The Dead Texan
The Tired Sounds Of... by Stars Of The Lid is one of those recordings that has grown on me even more with time. I loved it when I originally discovered it, but it's one of those releases that has only improved with time, a gorgeous mixture of strings and electronics and sheer ambience. It's music that is both heavy and quiet, and it's one of those rare releases that I can put on and it provides a calm blanket nearly every time I hear it. Adam Wiltzie is not only a member of Stars Of The Lid, but has collaborated with Bobby Donne of Labradford on the also lovely Aix Ex Klemm release and was involved with the group Windsor For The Derby for some time.
The Dead Texan is the first true solo release from Wiltzie and interestingly enough it grew out of sound experiments and creations that he felt were too "aggressive" for SOTL. Put into relative terms, the music of The Dead Texan still moves at a snails pace, but it does move at just a slightly faster rate and with a bit more embelishment. One thing it still is, though, is beautiful. Wiltzie has been a part of creating lush ambient music for some time now and The Dead Texan is basically just a furthered continuation of that. In 11 tracks and just over 45 minutes, he's put together an album that touches on the work that he helps with in SOTL yet moves in just enough of a different direction to establish itself as a unique entity.
Odd track titles seem to be a part of the release, and so "The Six Million Dollar Sandwich" opens the album with time-stretched drones that feel like they could have been pulled almost directly from the aforementioned The Tired Sounds Of... or even Aven Laudenum. "Glen's Goo" delays a simple Rhodes piano melody and layers it over filtered strings for a nice effect while drawbar organ and guitar fill out the rest of the Euro-soundtrack feel. The two-part "A Chronicle Of Early Failures" starts out more earth-based with strums of acoustic guitar and whispered vocals and then shifts into a droning, almost interstellar piece that breathes life.
Elsewhere, a simple piano melody is submerged and mingled with deep ringtones ("Aegina Airlines") and more piano melodies meld with deep drones on "La Ballade de Alain Georges" (one of the more enthralling tracks on an album full of lush sounds). This is one of the better drone/ambient releases that I've heard this year in terms of ones that mix both electronic and organic sounds. It's a must-have for any fans of recent Stars Of The Lid work and something to seek out if you enjoy deep-listening music that works its magic without relying on cheap tricks.