To watch Austin's Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie create Stars of the Lid's singular brand music is to glimpse the birth of a universe in the primeval swirl of dust and debris. Standing amid an array of delay and reverb pedals with their backs to the world, McBride and Wiltzie pluck unassumingly at guitars and fiddle with looped tapes as though adjusting a recipe for perfect serenity. On record, their patient ministrations translate as impressions of Southwestern dawns ("Sun Drugs"), slowly unfolding Auroras ("Taphead"), and the dewdrop-diamond resplendence of fields at first light ("Arch Song").
Though the Stars can sound remote and alien, THE BALLASTED ORCHESTRA is music not only of the Earth but within which this swiftly tilting planet's mountainous majesties, liquid expanses, and azure ribbon skyway are consolidated and ultimately transcended. The Stars' unforced naturalism renders words obsolete. "Music for Twin Peaks, Episode #30," the album's centerpiece, improvises on the classical minimalism of Angelo Badalamenti's two-chord theme to overwhelmingly beautiful effect. In fluid sound, McBride and Wiltzie describe the grandeur and mystique of the Northwest's proud pines and snowy peaks as fluently as painters entrusted with nature's own brushes and palette. ORCHESTRA is more miracle than mere music.
Option (5-6/97, p.131) - "...an ethereal sound that conjures the music of Brian Eno in his ambient stage and early Klaus Schultz....a unique voice that makes for a satisfying ambient experience."