic fashion, but doing so without giving up their harsher edge, and is something which I do not believe this album encapsulates.


Report this review (#1109240)
Posted Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is probably king crimson's weirdest album out yet. But weirdest doesn't also mean it's bad but definitely anyone who has listened to most of king crimson's album can agree that this is their most experimental album. And it also introduces a new set of band members playing for king crimson for the next 3 albums after larks' tongue in aspic (john wetton, David cross, robert fripp, and bill bruford who just retired recently from Yes after "close to the edge") some say that this is king crimson's best band lineup and I would have to agree. Not only does this lineup stay together for a short period of a time. But we get to see them evolve into better musicians in the next few albums after larks' tongue.

Larks' tongue in aspic part 1 (A-)

The book of Saturday (A)

Exile (A)

Easy money (A)

The talking drum (B+)

Larks tongue in aspic part 2 (A+)

Overall rating (A) or 4.5 stars

The overall verdict of the album says that this is an excellent album. It's solid album and it's an experimental album gone right. Although king crimson does experiment with every album he releases (with the exception of in the court of the crimson king and the wake of Poseidon) I would say that this is a masterpiece for 2 reasons.

1. The Larks' tongue of aspic part 2. If you knew me in real life you would know I hate instrumentals. I get bored easily. But larks part 2 was prefect. The instrumental was melodic, heavy, and complex which what every progressive rocker would like. A must listen.

2. The vocal songs (exile, easy money, and the book of Saturday) John wetton's voice is actually really good. After listening to "in the court of the crimson king" I though to myself that Greg lake's voice was prefect for king crimson and nobody was going to match his vocal range. But boy was I wrong, john wetton's voice was unique and it brought that same feeling to me when I listened to ITCoCK for the first time. Exiles is a great example of what wetton's voice is capable of doing. Exile is such an amazing song that it always brings me shivers up my spine the last 2 minutes. Easy money is a king crimson classic and one of their most memorable songs. And the book of Saturday is a short ballad and a powerful piece but it still deserves recognition for wetton's voice.

So to sum this up I think larks' is a great album which should be in every prog collection. Although it isn't ItCOTCK or red I believe that larks' deserve much more credit and recognition because it's often seen as pretentious.... So give this album a try... It's one of those albums where I would buy the box set of this album.

Report this review (#1292638)
Posted Thursday, October 16, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars This has to be the best ever prog record. It is experimental, avantgarde, visceral and it has a certain magic about it that starts on the mysterious cover... A funny thing about this album, personally for me was that back in 1992, when I dove into prog, departing from a Floyd lauchpad, via a Yes orbital station, while watching the Yesyears documentary, I decided I would have to check this band for which Bill Bruford left Yes. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks later, in my local prog supplier shop, I listened to the music being played in the shop's turntable (with a chorus that went "cigarettes, ice cream...") and asked the owner what was it, being quiet impressed with the energy in the music. He replied pointing to a record with a crescent moon circumscribed into a sun and told me 'King Crimson'. Even though I was not a mystical, back then, the astrological iconography immediately caught my eye. When I finally had the money to purchase it, I tool the LP (a second had, pretty worn out one) and carefully listened to throughout it, kind of expecting the Ice Cream song, that never came*. Nevertheless, I was not disappointed. Although it didn't reach the peak of appreciation I have for this record today, I could see the brillance of it since the beginning.

Recently it has risen to the top of my preferred music, I have been exhaustively listening to this record during the last year in my car and out of it.

I, having keen interest for percussions and being a Brazilian, would be most grateful for a COMPLETE list of the different percussion intruments, experiments and objects being played in the unique piece of experimental rock recorded for the intro of the opening track, LTiAPI. Then come in the mystery violin and the father of all heavy metal guitars as the thundering ensemble comes together into this instrumental number of pure pioneer exploration into music. The whole drama is followed by the lyricism of BoS, with beautiful acoustic guitar by Fripp. Then the tapes being played at different speeds create the atmosphere for the grandiose Exiles. The song that was, then in 1992, my preferred, today is the least interesting, which doesn't mean it isn't groovy, showcasing Muir's brief, but deep and influential (see the 2014 3D - three drummer - Crimson), Crimson contribution. Then comes the hypnotic Talking Drums, which steadily mounts as a crescendo until the schizoid screams that lead into the closing track, the second part of the title track. Not difficult to understand why Bruford moved along, to form that that would be one of my favourite incarnations of one of the most creative, fearless and aggressive rock acts ever. Long live the King.

*As the informed reader might figure out, he was playing Starless and Bible Black and pointed me to Aspic, referring to the band, but not necessarily the exact LP.

Report this review (#1293727)
Posted Saturday, October 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Listening to Robert Fripp speak, you can tell he has a calculating mind. It makes you wonder what's going on in his head when the band is on stage and wildly improvising for minutes at a time. I would guess that somehow he's got it all planned out. The parts he plays, even the parts the rest of the band plays; though they probably don't know it. This, I figure, is because he's just as calculating about the players themselves. Fripp knows how to pick 'em.

So it was, a lot of the material for Larks' Tongues had been conceived and written while the previous version of the band was together. Fripp just didn't feel they were the right ones to record it with. So in true Crimson style, the whole band got replaced. His calculations were dead on though. This lineup produced three classics starting with this album.

Larks' Tongues has a darker feel to it than anything before. John Wetton's gruff voice is neatly suited for this style of music, but the album's real highlights happen when the microphone is put away; "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Parts 1 & 2" and "The Talking Drum". But despite all the gloom, don't expect a lot of droning or ambience. There's constant energy. Due in some part to Bill Bruford's technical drumming and enhanced by Jamie Muir's odd percussion. David Cross (not Tobias Funke) rounds out the lineup with strings.

But it's the man with the master plan, who drives the Frippmobile on this one. With his guitar and soundscapes Fripp is still Fripp and Larks' Tongues is still KC. So if you like the previous albums you should find enjoyment in this one as well. Only by putting the right pieces in order, Larks' Tongues is a new Crimson; the best one yet.

Report this review (#1336423)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Much has been said about this album. Let me add my five cents. Some 20 years ago I heard it for the first time and I didn't like it at all. Too experimental for my tastes it was, even depressing. Life kept on rolling. Time after time I was returning to LTIA and giving it a spin or two and then leaving it for months or even years. Several years ago I started to spin it more often, because I noticed that I want to hear it again. I started to find it really interesting and even accesible. And here I am now listening to it on a regular basis, considering it one of the best King Crimson albums rightfully in a top20 of all prog albums currently on ProgArchives. Go figure.
Report this review (#1470972)
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars After a string of 4 consecutive masterpieces, each with their own unique flavours and mood, some reinventing themselves completely from the last, King Crimson manages to do it again.

In 1973, prog went ham. Notable groups in the genre were putting out their most ambitious material, and King Crimson seemed to be following suit. This album, though, went just far enough that it was decades ahead of its time but somehow still retains an air of sensibility and control that makes it listenable today.

With a completely new lineup, including Yes drum virtuoso Bill Bruford, Fripp had assembled a brand new freak show flying circus of musical madmen and it proved to be one of the greatest decisions of his musical career. Gone are the woodwinds and extensive mellotron use of yore, and while I initially rejected this, the album's sound redeems itself with the addition of some real strings (David Cross on violin) and the eccentric percussion assortments of Jamie Muir.

