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David Cross - David Cross & Robert Fripp: Starless Starlight CD (album) cover


David Cross


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.31 | 40 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars David Cross is usually remembered as the weakest link in the classic mid-'70s line-up of King Crimson, by his own admission unable to compete with the "flying brick wall" of the Wetton-Bruford rhythm section on stage. And yet of all the early Crimson alumni (aside from Robert Fripp, currently taking a back seat in his own band) Cross is the only member still going strong, recording and touring with his integrity uncompromised after more than forty years.

For this unique reunion the two ex-bandmates took an affectionate backward glance at an old flame, in a series of linked instrumental pieces "derived from" the haunted opening notes of the 1974 "Red" album swan song. The poignant theme was originally conceived by Cross and Fripp "in some sort of collaboration", according to the violinist in his album notes. "He remembers me starting it and him finishing it off."

The end result is a 56-minute inflation of a 10-second refrain, arranged as a near-continuous flow of unearthly and hypnotic music sounding like snowfall gently settling on a quiet woodland floor. Fripp's ethereal soundscapes almost disappear completely into radiant stasis at times, while Cross improvises equally dreamy accompaniment on top. The violinist may have felt inhibited in the 1970s by his fellow Crimson Kings, but his confidence and skills have advanced considerably since then, and today his playing soars with all the virtuoso poise of a genuine artist.

Ditto Mr. Fripp, who for this project (not a ProjeKct, alas) exhumed the standard guitar tuning he abandoned in the early 1980s. Those lingering Frippertronic loops serve the music well, giving the old song an orchestral sweep that doesn't fit the Jazz Rock slot David Cross has been forced to inhabit in these archives.

The album can sound a little repetitive after exploring the same, small patch of ground for almost a full hour: it's too bad the duo couldn't extend the experiment to include soundscape-and-violin revisions of other Crim snippets, "Exiles" for instance, or "Larks' Tongues in Aspic". On a shallow cosmetic level the music also carries an occasional hint of New Age mush, but the understated strength of the source material is enough to raise it far above any mundane plateau of superficial bliss.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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