Stars of the Lid – The Ballasted Orchestra
Not so much soaring above canyons as sinking into them, The Ballasted Orchestra is an intoxicating brew of searing daylight and jet-black shadows. The low drones have a tectonic rumble about them, but they’re never abrasive. They fill the room like a thick dry heat, folding the listener into a hypnotic tension. And yet, what business does “tension” have being this soothing? Like a solar eclipse, the effect is natural and inexplicable; the orchestral hiss of buried gas reserves leaking from green hillsides. You spend so long waiting for something to happen, and then it does… sort of. Was that a tuba or an industrial chimney? Was that a guitar or a coin falling into a well? It was only there for a moment, before it gave way to riveting nothingness. Quite possibly Stars of the Lid’s darkest record, The Ballasted Orchestra nonetheless depicts a sumptuous gloom. A dot in time in which sundown is always one minute behind schedule.