Stars of the Lid

Music for Nitrous Oxide

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Music for Nitrous Oxide reveals Stars of the Lid's chemical makeup in its rawest and most basic form. All of Brian McBride's and Adam Wiltzie's obsessions are here: droning guitar feedback, garbled voice transmissions, and patient compositions unafraid to stretch past the ten-minute mark. This debut effort shows the scars of their primitive home-recording setup, but like the best four-track music, apparent technological shortcomings are turned into the record's advantage. The blurry, out-of-focus feedback drones blend wonderfully with the ambient noise of the living room and the fuzzy layer of distortion imparted by the analog cassette. Stars of the Lid acknowledge how well their music works in this environment by titling a track "Tape Hiss Makes Me Happy." Probably the darkest record in the band's catalog, there is an apocalyptic edge to Music for Nitrous Oxide that owes something to the disembodied voices floating through the tracks. "Lagging" is haunted by snatches of dialogue from a war zone news broadcast, while "Down" pulls the voice of a Texas faith healer from the AM radio airwaves. They would go on to refine and perfect their drone aesthetic (and make much prettier music), but Music for Nitrous Oxide shows that Stars of the Lid had some great ideas from the beginning.

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