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Starless

Printed From: Progarchives.com
Category: Progressive Music Lounges
Forum Name: Prog Recommendations/Featured albums
Forum Description: Make or seek recommendations and discuss specific prog albums
URL: http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=84783
Printed Date: September 26 2017 at 00:28
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Topic: Starless
Posted By: Snow Dog
Subject: Starless
Date 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" rel="nofollow - 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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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">



Replies:
Posted By: Pekka
Date 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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http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=42652" rel="nofollow - It's on PA!


Posted By: The Miracle
Date 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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Posted By: dr prog
Date Posted: February 05 2012 at 17:44
Good song. Not a huge fan though


Posted By: Frederik
Date 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


Posted By: MoodyRush
Date 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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Follow me down to the valley below.
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul.
-Lazarus


Posted By: NotAProghead
Date Posted: February 05 2012 at 18:00
I think memorable melody and Wetton's voice.

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Who are you and who am I to say we know the reason why... (D. Gilmour)


Posted By: Pekka
Date 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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http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=42652" rel="nofollow - It's on PA!


Posted By: tarkus1980
Date 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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"History of Rock Written by the Losers."


Posted By: Snow Dog
Date 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.


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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: Snow Dog
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:28
Originally posted by MoodyRush MoodyRush wrote:

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


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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: Snow Dog
Date 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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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: HolyMoly
Date 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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My other avatar is a Porsche

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased.

-Kehlog Albran


Posted By: Snow Dog
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 08:40
Yes....I see what you all mean. Thanks.

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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: TODDLER
Date 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.


Posted By: lazland
Date 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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In Lazland, life is transient. Prog is permanent.


Posted By: tamijo
Date 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
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Prog is whatevey you want it to be. So dont diss other peoples prog, and they wont diss yours


Posted By: tamijo
Date 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.


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Prog is whatevey you want it to be. So dont diss other peoples prog, and they wont diss yours


Posted By: Snow Dog
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 13:19
^ I don't but I am certain it will

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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: Moogtron III
Date 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.


Posted By: Kestrel
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 15:20
Anyone have a favorite live version of Starless?


Posted By: HolyMoly
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 18:40
Originally posted by Kestrel Kestrel wrote:

Anyone have a favorite live version of Starless?

I got to see Anekdoten play it at a prog festival in Baltimore, around the time of their 1st album.  My friend got to join them onstage and play the sax parts.  That was my favorite because I got to see it in person (and they totally nailed it too).  And because my friend and I had discussed it all with the band beforehand, I was the only one in the audience who knew it was coming (as an encore).  I got to totally mess with the head of the drooling prog fanatic sitting behind me ("Oh my god... I wonder what they'll do for an encore??  Maybe.... dare I say it... STARLESS??? Would that not be the best??")


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My other avatar is a Porsche

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased.

-Kehlog Albran


Posted By: jammun
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 18:48
I try not to toot my own horn here, but I think I've nailed it on this one, so feel free to read my review. It is a swan song, an elegy, and a celebration of KC all in one piece. It's a fine song in its own right, but if one listens to it as a history of sorts, it becomes magic. Maybe I'm delusional and just read all of these things into the song, but I doubt it.

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Can you tell me where we're headin'?
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon.


Posted By: Epignosis
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 18:57
I like "Starless" more and more each time I hear it.  I do think the beginning section (with the Mellotron and that soft lead guitar) is one of King Crimson's finest moments.  The vocals are the best on the album.  The dissonant bit jars the experience for me, and I think it could have been composed a bit smoother, particularly at the climax.


Posted By: Horizons
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 18:59
I'm one of the many who find the entire piece magical.

The mid section is ominous and full of power.  


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Crushed like a rose in the riverflow.


Posted By: Epignosis
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 19:01
Originally posted by tamijo tamijo wrote:

I hope Starless will win the 1975 best track.


That'd be quite a feat. Wink Tongue


Posted By: Fox On The Rocks
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 19:55
Originally posted by lazland lazland wrote:

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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Posted By: Dellinger
Date Posted: February 06 2012 at 22:07
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Starless is pulling way ahead in this poll 
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=84772&PN=1" rel="nofollow - 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?


Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

I don't like saxophone



Originally posted by Kestrel Kestrel wrote:

Anyone have a favorite live version of Starless?



As a matter of fact, it also took me several listens to like this song... at first it was just plain boring... and then messy, but once I got the main melody, it was all pleasure. However, when I first heard this song, I heard it on a live version, and later on, when I got to hear it on it's studio version (note I say "studio version" and not "original version", for actually this song was originally played live, and then came the studio version), I found it rather disapointing, mainly because I got used to the live version, and so I feel like the main melody was made to be played with the violin, not guitar; and also because I felt the closing section was rather weak in studio compared with the live one. If you don't like saxophone, Snow Dog, then you may just as well like the live versions better, for they include violin, and don't have any sax.
Now, the live version I have liked the most, by far, is the one included on "Collectible King Crimson, Vol 1, CD 1 - Live in Mainz. Now, I made a poll about this song studio vs live, and found out that studio beat live by a long margin... some of the main complaints about the live version were that the "improv" section was too messy on the live versions, and better structured on the studio one; and also that the final climax was too weak on the live versions compared with the studio one. Now, thinking about it, I may agree with this two statements... in most of the live versions, however, on the particular live version I said I liked best, this things are not true, the improv part is perhaps even better than the studio one, much better than the other live ones, and I personally like the "crazier" part better played with violin than sax. And the climax is for me so much stronger, played with electric guitar instead of sax... once again, in the other live versions it indeed sounds weaker than on the studio one, but not the Live in Mainz one.


