When an album of Ambient Music opens with the reverberant sound of someone yanking the cork out of a wine bottle, one knows that one is in for something special. Thus is the beginning of the album Stars End (37'36") by Blow Up Hollywood. Recorded live on the 14 November 2004 broadcast of the STAR'S END radio program, Stars End is the somewhat edited version of the on-air session. Up until the evening of this radio concert, Blow Up Hollywood existed as a rock band that produced soulful and moody pop songs through the exploration of texture and atmosphere. The opportunity to do an unstructured ambient set on STAR'S END inspired the then present members: Thad DeBrock (guitars, processing), Dave Eggar (cello), Steve Messina (voice, guitar) and Daniel Mintseris (keyboards), to expound upon material utilized previously in their music as ornamentation. The result is a most coherent ambient jam session - the emotional arc of which gently snakes through the set, creating its own wondrous dreamscape as it goes. In space, everything sounds better with digital reverb, and this recording has plenty. Navigating through the clouds slowly and with care, DeBrock's looped E-bow guitar tones and breathing washes of warm chords are contrasted against Mintseris' well-placed static glitches and subtle dream samples. Resolving the tension is the embracing sound of Eggar's cello, which flows ribbon-like among the stars and planets. The first several moments of this session are multi-layered and lulling. Following this drifting interlude, the mood transitions into something akin to the unpredictably surreal scenarios conjured up during deep sleep. Here Messina's sleepy acoustic guitar picking, delirious if muted rantings and further wine bottle antics elevate this work from one of mere unified improvisation to that of nuanced connections... between musicians and listeners.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 14 July 2005