On the surface, nothing about this album should work. It is incredibly experimental and by experimental I really mean to say the "high school chemistry teacher we all had that liked to blow up pumpkins in the hallway" type of experimental. Brutal, explosive, almost sadistic at times. But, through the genius of all those involved, it still maintains a surprising amount of listening enjoyment. Side one, although it sounds nothing like what King Crimson had done before, still offers some familiarity in its structure. "Larks' Tongues Pt. 1" offers the sort of occult-brewed jump scares and unrelenting tension that we got from "21st Century Schizoid Man", only with the dial cranked so much higher. "Book of Saturday" provides much-needed breathing room, a la "Cadence And Cascade". Then we're swept off our feet by the gorgeous "Exiles", where Cross' violin is brought to its full atmospheric effect and Robert Fripp contributes some of his finest soft guitar work. Side two offers a whole new variety of sounds, from the proto-metal "Easy Money" to the crescendo of "The Talking Drum" to the final coda of "Larks' Tongues Pt. 2", which is guaranteed to wake you up in the morning any day of the week

Ultimately, "Larks' Tongues" is a masterpiece of chaotic prog. If you're looking for some soft, melodic prog that holds your hand, pats you on the head and wipes your bum for you, then don't even think of putting this one on for a spin. But if you're looking for an album that will dominate you, perplex you, throw you in the dirt and bring you along for a ride you'll never forget, this is the album to look out for.

Report this review (#1557261)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favourite KC - and certainly one of the greatest albums ever recorded!

This album is insane. It takes many years to appreciate it fully, much like VDGG's music. The 6 songs included here all take their own form and please the listener with different emotions - whether it is chaos, confusion or loneliness - they are all here.

Opening with the chaotic 'Lark's part I', the listener is dragged into chaos after long the percussion intro. This magnificent athmosphere is first driven by violin until the guitar starts to dominate with the drums going insane. As this jam goes more and more into overdrive the tension is eased at around 8 minutes to absolutely magnificent outro where the violinist plays different emotions with the percussionist.

'Book of Saturday' is a softer song, sung very beatifully by Wetton. The guitar melody is gorgeous and the general athmosphere is simply outstanding. The different instruments are used to their full potential in this short piece as the violin alternates with the solo guitar. The bass is again superb here.

Exiles continues with the same feeling where the last song ended. Fantastic melodies accompanied by acoustic guitar at the start. There are so many fantastic sections and variations in this piece and some of them, I wish would last longer.

'Easy Money' - as the song opens with Fripp's most original guitar work, the song then evolves into a most fantastic jam where the bassist John Wetton kills while Bruford keeps the groove going. This is one of KC's signature songs and simply gorgeous in every way. The album athmosphere is not changed while the overall song is a little heavier.

'Talking drum' is a percussion driven piece with the rest of band throwing their stuff in as the song progresses. My least favourite definitely.

'Larks II' obviously continues from the first one, while not being as strong as the first part, the final 2-3 minutes definitely makes up for it

Superb album, takes a while to understand - but it's worth it.

Full rating.

Report this review (#1565815)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Larks Tongues in Aspic is King Crimsons 5th studio album, and perhaps one of their crowning achievements. An album that only gets better with multiple listens, it only grows on me more and more every time I listen.

The album begins with "Larks Tongues in Aspic Part 1" - A haunting, ever-changing 13 minute epic. This track features some of Fripps best guitar playing, with that droning, epic riff. David Crosses violin then slowly builds and builds, finishing into one of the best payoffs in any prog song ever. I consider this track to be the strongest of the album, albeit the rest of the album is still a [%*!#]ing epic masterpiece.

The second track is "Book of Saturdays" - which flows right from the title track. Its a 2 minute ballad with some nice vocals by Wetton and acoustic (i think) guitar by Fripp. Not much to say here, except that the lyrics are great and its a great way to cool off after LTIA part 1.

the third track is "Exiles" - Perhaps one of KC's trippiest songs. The lyrics regard loneliness and depression (hence the title). This track also features one of Fripps most memorable, heartbreaking guitar solos. Definitely a highlight of the album.

The fourth track is "Easy Money" - I rate this one among my favorite KC songs of all time. The intro is certainly something to write home about, and the song features some very cynical and humorous lyrics and sound effects. Fripp blends his guitar perfectly with this one, and by the time the song reprises in the end, you wish for more because its so good.

The fifth track is "The Talking Drum" - A bizarre, complex instrumental that features some crazy-ass drumming (go figure) from Bruford. This track, along with LTIA part 1 are both classics of the instrumental prog genre. Not much else to say here, just a crazy, bizarre track.

The album finishes with "Larks Tongues in Aspic part 2" - Another instrumental. Fripp leads the band here with some crazy-ass riffing at the beginning, and drives the album off of a [%*!#]ing cliff for the next 7 minutes. An amazing ending to a near perfect album.

LTIA part 1 = 5/5 Book of Saturdays = 3.7/5 Exiles = 5/5 Easy Money = 5/5 Talking Drum = 4.5/5 LTIA Part 2 = 5/5

Report this review (#1594636)
Posted Thursday, August 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Highly Inventive.

While Schizoid Man defined the originality of the first incarnation of Crimson, it is really only with this album that the new sound for which Crimson has since become known became fully established. While I love Sinfield's lyrics (and Greg Lake's singing) on the early albums, I think it was the right decision for Fripp to move on from Sinfield, and particularly to recruit Bruford (and Muir). The two parts of the title track which open and close this album are nothing like any sort of music that came before. Like many others, it was when I heard Lark's Tongues part II on the radio as a teenager that I knew I had to get more acquainted with this band. But it was Lark's Tongues Part I that even more blew me away when I heard the album. It is so inventive, not rock, not jazz, certainly not classical. Tinged with both world music and jazz-like improvisation, it set a standard for a new hybrid form of music that few bands have been able to meet since. It is on this album that the now-standard Fripp guitar sound was announced. And it is on this album that Bruford's very distinct and wonderful drum style was introduced to the world. So, in this sense it is truly essential, particularly for PA listeners. This album is not perfect, though. "Exiles" is fine, but somehow doesn't live up to its potential, while "the Talking Drum" seems too flat, and after hearing it many times, I have to skip over it now. Easy Money is great, but a number of live versions are even better. Still, this album stands the test of time as one of the most original inventive albums ever released, and the two title tracks remain remarkable and unsurpassed. I give the whole album 8.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to high 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1696030)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars REVIEW #6 - "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" by King Crimson (1973), 06/07/2018

King Crimson is by far the most illustrious band in progressive rock, having spearheaded the genre since arguably creating it in 1969. Headed by the eccentric guitarist Robert Fripp, the band has gone through numerous personnel changes and musical periods ranging from eclectic mellotron-driven jazz fusion to heavy and industrial metal. Crimson's presence is felt throughout all the sub-genres of prog, and odds are any other prog band you're listening to was inspired by Fripp & Co.

