Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline (2007)

Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline (2007)

You know when you close your eyes, and you see that glittering mosaic of abstract shapes shifting in the dark light? Well that’s what the name Stars of the Lid refers to. And it’s the perfect handle for this band. The Texas duo (Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie) have been making drone music since 1993, and their music typifies these inner embryonic moments. Over the course of eight studio albums, starting with Music for Nitrous Oxide (1995) to this, Stars of the Lid have changed very little at first glance. But upon repeated listens, each album reveals subtle shifts in instrumentation, presentation and direction. The intent may remain the same, which seems to be to make moving minimal music for personal private consumption, perhaps while laying back, eyes closed, lights off, surrendering to the sound and the environment, letting the music transport you to unknown destinations. Your emotions and your imagination are paramount here. If you let it, this music will flesh out thoughts and dreams and feelings you weren’t aware existed. The music ages slowly, and it changes imperceptibly sometimes. Like life, I guess. This is ambient music rendered not with the cold fluorescent light of layered electronics, but with the warm candlelight of strings, horns, guitars, organ and piano. No vocals. No percussion. So it pulses in different ways than most ambient fans may be accustomed to. Everything is controlled and orchestrated with a gentle precision. There is apparently a feature length film coming out about Stars of the Lid, and having seen the teaser trailer, I’m sure it will make more people realise the emotional power this music can wield. Get your pillows ready now. Zap the Milo in the microwave. I can’t wait…


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