Stars of the Lid's second album asserted their status as current masters of minimal ambient texture. Here they create beds of slowly-shifting drones from guitars and strings processed into oblivion. The result is absorbing, while subtle enough to allow itself to drift in and out of perception. After an overture of white noise half-moulded into thick clouds, with the dim sound of a horn breaking through, the first major piece is "Cantus: In Memory of Warren Wiltzie". This develops very slowly over a soup of quiet bubbling noises and droning bassline. Sketched on top are the occasional coalescing harmonies, very distant guitar strumming, train-like white noise and later a sonar ping. Guitar-based drones entwine gently on the following "Jan 69". The most instant drama on the album is found on "Lactate's Moment", but it's dramatic in the subtlest of ways. Periodic chimes, almost like dimly-remembered country twangs, are lavished with swirls of soft noise, while all the time the drone becomes more prominent. The four looped orchestra-sized chords of the final "Be Little With Me" act as an assertive closing cadence not only to the previous track, but closing the whole album in meditative minimalism.
September 28, 2008
See blog entry: Put a Lid on it (5 Oct, 2008)