Today we will be examining Crimson's fifth album, and the one which marked the beginning of the band's second generation, which has a heavy metal feel. Previously from 1969 to 1972, the group had released four albums which experimented with several different sounds, and featured several different musicians. Whether it be the late frontman Greg Lake who would reach the mainstream after leaving Fripp, or Boz Burrell who would go on to be the bassist for American rock supergroup Bad Company, it was obvious that Robert Fripp had a knack for selecting musicians who would become successful in the future. However, by 1972 there was a falling out between Fripp and lyricist Peter Sinfield, and an ensuing power struggle over their "Islands" album had prompted Fripp to fire the rest of the band and start anew. By the next year, Fripp had successfully pried drummer Bill Bruford from prog giant Yes, and sourced bassist John Wetton from Family, violinist David Cross, and percussionist Jamie Muir to form the "new" King Crimson. Their first offering was the album "Larks' Tongues in Aspic", considered to be one of prog's greatest albums.

"Larks" starts off with a thirteen-minute title track instrumental. The initial impression is almost unimpressive, as we are faced with a very quiet three-minute build up, beginning with the soft percussion of the second drummer Muir. King Crimson has made it known that they intended to take influence from Eastern European classical music for the album, while subsequently making use of improvisation. Muir satisfies the latter very well; an abstract percussionist, he was known for his wild stage persona, utilizing fake blood and running around his giant collection of instruments like a madman. Furthermore, he would make use of unconventional objects as instruments, such as small toy cars or shards of sheet metal in order to get very precise and unique sounds. While Muir's influence on the band was not so profound, as he randomly left the band in the midst of the album's supporting tour to pursue a monastic lifestyle, this album contains a great deal of his techniques and styles. Three minutes in, we meet the violin and a brutal Frippian guitar sound that had only been previously heard on "Prince Rupert's Lament". What ensues is perhaps the greatest introduction in the history of prog, as the band spontaneously erupts to counter the silence, blowing the listener's socks off with a brisk and heavy sound that had only been partially expressed through the music of Black Sabbath or Blue Cheer. King Crimson's sound is much more refined and electronic, and in my opinion is an obvious pioneer of the sound which would eventually transform into heavy metal. Following two salvos of pure noise, the group ventures off into a trademark dissonant improvisation section, where all the band members take off in different directions while still retaining the same motif. Throughout the middle portion of this song, we get a taste of every single thing the band can offer - a preview of what would be to come following our first impression. From the fleeting bass line to the powerful drumming of Bruford which drove the golden age of Yes, the listener can immediately extrapolate how monumental this album is going to be - not only is the music progressive, but it showcases the best of all worlds of rock. One may criticize the inclusion of a violin given it is often buried deep below the wall of sound created by both Bruford and Fripp, but the band takes time to include quiet passages where Cross can serenade the listener alongside the chilling sound of wind or wordless vocals which seem ripped out of a TV show, yet quiet enough to not be decipherable. As this piece comes to a close, King Crimson builds up towards a great climax, but unfortunately the band teases the listener by prematurely ending the song, and coming to a rather peaceful conclusion. Nearly fourteen minutes later, my mind has been blown, and King Crimson has etched itself into prog rock immortality - our journey has only just begun.

The minimalist album cover for "Larks" works very well. I personally am a fan of Crimson's album covers, whether it be the ornate medieval art of "Lizard", the iconic face of "In the Court", or the archetypes of "In the Wake", the bands cover art always seems to mirror the music. Back to the album, following the immaculate opening epic, the band throws a curveball and presents a three-minute ballad which warms us up to the vocals of bassist John Wetton. Wetton would go on to be the frontman for prog supergroup Asia in the 1980s, featuring on hit singles such as "Heat of the Moment", but on this album his voice sound remarkably green. It seems that he is still adjusting to becoming a frontman, but while some have criticized his voice as being a low-point of this album, it personally does not bother me. That being said, "Book" is a rather comfy breath of fresh air from the technical "Larks Pt. 1" while staying surprisingly progressive. This was the first song I ever learned on bass guitar, and it is uncannily diverse in sound and technique. Apart from that, it is a rather generic love ballad, but the placement on the album is pure genius to keep the listener on edge. Better yet it also serves as a warm-up to the next song "Exiles". This one is much more reminiscent of the band's previous incarnation, beginning with another long introduction but revealing itself to be a mellotron-driven ballad which once again makes use of Wetton's vocals. This song would fit in comfortably on an album such as "In the Wake" with its style, but even then there still seems to be an edge which that album was lacking in the instrumentation - Fripp's approach is much more striking as the wall of sound ranging from Cross's violin to the enthusiastic drums of Bill Bruford is much more exotic and enticing as it augments the mellotron. That being said, Wetton's vocals prove to be noticeably raw; it is obvious that he is not a natural vocalist, at least not in 1973. It personally does not bother me as the music is overwhelmingly instrumental on this album, but I can understand why another listener may be critical of this facet of the album. The music on "Larks" does not fit a specific concept, and even the music does not serve for much of an underlying meaning, even though some have speculated that "Larks Pt. 1" symbolizes the creation of the Universe and "Pt. 2" the Apocalypse. I personally do not see this being the case, although I could certainly see the monstrous exposition riff in the former being representative of the Big Bang. Otherwise, until Fripp acknowledges it, I'll view it as an urban legend.

"Easy Money", one of Crimson's most-played and accessible works, picks us up on the second side. I am pretty sure the band makes it a priority to play this tune every concert given its appeal and room for improvisation. There is no build-up for this one, as we hit the ground running alongside Fripp's powerful guitar tone and some wordless vocals. The lyrical sections of this song contrast as being quiet, with Wetton performing at a quieter level than on "Book" or "Exiles". What I focus on the most on this rendition of "Easy Money" is the performance by the percussionist Muir. I consider this to be Muir's defining tune in his brief tenure with the band, as his abstract style is riddled throughout this song. To start, the drumming is very rich - you can easily define Bruford and Muir, as the latter mostly spends time making use of unconventional percussion which is extremely evident in the song's middle instrumental section. The resonance of what sounds to be a metal triangle or a chime being hit is prevalent, while some more bassy and hollow sounds permeate Fripp's backing guitar solo and Wetton's bassline. "Easy's" instrumental works very well in providing a succinct wall of music to the listener; it does not last overwhelmingly long, and as it gets closer to the end it begins to build up towards a satisfying climax that culminates in some epic Fripp guitar work which is supported by masterful use of Muir's percussion and the heavy Bruford drumming style that was event on Yes albums such as "Fragile" or "Close to the Edge". In a more conventional move, the song is concluded by a reprisal of the lyrical section, which gives a nice, solid ending to what is considered to be a solid highlight of the album.

