» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Brian McBride
When the Detail Lost Its Freedom
Kranky Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

December 2, 2005
Stars of the Lid have always appealed to as wide a variety of listeners as any ambient drone project possibly could: they're cinematic enough for folks usually turned off by stuffy instrumental experimentalists, gauzy and surreal enough for psych-heads, and deliberate enough for anyone demanding some degree of compositional mettle. This compendium of solo recordings from Stars member Brian McBride's inhabits a more secluded niche, however, cycling through subtle Eno-influenced minimalist whirlpools that expound upon individual ideas instead of suggesting broader narratives.

Like many collection of incidental music, When the Detail Lost Its Freedom's tracks exist in relative isolation from one another; you won't find any clever segues, thematic reprises or attempts at album-building here. Even though the song titles ("Overture [For Other Halfs]", "Prelude") suggest cohesion, each of these keyboard pieces operates with little regard for its surroundings. This makes it difficult to digest the album in one sitting and leaves many compositions like "Silent Motels" and "For Those Who Hesitate" feeling fragmented. As a whole, When the Detail Lost Its Freedom feels a bit empty, what with all of its incomplete thoughts and narrative gaps.

While McBride hasn't made a bona-fide album on par with his best Stars of the Lid material, he does translate Romanticism's sense of the sublime into eloquent crests of doctored guitar, sampled strings, and environmental rustling. These songs are indeed recollections birthed in tranquility, remembering fragile guitar and piano tones through the gossamer synthetic crystal of an ASR X keyboard sampler. "One Last Moment in Song", the album's most affecting vista, culls from full-bodied reverbed guitar, billowy vocals, haunting piano, and minute "room noises" and runs Arthur Russell's World of Echo through a vintage 4AD wax 'n' wash, giving a brittle, alienated core a dramatizing fluffing. Here, McBride performs the same sort of strange magic he so often does with Stars of the Lid, giving his soundscape too much of a crumbly human pulse to allow it to be written off as consciously "sweeping" post-rock while covering the piece's nakedness with enough serene distractions to avoid direct emotional confrontation. No matter where you're looking in from, it's a comfortable place to be.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan



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