When, in July 1972, Melody Maker revealed that Bill Bruford & John Wetton were joining King Crimson – from Yes & Family respectively, it was front page news. Also joining were Jamie Muir – a key figure in London’s jazz scene & David Cross – from the band Waves. Fripp’s claims about the band’s ‘magic’ were to be put to the test that autumn when, following a three night stint at the Zoom Club, Frankfurt & TV appearance on Bremen’s Beat Club, the band undertook an extensive UK tour, which ran from the end of October through to mid-December. With the exception of the encore “21st Century Schizoid Man”, the material was all new, with a heavier emphasis on improvisation than had ever been utilised by any major UK rock group on a headlining tour. The developing material for Larks’ Tongues in Aspic was premiered to a succession of audiences who, for the most part, had bought tickets expecting to hear something else entirely (encore notwithstanding) but who responded to the challenging set with enthusiasm. Recorded from mid-January to the beginning of February & released in late March of 1973, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic became one of the most acclaimed of King Crimson’s albums as well as establishing its reputation as a key album from one of rock music’s most significant years. After a handful of further UK concerts, Jamie Muir left the band with the remaining quartet working with ever greater success until Summer 1974 when Fripp placed the band on indefinite hiatus. Almost half a century after its release, Steven Wilson undertook the job of mixing the album for Dolby Atmos, in the process, preparing new stereo & 5.1 mixes. The new stereo mixes are presented on the first LP of this 2LP set and are – no doubt informed by the more adventurous mix techniques allowed by the Atmos process – quite different in approach, more expansive than the earlier mixes as released in 2012, while still retaining and enhancing the core power of the original material. While Steven was working on this aspect of the material Alex R. Mundy and David Singleton at DGM were mixing every single take of the original studio sessions. These unreleased early takes are presented not as traditionally blended pieces, but with maximum separation, mimicking the experience of sitting in the studio with the individual elements being performed around you. The “Elemental mixes” apply this same approach to the main album takes. An excitingly fresh view on the familiar, with the focus often falling in unusual places, some originally hidden, some unused. Four of the album’s core tracks feature, forming LP2 of the set with extended mixes of Larks’ 1 and Talking Drum joined by Easy Money & Larks’ 2. It’s no coincidence that many of these pieces (all in the case of LP2) became staples of performance for the most recent King Crimson line-ups (2014 – 2021). The material first performed to unsuspecting concert attendees in 1972, first recorded & released in 1973 & beloved of King Crimson fans ever since, has aged remarkably well.
Released: October 2023
LP1: 2023 Mixes by Steven Wilson Side A 1. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One 2. Book of Saturday 3. Exiles Side B 1. Easy Money 2. The Talking Drum 3. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two LP 2: 2023 Elemental Mixes by David Singleton
Side C 1. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One 2. Easy Money Side D 1. The Talking Drum 2. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two