"Easy Money" segues into "The Talking Drum" through the sound of wind. At first I was unimpressed with this instrumental, given that it is an extended build-up into the finale of the album, but over time I have grown to appreciate it. I suppose I was expecting too much out of a build-up track, but in retrospect I find that this piece does a great job prepping the listener for what is a much more dynamic and interactive instrumental. It opens up with a simple Wetton bass-line, which evolves over the course of seven minutes as the rest of the band progressively joins in and speeds up the tempo. By the end the band is in full flight, with Cross and Fripp dancing around Wetton's bass before coming to a full crash stop to signify the opening riffs of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Pt. 2" which brings us back to the heavy metal motifs of the first part. While "Pt. 1" was wholly improvisational, this part signifies a much more concrete ascension towards musical insanity, as the band pushes the envelope of what was considered musically haram at the time. There are still some less energetic moments as we journey through the rocky crags of this instrumental, but Fripp's omnipresent guitar riffs give this song the edge necessary to close out the album on a high note. I always like to focus on the guitar, but the rest of the band deserves attention as well, as Bruford's heavy style of drumming fits in perfectly with the sound the band is pursuing here. Muir's percussion still makes itself known, but in a less important role than on "Easy Money" or "Pt. 1". The rhythm section on this album does a great job at establishing a very solid foundation for the rest of the band to build upon through the form of improvisation or solo. Even though we heard it on "Prince Rupert's Lament", this was the album where Fripp established his trademark guitar tone, and at a semi-climax near the four-minute mark, it is especially present. Even in 2018, amidst a sea of loud heavy metal this tone hits hard; I can only imagine how it sounded to the virgin ears of rock listeners back in 1973. Coming towards the end we get a menagerie of drums and vicious guitar which signifies the conclusion of the album, but King Crimson does not cease the album outright, giving listeners an extra minute of a true ending as the sound descends and drowns away into an infinitely deep ocean.

When I first listened to this album, when it ended I was speechless. King Crimson introduced me to a higher understanding of music, and this album was one of the contributing factors into me becoming a more devout prog listener. There is no question that this album deserves a five-star rating, and even at that, I have debated giving this album a perfect 100% in terms of being listenable. I consider "Larks" to be my favorite King Crimson album; my 1973 Japanese pressing of the album has an epic amount of depth compared to digital recordings, and when played on my stereo is absolutely awe-inspiring. Perhaps one of the interesting things about this album is that it does not have a distinct champion of a song that carries the album, rather it is supported by songs which have equal weight in being unique, technical, and progressive. I still cannot find such a successful and revered album which has this quality, and even then it still garners an insanely high rating. While the band would continue to produce masterful albums even after 1973 and into the 80's, I always come back to this album as being one of the definitive prog masterpieces. I absolutely adore this album and certainly recommend that you give it several listens in order to truly absorb the musical depth that "Larks" offers a listener. That being said, I will shy away from a fabled 100% thanks to "the Talking Drum", which I view as being slightly long enough to offset this from being a perfect album. Nevertheless, it will get the next best thing - my rating goes as (99%, A+). One of the best albums of the genre.

Report this review (#1937710)
Posted Thursday, June 7, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars There are many more better reviews than mine so I will refrain myself from repeating general observations. This album is one of the pinacles of progressive rock and therefore very influential to the bands from 70's until the 90's. The instrumentation is brilliant, experimental and full of energy and motivation. 1973-1974 mark the peak of band's creative forces.

Also, being the most inaccessible KC album of the 70's, it features Zeuhl, metal and other avantgarde elements that wouldn't be possible without using violin and viola. Notice also the proficient drumming and percussions by two drummers. Singing might not be everybody's cup of tea but it is professional and not as cold as the instrumental storm on the album.

The strongest tracks are the two title tracks and the Talking Drum. The most typical KC Go and get this album ASAP and give it 10 spins at least, then you'll start to be fully absorbed by this masterpiece :-).

Report this review (#2108723)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars After "Islands", King Crimson have dissolved, and Robert Fripp, now the sole owner of the brand, rebuilds them starting from John Wetton, former Family, who provides bass and vocals, and replaces Pete Sinfield to the lyrics; Bill Bruford, virtuoso jazz-rock drummer who abandons Yes after the masterpiece "Close to the Edge" (and before the good but pretentious and pedantic "Tales From Topographic Oceans"); David Cross, violinist; Jamie Muir, drummer.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic" starts with the song of the same name, Part I, a minisuite of 13 and a half minutes. It is an instrumental piece written by the whole group that constitutes the manifesto of a new conception of rock. After a minimalist ambient start, in fact, the abrasive guitar of Fripp, of which we had already had a taste on "Islands" (Sailor's Tale, The Letters, Ladies of the Road), is unleashed but here the sound is more metallic and it is followed by the percussive sound of the new rhythm section that appears mighty, geometric and twisted at the same time. It is a solid, oblique, paranoid sound, which has lost completely any romantic and liquid ambitions of jazz style. The "Lizard suite" is a thousand miles away. Cross's violin characterizes the second part of the song, more subtle and mellifluous. They are sound atmospheres of great charm, completely new to the music of the time. Masterpiece. Rating 8,5/9.

"Book Of Dreams", less than three minutes, has got the structure of a pop song, but the poor electric guitar-violin arrangement, without drums, makes it a melancholic performance focused on the scanned vocals of Wetton, which takes on the leader's garments, here very much his ease. Rating 6,5. The problems come with the next "Exiles", whose long cacophonic start is only a prelude to an epic ballad conducted by the violin and the drums. In the climax of the song, well done, the voice of Wetton proves completely inadequate to stay behind the music in the high notes, for the clear lack of vocal range and breath. Then the song proceeds with a relaxed atmosphere until the end. Rating 7,5/8.

The sequence of the first side follows the present pattern from the debut album: 1) Avant-garde rock song with great sonic impact 2) Melodic ballad 3) Mighty epic ballad. If we compare "In The Court Of..." with "Larks", we note that as far as the first piece is concerned (21st Century Schizoid Man versus Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part I), King Crimson show that they have evolved by changing sound but maintaining a very high sound quality; as regards the second and the third piece, "I Talk To The Wind" and "Epitaph" are much higher than "Book Of Dreams" and "Exiles", which however have the merit of keeping alive the new, unmistakable sound, and being melodically appreciable.

Side two opens with "Easy Money": as in "Ladies Of the Road", here KC let out their ironic part, the menacing sound has that grotesque implications rather than dramatic. It is a good song, perhaps the best after the initial suite, the last song where Wetton sings. But the track is only a frame for a guitar jam and percussion that takes up most of the piece: it does not happen often to listen to a solo Fripp. Rating 8. Starting from this record, the vocal part will remain, in the history of KC, increasingly minority (and weak) compared to the instrumental one. The song ends with laughter, reminiscent of those of Gordon Haskell after "Indoor Games" (in Lizard). From here on, the best inspired part of the album ends, which proceeds towards the final, dilating beyond a measure some rhythmic ideas and taking up the initial mini-suite.

The bass by Wetton is the main character of the tribal "The Talking Drum" (rating 7.5), which consists of a rhythmic progression then marked by the violin, and also by the guitar and the drums. It is a paroxysmal progression, almost an accelerated bolero, ending in some distressing screams that introduce "Larks' Tongue in Aspic, Part 2". In the passage between the two songs a remarkable pathos is reached. The Reprise is more rhythmic, supported than the initial minusuite, however it is also quite repetitive and does not add much respect to Part I. Personally, I am very demanding with the reprises of another piece: in my opinion they have to make essential contributions to the first piece, new atmospheres, variations on the theme (as the Beatles did with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Reprise), because otherwise they seem to be exercises of style and a filler to reach the length of the album. In this Reprise, very obsessive, the novelty is the almost dissonant sound of the violin, however, on the whole it can not be said that it is a piece that has its own musical autonomy compared to the initial minisuite. Rating 7,5/8.

