Stella Luna – Stargazer EP

Stella Luna
Stargazer EP

Stella Luna’s label, Clairecords, proclaims themselves “the indie record label for the modern shoegaze set.” Little more needs to be said. Stargazer is a half-hour EP that surely fits neatly within anyone’s definition of shoegazer music. All four tracks bring us back to a time – slightly less than a decade ago – when cutting-edge music meant that that guitars were distorted and fuzzy, the vocalist was way, way off in the distance, and songs dragged on for an eternity.
The mood of the EP is set by the first track, “Change,” which opens with a full minute of steady, tuneless white noise. Eventually the sounds mutate into a swirling wall of guitar distortion, complimented by slow, echoing drums and vocals that drift in and out of hearing range, never rising above the level of a half-whisper. While trying to listen to this EP intently can be frustrating at first – assuming you’re conditioned to expected melodies and prominent vocals that never arrive – there is something very relaxing about Stella Luna’s music. As soon as you stop trying to decipher the lyrics and simply let the sounds wash over you, everything falls into place. Personally, I found the music quite soothing when I was stuck in yet another Toronto rush hour traffic jam.
Stargazer is not for everyone. A full hour of the type of music found on the short EP could be monotonous, to say the least, and since I’ve heard nothing else from the band, I’m not sure how their music would translate to a full album. For anyone who is open to new sounds, and for anyone who has a fondness for shoegazer music in general, this is a rare and precious find in the year 2002.