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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
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+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Stars Of The Lid
Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid

Stars of the Lid's Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid is two hours of ambient sublimation and bliss-out. The latest effort of Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie is very beautiful — melodically and spiritually.

Reminiscent of early 20th century work such as French surrealist Erik Satie's Gymnopèdies, Tired Sounds has compassionate, tender and emotionally expansive aspects. It is also redolent of impressionist composers such as Claude Debussy, bringing to mind images such as that of a newborn at peace, floating among stars. And there are parallels with the sublime grandeur of Henryk Mikolaj Górecki's mid-century modern compositions. Like Górecki's works, Tired Sounds shows formal experimentation that builds to melodic climaxes; melody carries a "hugeness" of emotion. It is like the atmosphere within an atom, magnified to its largest extent many millions of times, creating an entire new universe. That melodic hugeness, that tremendous world within the atom, contains an auditory holiness, with arms open wide for the skeptic's contemplation. This is no church music, nor is it Windham Hill-style New Age, although it is music for the spirit.

Notwithstanding these earlier influences, Tired Sounds is far from a backward-looking piece of music, but rather a modern, ambient "neo-symphony." Minimalist and parametric, a bare, faint rock sensibility survives in micro-traces.

And, as an "ambient neo-symphony," Tired Sounds works a bit differently. A virtual rhythm is constructed, yet there are no drums, no percussions. Rhythm is instead created through the layering of texture, atmosphere and melody, plus mathematical patterning of orchestration. It's almost as if the rhythm is imagined; yet in its ineffable way it is there, it exists.

Electronically treated guitars, strings, keyboards and horns, from soprano to bass in tone, are occasionally combined with field recordings, creating an otherworldly impression. Again, Tired Sounds recalls another space-based metaphor, suggesting that we're viewing planet Earth from a vantage point far away in another galaxy. We hear the almost tuneful ambience and mundane sound samples from Earth filtering through to our distant, more evolved resting spot, light years in the future, among the stars.

C'est triste! Especially with suite names such as "Requiem for Dying Mothers" and "Austin Texas Mental Hospital." There is, perhaps, a punk aesthetic distantly underpinning Tired Sounds, but it remains a trace, found in the names of the suites and the cover art's photography, which, like the music is jarring and yet sublime. And in this sad loveliness is perhaps the essence of ecstasy, the acceptance of beauty in its most raw state, in its imperfect perfection.

Tired Sounds is six suites that stretch across two CDs and six sides of vinyl. That's a lot to listen to, but it's a worthwhile commitment. I imagine pulling Tired Sounds off the shelf for continued listenings well into the future.

by Jillian Steinberger

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