Overall, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is a revolutionary album for the new sound that requires the progressive scene, but in terms of quality of the pieces, after the sensational start, it doesn't maintain the same, high level of the initial minuisuite, and It holds on a limited content of sound and melodic ideas, however unexceptionably developed. It is ultimately an almost masterpiece, like Lizard. In fact, in my personal ranking, this LP can be compared to Lizard, another album characterized by a revolutionary sound expressed especially in the suite, but that fails to maintain, at the level of compositions, the excellent quality standard of the sound and the conception of album, resulting in an almost masterpiece.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,75. Rating 8,5/9. Four (and a half) stars.

Report this review (#2138743)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars 1973's Larks' Tongues in Aspic (which is, in fact, a fine English delicacy composed of said bird tongues suspended in a clear Jell-O like mold; those crafty Brits!), arguably King Crimson's finest hour of experimentation, albeit a slightly marred hour due to a few (minor) flaws.

King Crimson are responsible for influencing slews of progressive and technical metal bands in the early to mid 2000s, especially with this particular release. The sound, tone, and approach to the music, especially on the two part title track, sounds like it was lifted straight from a Behold The Arctopus or Gorguts recording exaggeration. While the album, musically, is eclectic progressive perfection - there are a few glaring technical issues that hold this, arguably King Crimson's finest experimental hour, back just a tad.

Let's get the "bad" out of the way first. To be blunt, this album SOUNDS like [&*!#]. Not the glorious music itself, but rather the production quality. I'm writing this review based on the 30th Anniversary Disc that came out in 2003/2004, and I can only imagine original CD copies sounding even worse! The mix is WAY too thin, volume levels are askew ("Easy Money" - one of my fave KC songs - is so loud during the intro, and so quiet during the verses, it's nearly impossible to listen to successfully in the car), and there are several points where vocals are mixed and panned sub-optimally.

Another example of this slight annoyance is during "The Talking Drum". Yes, I know it's an intro track to LTIA Pt 2. Besides that point - the track is too damn quiet! I find myself having to fast forward or double take just to realize the disc is still in fact running. Even when fast forwarding about 3 minutes in, at peak volume, the band is still very low! Why did this happen, and why wasn't it corrected? I have all the Van Der Graaf Generator rereleased and they sound INCREDIBLE! Why couldn't the same be done for a band that absolutely had more pull and budget?!

Why, Fripp?! WHY?!

Now on to the good (of which there's plenty here). First and foremost, this album ATTACKS you with its music. Fripp's guitar riffs are light years ahead of what Black Sabbath were achieving at this very same time. Yes, I know that's sacrilege to say, but KC are what BS wish they were. The jarring, twisting riffs of Robert Fripp absolutely inspired some of the more interesting, creative, and groundbreaking prog and tech metal bands of the 90's, 2000's, and 2010's. The music is jarring, abrupt, unpredictable, and most importantly of all - AGGRESSIVE!

Wetton is the real underrated one here, however! His bass playing is TOP NOTCH! As a bass player myself, I marvel at his finger technique and timing. Most of what John appears on through his career has a very unique bass feel to it. He always manages to make even the simplest passages "prog". The mark of a truly great player. His voice is something I personally enjoy, though others complain. He might be a little under-experienced vocally on this record, but that fact doesn't hurt the overall score as much as the production itself does. Wetton rules!

Bill Bruford. What more can I say? Every single record this guy plays on is a 10/10. For real. He has the Midas touch. His timing, feel, etc are absolutely perfect. Nobody else could leave YES and somehow continue climbing higher into the progressive rock echelons. Nothing more needs to be said.

This leads us to the violin and crazy off-the-wall percussion section. David Cross is absolutely amazing on the violin. Plenty of bands were using said instrument in 1973 (Mahavishnu Orchestra comes to mind most immediately), and it doesn't feel out of place at all. Jamie Muir had a very interesting job in KC for this short period (he lasted less than one tour); simply run around and hit things! Baking sheets, bells, whistles, car parts - it all somehow works and never sounds out of place. It's too bad this lineup didn't last longer (Muir's role was absorbed by Bruford during the tour for this album).

I'm not going to do a track-by-track review, because that's up to YOU, the listener, to decide. My job is to explain the logistics of the record, why it's good, and where its faults lie. This is one of those records you have to listen to on your own and formulate an opinion. It's well worth your time, and is a crash course in all the elements that make progressive music as awesome as it is!

1973 saw the release of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, King Crimson's (arguably) most experimental moment in time, responsible for inspiring slews of prog/tech metal bands 25-30 years down the line...DESPITE its shoddy production issues.

Musically, this album is 5/5 stars.

Production wise, it's 4/5.

This averages out, and unfortunately holds the score of the music back for a total score of 4.5/5 stars.

This is an essential masterpiece of prog rock; don't let the production take that away from your experience.

Report this review (#2138872)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars After three good records, but which did not reach the level of the band's debut, King Crimson finally conceived a new masterpiece with Larks' Tongues in Aspic. This is possibly Crimson's most experimental album, largely due to the unpredictable percussionist Jamie Muir, but also to the new members John Wetton (bass and vocals) and Bill Bruford (drums), who start here the "flying brick wall" that will reach its apex a year and a half later, in Red. The record starts with the first part of the title track. After 2 minutes of a low-volume and ludic percussion, the violin enters slowly (with an instantly classic riff), then a heavily distorted guitar appears, then the drums start rolling and ... boom, a furious explosion! It is perhaps one of the most radical cases of sound dynamics I have ever heard on an album. The final half of the track still has some surprises, and the ending is apotheotic. "Book of Saturday" is a beautiful acoustic song, with beautiful vocals from Wetton. "Exiles" has an enchanting melody, and David Cross's violin stands out. "Easy Money" is an iconic track, be it for its striking riff, sarcastic lyrics or for the 5 minutes of gloomy improvisation between the second and third choruses - in fact, this middle part used to be extensively stretched live (e.g., the 4 different versions compiled in The Great Deceiver box). "The Talking Drum" creates a macabre atmosphere in its first minutes, and in the final stretch it gains strength and speed, until it ends as an orgasm ... ... after which the second part of the title track starts immediately. Composed by Fripp, in fact his guitar is the highlight here; Fierce and addictive, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" is one of King Crimson's greatest tracks, and also one of the rare songs in the band's repertoire that remained on the setlist of all subsequent formations. Perhaps Larks' Tongues in Aspic ​​is not the best album to introduce KC to anyone, but for those who are already used to the sometimes sudden oscillation between delicate and aggressive moments of the 1972-74 lineup, Larks can be truly appreciated as one of the highlights of their discography.
Report this review (#2201408)
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars There are many existential quandaries that the universe teases us with on a daily basis so it can be quite unnerving when your favorite musical artists create some more for you! I speak of KING CRIMSON's lauded fifth album LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC. If you were like me upon first exposure to this eccentric and innovative album then you were wondering what in the world is ASPIC? Well, culinary types may know the answer but in reality the word has two actual meanings. Firstly it is a clear jelly typically made of stock and gelatin and used as a glaze or garnish or to make a mold of meat, fish, or vegetables and secondly we have to put on our botanist's cap to realize that is either of two species of lavender, Lavandula spica or L. latifolia, that yield an oil used in perfumery. So which of these does this bizarre title refer to? I am eternally striving to figure this out but i digress before i even start.

