11. King Crimson, 'Starless'
Sometimes size matters. The sixteen concerts from 1973-74 in this box of more than two dozen discs (including DVD and Blu-ray content) document the passage to and inspirational aftermath of the British band's 1974 studio experiment, Starless and Bible Black — built and shaped from fearsome live performances and luminous improvisation. Some of those raw materials, like the November '73 shows in Zurich and Amsterdam, were previously issued in other archive releases. But this longer telling, mostly in sharp, soundboard form, captures Crimson's most stable and intuitive lineup — leader-guitarist Robert Fripp, violinist David Cross, singer-bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford — in the sustained pursuit of bonded ascension, through drone, noir-ish composition and full-corps lightning. Fripp resumed that search this year with another exciting, touring Crimson: This is a big piece of the rock on which they stand.