SD 7298 Starless And Bible Black
Produced by King Crimson
Released on February 1974
UK CHART POSITION #28 . . . US CHART POSITION #64
Find it at GEMM
SD 7298 cover  

A remarkable animal with a pair of dangerous horns on its head, an impregnable shell of exquisite design and the beat of a gentle heart beneath it all. The listener may first feel he’s cornered the beast in error, as Starless immediately flies into attack mode, baring its horns and teeth on the opening two tracks. In this pose, our animal is most basilisk, arresting the audience with a stunning display of power, planting the flag on a peak of intensity that had yet to be called punk rock. Just as abruptly, Crimson exposes a softer side on “The Night Watch” (one of their most elegant entries) and the lovely instrumental “Trio.” Starless falls into disarray soon afterward, delving into amorphous lands with “The Mincer” and the title track. With “Fracture,” however, clarity emerges from chaos, and we’re given a glimpse of the tightly reined vision of Crimson that would appear on Red and, later, Discipline. Starless And Bible Black can be alternately draining and exhilarating at various junctures, but prog fans should deem the journey essential. A “favorite” Crimson album is bound to be a matter of taste, but I wouldn’t mind arguing on the side of Starless. Despite the loss of percussionist Jamie Muir and the personal difficulty I have in detecting the work of David Cross, these sessions concede nothing to Larks Tongues. Bruford does a brilliant job of covering as a drummer/percussionist, Wetton gives the band one of their most viable bass guitarists to date, and Fripp’s guitar work is inspired. Artful and intense, this Crimson generates at least as much energy as Van Der Graaf Generator. As such, Starless may be the most appealing of the “original” Crimson albums for the second generation of fans who found the marvelously manicured indiscipline of the post-Discipline outfit intoxicating.

SD 7298 inner gatefold SD 7298 back cover SD 7298 lyric sleeve
SD 7298 inner gatefold SD 7298 back cover SD 7298 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE GREAT DECEIVER    (John Wetton/Robert Fripp/Robert Palmer-James)    4:02
  2. LAMENT    (Robert Fripp/John Wetton/Robert Palmer-James)    4:00
  3. WE'LL LET YOU KNOW    (David Cross/Robert Fripp/John Wetton/Bill Bruford)    3:46
  4. THE NIGHT WATCH    (Robert Fripp/John Wetton/Robert Palmer-James)    4:37
  5. TRIO    (David Cross/Robert Fripp/John Wetton/Bill Bruford)    5:41
  6. THE MINCER    (David Cross/Robert Fripp/John Wetton/Bill Bruford/Robert Palmer-James)    4:10
  7. STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK    (David Cross/Robert Fripp/John Wetton/Bill Bruford)    9:11
  8. FRACTURE    (Robert Fripp)    11:14

CREDITS

BILL BRUFORD -- percussives
DAVID CROSS -- violin, viola, keyboards
ROBERT FRIPP -- guitar, mellotron, devices
JOHN WETTON -- bass & voice
George Chkiantz -- acoustic co-ordinator
Tom Phillips -- cover design

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REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK February 1974 Island LP/CS ILPS 9275 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US/CAN February 1974 Atlantic LP/CS SD 7298 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
ITA   Polydor LP 2310 521 gatefold cover
JPN   Atlantic LP P-10341A gatefold cover, lyric insert
UK 1977 Polydor LP/CS 2302 065  
US January 1987 EG Records LP/CD/CS EGKC/EGKCC7 Collector's Edition digital remaster
JPN   Virgin CD VJCP-2306  
US 1999 Caroline CD 1507  
UK 2000 Virgin CD CDVKCX6 HDCD remaster
EUR October 17, 2000 Virgin CD 86776 30th anniversary 24-bit HDCD remaster

 

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