KING CRIMSON is one of the most revered bands in all of the progressive rock playbook and one of the reasons why this band could do no wrong for many during the first leg of this band's career is that Robert Fripp and whomever he was collaborating with would consistently crank out one album after another with little or nothing in common. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the lineup changed often and as a result pretty much every album in the beginning featured a completely different musical cast and Fripp as the de facto band leader wisely molded any particular album's thematic underpinnings to the strengths of whichever cast members were in the KING CRIMSON show at any given moment. While members came and went since the debut "In The Court Of The Crimson King," the band completely melted down after 1971's "Islands" leaving only Fripp to carry on the name and create a new band from scratch.

Fripp was a magnet for talent and had no problem recruiting a new batch of veritable prog stalwarts eager to play with the already legendary band that single handedly launched the big bang of prog in 1969 with the lauded debut. The lineup that appeared on LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC would result in being a wise choice as it would prove to be a fairly stable lineup until the band's first dissolution after "Red." Bassist / vocalist John Wetton joined the team after having previously played with Mogul Thrash, Gordon Haskell and Family. Violinist David Cross made his debut here and fresh out of Yes, drummer Bill Buford found a new home in one of prog's early powerhouses adding his extraordinary drumming talents and taking KC into new music territories. Also joining ranks was percussionist Jamie Muir of The Music Improvisation Company projects (with Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Hugh Davies) who only played on this one album. While the only one of the team who didn't continue on with KC, it was his interest becoming a Bhuddist monk that led him to leave the music world for a monastic lifestyle.

For once Fripp took a little more time to craft the next phase of the KC's career. After stuffing four extremely demanding albums into a three year timespan, Fripp was more than ready to take a deep breath and plan the next move carefully. The new incarnation of the band crafted yet another masterful album that got back to the band's progressive rock origin's after "Islands" ethereal space music. LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC may have been more rockin' but still as eclectic as ever with lots of inspiration of both Easter and Western European classical traditions, jazz and free improvisation. LARKS' TONGUE is also unique in that it has two full time percussionists with Bill Bruford handling drums, timbales, cowbells and wood blocks and Muir adding different styles of ethnic percussion and a wealth of assorted items not normally associated with music. The result was an interesting mix of more accessible elements mixed with avant-garde strangeness much like the debut album.

The original release of LARKS' TONGUE IN ASPIC consisted of only six tracks with the opener and closer creating a two part suite of sorts that was interrupted by the creamy filling in between. The two title tracks would ultimately continue on to other albums. "Part III" would emerge on "Three of a Perfect Pair" and "Part IV" on "The Construction of Light." "Part I," the longest track on the album is the most intense as well as it starts with a series of metallic clangs and what sounds like those wind chimes before the track shifts into a series of varied passages that showcase Robert Fripp's angular guitar antics along with David Cross's virtuosic violin playing. While the many shades of percussion are many, the driving force of both parts is clearly the heavy metal guitar riffing that provides a groove to latch onto before Fripp dives headfirst into the world of avant-prog weirdness. Another thing i have noticed about the LARKS' suites is how the main percussive drive seems to have inspired the modern day drumming style of sludge metal with its sparse percussive bombast that punctuates certain rhythmic timings.

The mid-section is just as varied as the title track suites themselves. Of the four tracks, John Wetton provides vocals on "Book of Saturday," "Exiles" and "Easy Money." The first track which is perhaps the most accessible track with an easy to follow vocal melody backed up by jazzy psychedelic meandering but obviously crafted into some sort of avant-groove. "Exiles" while starting out in the clouds and venturing through murky atmospheric turbulence ultimately lands and creates another vocal led number that alternates with the orchestrated space effects. In some ways, this track is the only track that resembles what appeared on the preceding "Islands." The track "Easy Money" bursts out some of the best guitar tones in the entire KC canon with grungy hisses emerging in fully distorted power chords while Wetton does some sort of vocal dance around the pounding bass and heavy percussive drive. The track which is about the antics of a snake oil salesman finds a way to incorporate a funky rock beat within a greater jazzified complexity with somewhat lighthearted lyrics that keep the album from drowning in darkness. In all honesty, the vocal tracks have always proved less compelling but add the human touches to keep this album from drifting out into space.

My favorite track has to be the excellently packaged "The Talking Drum" which masterfully weaves together tribal percussion with Eastern violins and a mean dirty avant-counterpoint of the guitar that dances around the dominant groove which hypnotically ratchets up the tension with a frenzy of sounds growing ever louder until the track merges with the second LARKS' TONGUE suite that takes the album out with a bombastic metal guitar, screeching violin and incessantly caffeinated percussion that climaxes in a purely cacophonous din. Wow. What did i just hear? This album is not the easiest listen for sure. In fact it's taken a long time for me to appreciate it. While some tracks stood out at first, others took their sweet time gestating in my soul but after a ridiculous number of listens, the complexities of KC started to settle and make themselves at home in the musical rolodex in my mind. This is a very weird and charming album to say the least. Inspirational for jazz, metal, prog and the avant-garde noise rock bands to come. Fripp had already shown his true genius at this stage but on LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC he clearly showed that there were no limits in its sheer magnanimous nature. Jelly or lavender? I still don't know. Knowing Fripp and his KC project, it will remain an eternal mystery just like how this album came to be. Maybe the LARKS know.

Report this review (#2205014)
Posted Thursday, May 23, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Larks Tongues In Aspic" begins probably the most highlighted phase of King Crimson's career, the "free improvisation" period, with Yes drummer Bill Bruford leaving commercialism for a darker sound, percussionist Jamie Muir, bassist and singer John Wetton and keyboardist and violinist David Cross. It marked a big change, not just in group formation, but also writing and composition in general.

Gone was Peter Sinfield and his softer, melodic compositions and thought out lyrical writing. In was Wetton's friend Richard Palmer-James, whose sole purpose was lyric writing. The fancy production and synths was made way for more raw instrumentalism.

Part one of the title track emphasizes that in spades. After a meditative, almost gamelan-esque intro (probably to mock Sinfield), the track lunges forward with frantic Fripp riffs, manic drums and toys and constant time shifts, before the meditative violin and atmospheric sounds close out the track. Each of these sections are a good few minutes long, so they have time to develop and run their course before it transitions into a sharper texture. Fripp's experience with past records has codified and produced a sharper and more cohesive sound.

"Book of Saturday" provides the token 'short track' role, with some lyrics, some violin and some guitar noodling and not much beyond that. And yet, it says a whole lot more, because it sounds more Sinfield-ian in sound, and yet because its Fripp's writing and composition, it's ok. It also most likely grew on him as well, that atmospheric style of music. It even continues in Exiles, which almost hearkens back to "Epitaph" from "Crimson King", just with a bit less pomp and circumstance. It's more restrained, softer, yes, but more cohesive, like it feels like one song, and not two mashed together on one track.

"Easy Money" has a bit of a Pink Floyd feel going. Once again, it starts off soft like most of the songs on the album, but halfway through the band starts to come alive, the instrumentalism becomes more defined, and Wetton does channel his inner David Gilmour towards the end. Which is good, since the "The Talking Drum" features instrumental prowess in spades, as well as the closing Part 2 of the title track. The whole album, especially these last few tracks, feature Muir in phenomenal ways. His avant-garde style of percussion breathes a new life into songs that otherwise would've been boring (I long to see more drummers use bicycles and toys as part of their drum kit). Sadly, he underwent some sort of spiritual crisis and became a monk afterwards, but then again, this genre wasn't for the faint of heart.

