Review Summary: I need to sleep
Hailing from Austin, Texas Stars of the Lid are an ambient/drone based duo. Although the twosome has received a decent amount of acclaim with their monstrous 2001 double-disc release The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid
, Avec Laudenum
is their most accessible and shortest effort to date. Often compared to ambient pioneers such as Brian Eno and Edgar Froese Stars of the Lid posses many similar qualities. Utilizing lush synthesizer tones and organic, spacey guitars Brian McBride and Adam Wilitze are able to create a dense, atmospheric sound while using minimal effects and instruments.
Upon first listen it may seem easy to pawn Stars of the Lid off as Brian Eno impersonators, Avec Laudenum
is an album that demands both patience and time. The first three tracks on the album all belong to the “Atomium” series which clocks in just over twenty minutes long. Mostly composed of soothing, orchestrated electronic effects and dark, shadowed guitar drones Stars of the Lid are able to create a mesmerizing atmosphere that has the ability to enthrall the listener. Ethereal keyboard tones fade in and out as dreary guitars drone in the background. The only big downside to the duo’ s sound is that there isn’t much progression, it’s just the same set of tones fading in and out. For those that aren’t interested in ambient music Avec Laudenum
seems like an extremely boring listen; that being said Stars of the Lid succeed as they are able too create solid background music that is at the same time gripping and accessible.
The next two tracks on the album are Dust Breeding (1.316+)
and I Will Surround You
, and they close out the album with the same sort of effect. Like the whole “Atomium” sections these two pieces stick with the same formula; dense synth tones matched up with dark yet relaxing guitar drones. While every song contains a “sleep-like” quality towards the end of the album it seems like the duo was getting kind of lazy. Even though this is an ambient album intended for relaxation the last two tracks don’t match up with the engrossing, tranquil sounds of the first three.
Although Avec Laudenum
isn’t as varied as The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid
it comes off as a pleasant yet sometimes tedious album. The beauty of Avec Laudenum
is very subtle; the biggest issue is that the album demands a lot of time without giving that much back to the listener. That being said Stars of the Lid thrive when it comes to creating music for those that seek sleep. In the end Avec Laudenum
isn’t the most unique or diverse ambient album but it sure as hell is relaxing.