January 14th, 2013
stars of the lid's "the ballasted orchestra" is a much-underappreciated and criminally ignored masterpiece in an undefined genre that can only be described as "drugged-out ambient"... this album, however, shatters the goofy, new-age soul-searching connotation that "ambient music" suggests. "the ballasted orchestra" is TRUE ambient: minimalistic but warm, visceral but incredibly ethereal, and unbelievably soothing. there are no cheesy synth-chorus voices wailing brazilian chants in the background, no tabla... hell, i don't even know what instruments stars of the lid are using. although, in theory, it seems (and could be) uninteresting, each song sounds like the conclusion of a rock song - the VERY end - but in suspended animation - dragged out and mutilated in slight ways, running in a line. lying there listening to songs like "sun drugs" and "f**ked up (3:57 am)" caused me to feel almost floaty and weightless; it's easy to lose track of time. this album takes a few listens to truly understand and to truly get into, but once you start to love it, it's perfect for anytime - it makes a beautiful sunny day seem mystical and shimmering, and it makes the night feel like a movie. "the ballasted orchestra" is the pale blue light in the distance - it's more than music, it's a beautiful and welcoming audio horizon. let it take you on the trip.
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