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The Flower Kings - Stardust We Are CD (album) cover

STARDUST WE ARE

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 439 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh my God, this album stirs my emotions!!!

I believe there must be good thing beside bad thing we are experiencing. Bad thing? Oh yes, I've been waiting for my amazon's order of "Paradox Hotel" to arrive at my address but till now I haven't got it yet. Nothing wrong with amazon as actually the CD is already in town but I still cannot pick it up. So, I played this album altogether with "Flower Power" since last week to kill the waiting time of "Paradox Hotel". "Stardust We Are" has been with me since it was first released but I never paid enough attention to it - I just played it occasionally and did not really enjoy it seriously. What I find now is a terrific experience because I enjoy the album very much. It stirs my emotions deeply, especially if I listen to "The End of Innocence" (Disc 2, track 2). Oh my God ... the music is truly powerful! It combines great melody, stunning guitar work and harmonious vocals. Everything moves smoothly from start to end. Roine Stolt plays his guitar with his "heart" as he plays really soft and wonderful! Nggeblak man! (my mind is totally paralyzed enjoying the wonderful composition and memorable melody offered by this song.). Awesome.

Disc One

The opening track "In The Eyes of The World" kicks off the album wonderfully with great pulsating keyboard by Bodin combined with stunning guitar work by Stolt and harmonious vocals. Structure-wise this track is relatively straight forward but it has rich styles and tempo changes. There are bits of Genesis, Yes and ELP in terms of nuance but none of notes are the same or even similar with those of early bands. It's hard to deny that this is one of The Flower Kings best compositions which I'm sure would attract many prog lovers. "A Room With A View" is an ambient short bridge with soft keyboard which connects to dynamic and mind blowing keyboard work which opens "Just This Once". Oh, yes ... this is another great track with keyboard sounds at the back reminiscent of "The Fountain of Salmacis" of Genesis. It's not truly the same but the nuance is pretty similar. I do enjoy this track very much especially if I play it loud because the sonic quality of the CD is top notch, coming from excellent production by Don Azzaro. This is what I like with most of TFK albums: the sound recording is amazing, it has more bass sounds than most of any music recordings. What is interesting alsoi with this track is the jazz intermission in the middle of the track featuring Stolt guitar solo in jazzy style.Really cool, man! Again, I love this track very much!

"Church of Your Heart" brings the music down into slower tempo but still maintaining quite balanced combination of ballad and symphonic style. It's quite an enjoyable track especially the chorus which makes people to emulate. The silent break in the middle of the track with organ solo is really nice. Composition-wise this track is dominated with keyboard / organ sounds at the background with symphonic style. The music flows in a floating style that in a way it connects us to the music of Pink Floyd even though it's different in style. "Poor Mr. Rain's Ordinary Guitar" is a relatively short break with nice acoustic guitar work. "The Man Who Walked With Kings" (instrumental) starts wonderfully with a great combination of acoustic guitar and keyboard in classical music style. The keyboard sound turns into mellotron-like sound mixed thinly at the background of the music. The music then flows by the entrance of bass and drum in relatively slow tempo. Oh my God the guitar solo really kills me! It sounds like a combination of Hackett and Fripp styles with catchy melody an it makes it memorable. Definitely, this is one of my favorite tracks! Wonderful!

"Circus Brimstone" is another great composition with opening part that reminds me to a blend of avant-garde and symphonic styles. You might smell the King Crimson nuance around the opening part. The music then flows naturally with excellent combination of guitar, keyboard, drums and bass in dynamic way. What's so interesting is that by now I have come to track no 7 and the magic about this album is that it seems from track 1 until 7 (even until at the end of Disc 2) they share the same theme. Yes, all tracks seem like to form one cohesive whole - just like a story. That's the beauty of this album. "The Crying Crown" is a very short bridge that connects to "Compassion". The concluding track reconfirms how excellent this album is. The opening part sounds like a different bit than the other previous tracks with distorted vocal line and programmed music. The soft keyboard work which firmly enters the scene makes a unique texture. The flow of music is a symphonic one with variation of church organ. Officially, this track ends at minute 4:45 as printed at the CD sleeve - but it has bonus keyboard exploration in spacey nuance. It does not attract me- but it's okay, I just skip it.

Disc Two

Disc Two starts off with a kind of overture "Pipes of Peace" which resembles songs to be featured including excerpts from the title track which will be fully performed at the end of Disc Two. The second track, as I told you at the beginning of this write-up, is a killer, "The End of Innocence" which I don't need to elaborate further. "The MerryGoRound" brings the music into much faster tempo with dazzling keyboard work combined with guitar rhythm. This track sounds to me like an energizer after hearing a mellow track with a bit of King Crimson style. This time the band brings us to another nuance with many tempo changes. The music turns into silent / mellow in the middle of the track with bluesy guitar work.

"Don The Universe" starts with guitar acoustic outfit followed with drums and bass in relatively slow tempo. Keyboard kicks in with eastern nuance, enriched with the percussion work which confirms the eastern style of music. The rhythm section of this track is repeated over and over so it makes me getting bored. "Different People" continues the music with eastern nuance and is accessible to many ears - especially the chorus part. "Kingdom of Lies" is a nice song performed in medium tempo in relatively straight forward structure, packed with multi-layered keyboard sounds intertwined with guitar work. "If 28" is a transition with classical piano touch. "Ghost of The Red Cloud" is humorous, I would say, as far as this album concern. The music is basically laid on rhythm section in reggae music. If you listen to this kind of song in regular pop music compilation you might not like it. But it becomes different now as other tracks of this album are relatively complex. The presence of this kind of music enriches the flavor of the album. But don't worry ...!!! This is not totally like Bob Marley's reggae but it has stunning guitar rhythm and solo during interlude.

The concluding track is an epic title track which comprises three parts. The first part opens with beautiful exploration of acoustic guitar combined with keyboards, bass, guitar and drums. There are some influences of King Crimson during first part. The guitar solo is stunning during the opening part. Judging only from the first three minutes of this long track, one might see the brilliant composition this track offers. The flow of this epic is also wonderful. There are some guitar shots in jazzy style. The song might sound too long during the first part as there is practically no peak at the opening part. But when it enters minute 9 it turns out to be an interesting track to enjoy. The epic track gives many surprises in terms of tempo and style changes even though it does not happen suddenly - most of them have excellent and smooth transition. It's definitely a masterpiece track.

Summary

It's an absolute excellent album from The Flower Kings. Most of you who keep an eye on the development of the band might have the same view with me about The Flower Kings. Disc One contains songs which have some similarities in style and nuance while Disc 2 is much diverse but it still maintains excellent theme of the overall album. The overall composition is really tight combined with powerful songwriting and excellent sonic quality of the album. For those of you who never bought any album of TFK, you can perfectly start with this album. It's highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

PS. By the time I finished up this write-up, my "Paradpox Hotel" CD has been with me for four days now but I still cannot digest the music rightaway. After 5 spins I could understand and access the music.

Gatot | 4/5 |

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