The Dead Texan is Adam Wiltzie of the Stars of the Lid and Aix Em Klemm in collaboration with filmmaker Christina Vontzos. Because of his former aural maneuvers, this self titled album comes with a rather precise set of expectations. Definitive SOTL albums like ?The Ballasted Orchestra? and ?The Tired Sounds of?? (both Kranky) define minimal guitar noise excellence today as their deep waves of pulsing minimal drone still reverberate throughout the underground. It?s hard to believe that the duo could regularly be glimpsed live in and around Austin and Dallas in the mid to late 90s, but now it appears the stars have crawled back under their respective lid with Brian McBride out of sight and Wiltzie living and working in Brussels.
The Dead Texan evinces the same attention to tonal luster and quiet details that characterized SOTL, but the incorporation of more sources than guitar feedback (piano, strings, samples and video accompaniment) into the mix adds a slightly more dynamic energy to Wiltzie?s often brief and deeply haunting sound portals. Of course Stars of the Lid did the same throughout most of their monumental tenure, but The Dead Texan explores a more diverse range of sound on these 11 tracks. European film composers like Zbigniew Preisner and George Delerue are mentioned as inspirations in the press notes, which I can see. Preisner, a regular collaborator with the late Krzystof Kieslowski, is a master at conjuring lingering impressionist sonatas that leave the heart heavy and the mind dazed. ?Discreet Music? era Eno is another reference point, and of course Stars of the Lid and Labradford.
What?s refreshing here is how Wiltzie is willing to enliven things a bit, and even expose the shimmering nexus where post MBV shoegaze meets studied classical orchestration. There?s actually a vocal on ?Glen?s Goo,? and some pristine acoustic strums amid the steady, breathing tones of ?A Chronicle of Early Failures ? Part 1.? At other points, strategic placement of snippets of dialogue and brief samples further augment the sense of faded nostalgia that pervades the whole affair. Included with the package is a DVD of seven video pieces, collaborations with Vontzos that were produced concurrently with the music, but it wasn?t included with this promo copy. A pity, but then this kind of soundtrack invokes plenty of haunting mental images in its own right. 7/10 -- Lee Jackson (25 May, 2005)