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A Winged Victory for the Sullen


A Winged Victory for the Sullen



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A Winged Victory for the Sullen is a sort of supergroup composed of Adam Wiltzie( from Stars of the Lid and Sleepingdog) and Dustin O'Halloran (from Devics). I guess since there are only two of them, it is more of a superduo. At any rate, readers of this site will be familiar with these names, as i have reviewed the work of these people in the past. Hearing them collaborate is wonderful.

Both members of this superduo are known for crafting long, droning songs that walk the boundary between pop, post-rock, and classical music. I know that some readers are frowning at that, as "classical music" is pretentious crap frozen in time. I mean, how many times, really, do you need to hear Pachabel or Bach playing in some store? Well, there is still great music being made as "classical", it is just that you will not hear it playing in your local grocery store. The songs that AWVFTS make consist of musical themes that are explored by strings and piano, in a very beautiful way, and over a long time frame. This is what classical music does, as opposed to the verse-chorus-verse structure of pop music.

This is a seven song album that clocks in at about 45 minutes, so be aware that these are long pieces. The record starts with a sparse ambient drone in We Played Some Open Chords over which they layer in a light piano. The next two tracks are Wiltzie and O'Halloran's tribute to the death of Mark Linkous, an artist similar in spirit if not in execution. They call this Requiem for the Static King, of which part 1 is a droning interlude of strings moving very slowly, while part 2 is piano tinkling away over strings that saw deeply.

The next track is called Minuet for a Cheap Piano and at just over 3 minutes long is almost like filler here. This is a light piece of piano and some faint droning. It's pretty, and the piano doesn't sound cheap to me, but what do i know.

The next track is called Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears and is being given away from free on Amazon. No, really, go to Amazon and search for A Winged Victory for the Sullen, and you can download this track in just a minute or so. This song is a sparse sawing of strings and faint tinkling piano that grows for four and a half minutes, until just at the end there is a faint electronic effect, a sort of sudden slowing of the song, like the sound of a record that just stops spinning. Really lovely.

The thirteen minute A Symphony Pathetique is next. This is a very faint song, often retreating to almost inaudible sparseness. The song grows slowly, so be patient with it. And finally the record ends with All Farewells Are Sudden. This is a louder piece, the drones loudly sawing away against one another, echoing through space.

So, yes, a droning, instrumental album, and one of amazing beauty and complexity. Trust me, just go get the record, cue it on the stereo one night, light a few candles, brew up a nice cup of tea or decaf, and just sit and let the music wash over you. That is how this music is to be experienced, and i personally think that years from now, small ensembles will be playing these songs at Symphony Hall. Do they serve coffee at Woodruff? Hmmm....

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