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Snow Dog View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Starless
    Posted: February 05 2012 at 17:12
Starless is pulling way ahead in this poll  http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=84772&PN=1 and I suspect it will win the final easily. People here seem to love it. Can anyone explain what it is about this piece that is so great? I really don't get it. Maybe there is some aspect of it I am missing? What do each of you personally like about it?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pekka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 17:19
The beauty, the suspense, the fury and the brilliant climax. 

Plus it was the song that truly got me into classic prog.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Miracle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 17:36
The beautiful atmosphere, violin and sax work, warm production, etc - I don't see what's there not to like. It's ok not to like it though, maybe it's just not to your taste. It's not the kind of thing that can be explained and you'll suddenly get it.
>:(
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr prog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 17:44
Good song. Not a huge fan though
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frederik Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 17:44
Well, apart from being an amazingly well thought out piece, it has some fantastic moments.
The 3rd time he screams 'Starless and Bible Blaaaaaaack' and the song suddenly becomes dark and eerie. The way the drums and bass show up as the guitar line progresses... and the climax! The final minute of this song is mind blowing, such powerful guitar!
Well, it's just your personal taste I guess, but give it a couple more listens ;)  The only song in that list that can compete with Starless is, in my opinion, Gates Of Delirium, but even so I think it falls just a little behind in terms of genius,,, well, depends on my mood really. :D
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MoodyRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 17:57
hm... It's a good song, great even. The mid section is a bit too long in my opinion. But the verses are great, and the outro with the stupendous sax solo is great. I get shivers when the sax plays the main theme at the end...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote NotAProghead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 18:00
I think memorable melody and Wetton's voice.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pekka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 18:08
My favourite part is during the climax when there's a pause in the melody and it's just drums, bass and mellotron for a while. That bass tone is just phenomenal.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tarkus1980 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2012 at 18:35
I voted for "Gates" in this poll (it's my favorite track ever that uses rock instrumentation) but this is what I wrote about "Starless" (my second favorite) in my review of Red:
 
********************************************

All of this, however, is childsplay to the fifth and final track, the 12:18 "Starless." This track has grown on me to the point where it is, by far, my favorite King Crimson piece ever - the rest of the album could be outtakes from Lizard (which I hate) and I'd still give it a high *** if it contained this here track. Nowhere else on the album does the Court+Larks feel come across stronger, and nowhere else in their whole catalogue does Crimson come up with something so emotive and yet so complex at the same time. The opening theme is simply gorgeous - some lovely mellotron laying the foundation, Fripp playing lines as beautiful as the ones in "Epitaph," and solid basslines and subtle percussion giving just enough color. The vocal melody is the best this incarnation of the band ever came up with, Wetton's singing reaches its peak, approaching Lake levels of bliss, and even the lyrics are good this time around, matching the imagery of the music so very very well. Yet this opening is only just the beginning - after John has gone through the three verses, all singing stops, and a a lengthy instrumental passage begins to close out the song. But how does the passage begin? With some unnecessary, perfunctory assault of complexity for its own sake, the kind I'd fear Fripp would want to embrace after SABB?

Nope - as if to play a sick joke on KC fans, Fripp begins playing ... a one-note guitar solo. Again and again and again and again. Around this, though, the band builds the tension to a level unheard of in rock music to that point, not even within their own "Talking Drum." Wetton underlays Fripp with an interesting repeated theme, there's some bits and pieces of eerie violin scrapings in the background, and eventually Bruford starts banging on a woodblock at seemingly random (but actually quite calculated) intervals. Slowly but surely, things start getting a little louder - Fripp starts climbing the scale very very slowly, Wetton's bass increases in volume, and then Bruford starts using his regular drum kit. And so it keeps going like this - everything slowly gets louder and louder, more and more distorted, more rhythmic, and your brain wants it to resolve so badly but it just keeps going and going ... until Fripp stops playing around, and we get a sequence of Fripp playing call-and-response with his own distorted playing, building up the tension even MORE. Finally, the band breaks into a saxophone-led jam, with Wetton and Bruford holding down an incredibly intense and tight rhythm. This slows down a bit, Ian plays some more while Bruford rides his cymbal, and then the one-note solo starts again, only this time distorted to the hilt and with everybody going balls out. And then, the grand reprise - the part coming out of the jam, where the saxophone begins playing the guitar theme laid out by Fripp at the very beginning, while the mellotron comes back into play, is quite possibly the greatest passage ever conceived by the band. Complex, sure, but emotional as hell in its complexity - hell, even Bruford's drumming in that part makes me want to cry.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:15
Thanks for your replies so far.

