t this point in my music listening career, I feel that I have listened to enough music to be discerning about what I choose. I've listened to enough avant garde John Cage pieces, alternative country, and smooth jazz to understand that these genres, as a whole, rarely offer anything of interest to my ears. Sadly, I've come to feel that way about all types of music, and I have begun searching for the most genuine and emotional works of music - the ones that truly touch me. That being said, I have heard numerous albums that have been technically brilliant, but leave nothing to the emotions. On the other hand I'm beginning to hear many different emotional albums with nothing to offer me in the way of precision playing of the instrument. Many times neither is present, and only on rare occasion will both happen. In almost all cases, it is a case of both being attempted and one failing more than the other. In the case of Star As Eye's debut album Freedom Rock, it is both succeeding, but only to a moderate degree. The album is nice, for sure. But not anything past that.
Consisting of Steve Ferrari and Craig Four Two, this debut full length has reportedly been three years in the making. During this time Steve has helped Kid606 on his "GQ on the EQ" and "Down With The Scene" releases. However, he fails to bring the manic energy and revolutionary feel to this release.
To step away from talking about the music, it has been apparent lately that America has been undergoing a sort of Renaissance in the past two years in the IDM genre. High quality music has been pouring out of the USA from numerous labels, counteracting the stranglehold that German and English artists have had among the top releases within what was becoming the incestuous circle of IDM labels. American IDM has entered into the spotlight. One of the most prominent of these labels is Tigerbeat6 led by Kid606 (from California) and Cex (from Baltimore). This trans-continental label has taken artists from all over the United States to form one of the most well known collectives of musicians around, with Stars As Eyes as a part. Stars As Eyes comes from the experimental hardcore region of Rhode Island that has spawned such acts as Arab on Radar and Lightning Bolt, which baffles me. It should follow that they might be influenced by these factors, but instead Stars As Eyes takes nods from Krautrock, early Autechre, and Boards of Canada.
The first song immediately hooks you. It is called "Golden Experience" and sadly it is the only one that reaches the listener and grabs hold of them, begging to be listened to. Ice crystals frequently break through the main melody and harmonic part to pierce the sweetness of the melody that plays throughout the song. The song goes on long enough, but, as all songs on this record, it seems to go on too long even at four and a half minutes. The main melodic theme is stated in the opening seconds of the song and does little to change throughout the song.
I guess I'm jaded. Too many revolutionary sounding songs have come out of the Tigerbeat6 camp to make me believe that Stars as Eyes is one of them. While the live show of Stars as Eyes surprised and entertained me, this records does not. I think if I had heard this record in the eighth grade I would have gone to my friends and told them about it, holding it up as the Holy Grail of a new sounding electronic genre. Unfortunately, history precedes it and Stars as Eyes has merely made a nice record, not a memorable one.