Stars of the Lid

Ambient duo Stars of the Lid was formed in Austin, Texas in 1993. Comprised of Texas native Brian McBride and New York-born Adam Wiltzie, the two members of the band shared a common interest in ambient, minimalist, and drone music and joined forces to create musical soundscapes of their own. Adding Kirk Laktas as a third member, the group recorded their debut album in 1993 and 1994, finally releasing Music for Nitrous Oxide in 1995. Laktas left the group and McBride and Wiltzie continued to move forward with Stars of the Lid. The duo then issued a series of critically acclaimed releases including Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life (1996), The Ballasted Orchestra (1997), the Maneuvering the Nocturnal Hum EP (1998), and Per Aspera Ad Astra (1998). While Stars of the Lid’s earliest recordings were recorded together, by 1999’s Avec Laudenum, they were exchanging filed over the internet since McBride had relocated to Los Angeles, California and Wiltzie was living in Brussels, Belgium. The followed the same recording routing for the epic The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid (2001), which was later called one of the 50 best ambient music albums of all time. The duo didn’t return with new music until the release of And Their Refinement of the Decline (2007), which featured musical assistance from a children's choir, the Belgian Toine Thys (clarinet), Daniel Noesig and Borris Gronemberg (trumpet), Cédric Manche (flugelhorn), and classically trained musicians. After the release of the 2007 outtakes compilation Carte de Visite, Stars of the Lid would continue to play live on occasion, but they devoted most of their studio time to other musical projects. Any chances of the duo reuniting were dashed when Brian McBride died in August 2023, at the age of 53.

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Stations Featuring Stars of the Lid

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