Where This Meets That
“Tuesday Tunage” is a weekly spotlight for music I deem worthy of a spotlight. To make it worth all of our time, I’ll do my best to emphasize tunes you probably haven’t heard before that represent the art in all its glorious varieties.
Progressive rock has frequently delighted my ears over the years. At some point in my life, Pink Floyd, Rush, and Genesis have all held the high honor of being my favorite “artiste du jour,” and each has maintained a fairly regular rotation with me over the decades.
I have always loved the shifting time signatures, elaborate instrumentation, and frequently esoteric story-telling aspect of the genre. There’s meat there that’s frequently a flavorful, if tough, chew. Many other progressive bands have borrowed my ears over the years without ever laying any permanent claim to them. King Crimson is one such artist.
My exposure to King Crimson’s music is limited. I once owned their album Lizard and enjoyed it well enough but, for whatever reason, never went further. Week before last, I first heard their song “Starless” from their 1974 Red album, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.
Clocking in at over 12 minutes in length, it builds with the calculation of a great suspense thriller, beginning as an introspective, plodding jazz number then spending its middle third ratcheting up a measure of tension before eventually opening the throttle to beat itself to death with a high-octane jam reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon classic “Money” from the year before.
The hook in “Starless” for me comes in the wonderful build beginning around the 4:30 mark. I have always loved good “tension and release” jams and this section, driven by one of the simplest guitar solos ever contrived and backed by sparse drums and an imposing, distorted bass line, is superb. The build pays off with a fantastically dark and sticky crescendo at the eight minute mark, and the rest is gravy.
I hope you enjoy!