In 1973 and 1974, prog legends King Crimson recorded a series of European performances using reel to reel technology, taken directly from the PA system. Named after the color of the boxes they’ve been stored in, The Blue Tapes have long been a coveted piece of King Crimson lore, both for their breathtaking content and pristine audio quality. On October 13th, fans will finally get their hands on these fabled soundboard recordings thanks to the release of an extensive new box set.
Entitled Starless, the 24-disc package seems catered to the biggest of super fans. It includes all 11 CDs making up The Blue Tapes along with seven CDs of multi-track recordings taken from 1973 European performances that became the basis for the band’s 1974 album Starless and Bible Black.
Another CD features a live recording of the band’s three-song ORTF Paris TV performance, along with the 2011 stereo mix reissue of Starless and Bible Black. There’s also two DVD discs and two Blu-ray discs that contain concert and studio recordings.
King Crimson’s lineup during the Starless era included Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, David Cross, and John Wetton. Perhaps the band’s most cohesive configuration, Wetton recalled their time together in an interview with Something Else!, saying, “There were formal pieces, and then improvisation took over again. Between 40 and 60 percent of the stuff that we played on stage with Crimson was improvisational. We had it down to fine art, as to how each piece dovetailed into the next one. And it was always different. Every night would be different.”
King Crimson is currently on a reunion tour of North American. Click here for their full schedule.