Stars of the Lid
Stars of the Lid
A photo of "Stars of the Lid" at The Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA
|Origin||Austin, Texas, United States|
|Instruments||Guitar, piano, synthesizer|
|Past members||Kirk Laktas|
Stars of the Lid is an American ambient music duo consisting of Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie. The duo formed in Austin, Texas in 1993, and they list among their influences minimalist and electronic composers such as Arvo Pärt, Zbigniew Preisner, Gavin Bryars, and Henryk Górecki, as well as Talk Talk, post-rock artists Labradford, and ambient innovator Brian Eno. Their compositions are largely beatless soundscapes, composed of droning, effects-treated guitars along with piano, strings, and horns; volume swells and feedback fill the gap of rhythmic instruments, providing dynamic movement. Their sound has been described as "divine, classical drone without the tedious intrusion of drums or vocals."
Formed in Austin, Texas in 1993, SOTL is composed of two members: Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie. McBride said in an interview that the band's name refers to "your own personal cinema, located between your eye and eyelid", suggesting the colors and patterns one can see with closed eyes (either phosphenes or closed-eye hallucinations). They recorded their debut album Music for Nitrous Oxide throughout 1993 and 1994 with third musician Kirk Laktas, and released the album in 1995 on the Sedimental label. Laktas did not continue with the group, and the duo of McBride and Wiltzie steadily continued with Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life in 1996, The Ballasted Orchestra in 1997, Per Aspera Ad Astra in 1998, and Avec Laudenum in 1999, as well as the limited edition EP Maneuvering the Nocturnal Hum and a split single with Windsor for the Derby, both in 1998.
Stars of the Lid then released their first double album, The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid, in late October 2001. Nearly six years later, the duo released their second double album, And Their Refinement of the Decline, in April 2007 to widespread critical acclaim. In December 2007, American webzine Somewhere Cold voted Stars of the Lid Artist of the Year on their 2007 Somewhere Cold Awards Hall of Fame.
Stars of the Lid toured worldwide throughout 2007 and 2008 in support of the album; throughout their European tour, they were joined live by a string trio featuring Lucinda Chua of Felix on cello, Noura Sanatian on violin, and Ela Baruch on viola. Their North American line-up included Julia Kent on cello.
The duo have been active pursuing side-projects and solo releases since And Their Refinement of the Decline. A teaser trailer for a possible Stars of the Lid feature film surfaced on the internet in 2008, but as of February 2021[update], the group has yet to release any new material.
Solo and side-projects
Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie have both released material outside of Stars of the Lid. McBride released his first solo album When the Detail Lost Its Freedom in November 2005, then released The Effective Disconnect in October 2010, which serves as a soundtrack to the documentary Vanishing of the Bees, a film about colony collapse disorder. McBride teamed up with musician Kenneth James Gibson and began recording and releasing new music under the name Bell Gardens; their debut EP Hangups Need Company was released in May 2010, their first full-length album Full Sundown Assembly followed in November 2012, and their second album Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions was released in October 2014 via Rocket Girl.
Wiltzie has been involved in several collaborative projects: The Dead Texan (with visual artist Christina Vantzou), Aix Em Klemm (with Robert Donne from Labradford), and A Winged Victory for the Sullen (with composer Dustin O'Halloran). Wiltzie currently lives in Brussels, Belgium, and McBride in Los Angeles, California.
- Southern Records. Stars Of The Lid biography Archived 2007-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
- Maelstrom. Interview with Stars Of The Lid
- "And Their Refinement of the Decline". Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- Lamoreaux, Jason T. (December 30, 2007). "2007 Somewhere Cold Awards". Somewhere Cold. Archived from the original on April 12, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
- "Stars of the Lid . teaser 1". 30 September 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- Tangari, Joe (29 October 2010). "Brian McBride: The Effective Disconnect". Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "Introducing...Bell Gardens". 3 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- The spelling "Carte-de-Visite" is the one used at Brainwashed.com. A 59-min collection of mostly new material, 9 tracks from 1997–2007: 6 outtakes from previous albums (1997, 2001, 2007), 2 previously unreleased tracks (1997, 1999), and the track from the split release Kahanek Incident (1997). Originally a 2007 limited release sold during a live tour; reissued in May 2009 as an unlimited release. Considered a 2007 album (the 2009 reissue kept the track list title "Carte-de-Visite, SOTL, 2007"). "Carte de Visite" (lit. "Card of Visit") is French for "Visiting Card"/"Calling Card"/"Business Card".