Lark's Tongues in Aspic- The Complete Recordings
King Crimson

Label: Discipline Us
Duration: 26:52:27
Genre: Progressive Rock

AllMusic Review
King Crimson reborn yet again -- the newly configured band makes its debut with a violin (courtesy of David Cross) sharing center stage with Robert Fripp's guitars and his Mellotron, which is pushed into the background. The music is the most experimental of Fripp's career up to this time -- though some of it actually dated (in embryonic form) back to the tail end of the Boz Burrell-Ian Wallace-Mel Collins lineup. And John Wetton was the group's strongest singer/bassist since Greg Lake's departure three years earlier. What's more, this lineup quickly established itself as a powerful performing unit working in a more purely experimental, less jazz-oriented vein than its immediate predecessor. "Outer Limits music" was how one reviewer referred to it, mixing Cross' demonic fiddling with shrieking electronics, Bill Bruford's astounding dexterity at the drum kit, Jamie Muir's melodic and usually understated percussion, Wetton's thundering (yet melodic) bass, and Fripp's guitar, which generated sounds ranging from traditional classical and soft pop-jazz licks to hair-curling electric flourishes. [The remastered edition, which appeared in the summer of 2000 in Europe and slightly later in America, features beautifully remastered sound -- among other advantages, it moves the finger cymbals opening the first section of the title track into sharp focus, with minimal hiss or noise to obscure them, exposes the multiple percussion instruments used on the opening of "Easy Money," and gives far more clarity to "The Talking Drum." This version is superior to any prior CD release of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, and contains a booklet reprinting period press clippings, session information, and production background on the album.]

Band Web Site
Following the dissolution of the Islands line-up Robert Fripp decided to assemble a new band to perform the sort of music he’d been hearing in his head over recent months. In the summer of 1972 the line-up of Fripp together with Bill Bruford (late of Yes), John Wetton (from Family), Jamie Muir (veteran of the British free jazz scene) and relative newcomer David Cross was announced, although it was not until September, after first full band rehearsals, that the decision was taken to call the group King Crimson. By October the band was in Germany playing a handful of club dates and making a live in the studio recording that was (fortunately) filmed but for the most part never broadcast. An extensive UK tour in November and December followed, with unanimous rave reviews in the rock press setting up a sense of anticipation for the January/February studio recordings unmatched since that of the band’s celebrated 1969 debut. Muir played one post recording gig at The Marquee club in London and took the decision not to remain with the group.

Even by the standards of King Crimson, the line-up was short-lived, but the legacy of that band has survived and thrived for four decades. The quintet helped to define possible new paths for rock music, the notion of an intelligent form of hard rock that was neither Prog nor Heavy Metal, one that made improvisation central to performance but was neither jazz nor jazz/rock. It was a legacy that was carried on by the quartet line-up both live and in subsequent studio recordings – with 1974’s Red recorded by Bruford/Fripp/Wetton as a trio - and one that has resonated with, and influenced, generations of musicians over the ensuing forty years. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and the concerts that preceded the album were the initial defining moments of that journey.

Progressive Ears Review
In July of 1972, Fripp announced that he was forming a new King Crimson with John Wetton, Bill Bruford, David Cross, and Jamie Muir. It was the addition of Wetton, bassist extraordinare from the respected Family & Bruford, the “jazz” drummer from the then becoming popular Yes, that made everyone take notice.

Naturally, expectations were high, and King Crimson did not disappoint. From the opening, with Jamie Muir on kalimba (or thumb piano), to the closing thrashing of Bruford & Muir, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic represents extremes. The cover, however, does not indicate the aural psychosis the listener will experience, unless he or she knows that it is a tantric symbol that represents both the masculine and the feminine; the yin and yang.

The opening title track (part 1), in and of itself, represents these extremes. From Muir’s sweet, child-like kalimba playing, to the intellectual heavy metal riff of Fripp’s & Wetton’s that leads to the jamming of Fripp & Wetton, to the delicacy of Cross’s violin playing, "LtiA Pt 1" is all over the place, thematically and dynamically. The drama can be overwhelming.

The next track, "Book of Saturday", gives the listener a break. A short and quiet tune featuring Wetton on vocals, it begins with Fripp’s subtle and nimble playing. The song gradually adds each of the musicians at the appropriate time and even includes some back-masked playing from Fripp. Probably, the most complex “ditty” ever recorded.

"Exiles" closes the A side. A gentle and poignant song, it features some of Wetton’s best singing, a haunting accompaniment from Cross, a very tasteful minimalistic Bruford & Fripp on the rare acoustic. This is quite possibly the most beautiful song King Crimson has recorded.

"Easy Money" opens the B side. Though not fully realized, this song hints at what KC3 is like live, with a middle section that shows how the band could improvise as a unit and change the entire structure of the song.

