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King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Limited Edition 2020 Reissue on 200g Vinyl – Steven Wilson & Robert Fripp Stereo Mixes)

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This album showcases the 40th anniversary stereo mixes by Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp, except for Trio and The Mincer where the original mix is used because of missing master tapes.

Released on 29 March 1974, Starless and Bible Black is the sixth studio album by King Crimson. Much of the album was recorded live, but edited and blended with studio material.

New compositions tried out in concert and captured on several live recordings were presented as part of the new album material, alternating and in some cases blending with studio recordings. 

The only songs recorded entirely in the studio were the first two tracks, The Great Deceiver and Lament. We’ll Let You Know was an entirely improvised piece recorded in Glasgow. The Mincer was another improvised piece, originally recorded in concert at the Volkshaus in Zürich but overdubbed with Wetton’s vocals in the studio. Trio, Starless and Bible Black and Fracture (the last of which Robert Fripp has cited as one of the most difficult guitar pieces he has ever played) were recorded live at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Also recorded at the Concertgebouw was the introduction to The Night Watch (the band’s Mellotron broke down at the start of the next section, meaning that the remainder of the song needed to be recorded in the studio and dubbed in later). In all cases, live applause was removed from the recordings wherever possible (although the remains of it can be heard by an attentive listener).

Rolling Stone called the album ‘as stunningly powerful as In the Court of the Crimson King’, praising Bruford’s mastery of his percussive style and the successful integration of David Cross’s violin and viola as a counter-soloist to Fripp. They found the album’s variety of tones and lengthy instrumental improvisations particularly impressive, and concluded, ‘Fripp has finally assembled the band of his dreams – hopefully it’ll stay together long enough to continue producing albums as excellent as this one.’

Track Listing

Side One

  1. The Great Deceiver
  2. Lament
  3. We’ll Let You Know (instrumental)
  4. The Night Watch
  5. Trio (instrumental)
  6. The Mincer 

Side Two

  1. Starless and Bible Black (instrumental)
  2. Fracture (instrumental)