And it still isn't. Musically, this is one of Crimson's most instrumentally complex albums to date. Less songwriting and more composing, it's a musical balancing act combining the remains of Sinfield's softer transitions with Fripp's loud, gung-ho playing style, and while the jazz-bebop tendencies are surprisingly reduced on this album, it's still a raucous ride to the very end. A gem of the Crimson catalog.

Report this review (#2262442)
Posted Friday, September 20, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nº 321

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is the fifth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1973. The previous King Crimson's line up had broke completely up after the release of their horrible live album "Earthbound", an album already reviewd by me on Progarchives, and Fripp was left completely on his own. He used some time to gather together a new line up that included Bill Bruford, John Wetton and David Cross. The first version of this line up has also included Jamie Muir on several percussions. The new King Crimson played progressive rock of a kind and in a way that no other band had done before them. Their new style was often based in very heavy and loud riffs built around raw and freaked out improvisations, and sounded very refreshing. So, this new incarnation of the band is also a key album in the band's evolution, drawing on Eastern European classical music and European free improvisation, as central influences.

The line up of this album is Robert Fripp (guitars, mellotron, electric piano and devices), John Wetton (lead vocals, bass and acoustic piano), Bill Bruford (drums), David Cross (violin, viola, mellotron, flute and electric piano), James Muir (percussion) and Richard Palmer-James (lyrics).

The album has six tracks. The first track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir is the first part of a multi-part epic song released over the course of three studio albums of the group. The part one and the part two are on this fifth studio album, the part three is on their tenth studio album "Three Of A Perfect Pair" and the part fourth is on their thirteenth studio album "The Construkction Of Light". "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" is the longest part of the song and is one of the most experimental of King Crimson's career up until that time. It begins with a long percussion introduction before entering a hard rock section introduced by a slowly violin that becoming more prominent until the end of the song, with a dramatic final. We may say this is really and totally an experimental eclectic track which is clearly influenced by jazz, classical, heavy and Eastern music. This is probably the best experimental song in their career and is absolutely brilliant. The second track "Book Of Saturday" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Palmer-James is the shortest song on the album. It's the song where John Wetton makes his debut as a singer on the band. It's a very simple, calm and nice song with which we can relax, very well sung, but there is no longer anything remarkable on this song to talk about. The third track "Exiles" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp and Palmer-James is one of the highest points of this album. It has a very delicate and beautiful melody with the powerful use of the mellotron that reminds me strongly their second studio album "In The Wake Of Poseidon". This is a real must for those who like King Crimson's melodic side. The fourth track "Easy Money" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Palmer- James, objectively speaking, isn't as good as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Exiles". Apparently the song turns up very strange but gradually it grows up and becomes on a very interesting, nice and curious piece. It's a very good song, but sincerely, it isn't at the same level of the other two songs mentioned by me before. The fifth track "The Talking Drum" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir is, in my humble opinion, better than the previous, but, nevertheless, I think it isn't also as good as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Exiles". It's, without any doubt, a very good King Crimson's instrumental song, but sincerely, it hasn't on me the same emotional effect as the other two songs previously mentioned by me have. The sixth and last track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two" written by Robert Fripp is the second part of the epic and is also the second shortest part and the most familiar of all. It segues perfectly out of the previous song "The Talking Drum" and was usually performed directly after it. This is another one highest point of this album. It has an absolutely amazing guitar performance of Robert Fripp and is also where all band's members work together making of this song a very cohesive effort. It's really hard to believe how incredible this song is and how it's so perfect, to close this great album.

Conclusion: Despite "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is, in my opinion, one of the best King Crimson's studio albums, it isn't a true masterpiece as "In The Court Of The Crimson King" and "Red" are. Why? Because it has two songs, "The Talking Drum" and especially "Easy Money", with less quality, in relation to the rest of the album. Still, this is a great album with a fantastic line up of musicians, one of my favourites together with the line up of their debut studio album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", and it has also some of the best musical moments composed and performed by the group in their long career. Everything sounds great. Every instrument is being heard. It's not like some other artists around. The guitar must be the only thing you hear in the whole song. No, Fripp is more of a composer than a guitarist. Besides, despite some lower points, "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is an album amazingly performed by these musicians.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2342057)
Posted Friday, March 13, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars Alright, since I'm being bashed for my review, I'll go ahead and elaborate. Since I'm not a huge King Crimson fan, I decided to see if this album would change my mind. Unfortunately, I was mistaken and believe me I tried. I think that this would better suit someone who likes things with a bunch more of a avant-garde, extreme experimental piece, but since I'm not that kind of person, I wasn't a fan. The opening piece "Larks' Part 1" didn't show anything that made me think "Wow this is great", it wasn't something I'd put on for any situation. I found that the scattered musicianship was very different and was able to appreciate what they were doing, but I wasn't compelled. Music for everyone can be a different experience, for me, when I'm listening to an album, I want something to hit me with emotion, the chord progressions, the quirks that Genesis was able to pull off and so many bands. I want an album to hit me with emotion, and every reviewer will have a different reaction to something, you will love something I might not.

Alright, for those who think I am just hating on King Crimson, I'm not. I like some of their material a lot, I'm a huge fan of Starless and Bible Black, why? Because it hit me differently than this, and one more time... I gave it a large amount of honest listens and it didn't click. I might revisit this album, and it might hit differently. I wasn't a fan of the over the top experimentation on this album, it just wasn't for me. Red was the same, I thought it was overly complicated and mainly just overly experimental to the point where it sounded like ... noise. I'm sorry but that's how it was for me, I grew up in a house where Pink Floyd and Genesis and The Flower Kings and Camel, etc, etc, was the norm. And maybe there are Genesis fans, etc, etc, who love this stuff.. but it just wasn't for me. Hopefully this is better, and again, I apologize if I caused any hysteria.

Alright, I know what people might say, I'm editing again to get people off my back, no... I forgot parts of the album. Exiles... how can I actually forget about Exiles. This song was the song that actually peaked my interest, the chord progression, the mood of the song, John Wetton's vocals, the structure of the song was great! I can't believe I forgot this. However... this is where it goes back down, Exiles and Larks Part 2 were the only songs I remember enjoying, and now ... I know I only enjoyed them. I gave the album 4 more strict listens, and frankly I do enjoy it a bit more but I still don't think this album works with me 100%. I understand and appreciate the experimental and avant-garde approach but it still doesn't work for me. I grew up with Selling England, Close To The Edge, Stardust We Are, Silent Knight, The Dark Side Of The Moon and of course Pat Metheny and many more. What I look for in an album is everything to be written and structured, a well constructed piece that has atmosphere, an album in where it sounds like everyone sat down and wrote every second to an absolute tee. Maybe now you will understand why I wasn't the biggest fan of this album. I'll give Red a few more listens and see how it treats me.

Report this review (#2377165)
Posted Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review #28

Absolutely amazing!