Posted By: thegrandwazoo
Date Posted: February 07 2012 at 01:14
I fell in love with Bruford's GENIUS phrasing of the 13/8 build up at the end. The different ways he builds up tension rhythmically gives me chills every timeClap

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"You can't always write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say, so sometimes you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream"
- Frank Zappa

www.cloudsonstrings.com


Posted By: irrelevant
Date Posted: February 07 2012 at 03:00
Best build-up of all time. 

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Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 07 2012 at 05:30
Fripp's dissonant guitar passage in the middle contrasts brilliantly with the largely 'tonal' music in the rest of the track.  That it even fits so intuitively is a miracle. The early portion with the languid saxophone and Wetton's mournful vocals is nothing special per se but when that gives way to the tension that Fripp subsequently builds up, it's just incredible.  I also love how the re-iteration at the end sounds so powerful, one of the most satisfying conclusions I have heard in a longish rock track. 


Posted By: Snow Dog
Date Posted: February 07 2012 at 05:33
Once again. Thank you for all the comments. It has given me more insight. 

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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: richardh
Date Posted: February 08 2012 at 01:32
Originally posted by Kestrel Kestrel wrote:

Anyone have a favorite live version of Starless?
Progfest 97 - John Wetton Band (inc Martin Orford of IQ on keyboards)


Posted By: progprogprog
Date Posted: February 09 2012 at 04:30
people are sad and angry, thats why


Posted By: Dellinger
Date Posted: February 09 2012 at 18:48
Originally posted by progprogprog progprogprog wrote:

people are sad and angry, thats why


???


Posted By: richardh
Date Posted: February 10 2012 at 01:42
Originally posted by Dellinger Dellinger wrote:

Originally posted by progprogprog progprogprog wrote:

people are sad and angry, thats why


???
 
 
''pot'' and ''kettle'' were the first words that popped into my head when I read his post


Posted By: Snow Dog
Date Posted: February 10 2012 at 03:17
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Originally posted by Dellinger Dellinger wrote:

Originally posted by progprogprog progprogprog wrote:

people are sad and angry, thats why


???
 
 
''pot'' and ''kettle'' were the first words that popped into my head when I read his post

Perhaps he posted in the wrong thread. It can happen I suppose.


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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: progprogprog
Date Posted: February 10 2012 at 13:19
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Originally posted by Dellinger Dellinger wrote:

Originally posted by progprogprog progprogprog wrote:

people are sad and angry, thats why


???
 
 
''pot'' and ''kettle'' were the first words that popped into my head when I read his post

Perhaps he posted in the wrong thread. It can happen I suppose.
I meant the sadness quality of the song makes it more popular compare to other KC songs.


Posted By: frippism
Date Posted: February 10 2012 at 14:16
First when I thought of your question I remembered it as a good song, though not great. But then I remembered the sax in the beginning, and Fripp's eerie guitar playing toward the loud section, and then the actual loud part, which is just so tremendous. So wow, I really love that song. I just find it builds up so well into the climax and the when they finally play the melody again in the end with the wailing sax all the intensity it's just awe-inspiring.

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There be dragons


Posted By: richardh
Date Posted: February 10 2012 at 17:04
Originally posted by progprogprog progprogprog wrote:

Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Originally posted by Dellinger Dellinger wrote:

Originally posted by progprogprog progprogprog wrote:

people are sad and angry, thats why


???
 
 
''pot'' and ''kettle'' were the first words that popped into my head when I read his post

Perhaps he posted in the wrong thread. It can happen I suppose.
I meant the sadness quality of the song makes it more popular compare to other KC songs.
ok fair enoughBig smile  ..
 
 
or should it be Cry
 
Wink


Posted By: progprogprog
Date Posted: February 11 2012 at 08:41
See, it wasn't posted in a wrong thread Embarrassed


Posted By: Blacksword
Date Posted: February 13 2012 at 07:18
Originally posted by lazland lazland wrote:

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. 


Starless has some of the most atmospheric use of mellotron I've heard. It's what first got me hooked on the track.

The tension of the middle section, and the spine tingling release of the closing section is King Crimson at their best, imo.



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Ultimately bored by endless ecstasy!


Posted By: paganinio
Date Posted: February 17 2012 at 08:02
Me used to dig "Starless" but that's no longer the case since I've been loving "La Villa Strangiato" Embarrassed

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Posted By: moshkito
Date Posted: February 19 2012 at 12:45
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

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.

I prefer "Red" to "Starless". "Red" is more "original" and creative as it is what we might consider a new direction. I think that "Starless" basically was some more stuff that was in the "Red" vein of things ... but I can not say that I enjoy "Starless" more than "Red". I'll listen to them again tonight and re-check my thinking.

My enjoyment of KC stopped after "Red" and "Larks Tongues in Aspic". By that time I was way too deep into the rest of the European music scene, and a lot of the things that KC were doing did not sound fresh or new to me. Robert Fripp was far more original and interesting in his solo efforts and other works.


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... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com


Posted By: Sagichim
Date Posted: February 20 2012 at 01:36

this is progressive rock school or should i say college...

this song almost single handedly define what prog rock is all about , the beautiful start the change, the climax, release and the closing section which is a different version of the start . amazing!!

it's no justice putting this epic in a few words though...




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