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Ballasted Orchestra [VINYL]

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Vinyl (7 Jan. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Import
  • ASIN: B00005YRZN
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie are Stars Of The Lid (SOTL), a two piece unit that hails from Austin, Texas. Theirs is a world of undulating guitar, stripped of its fundamental characteristics and wreathed in all manner of studio effects. The resulting sound is reminiscent of how a sky might sound immediately before a thunderstorm.
The Ballasted Orchestra (released in 1997) was recorded at home on a four track tape machine and as a consequence, there is a noticeable amount of background noise lurking behind the scenes. If this were any other band, I might say that this could be a serious problem but SOTL seem to succeed, for the most part, in incorporating this hiss into the pieces themselves as part of the sound canvass.
The tracks present themselves with titles like 'Central Texas' 'Sun Drugs' & 'Taphead', all alluding to the feeling of a long walk on a deserted road but it is 'Music For Twin Peaks, Episode #30 Pt1 & Pt2' that leaves you in no doubt as to which direction this band were to head. This is the music of an abandoned world, moribund, rusted and beyond use. You could well imagine these songs in a David Lynch or Jim Jarmush production, filling the air with a quiet menace and a rare kind of regret.
Subsequent releases (most notably 'The Tired Sounds Of...') have proven that there is much more mileage in the subtle art of the drone than anyone could have imagined. The Ballasted Orchestra stands as a successful, if embryonic, testament to SOTL's search for the perfect weight.
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Format: Audio CD
Ever since discovering Brian Enos music in the late eighties I have been searching for more that is as good as his stuff. But apart from his infrequent releases and the equally infrequent releases from his web of friends and collaborators - Danial Lanois, Harrold Budd, Micheal Brook, and brother Roger, I was finding very little that came close to Eno.

Relatively recently I have had access to the internet and to Amazon, with its costomer reviews and music fan lists. There are frequent comparisons to Eno in lots of reviews for a number of ambient groups and artists. And lots of albums are discribed as being as beautiful as some of Enos most beautiful music. And I have had quite a few disappointments becuase of these reviews, finding these so called beautiful ambient albums not even remotely close to what they were discribed as being. Some were the heavy beat type of ambient,such as Amber by Autechre, while others, like the very popular 76.49 by Global communication, were very average albums of electronic music. So , I became very weary and cautious.

One name that sounded promising was Stars of the lid, so I checked them out thoroughly not just on Amazon, and bought what most people seemed to think was their best and most recent release - The Tired sounds of. I had high hopes, and , although there are one or two rather depressing tracks on the first disc, I was impressed, and now The Tired sounds of has become one of my most listened to CD's.

I have since bought Gavitational pull Vs the desire for an aquatic life, which is excellent, and most recently The ballasted orchestra, along with Brian McBrides first solo venture - When the detail lost its freedom.

As much as I am a huge fan of Eno, I was often left wishing for more from him.
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Format: Audio CD
I first discovered Stars of the Lid about ten years ago when I heard the track Sun Drugs on SomaFM's Drone Zone. Already a big Brian Eno fan, I was struck by just how pared down Lid's music was in comparison to most of Eno's ambient output. From that day on I immersed myself in more of Lid's aural landscapes and now have all of their output.

The Ballasted Orchestra features the aforementioned Sun Drugs and several other blissful drone tracks. There are some dark, slightly ominous moments on this album too, but the headspace they evoke is nonetheless an interesting one. The album ends with an extended, soothing, drone track with subtle layering to bring you back to a restful place.

Sublime.
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Format: Audio CD
A very special album! Lovely relaxing ambient drones with an occasional intriguing dark ambient vibe, this is masterful drone music, quite unlike anything else. Perfect for night time listening on the headphones!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8ee0cccc) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90117864) out of 5 stars audio horizon 17 July 2001
By alex weber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
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.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x901178b8) out of 5 stars haunting, beautiful ambience 21 May 2003
By Lee L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I picked up this album randomly at a music shop, going only off of my previous good experiences with other bands on the same label. I had no idea I was picking up an album with no vocals, no rhythm, and no melody. I found out after a few listens that this is a good thing when it's done right. SOTL are very good at what they do.
This is mostly a dark sounding record yet full of somehow comforting drones. Beyond that it's hard to describe as I have no idea how these guys make this music. If you attempt to track down pictures of the group, in a live shot you can see someone playing a bass, but it's impossible to tell what instruments are being used on their records.
Ideally this music is great to fall asleep to, and also great to read to. It would be unfair to call this music filler, or background music. It's much to good to be reduced to that, but it's perfect to listen to if you don't want absolute silence, but you also don't want to be distracted from the task at hand (i.e. sleeping or reading).
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90117cf0) out of 5 stars The desert at night 1 Dec. 2001
By Roger Fingas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
To date this is my favourite Stars of the Lid album, and as a consequence, one of my favourite ambient albums. What puts it over the top for me are the images of desolate nocturnal landscapes it brings to mind - the tracks "Central Texas" and "Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30 Pt. 2" are particularly effective in this regard. Meanwhile any SotL fan HAS to have "Sun Drugs," which is a staple of the band's live shows and deservedly so.
There isn't much more to say that hasn't been repeated ad nauseum here so I'll cut things short. Let's just say that if you want atmosphere or merely something to relax to, you can't go wrong with The Ballasted Orchestra.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d5f40d8) out of 5 stars Music To A Dream 6 Sept. 2006
By Arpan M. Shah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's been many years since I've owned this album but i felt compelled to come back and write a review. Stars Of the Lid isn't for everyone and it took me quite a bit of time, money, word of mouth, and experimentation before I found this album, let a lone a band with such a distinct sound. But it's safe to say that this album is definitely in my top three of all time.

Maybe its the lack of vocals that makes your imagination go crazy, maybe because its perfect to listen to with the lights out while you comtemplate life at 5AM, maybe its because you can never truly memorize what's going to happen next in the songs. This is an album that would be that be a part of that dramatic part in the movie, the climax, or maybe its the realization of something gone bad. Its emotional, complex, simple, beautiful, dramatic, and might make you slumber into a state between conscious and the subconscious.

A reviewer said this will change your life and if this is for you ... it surely will. It's been some time since SOTL released another new album (aside from side projects) but this will stand the test of time.

I'm rambling, I know, but there's so much I can say about this album and how it continuously affects me, that you need to experience it yourself if you're still thinking of getting this, make the investment. After this, try avec laudenum ... atomium part 2...perhaps one of the greatest "songs" out there.

anyway, this album might make you tear and smile, at the same time.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d5f41bc) out of 5 stars A different turn (but not in a bad way) 4 Aug. 2008
By D. Stewart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was quite a different record than the ones I've listened to before of Stars of the Lid. To clarify, I've been going backwards rather than forwards chronologically because I first heard the Tired Sounds record and then their 2007 release "and their refinement of the decline" and have been working my way back since then. I didn't really know what to expect when I bought it, but this record feels more old, like they were still feeling around for their dynamic.

This record is a lot darker sounding than the other ones I've listened to, but that's not a bad thing, just different. It feels more raw as well. I hope new listeners find this review useful, and enjoy the record!

This is my first review of something, so if you have any comments, criticism please feel free to let me know.
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