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. But now I have found what I was after in this music from SOTL. Take an Eno track, drift from 'Apollo, Atmospheres and soundtracks', three minutes long, or 'A clearing' from 'Ambient 4, On land', at about five minutes long, and stretch them out and slow them down so that it lasts over seventeen minutes and you have something close to The ballasted Orchetras 'Arch song', which is one of the best endings to any CD I own. Much of The Ballasted Orchestra reminded me of some of Enos stuff, only s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.
Maybe twenty percent of SOTLs stuff is depressing, the rest is music to my ears.
But each to their own. We all hear music differently. Just be careful of reviews...