Return Home

Wordless Music

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - 02:00 PM

On this week's podcast, we share an excerpt from Wordless Music on WNYC, a 4-part music program hosted by Jad, exploring the boundaries between classical and pop music.

The series pairs rock and electronic musicians with more traditional chamber and new music performers, to create an entirely new concert experience. On this week's selection, Jad waxes googly-eyed fan when he gets to talk about one of his favorite bands, Stars of the Lid.



More in:

Comments [27]

Jo Brodie from London, UK

If you're in London on 2 October 2016 Stars of the Lid are playing a concert at the Barbican Centre

Mar. 31 2016 04:16 AM
Jo Brodie from London

Yay, seeing them tonight in London :D

Four and a half years after discovering them through this podcast.

Dec. 10 2012 11:06 AM
Jo from London

I am still in agreement with the me of 2008 :) Gorgeous stuff from SOTL.

Jan. 19 2012 08:18 AM

Even though I'm commenting a few years late, I just wanted to express my gratitude for this. After obsessively listening to this recording for weeks, I ended up purchasing every Stars of the Lid album I could find. This will always be my favorite piece of theirs. Not to get all sappy, but I find this music so moving and beautiful that I get a tight feeling in my chest every time I listen to it. The best way I can describe this is as a musical landscape. There's something so broad and surreal to the sounds...I can't really explain it. If I'm stressed or sad or happy or sleepy or just about anything, listening to this piece makes the world around me fall away and pale into insignificance. I sound ridiculous, but I just needed to come back and say how thankful I am that you introduced me to this.

Oct. 14 2011 02:44 PM
tomasz. from Manchester, UK

god, there are some really insufferable tedious smug comments on this post. some of you don't deserve such a great show.

Apr. 14 2011 08:46 PM
MP from Chicago

I stumbled upon this while working my way through the Radiolab archives, and I just wanted to thank you for posting it. I am a die-hard SOTL fan, and this made my day.

Mar. 04 2011 07:40 PM

agree with Ian

Nov. 20 2008 02:15 AM

I love Schoenberg, Stockhausen, and Messiaen as much as any crazy music geek (though Messiaen more so than the former 2 and I find late Stockhausen tedious and self-indulgent) but for 2008, playing their music is hardly 'pushing the envelope...)

I like Stars of the Lid...this particular track isn't all that innovative though.

Jun. 15 2008 04:14 PM

a) Jad starts off the Podcast with '...this is the RadioLab, the podcast...'.
b) The episode is slapped together so shoddily that it has not one, but two of the standard "From WNYC New York Public Radio... announcements"
c) The last episode was another one of these 10 minute ilk as well, no? (The stock price music piece).
d) Sigh.

Jun. 13 2008 03:09 PM

To be fair this isn't technically a Radiolab episode but a podcast highlighting another radio programme called Wordless Music (I think). Whatever its provenance... still smitten :]

Jun. 13 2008 01:43 PM

Remember when RadioLab episodes used to be 40+ minute discussions on well researched topics, and not 10 minute rebroadcasts of other people's work?

Jun. 12 2008 04:26 AM

I don't think I've ever listened to anything quite so obsessively in one week - it's extraordinary. Lovely stuff.

Laughed at the 'sigur ros on tranquilisers' post :)

Jun. 11 2008 05:23 PM
Bobby Power

Hey Jad,

I'm a dedicated podcast listener and huge Stars of the Lid fan as well. I just want to alert you to a couple bits of misinformation about S.o.t.L. you mention in the package.

First, the two founding members are Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie.

Second, "Requiem For Dying Mothers" is a three-sectioned piece contained not on last year's "...And Their Refinement of the Decline," but on on their 2001 album, "The Tired Sounds of..."


Jun. 11 2008 11:00 AM

When I first heard this podcast, i didn't hear the introduction of the piece. as i listened to it, tears were dropping out of my eyes, and i got really sad thinking about my mother, who passed away three weeks ago. the music conjured up an image of her floating in heaven. i was also simultaneously writing my thoughts out to this music. it was so powerful, i thought i must find out what the title is, and when i did "requiem for a dying mother", i started to cry uncontrollably for a few minutes. how eerie.

here is my poem to share with radiolab and stars of the lid, thanks for this beautiful music:

Requiem for Dying Mothers

Every day that passes I feel another day has been put between us.

