The second Crimson album to feature the core lineup of guitarist Robert Fripp, bassist-singer John Wetton, and drummer Bill Bruford (plus violinist David Cross), 1974's Starless
continues the complex structures and hard-edged grooves of Larks' Tongues in Aspic
. It's a sound that's firmly departed from the mellotron-assisted psychedelic symphony approach of Lizard
and In the Wake of Poseidon
. The precursor to the landmark Red
includes such Crimson classics as "The Great Deceiver," the eccentric ballad "Lament," the menacing 11-minute "Fracture," and the sprawling title track, an avant-rock "Bolero" that builds into a cacophony of abstract noise guitar, chattering percussion, fleshy funk bass lines and, yep, mellotron, this time in the service of dissonant harmonies and spooky sound bursts. A must for Crimson completists, and a great first bite for neophytes. --James Rotondi
"Starless and Bible Black" demanded the attention and concentration of the listener. Crimson's audience responded to the challenge, making it a much loved album by the band. As with the other recordings by the mid 70s lineup, the intervening years have seen the album's reputation increase among fans & musicians alike, while the then unusual approach to using live performances as core elements of subsequent studio recordings has also become increasingly commonplace.