Stars Of The Lid/ Jon McCafferty
Per Aspera Ad Astra
First, some context. This record begins from an exciting conceptual framework — our drone heroes link up with experimental line painter Jon McCafferty (of R.E.M.’s Green cover repute) when they come to the discovery that they map out surprisingly similar aesthetic terrains.
Here’s the rub: Stars Of The Lid composed this album while surrounded by McCafferty’s artwork and incorporated field recordings of McCafferty working into the record. McCafferty then took the finished product and absorbed it, while developing the cover art. So what we have is a seamless combination of music and visual arts, completely untainted by commercial constraints and bloated ego chess games. Success! The end result is music that serves as the aural equivalent of a negative space painting — the viewer/listener’s attention is drawn to the silent pauses and rushing quiet that surrounds Stars Of The Lid’s time-space audio eulogies. The addition of McCafferty’s field recordings are jarring to the otherwise sparse and ghostly atmospheres; real life abruptly intruding into the Star’s ether majesty.
The record is divided into two movements; “Low Level Listening” (parts one through three) and “Anchor States” (parts one through three). A radical departure from form comes with “Anchor States: Part One,” a brooding string arrangement that This Mortal Coil would have committed patricide to lay claim to. But other than that brief interlude of parental massacre, Stars Of The Lid and Jon McCafferty have constructed a stunning portrait of hidden sounds and visions that lie just at the periphery of our day-to-day experience. Kranky Records, P.O. Box 578743, Chicago, IL 60657