Let me make it clear that I don't dislike Starless. Fripp seems to have though as he didn't think it good enough for the album it was supposed to be on. But it is interesting reading your views.
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:28
Originally posted by MoodyRush

hm... It's a good song, great even. The mid section is a bit too long in my opinion. But the verses are great, and the outro with the stupendous sax solo is great. I get shivers when the sax plays the main theme at the end...

I don't like saxophone
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:32
The song section of Starless has an early KC vibe. With sounds familiar from their debut.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:39
For me, it's just the tension and the release of the middle section that gets me going.  Fripp builds an unbelievable amount of tension by just playing one or two notes over and over again, and Wetton's bass gets meaner and meaner as it goes, and Bruford does his best Bruford thing on the drum fills.  When all that energy gets released with Fripp at the highest note (the loudest bit before the tempo change and sax solo), it is the sound of rage and fury unleashed.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:40
Yes....I see what you all mean. Thanks.
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TODDLER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:56
The song begins with a very slow paced beat which features Bruford riding and giving accents on  the cymbals to create off beats. Mainly what Michael Giles had previously played in the early days. You get the idea in your head during the intro of the song that the band is trying to take you back to their early sound. The vocals and lyrics I am not particularly fond of. Fripp plays a "Twang" or "Meow" through the center section and I think I need excedrin for that.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 12:25
It achieves something that is extremely rare, IMO, and that is utilising an almost monotone passage to build a tension that you could cut the air with. The musicianship is exceptional, and it exemplifies, to me, that spirit of the era, in that the band were completely unafraid to experiment to produce something special.

However, the clincher for me is that mellotron solo at the close, the finest use of that particular instrument ever laid down on record. 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote tamijo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 13:05
Summing up a few highlights :
early part : the brilliant Fripp very melodic solo, almost summing up as a prelude, yet very Fripp with suddent drastic moves. 
The mix between the moody vocal and the sparkling yet very sad (to tears) sax tunes.
                  The sax (perfectly) do not follow the vocal melody, but plays a "background" solo.
Mid section
The very unik KC section, building up around the wetton bass figure, with Bruford developing an incresing drumsection, while fripp doing some monotone yet intence guitar figuring, wonderfull !
Mid section short transsition
The almost Industrial-Rock Powersection (how many years ahard of time ?) building up to an explotion !
Late mid section :The super sax solo - moving in to the theme sax.
ect ect ect. Everything is a highlight in this one.Big smile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by tamijo - February 06 2012 at 13:05
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tamijo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 13:16
Eric Tamm wrote :
In its dark intensity, in the singularity of its formal conception, in its emphasis on extreme contrasts within a single piece, in its drive to associate specific musical gestures with states, qualities, gradations, and degrees of psychic energy, and - perhaps above all - in the blinding power of its execution, "Starless" is a fulfillment of tendencies in Fripp's music manifest from the beginning. With the final, hair-raising cadence of "Starless," the door slams shut on King Crimson's first period of activity, and, one could say, on the early era of progressive rock as a whole.
 
May be a bit dramatic, but its not far off.
I hope Starless will win the 1975 best track.


Edited by tamijo - February 06 2012 at 13:18
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 13:19
^ I don't but I am certain it will
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Moogtron III Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2012 at 13:30
Well, others have said it already before me, but superfluousness doesn't bother me Cool
Okay, maybe a new element: John Wetton has done a great job for the song part of the track.
Further on: the great tension that is built up, the strange repetitive guitar chords which funnily enough work out very well, the atmosphere, the attention to detail (percussion for instance), the brooding sound, and the impressive climax.
Usually I don't like saxophone either, but on this song I like it a lot.
Goose bumps, any time I hear the song.
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