Stars of the Lid

Ballasted Orchestra

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While ambient outfits are not especially prevalent in the United States, Texas' Stars of the Lid have found a niche as an unlikely American drone duo with an impressive discography. Taking in such ambient milestones as Brian Eno's Apollo recording, Stars of the Lid's Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie fashion eight floating gems with touches of industrial noise and movie soundtrack atmospherics. No drums or clanging guitars here, just darkish, elegiac slabs of ethereal sound taking up 12 to 18 minutes at a pop. The overall effect is both calming and provocative. And adding a bit of welcome irony to the somber proceedings, the duo come up with such bluntly perverse titles as "Sun Drugs" and "Fucked Up (3:57 AM)." A bit cheeky? Yes. But the music will find even the most skeptical in a state of modern-age bliss.

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