When I think about mama, I look up
And I wonder what heaven is like

When I am at work, I wonder if she is observing me
When I am at home, I wonder if she is watching me
When I am sleeping, I wonder if she keeps awake

As I am listening to the viola play, I feel she is floating
As if that is her way of dancing in heaven
I feel the distance of a million clouds layering between us,
I extend my hand out and feel her drift farther away from me
In the starry oceanic universe

****** **
06/11/2008 (week 3)

Jun. 10 2008 08:14 PM
pat smith

This was good stuff. I like this kind of stuff and I can totally see how they'd cite Arvo Part as an influence.

But good lord is it slow. Imagine putting Sigur Ros on tranquilizers and this is about what you'd get. Conversely, this is the music for people who get a little too riled on Sigur Ros' slow stuff (I want to make clear, I'm not talking about the bombastic rocking side).

Jun. 10 2008 08:08 PM
nate bob

Hi Jad,

Thanks for sharing this. The Wordless Music series actually reminded me of an idea i had a couple years ago, which has probably been done somewhere but should be done again. I'd love to see an album of where serious classical composers are given the task of writing a pop song. "Pop song" can be used loosely, but certain parameters could be given to the composers, like the piece should tend to be under 5 minutes, should at least make reference to the verse-chorus-bridge format, etc. I'd just be really interested to hear what they produce, and I'm sure the creative process would make great fodder for a documentary or Radiolab episode. You guys have already had Philip Glass on the show before, so why not ask him to write his own "Hey Jude"? Anyway, if it has already been done, someone please let me know, because I'd like to hear it.

Jun. 09 2008 11:17 PM
kyle p feeley

This one was really tedious. I can't believe someone said this kept them awake! It sounds like something my yoga teacher would put on. Yawn. As for the mission of the concert series: I don't see how classical music informed their piece; it sounds just like the rest of Stars of the Lid's brand of ambient droning.

Jun. 06 2008 02:13 AM

I'm a little confused. At the beginning of the recording, someone introduces the piece by calling it "Requiem for a Dying Mother" but at the end of the recording, Jad says that that was 2 pieces. What was the second one called, and when did the first end and the second begin?

Jun. 05 2008 05:15 PM

Ronen is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He has been around the music scene for a long time. I ran into him somewhere talking about Wilco in 2000 (message board or something), we have been good friend ever since. It is great to see the wordless music series take off. Thanks Jad for getting the word out.

Jun. 05 2008 03:49 PM

hey jad ::yawn:: it's pretty, but i'm falling asleeeeeeeeep...::yawn::

Jun. 05 2008 12:37 PM

Aren't you guys supposed to push the envelope? 'Stars of Music for Airports' or whoever here isn't exactly Schoenberg, Stockhausen, or Messiaen.

Don't get me wrong, its pleasant. Timbre is a lot of fun, but what's happening to Radiolab?

Jun. 05 2008 10:04 AM

absolutely beautiful music.
there is something just amazing about a symphony/orchestra...

especially when they compose music from a totally different genre. after finding out about this, i found something rather interesting: the pairing of a symphony and video game music. the way it's composed just feels right and makes me remember playing all those games... (like mario and zelda for example.) for a geek like me, i found it awesome.

Anyway, this was beautiful.

Jun. 05 2008 12:49 AM
Erik! Sooooo beautiful!

Jun. 05 2008 12:21 AM
Sabrina Harrison

this warm night sound
fills me with all the yes and
I feel

Jun. 05 2008 12:21 AM

The Wordless Music series looks fantastic. Since they can be listened to off the website anyway, is there a chance for it getting a podcast feed?

Jun. 04 2008 10:33 PM

Absolutely smitten with this - thank you for making this available, it's gorgeous.

Jun. 04 2008 05:04 PM

Thank you so much for this weeks show, I love SOTL! And thanks for keeping me awake at work :)

Jun. 03 2008 03:12 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Supported by