KING CRIMSON was totally reformed in 1973. Peter SINFIELD left the band to join PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, Boz BURRELL did the same to join BAD COMPANY and Mel COLLINS and Ian WALLACE started to play as recording musicians with several artists; FRIPP found himself alone so he started to form a new line-up, and what a line-up! He got Bill BRUFORD from YES on drums, John WETTON from FAMILY on bass and vocals, Richard PALMER-JAMES from SUPERTRAMP writing the lyrics, David CROSS on violin and flute, and Jamie MUIR on additional percussions so he cooked a whole new band with a brand new sound.

The musical style that KING CRIMSON played on this record was totally different from their first four albums since it has almost no jazzy parts neither soft ballads, this is a pure early Heavy Metal and hard Progressive Rock album.

1.- Larks' tongues in aspic, part one (13:36): The first song is a 13 minutes instrumental piece filled with amazing drumming and percussions along with violin arrangements. It starts with a nice percussion arrangement that lasts until almost the 3rd minute when the violin gives an opening and then FRIPP's guitar starts to sound, this lasts less than a minute and then the riff starts violently along with the drums, this structure repeats itself a couple of times until the song changes its rhythm into a more improvised section, then the music calms and the violin starts with another arrangement near the 9th minute that switches the song into a softer piece until the guitar starts to riff again and changes the song into a more obscure sound with sampled human voices echoing in the background. The song finishes with really light cymbals quite nicely.

2.- Book of Saturday (02:55): This short ballad introduces John WETTON as the new singer of King CRIMSON, notably different to LAKE's, HASKELL's, and BURRELL's voices. The song is a short soft ballad with nice violin arrangements and a very soft guitar riff.

3.- Exiles (07:40): Beautiful! The song starts with some bubbly sounds that sound like what modern Progressive Rock bands like THE MARS VOLTA or PORCUPINE TREE would do a lot on their albums; then the violin, the percussions, and the acoustic guitar appear creating a very catching melody accompanying WETTON's lovely singing; a short instrumental middle part precedes the second strophe of the song in which we now can hear a flute playing softly, later we got piano, then another instrumental section that receives the electric guitar. The song closes the first side of the record.

4.- Easy money (07:53): The opening song of the B-side of the album starts with a heavy riff and distorted drums. This song is probably the nearest they got on the album to the jazzy influences KING CRIMSON had on its previous albums. The drums have very complex and interesting time signatures along with cool guitar riffs and solos; the middle part is a very nice jam before the next strophe of the song. This is the last sung piece since the last two are instrumental.

5.- The talking drum (07:25): An instrumental piece that starts softly with trumpet sound on the background followed by interesting percussions by Jamie MUIR; the bass, drums, and guitar start really low but yet very precise into a hypnotic rhythm that starts to grow while the violin enters with long notes, the percussions stop and then the song gets its high volume and everything is going perfectly structured.

6.- Larks' tongues in aspic, part two (07:07): The last song is one of the most popular songs of the album; the song starts with a strong riff and then a more relaxed middle part that keeps coming and going from hard rock structures to soft sections; it is just an exquisite closure to the album. Even when the sound of this song is maybe not too much similar to the first part, the half-rehearsed/half-improvised style keeps going and flowing naturally and it's easy to recognize that both songs are intimately related to each other.

Absolutely essential, this album couldn't get a lower rate than the solid five fat shiny stars.

Report this review (#2477830)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterpiece is a word that is perfectly sufficient to describe the hectic sonic Abaddon separated into six compositions that leave you sweaty, excited, and severely bewildered, right after finishing the last notes of the recording. Recorded in early 1973 and released in March, 'Larks Tongues in Aspic' is an album that crushes down all classifications and tags.

Right before this, King Crimson had released the more jazzy, romantic, and even a bit shy album 'Islands' but a musical incompatibility between the Crimson king himself, and the rest of the band members resulted in the departure of Mel Collins, Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace, in addition to the parting of the ways of the band and Peter Sinfield, just to be replaced by an entirely new line-up that was supposed to pursue an entirely different musical direction, and so it did. John Wetton on bass and vocals, Bill Bruford from Yes on drums, David Cross on violin (and viola), replacing the role of the wind instrument, and Jamie Muir, a free-improvising percussionist who was an underground legend at the time.

This line-up had the task to create compositions based on free improvisation while drawing influences on Eastern European classical music, most likely sparked by Robert Fripp's interest in the music of Béla Bartók. This was made possible heavily because of the presence of the very interesting figure of Jamie Muir in the band - his rig, often resembling a junkyard, featured bells, shakers, rattles, chains, and all sorts of random drums and found objects which could, of course, only add a unique element to the music.

The title track, or rather its two separated parts that bookmark the album are staples in King Crimson's catalogue, the first of which is entirely a band effort. 'Book of Saturday' and 'Exiles' are melancholic and somewhat gloomy, 'Easy Money' is a rocking, jazzing, throbbing masterpiece, and 'The Talking Drum' is pure cathartic chaos.

Pulsating, utterly full of suspense, dramatic, and unthought-of, yet invigorating and relieving in a strange and hard to describe way, this album has to be absorbed to be understood (well, partly understood, at least). An album that does not necessarily make sense, while it gives off a strong sense of inseparable wholeness; a record that will shock you, excite you, scare you, and finally perplex you, 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic' will also inspire you and it will demand your attention throughout every single second, just to give you the final blissful feeling of completion and nervous expectation!

Report this review (#2490752)
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars Next to Fripp musicians of the highest level: Bill Bruford (ex Yes) on drums, John Wetton (ex Family) on vocals and bass, Jamie Muir on percussion (who will leave the group shortly after to retire to a Tibetan monastery in Scotland) and David Cross on the violin. Six compositions, quite complex, which require multiple and assiduous listening to be fully appreciated.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" begins with a beautiful incipit entrusted to the vibraphone, then a threatening violin acts as an intermediary for Fripp's almost heavy guitar, before arriving at an original and coincidental jam, in which the rhythm section turns great; in the final part the violin returns, closing the piece in a cryptic way. It is a disorganized suite, which seems to have no logic, but it is a great example of the new course taken by Fripp's band. The melodious "Book Of Saturday" is the real pearl of this album: Wetton's voice is extraordinary, and the harmonic weaving of the guitar and violin is truly sublime and delicate. "Exiles" is introduced by spooky and eerie sounds, then the violin takes over and draws celestial melodies, while Wetton offers a great vocal rehearsal. "Easy Money" is a syncopated piece that starts with a chorus, then only the voice of Wetton enters, but this time it doesn't excite; in the center a long and original Fripp solo makes the piece interesting. The pace is initially energetic and, after a rather rarefied part, the piece increases in intensity; Bill Bruford's drumming is noteworthy and, from the central part onwards, Fripp stands as a leading figure with his exceptional six strings; the final gloss is up to a disturbing hysterical laugh. "The Talking Drum" is an instrumental piece that starts quietly, but slowly starts to a gradual crescendo, which leads directly to "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two", which skilfully alternates between hard guitar sounds and repetitions obsessive about the violin, until the final deflafraction of the piece.

This is a complex album, as predicted, not easy to assimilate, and perhaps not even among the apexes produced by Fripp's group: yet the superfine quality of the pieces and the technical expertise of the musicians make, in fact, Larks Tongues In Aspic a cornerstone of progressive movement of the seventies.

Report this review (#2536487)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2021 | Review Permalink

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