Stars of the Lid – Avec Laudenum

Stars of the Lid
Avec Laudenum

Stars of the Lid is one of the newer ambient drone bands that is quickly making a name for themselves in post-rock circles. Hot off the heals of their ambitious double CD/triple LP; this reissue takes the band in a similar yet somewhat different territory. Originally the disc was released on the Belgian record label Sub Rosa in 2000 and is for the first time being made available in the United States. The duo consists of Adam Wiltzie and Brian McBride who use synthesizers, delayed guitars, and samplers to engage the listener in a true out-of-body experience. The group purposely does not make any use of electronic drums or beats and instead relies on a more organic naturally flowing rhythm of drones. This gives the music a life of its own and makes it feel more like a slowly prodded journey through time than a musical experience. It’s meant for turning on and opening a new dimension of thinking, a genre I like to refer to as mental-mind music.
“The Atomium Part One” slowly starts things off at a speed slower than that of molasses. Beautiful analog synthesizers flow in to each other like gentle rainwater on a creek on a cold autumn day. One can’t help but be reminded of some of the Boards of Canada material (without electronic drums), in that they are both effective in creating an ambiance of electronic melancholy. The duo manipulates the volumes of the drone to create a nice aura of space within the composition. The listener must listen closely to hear extremely subtle melodies from delayed guitars. “Part Two” of the song continues this gorgeous orgy of melodic repetitive drones that makes one want to outside and look at the stars while contemplating the meaning of their existence. “Part Three” is a bit darker and murkier more akin to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The addition of backwards-delayed guitars provides a nice contrast to analog synthesizers.
“Dust Breeding” comes in next and is more similar in the feel to “Part Two” in that it takes on a more ethereal listening experience. The track is perfect for laying down for a long night’s rest or a massage to relax mind and body. As the track progresses, it fills the listener with images of worlds unseen to the human mind and develops a new sense of reality for the listener. “I Will Surround You” does just that as it closes the end of the journey. Slow and intricate drones give the listener a sense of conclusion and resolution as if to say the journey is over so please prepare yourself for reality. Occasionally the duo uses sour or dark sounding notes held in place that invoke a darker imagery.
To say that Avec Laudenum is not for everyone would surely be a gross understatement. The disc possesses an inner beauty that many will find unattainable because of the extreme slowness and repetition. However those that enjoy ambient music or music that helps develops a new mental state of mind will surely acknowledge the simplistic brilliance of Stars of the Lid. If you want a more song-based experience I might suggest checking out the band My Education, which includes a member of Stars of the Lid. They write some really beautifully constructed noisy jams somewhere in between Tristeza and My Bloody Valentine.