Sunday, March 4, 2012

Album Review: Stars of the Lid – The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid


Stars of the Lid are an American instrumental band specializing in repetitive, droning music taking elements of esoteric, classical music and combining them with ambient noises.  2001’s double album, The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid features many multi-part tracks, many of which are designed to lull you into a most pleasant stupor
Some tracks feature cello prominently though the instrumentation all sounds so strange that individual instruments are barely discernible, as the music is all processed and altered.

Some of it is very zen and soothing, the kind of music you might hear in a flotation tank, and some of it is staggeringly beautiful.  Requiem for Dying Mothers Part 2 manages all of the above in seven and a half minutes.  On a melody reminiscent of Low, the tired sounds of cellos enter the mix half way through, taking the listener off to the most heavenly dream states.

Down 3 features voices and static swooping in and out as a distant piano plays.  At times the instruments are barely noticeable or audible, all that is head is ambient noise.  It’s hard not to think of Eno on tracks like Austin Texas Mental Hospital and Broken Harbors.

At more than 2 hours it can be a bit long and there often appears to be long periods where “nothing is happening”.  However at its most digestible (the 3 minute Gasfarming, and FAC 21) it works well.  One of the most musical moments here is Piano Aquieu, which has a fine piano intro before relapsing into ambient bliss.

It’s an album that requires a lot of patience as the music is so minimal as to be barely there, yet its tired sounds are worth investing your time.