Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Starless and Bible Black - 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Nice studio tracks and excellent live performances
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 05/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1974 release by King Crimson presents a nice mixture of studio tracks and live tracks. With respect to the live tracks, We'll Let You Know was a purely improvisational piece taken from a concert held in Glasgow Scotland, while The Mincer (another improvised jam) was recorded in Zurich, Switzerland and overdubbed in the studio. Three tracks including Trio; Fracture; and Starless and Bible Black were recorded at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as was the introduction to The Night Watch (the remainder was recorded in the studio). For those of you that are curious, the complete Amsterdam Concertgebouw concert was released by the band as The Night Watch, which is a fantastic sounding 2-CD document of this powerful lineup live.
The lineup on this album is considered to be the finest Crimson lineup assembled and I do not disagree. The players at this point included David Cross (violin, viola, mellotron); Robert Fripp (electric guitar; mellotron; and devices); John Wetton (electric bass guitar; lead vocals); and the incredible Bill Bruford (drums and percussion). The performances on the live tracks are out of this world and amply demonstrate the power of this group as an improvisational unit of considerable power and imagination. Robert Fripp turns in some excellent performances throughout (his complex, cross-picking technique really shines on the closing track) and seems to favor a heavily distorted tone played at bone-crushing volumes - he is however, capable of some delicate playing as well. John Wetton seems to favor taking the same approach on the bass guitar and his thunderous bass lines rumble throughout - like Fripp, John is also capable of some fairly delicate playing. I was also happy to hear David Cross and his delicate violin/viola parts emerge from the chaos - unfortunately, his playing really took a back seat on the follow-up album Red (1974).
The eight tracks on the album range in length from 3'46 to 11'14" and include a few studio tracks (The Great Deceiver and Lament) and the aforementioned live tracks. Although some of the live tracks generate enough raw explosive power to blow the earth up ten times over, Trio is a very tranquil piece that just features violin, bass guitar, mellotron, and flute. Apparently, Bill Buford felt that Trio was perfect as it was and decided not to add drums during the live performance - in fact, the band appreciated this gesture and gave him a co-credit. The Night Watch is another quiet and mellotron saturated piece that breaks things up nicely. Although the studio tracks are nice and present a wide range in dynamics, it is the crushing volume and avant-garde tendencies of the improvised tracks that really hold my attention.
All in all, this is a good album released during a very creative period for King Crimson along with Lark's Tongues in Aspic (1973) and Red. Although I can't say that I like this album as much as the other two from this period, this is still high quality progressive rock and is recommended along with In the Court of the Crimson King (1969); Lizard (1970); Lark's Tongues in Aspic; and Red."
Possibly King Crimsons greatest achievment
Roger Page Lennon | 01/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1974, King Crimson released the followup to 1973's Larks Tounges In Aspic, Starless and Bible Black. I am surprised this album is not considered among Crimsons best, as only three other albums come close to it in the Crimson catolouge. All of the members of this lineup are virtuoso's at their instruments, and the instrumental interplay between the group is amazing. Robert Fripp is in a league of his own. His guitar playing is absolutely stunning, and this is probably the Crimson album that best shows off his abilities. Bill Bruford is also amazing, his style of drumming is very original and really is the only thing that keeps this album from being complete and total chaos. David Cross and John Wetton, are also great at their instruments, in fact John Wetton was the best Bassist to ever play in Crimson.
The opening number "The Great Deciever" is a classic rocker that features some great violin playing. "Lament" starts out as a ballad but eventually rocks even harder than the song before. From this point on all the songs were recorded live, and for the most part are instrumental. "We'll Let You Know" is a great improv piece, with great playing from the entire band. The next two songs "The Night Watch" and "Trio" are extremely beautiful, with David Cross contributing great violin. The next three songs, are some of the darkest improv pieces ever laid to tape. "The Mincer" sends chills down your spine, the title track is extremely unsettling, and then there is one of King Crimson best songs "Fracture", there is probably no greater an example of Fripps mastering of the guitar than this eleven minute instrumental, there are places where it sounds like there are perhaps three guitarists playing at once, and you have to remind yourself it is just Fripp.
I hold "Starless And Bible Black" in extremely high regard. It is however not the best place to start your Crimson collection, get "In The Court Of The Crimson King" and "Red" first, but Starless proves that many of the more inaccesable albums tend to also be more rewarding."
K. Lewis | OZ | 02/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"They came a long way from the Moonchild improv 5 years prior to the recorded live Fracture & Starless improvs. The improvs are now their strength instead of the weakness. This may be their best"