Via a segue, we get "Talking Drum." Beginning with Jamie Muir on a talking drum, the song is very quiet, that slowly crescendos as Cross & Fripp take turns improvising over the rhythm section. By song’s end, the band is at full volume and in full force ready to blast out the heaviness of the closing track.

"Larks’ Tongues in Aspic 2" closes the album with more intellectual power chords from Fripp, Wetton’s powerful yet nimble bass playing, an unnerving solo from Cross, and syncopation galore from Bruford. The song and album closes with Bruford & Muir thrashing about on percussives that leads to the final chord that hangs in the air for what seems like a short eternity (a la the Beatles’ "A Day in the Life") and punctuates the first true masterpiece of KC’s discography.

ProgSphere Review
The latest in the King Crimson 40th anniversary remixes from Professor Steven Wilson’s laboratory is their 1973 opus Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, which marked the debut on vinyl of the core Bruford/Fripp/Wetton line up, that, in my opinion was the most adventurous of all the line ups of the band and with this album, 1974’s Starless And Bible Black and Red they gave us three albums unsurpassed in musical adventure and envelope pushing. These three albums are the first wave of prog’s pinnacle, and only Van Der Graaf Generator were as consistent in actually doing what the genre label implied; progressing.
Those KC fans with fat wallets and too much time on their hands can indulge themselves in the 15(!) disc box set that includes various polished live bootlegs and Robert Fripp’s laundry list, Bill Bruford’s drum sticks and Jamie Muir’s empty blood capsules…or something similar I’ve no doubt.
Me, I’ve made do with the CD/DVD package, and boy does that contain some stunning music. With previous remixes SW has remained relatively faithful to the original mixes, merely adding clarity and restoring lost subtlety. As was often the case back in the day, bands had to rush to record albums while on the road or in between tours, and this one was no different. The band were dissatisfied with the end product at the time, and so Steven has allowed himself freer reign and together with Robert overseeing they have come up with what the thing should have sounded like in the first place.
From the very first Eastern percussive tinklings of Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, Part One you can hear things in here that you were not aware of on the old vinyl record. Listening to the 5:1 mix on the DVD is like discovering a completely new KC album, or to put it another way, it’s like listening to LTIAafter an ear syringing with a firehose. LTIA, Part One was never one of my most returned to KC tracks as it had the air of, well not filler exactly, but it seemed like a good idea stretched too thin; well, now I understand; the tension created in those first 3 minutes is the perfect foil for John Wetton’s monstrous wah-bass and Fripp’s mekanik riffing. I wonder, listening to this with fresh ears, if John was aware of Jannick Top from Magma, for their approach was very similar, as both have a penchant for crushing slabs of marching beats that brook no opposition, and previous to Crimson Mr Wetton was nowhere near as fierce. Quite how David Cross coped onstage competing with a mere violin is beyond me, but his contribution on this record is essential, lending some much needed sonic relief, as his near-ambient counterpoint 8 minutes in attests.
Pete Sinfield having left the fold, the lyric writing is contributed by Richard W Palmer-James, and his first contribution is to Book Of Saturday. Less mystical and away with the fairies than Pete, Richard’s lyrics are less ambiguous and more human. John now becomes Crimson’s fourth singer in as many years, and although his voice is not particularly distinctive, it does the job well enough. A welcome piece of structure after the avant opening track, Book Of Saturday is a quite charming little ditty with some nice violin, backwards guitar, and effect-free guitar. It’s over in no time at all, and we’re into Exiles, one of Crimson’s best pieces of strangeness…and there’s a song in there too. Steven has really gone for it on this one as the opening with its introductory bubbling synths and washes of layered violin and mellotron are brought well to the front of the mix before the plaintive song gets into its stride. Here, John shows that, yes, he can actually sing a bit. The instrumental sections between the verses are given a great treatment by Steven and what was already a marvellous piece of work is now simply no less than stunning. The between-verses instrumentation adds a layer of dislocation commensurate with the subject matter of an immigrant adrift in a strange land related in the more conventional sung sections.

