[Click play on that player above before reading.]
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about meditation/contemplation practices and at one point she made a comment about wanting to be able to appreciate the sounds of the city as a natural part of the discipline, but how “it would be nice to have something to listen to that could kind of drown that stuff out while not being distracting”.
Having spent a long while coming to understand how I best enter into periods of contemplation, I proposed to her a list of musical acts that have proven themselves to be helpful to me for this very purpose. Among them was the Austin, TX drone/ambient duo Stars of the Lid who, for the past twenty-one years, have been single-mindedly composing minimalist drone pieces with the power to strike deep emotional chords with only effects-laden guitar, piano, and strings. It is with this basic structure that Stars of the Lid have produced seven LPs of swelling, feedbacking, and glacially shifting soundscapes meant to accompany you into the deepest parts of yourself. From my end, once I was introduced to Stars of the Lid and began to infuse my life with their subtle aural magic I found myself desiring their presence more and more as the soundtrack to my reading and writing sessions…and long walks when I feel down.
Their incredible sixth LP, The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid, can be found in its entirety on youtube (and above). If it sounds like something you would be into, I cannot recommend this album enough. Next time you are sitting down to read for a while – or draw, or paint, or write, garden, craft, or cook – give this album a shot: it is two hours of transcendence that is tailor-made to remind you that the mystical truths of the world are still true, that time is not moving as quickly as you fear, and that beauty stills exist in this world. Sometimes you just have to listen a little more closely for it.