The Ballasted Orchestra

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The Ballasted Orchestra
The Ballasted Orchestra.jpg
Studio album by Stars of the Lid
Released March 10, 1997
Recorded East Austin, Texas
Genre Ambient, drone
Length 78:04
Label Kranky
Producer Adam Wiltzie and Brian McBride
Stars of the Lid chronology
Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life
The Ballasted Orchestra
Maneuvering the Nocturnal Hum
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (8.5/10)[2]

The Ballasted Orchestra is the third studio album by Stars of the Lid and their first to have its initial release on Kranky Records. It was released simultaneously as a double LP and a single CD in March 1997. The album features minimal, droning compositions, of varied length, some of which blend into each other. The track "Taphead" is a reference to the Talk Talk song of the same name while "Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30 Part I" and "Part II" are named as a tribute to the cult TV show.

The double vinyl album was out-of-print for years, until a remastered reissue was released by Kranky on January 7, 2013. The LP release contains the bonus track "24 Inch Cymbal" at the end of side A.[3] Additionally, "The Artificial Pine Arch Song" runs 20:52 long on vinyl, as opposed to 18:00 on the CD.[4] This material would not fit on a standard, 80-minute CD.

Critical reaction[edit]

The album was generally praised by critics. Stephen Cook, writing for Allmusic, stated: "Taking in such ambient milestones as Brian Eno's Apollo recording, Stars of the Lid's Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie fashion eight floating gems with touches of industrial noise and movie soundtrack atmospherics. No drums or clanging guitars here, just darkish, elegiac slabs of ethereal sound taking up 12 to 18 minutes at a pop. The overall effect is both calming and provocative."[1]

Track listing[edit]

CD release[edit]

All songs written and composed by Adam Wiltzie and Brian McBride. 

No. Title Length
1. "Central Texas"   3:43
2. "Sun Drugs"   12:20
3. "Down II"   1:22
4. "Taphead"   12:34
5. "Fucked Up (3:57 A.M.)"   8:32
6. "Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30 Part I"   8:01
7. "Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30 Part II"   13:32
8. "The Artificial Pine Arch Song"   18:00

Double vinyl release[edit]

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "Central Texas"   3:43
2. "Sun Drugs"   12:20
3. "24 Inch Cymbal"   6:01
Side Two
No. Title Length
1. "Down II"   1:22
2. "Taphead"   12:34
3. "Fucked Up (3:57 A.M.)"   8:32
Side Three
No. Title Length
1. "Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30 Part I"   8:01
2. "Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30 Part II"   13:32
Side Four
No. Title Length
1. "The Artificial Pine Arch Song"   20:52


  1. ^ a b Stephen Cook. "The Ballasted Orchestra". Allmusic. Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Richardson, Mark (10 January 2013). "Stars of the Lid: The Ballasted Orchestra: Album Reviews". Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Stars of the Lid: Music". Archived from the original on June 13, 2001. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Wolf's Kompaktkiste: Stars of the Lid". Retrieved June 20, 2008.