Easy Money for me is the one song in Crimson’s repertoire that I had thought I’d be quite happy never to hear again, even more so than Schizoid Man, as I thought I was way too familiar with it, as the live recordings from this era are über-plentiful, and it seems to appear at least a hundred times in my collection. Boy, was I surprised that Steven Wilson had managed to inject fresh life into the old warhorse, as right from the start when Jamie’s clanking chains and metal sheet clanging underpin the slow funk introduction to the song, it opens up like an alien flower. It’s Jamie’s hitherto only glimpsed percussive frills that illuminate the song and give it a new life. The instrumental section takes on a spacious groove that lets the listener into places previously barred. You can feel Fripp oh-so-slowly ratchet up the tension with his familiar cyclical guitar figure as it pulls and stretches the song to new heights. Bonza!
The climax of the album has now arrived, and Talking Drum, driven by John and Bill charges along at a pace. Bill Bruford has until now been in the background, content to keep the train on the rails while Jamie does his court jester thang, but on this song he keeps Jamie’s madcap antics well in check with some great tom-tom work, rimshots aplenty, matching Jamie beat for beat. David Cross saws away in the background like an angry bee as the for once simple rhythm is at first quietly and later pounded out by John in typical muscular fashion, left foot pumping away on the old wah-wah pedal, while Jamie’s bongos chatter away like a troop of chimps. Robert’s sustained guitar rings with a reinvigorated clarity over the top, begging you to turn up that mother. If this thing doesn’t get you tapping your feet, then I’m afraid that you must have already died.
Then it’s that storming riff that every prog fan worthy of the name knows inside out. Ensemble playing tight as a gnat’s chuff, this is a group that know they’re on to something a bit special. The sheer power of the thing hints at what is to come on the Red album, but David’s violin, which will be missing then, gives this line up an air of completeness that Red would miss. Bill’s powerful and no doubt complicated fills behind the riff after the famous drop-down still brings a smile to my face, and now I can hear everything that’s going on with 100% clarity. Thanks a lot Steven, you have done a sterling job on this one that’s for sure.
Amongst the extras on the DVD is the Alternate takes and mixes run through of the album, including an instrumental mix of Easy Money complete with a Jamie Muir solo section. For this fan the alternate takes section is worth the entry price alone, and hearing false starts to Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, Part Two and a stuttering entry into THAT riff section makes you appreciate the hard work that went into creating the finished song. Exiles sounds completely different and far more musique concrète than it ended up, and another run-through of Easy Money ends the alternate takes section with a longer and looser version that sounds like it is being improvised on the spot, Fripp building the melody line up and up into the stratosphere; the whole shebang is captivating.
You can also see the line up in action on the video footage included from Germany’s Beat Club, and being typically perverse here the band decided to do a 30 minute improv and the least radio-friendly track from a new album on a rare TV showcase. Never one to take the easy route was Robert, eh? The 30 minute improv wasn’t broadcast; it’s not particularly stellar, but it is an invaluable document, and as David says in the expected comprehensive and informative booklet, he was scared witless as he had not a clue where it was going, and the only way to avoid being drowned in John’s pounding wah-bass was to stare him in the eye throughout. It makes for compelling viewing!
If you’re a prog fan you’ve probably already got this, and if you haven’t, why not? Put that rubbish neo-prog codswallop down and get some real music, ya softy!

