Stars Of The Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline

AMG Review: After the near symphonic exercise of engaging the void that was Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid in 2001, it was hard to believe there was anything left to do. Wrong. Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie emerged from the studio in early 2007 with the equally huge And Their Refinement of the Decline. The notion of symphonic here is, without doubt, still present, but not in any normal way. Over two very differently themed discs, and three LPs, Stars of the Lid engage long conceptual ideas from a place one can only call micro-minimalism. An obsession with drones fading in and out on all kinds of instruments is what takes precedent here, whether that be a string section, a solo cello, harp, trumpet or a children’s choir. (Yes, all of them are here, and more.) Don’t worry, all this deep fixation with drones and classical music doesn’t mess up Stars of the Lid’s sense of humor….
Everything here is rounded. There are no edges on either disc, it’s all fuzzy and yet brilliant to hear at the same time. It’s music of such quiet and devastating power it can silence a room in five minutes without the volume knob on the stereo being manipulated. There are detractors — or better yet, cynics — who wonder why, and how, music like this, music that simply is, that evolves and returns to silence over and over again, is even necessary. The answer is simple: because the sound on And Their Refinement of the Decline is the sound of everything already after it has fallen apart. It is not a sound that dares to rebuild anything, speak anything, or declare anything. It simply wants to document what happens when it all goes to hell, and in that space, that quiet space, Stars of the Lid emerges with a sound that is as hopeful as it is funereal. It is simply the sound of “is-ness,” something that becomes nothing, only to become something again. And Their Refinement of the Decline is deeply moving. Stars of the Lid doesn’t give a damn about any experimental “indie” scene nonsense either. This will appeal to fans of Eno’s ambient work (though it speaks volumes louder and yet is gentler), Philip Glass, Morton Feldman, Bryars, Steve Reich and Charlemagne Palestine, but is completely its own bag of sonic tricks. It’s an awesome thing, this album, and anyone, virtually anyone who encounters it will be in some way moved by the impure music it contains. –by Thom Jurek 


Stars Of The Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline  Tracklist

1. Dungtitled (in A major) 0:00
2. Articulate Silences part 1 5:54
3. Articulate Silences part 2 11:18
4. The Evil That Never Arrived 16:56
5. Apreludes (in C sharp major) 22:01
6. Don’t Bother They’re Here 25:45
7. Dopamine Clouds Over Craven Cottage 35:56
8. Even If You’re Never Awake 41:51
9. Even (Out) + – 51:12
10. A Meaningful Moment Through a Meaning(less) Process 56:03
11. Another Ballad for Heavy Lids 1:00:36
12. The Daughters of Quiet Minds 1:05:09
13. Hiberner Toujours 1:18:31
14. That Finger on Your Temple is the Barrel of My Raygun 1:20:20
15. Humectez la mouture 1:25:25
16. Tippy’s Demise 1:30:56
17. The Mouthchew 1:39:15
18. December Hunting for Vegetarian Fuckface 1:42:56
Stars Of The Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline

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