Oh, and I have deduced that the man in the photo is King Louis XVI but don't quote me on that one. Here's a before and after:
I love everything that Stars of the Lid have released. They've really honed their arrangements into a pure classical ambient form. ...And Their Refinement of the Decline and Tired Sounds are monumental epic masterpieces that evoke every possible emotion from the listener. As much as I love the newer material, there is still an equal part of me that drools at the low-fi feel of the early Lid recordings-as mentioned above. I can just picture Adam Wiltzie hunched over an effect-laden guitar in a sunken living room recording Music For Nitrous Oxide on his 4-track, the rain lightly rapping on the skylight and candles flickering as slow wisps of air circulate around the room, Wiltzie slowly rocking back and forth on a couch with his eyes semi-closed, just feeling it out.
The Lid have incorporated horn and string players that really help fill out the sound on their later albums. Older releases like Nitrous, however, have a darker isolationist drone quality to them that are able to strike a precious nerve for me. A similar nerve that the latest Omit release was able to strike. The Lid also really like throwing in field recordings and samples into the mix (Always in good taste). Unlike the very sparse use of said samples in later work like audio taken from Terrence Mallick's "The Thin Red Line" (Fantastic film by the way) on ...And Their Refinement, and the old radio broadcast on "Down 3" of Tired Sounds, Nitrous is bursting with them. From weird radio stuff to movie quotes (Apocalypse Now! for one) and children speaking and old ladies voices and what are probably short wave radio transmissions, and some guy talking about UFO's to all sorts of indiscernible and weird material. Makes for a really interesting listen. And yes, tape hiss also makes me happy.
I recommend picking yourself up the reissue. You can get it straight from Sedimental.