Amazon Description
Limited edition boxed set, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic King Crimson album Larks' Tongues in Aspic: 13CDs, 1DVD-A, 1Blu-Ray in box with booklet and memorabilia. DVD-A featuring 5.1 new surround mix, original and new stereo mixes in hi-res stereo, a full album of alt mixes by Steven Wilson and more than 30 minutes of unseen footage of the band live in the studio. Blu-Ray content as per DVD-A with further hi-res stereo material ? all presented in DTS Master audio, 4CDs of studio content including CD of session reels featuring the first recorded takes of all pieces on the album, 1CD live in the studio, eight CDs of live audio restored bootlegs and soundboard recordings plus a 36 page booklet with an extensive new interview with Robert Fripp, notes by King Crimson biographer Sid Smith, album sleeve print, concert ticket replica (with code for further concert download) and band photo postcards.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)8:22
Book Of Saturday (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)3:16
Zoom (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)22:.03
Improv : Zoom Zoom (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)44:48
Easy Money (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)4:09
Improv : Fallen Angel (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)4:12
Improv : Z'Zoom (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)4:48
Exiles (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)8:36
The Talking Drum (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)6:14
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) (The Zoom Club, Frankfurt - October 13, 1972)8:37
Improv: The Rich Tapestry of Life (Live In The Studio, Bremen - October 17, 1972)29:50
Exiles (Live In The Studio, Bremen - October 17, 1972)2:53
Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part I) (Live In The Studio, Bremen - October 17, 1972)6:51
Walk On : No Pussyfooting (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)2:05
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)10:09
Book Of Saturday (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)3:23
RF Announcement (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)1:41
Improv : Vista Training College Under Spotlight (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)29:31
Exiles (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)7:52
Easy Money (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)7:21
Improv : Fallen Angel Hullabaloo (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)9:22
The Talking Drum (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)4:49
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)10:03
21st Century Schizoid Man (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)7:37
John Wetton Interview (Hull Technical College - November 10, 1972)8:53
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Guildford Civic Hall - November 13, 1972)8:57
Book Of Saturday (Daily Games) (Guildford Civic Hall - November 13, 1972)3:24
RF Announcement (Guildford Civic Hall - November 13, 1972)0:59
Improv : All That Glitters Is Not Nail Polish (Guildford Civic Hall - November 13, 1972)25:39
Exiles (Guildford Civic Hall - November 13, 1972)2:55
Improv : A Deniable Bloodline (Guildford Civic Hall - November 13, 1972)0:43
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Oxford New Theatre - November 25, 1972)14:00
RF Announcement (Oxford New Theatre - November 25, 1972)2:28
Book Of Saturday (Oxford New Theatre - November 25, 1972)2:52
Improv : A Boolean Melody Medley (Oxford New Theatre - November 25, 1972)19:42
Exiles (Oxford New Theatre - November 25, 1972)7:06
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Glasgow Green's Playhouse - December 1, 1972)11:16
RF Announcement (Glasgow Green's Playhouse - December 1, 1972)2:12
Book Of Saturday (Glasgow Green's Playhouse - December 1, 1972)2:52
Improv : A Vinyl Hobby Job (Glasgow Green's Playhouse - December 1, 1972)20:35
Exiles (Glasgow Green's Playhouse - December 1, 1972)7:35
Easy Money (Glasgow Green's Playhouse - December 1, 1972)10:04
Improv : Behold! Blond Bedlam (Glasgow Green's Playhouse - December 1, 1972)6:04
Book Of Saturday (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)2:57
Improv : An Edible Bovine Dynamo (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)8:55
Exiles (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)6:47
Easy Money (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)9:38
Improv : Ahoy! Modal Mania (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)16:06
The Talking Drum (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)3:22
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)7:28
21st Century Schizoid Man (Portsmouth Guildhall - December 15, 1972)8:52
"Keep That One, Nick" (Larks' Tongues In Aspic Session Reel)79:16
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])13:35
Book Of Saturday (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])2:55
Exiles (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])7:40
Easy Money (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])7:53
The Talking Drum (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])7:25
US Radio Ad (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])0:58
Easy Money (Edit) (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])5:02
Exiles (Edit) (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])3:02
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) (Original 1973 Stereo Mix [30th Anniversary Remaster])7:12
Original Album Remixed In MLP Lossless 5.1 Surround (DVD)46:41
Original Album Remixed in DTS 5.1 Digital Surround (DVD)46:41
2012 Stereo Mix In MLP Lossless Stereo (24/96) (DVD)46:41
PCM Stereo 2.0 (24/96) (DVD)46:41
Original 1973 Stereo Mix (30th Anniversary Remaster) (DVD)46:41
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Alt Mix) (DVD)11:13
Book Of Saturday (Alt Take) (DVD)2:56
Exiles (Alt Mix) (DVD)7:47
Easy Money (Jamie Muir Solo) (DVD)7:24
The Talking Drum (Alt Mix) (DVD)8:58
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) (Alt Mix) (DVD)6:59
Easy Money (Alt Take) (DVD)7:25
Original 1973 Stereo Mix (30th Anniversary Remaster) PCM Stereo 2.0 (24/48) (DVD)46:41
Improv: The Rich Tapestry Of Life (Video - Live In The Studio, Bremen)29:49
Exiles (Video - Live In The Studio, Bremen)7:52
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Video - Live In The Studio, Bremen)6:51
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Video - Original Broadcast Version)6:51
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Alternate Takes & Mixes)11:13
Book Of Saturday (Alternate Takes & Mixes)2:56
Exiles (Alternate Takes & Mixes)7:47
The Talking Drum (Alternate Takes & Mixes)6:58
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) (Alternate Takes & Mixes)6:59
Easy Money (Alternate Takes & Mixes)7:25
Original Album Remixed In DTS-HD Surround (Blu-ray)46:41
Original Album Remixed In PLCM 5.1 Surround (Blu-ray)46:41
2012 Stereo Album Mix (Blu-ray)46:46
Original 1973 Stereo Mix - 30th Anniversary Remaster (Blu-ray)46:41
Alternative Takes & Mixes (Blu-ray)50:46
Larks' Tongues In Aspic Session Reels (Blu-ray)79:18
Original UK Vinyl Transfer In LPCM Stereo (24/96) (Blu-ray)46:41
Original US Vinyl Transfer In LPCM Stereo (24/96) (Blu-ray)46:41
Live In The Studio In LPCM Dual Mono (24/96) (Blu-ray)51:23
Video Content In PLCM Dual Mono (24/96) (Blu-ray)51:23
Improv: The Rich Tapestry Of Life (Blu-ray)29:49
Exiles (Blu-ray)7:52
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part I) (Blu-ray)6:51
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) (Original Broadcast Version) (Blu-ray)6:51
Original Release: 1973-03-23
Composer: Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford, David Cross, Jamie Muir
Arranged By: King Crimson
Producer: King Crimson
UPC: 633367197320