R.I.P. Brian McBride of Stars of the Lid

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Brian McBride

Brian McBride, one half of the Austin, Texas ambient drone duo Stars of the Lid, has died, according to a post from the group’s official Twitter account. He was 53 years old.

The post reads, “I am deeply saddened to tell everyone that Brian McBride has passed away. I loved this guy & he will be missed.”

McBride formed Stars of the Lid with his creative partner Adam Wiltzie in 1993, three years after moving to Austin. The group was inspired by composers such as Brian Eno and Arvo Pärt, and they released their debut album in 1995, Music for Nitrous Oxide, which also featured Kirk Laktas. Laktas left the group, but McBride and Wiltzie continued making music together, with a particular prolific streak happening throughout the ’90s, including 1996’s Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life, 1997’s The Ballasted Orchestra, 1998’s Per Aspera Ad Astra and 1999’s Avec Laudenum.

The duo released music with less frequency throughout the 2000s, but expanded their scope, delivering even longer and more sprawling sets of music with 2001’s The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid and 2007’s And Their Refinement of the Decline. Their later albums were made remotely, with McBride in Chicago while Wiltzie remained in Austin. McBride also worked on film music, including his 2010 score for The Effective Disconnect, and more recently was a member of Bell Gardens.

Producer and former member of Death Cab for Cutie Chris Walla tweeted in tribute, “few artists have crept into my own work as surely as stars of the lid, and likely no record has been played more in this house than ‘and their refinement of the decline’. and i’m just wrecked to type the words.” “Absolutely crushed to hear the news about Brian McBride,” added Trevor deBrauw of Pelican. “The first three Stars of the Lid albums are canon – unimaginably vast worlds of sound that continue to unfold even after decades of listening.”

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