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Rok Lok Records : Reviews
header: Reviews

Reviews for [RL121]
Stars Are Insane "To Be There"

  • Lost In a Sea of Sound
    A little over a year ago, Lost in a Sea of Sound described Stars Are Insane's Rok Lok release To Be Here. Now the label has released a companion cassette titled To Be There, the span of time capturing thoughtful movement through existence. Listening back on the cassette To Be Here and reading the words used to connect sound and thoughts, clearly shows just like the music, writing changes over time. Not sure how Stars Are Insane feel about their sounds, but reading early descriptions on Lost in a Sea of Sound seems like a different person was doing the work. Wisdom, experience or repetitious droll, not for the musician or writer to know. The listener or reader must make these analogies themselves. There is definitely a flowing stream connecting To Be Here with To Be There. Tributaries like the ends of branches making their way to the supporting trunk. Music takes this route, sounds in the distance radiating at the same fervor. It would be inaccurate to describe To Be There as different from To Be Here. Many of the tracks could be easily divided differently among these two releases without changing the overall feel. And the feel.... melodies in the far reaches of the aural landscape. Dust hazing the sonic fabric in the form of feedback and distortion. Gentle vocals whispering directions, opening conscious pathways to a quiet heart. Is this mutated pop music or the exposed veins from ambient erosion? Stars Are Insane cycles through both worlds, returning these vivid dreams during each restful interlude. To Be There clocks in around forty minutes divided through ten tracks. Copies are available from the Rok Lok website as well as their bandcamp page. There are also a few tapes remaining of the To Be Here release.

  • Minimum Rock N Roll
    Long standing bedroom pop outfit Stars Are Insane are back with their tenth full length of drone adjacent beauty. This one is a companion piece to last year's "To Be Here" and something of a love letter to America's National Parks. Opener "Alone In a National Monument" recalls Kevin Shields' soundtrack compositions and vividly evokes western stillness and evokes epic scale. "Leaving Here (Only to Return)" employs a plinky drum machine and Mike's breathy almost wordless vox and comes closest to counting as a pop tune (check out the stunning "Pop Industry" tape for Stars Are Insane's best batch of 2-3 minute structured tunes). "Golden Hour" uses acoustic strumming & New Order-ish leads to create the audible equivalent of the cover photo's lens flare effect.

  • Cassette Gods
    With this most recent release, Stars Are Insane show off their newly acquired* (Their older stuff is pretty good too!) and hard earned doctorate from Yo La Tengo State University, where they double majored in Slow Gaze and Shoe Core, writing their master thesis, “What if the long, slow songs on ICHTHBAO were re-imagined by one person, on a four track recorder, with only eight guitar pedals and the occasional drum machine, instead?” The research has certainly paid off, as SAI's "To Be There" is a living, breathing, dreamy, fuzzed out beast on its own four legs now, and well worth a listen by all bedroom janglers and ambient pedal-patters who know how to rock out under minimal bpm influence. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to further fruits from this new shift!