Friday, July 30, 2010

King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black


Starless and Bible Black is a funny album in that there's considerably more mellotron than the albums that preceded it, and also for the fact that a lot of it was recorded live, with overdubs added later. I don't know whether studio time was too expensive, but it doesn't really sound too different than a regular studio album. Unfortunately, a lot of these tracks were improvised, and it shows- some of them just aren't very interesting, particularly the title track, which takes forever to get started, and the instrumentals on the first side aren't that great either. This is a a stark contrast to the actual songs, which are fairly well thought out and unusually catchy. My favorite song here is "The Night Watch," which is about the famous Rembrandt painting- I just love Fripp's unique guitar tone here.
My second favorite track here is the closing instrumental Fracture, which is by far the best of the instrumental tracks here. It wasn't improvised at all, which isn't too surprising because it actually builds up effectively instead of meandering around like the improvs on this album, and uses all kinds of weird instrumentation and unusual guitar effects (there's a triangle at one point). It's really a shame that so much of Starless and Bible Black is taken up with lame improvisation- there's some great music on this album, but most of the worthwhile stuff was well-planned out beforehand..

1 comment:

  1. Pugs: Yes, "Fracture" is brilliant & "The Night Watch" is also quite nice. But you have forgotten "The Great Deceiver," my absolute fave of all the stuff here. I also like "Lament" & I think "The Mincer" has some intresting things going on. But you're right, mosta the improvs R boring as L....
    I hadn't visited in awhile. Good to see U back at it.... -- TAD.