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Stars of the Lid

Over the course of five albums and the better part of a decade, Austin duo Stars of the Lid (one of the most apropos names in all of music) have scratched out quite a niche for themselves in the amorphous world of ambient rock music. From their almost-rock beginnings to the almost-classical fugues of recent albums, Stars of the Lid have excelled at designing subtle, minimalist epics which sound like they're being played on a single multifaceted, many-splendored, organic instrument. They offer subtle, endlessly evolving stories about the dynamics of sonic texture, at the same time seeming to offer a picture of pure, unfettered consciousness. You hear snippets of sound from daily life as you go, but these are inevitably swept up in the duo's arias of treated strings, honeyed organs, and euphonic effects-driven guitars, reminding you how far from the ordinary and the mundane you are, how deep into lightless deep space you've gone.

Stars of the Lid is comprised of guitarists Brian McBride and Adam Witzie, the latter of whom is also a principal member of Windsor for the Derby. They've had a home on Kranky throughout their career, releasing most of their albums through the label, including their most recent, the massive 2CD The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid. The album finds the duo integrating more and more sounds, including horns, strings, and piano, into their signature blend of droning guitars and quiet field recordings. No matter how many sounds SOTL put into their compositions, however, they always seem to speak with a single celestial voice.

In 2002, Kranky followed up Tired Sounds... by reissuing the duo's first album Avec Laudenum, which originally saw release on the Belgian label Sub Rosa.