header: Reviews

Reviews for [RL116]
Stars Are Insane "To Be Here"

  • Lost In A Sea of Sound
    Stars Are Insane touches on the subtle beauty that can easily elude listeners the first time through. With all music, the best sounds are heard when the thoughts of the one who is listening are grabbed by the artists making the music. This could be a violent shake your mind punk storm, a slow and melodic industrial melt away or in the case of To Be Here, a trip into the gorgeous surrounding land. Imagine a Sunday morning drive when traffic is minimum and the sparsity of commotion allows the so often glazed over details to be noticed. This is how To Be Here comes across, when the world settles in, music fills the places we usually hurry by. With that being said, this is the first time i have listen to Stars Are Insane. Unfortunate because there are eight full length albums before this. To Be Here is a great place to start. A one person project holding the skill and experience to compose sounds in the elusive disposition of fragile elegance. Ten tracks combining lo-fi pop acuity with the fine suspended particles of warbling drone. There are plenty of well cooked tracks on this cassette. Depending upon the mood you are in, they are on the rotisserie as favorites. The second to last track, "The Winter Will Be Long and The Nights Will Be Cold" forms a single substance from how To Be Here spills out. Really listen and Stars Are Insane will become more focused as your thoughts drift and loose focus.

  • Cassette Gods
    “To Be Here” is the 28th release on Stars Are Insane’s Bandcamp page, but the first that I’ve heard. Mike Andriani creates guitar-based drones which bookend and backlight pop songs, using 4-track tape and layers of guitar. This is ethereal bedroom-pop which is heavily inspired by 90s lo-fi and shoegaze culture. The cover art perfectly compliments the music: a silhouette of a tree-line against a purple sinset, one pinprick of light beginning to shine through the haze. The sounds warble and flow along the riverbed carved by tremolos and tape-delays of the past, propelled by lazy drum machines and oscillating drones. Vocals are not always present, and often sparse. The lyrics reflect upon the passage of time and the changes which occur within ourselves and among our relationships. Sometimes the voice reaches just a bit out of key, but that only reinforces the bedroom quality of the recording. On the song “They Won’t Destroy Us” the guitars warp and bend against a steady progression, suggesting the feeling I get when staring at a flagpole against a flow of clouds. The pole threatens to fall and crush me, but never reaches and I float safely below. “Dream King” reaches into more propulsive territory, with a driving beat and squall of guitar. Still this short, restrained rocker doesn’t fly off into the stratosphere. In two minutes the dream is over and “Then There Was the Sky” drifts into the forefront, an instrumental composition of layered drones and melodies. Recorded in the fall and winter of 2016, “To Be Here” feels perfect for the cold twilight of those months, breath hanging in the air and stars twinkling more clearly. Andriani keeps the pace unhurried and lays blankets of guitar across the songs on this tape. This is DIY shoegaze at its chillest. Play this and watch the icicles grow.