Like the name implies, O, Little Stars is an album of tiny intentions and small ambitions, often so slight that it’s easy to dismiss its soft, fluttering soundscapes. And indeed, I’ve been apt to overlook its little, unassuming charms. But tonight, things are a little different. For some reason, I picked this disc off the shelf, perhaps just looking for some nice background music whilst doing some tired e-mailing and forum-hopping before dragging myself to bed.
However, the album’s charms have slowly begun to unfold for me. I’ve always liked the opening track “Azizintla Fireflies”, and way its slightly-blurred analog tones flutter about as if buffeted by a light spring breeze. And “Zurich Sunday” is such a short, quiet song that its wrenching impact seems quite incongruous, but there’s something in the way the melody moves through its scale that seems immeasurably sad.
Other tracks, though, have eluded me. Until tonight, that is. Tonight, “Sleep” is quite the apropos track, its shimmering, Steve Reich-esque bells and piano lines having quite the lullaby effect, suggesting the onset of slumber and the dreams that might come with it. The playful keyboard tones on “Snowfall Over…” do somehow suggest big, fluffy flakes descending from a grey sky, while its rhythms—which sound glitchy, but on further inspection are too clean for that—have the same delightful crunch that your boots make as you tromp through the banks.