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"Starless" - What are Fripp's and other's thoughts

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"Starless" - What are Fripp's and other's thoughts

Postby StarlessLark88 on Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:13 am

Hello, I'm a new King Crimson fan, and this site is awesome. The song "Starless" is what I consider to be one of the top five greatest rock songs ever made. I was wondering if any of you knew anything about what Fripp and the other band members thought of this song. Also, is there any story on the making of this song? I know it must've been made during the "Starless and Bible Black" tour since it was performed during that tour with David Cross on violin, while the studio performance does not have him, and has saxophone instead. But are there any other details on the making of the song?

Also, just to help introduce myself, I have listened to the following King Crimson albums so far: "ITCOTKC", "In the Wake of Poseidon", "Larks Tongues in Aspic", "Starless and Bible Black", "Red" and "The Great Deceiver Vol.1". I think "ITCOTKC", "Lark's..." and "Red" are all excellent albums, although "Lark's..." has to be my favorite overall. "Starless and Bible Black" is good, although it'll take more listens to really appreciate it, I think. "... Poseidon" is kind of mediocre though, it seems. I intend on listening to "Lizard" and "Islands" soon though. King Crimson has quickly become one of my top 5 favorite bands in the past few months. Btw, I'm a 24 year old male.
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Postby Indyrod on Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:52 pm

Welcome to the forum. I'm not the kind of expert on "Starless" that you are seeking, but it is by far my favorite Crimson song. And one of my favorite songs of all time by any band. You are progressing nicely through the KC catalog, and have a lot more to go. It's a fabulous musical journey to say the least, and a magical mystery tour also. Glad you came aboard, hope to hear more from you. :D
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Postby jtmack on Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:41 pm

Welcome a-board, like Indy I'm not the one with the answers you seek, but there are some real Crimheads that could answer your query here. Nice to see a new poster around here. :D
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Postby evktalo on Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:07 pm

I think I recall from Sid Smith's In the Court of King Crimson, that the first four minutes (the "song" section) were ready by the time they were putting together Starless & Bible Black. The basic chords and the vocal line and the lyrics, by Wetton and Palmer-James. It wasn't taken on then and didn't end up to the album, but the lyric did give the album the name. Hence it's called just "Starless" since there already was a track titled SABB.

Between the recording/putting together of SABB and the next tour the piece was expanded upon. I recall Fripp commented that it was a true group effort. All the bandmembers (plus the lyricist) are credited. I think the gorgeous opening violin line (lead guitar on the studio version) was by Cross, though I might be wrong. The middle "suspense" section became from a bassline that Bruford had come up on the piano.

Feel free to correct any mistakes. :)

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The history & birth of "Starless"

Postby NICK on Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:18 am

The only info I can contribute is that I can confirm (source uncertain, bur probably Sid Smith's Toxic Tome) that John Wetton and engineer George Chkiantz (how is 'Chkiantz pronounced?) did the lion's share of work on the initial quiet opening to "Starless". I think Lark88 is right when he said that it made its live debut on the "Starless & Bible Black" tour. Certainly, they never performed it live BEFORE 1974 (therefore it was never performed in the UK). It's quite likely that the basis of "Starless" was created in the 2 or 3-week song-writing burst that Fripp had in summer 1973, when (amongst others) "Fracture" was written.
It might be an idea to try and contact Sid Smith via the dgmlive web-site. I had a few queries about other aspects of KC which I put to him, and he responded. He may have asked Mr. Fripp directly, but don't assume that!

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Re: The history & birth of "Starless"

Postby Owen on Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:48 am

NICK wrote:how is 'Chkiantz pronounced


Key-arnts is how I've always heard it in my head... but I'm just guessing.

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Re: The history & birth of "Starless"

Postby diderot on Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:18 pm

Owen wrote:
NICK wrote:how is 'Chkiantz pronounced


Key-arnts is how I've always heard it in my head... but I'm just guessing.


She-key-antz in mine, but probably I'm wrong...
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Postby Nivek on Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:33 pm

I'm quoting this directly from the "Careful with that Ax" video in 1991 (I've tried to decipher it best I could but with the background music and the age (vhs era ftw!) some of the stuff I can't quite pick out)( I've also put (?) next to words or sentences that I couldn't quite make out :

Reforming a particular configuration of people is no good unless there is a translation in terms of time and place.......which not every musician can make. Beautiful line in Starless that....*oh* some beautiful of melodic line which ,something, that even now it makes me ache(?). I would love, I would love to play that piece of music again. Love to. Is in the potential (?) and the characters are in place for the next particular period of King Crimsons lineup (?).
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Postby vrooom on Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:02 pm

Here's the clip:

<object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/qeclCV38J9g"> </param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/qeclCV38J9g" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"> </embed> </object>

That video was produced by Bob Carruthers, you know. And the version of King Crimson he was talking about was the one with David Sylvian, Trey Gunn and Jerry Marrotta in it.


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Starless Live

Postby StarlessLark88 on Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:47 pm

Thanks for all the info, guys!

Speaking of "Starless", when the band played this song live, who exactly was doing what? I'm guessing that during the first part of the song, obviously Cross was on violin, Wetton on bass, Bruford on drums, and Fripp playing the mellotron? Then when the middle section starts, Fripp switches to his guitar. And then at the end of the song, Cross goes on the mellotron. Is that correct?
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