A Winged Victory For The Sullen - s/t LP


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Label: Kranky

Our Review:

Debut release from this duo, featuring Adam Wiltzie of the beloved dronescapers Stars Of The Lid. He's teamed up with composer Dustin O'Halloran, for a suite of songs that doesn't veer to far from recent Stars Of The Lid releases, but focus on the piano as the main instrument, with the duo seeking out large spaces and grand pianos, with which to fully realize their sonic vision.

The opening track, far too humbly titled "We Played Some Open Chords", lets chords on the piano ring out. The natural reverb carries the notes off and lets them gradually fade. The piano is underpinned with some sweetly sorrowful strings, and some mournful horns, all laid atop Wiltzie's masterful and subtle guitar drone shimmer. The two part "Requiem For The Static King" could be an imagined soundtrack, all soaring strings, dramatic melodies, veering into slightly darker territory. "Minuet For A Cheap Piano" sounds to be just that. The sound is slightly muted and subtly distorted, again wreathed in what sounds like strings but could very well be the swirl of droned out guitars, hushed and delicate and dreamlike.

"A Symphony Pathetique" the longest track at nearly 13 minutes, seems to be the record's centerpiece, that piano suspended in a field of gauzy dronemusic, the track is epic and gorgeous, a sprawling stretch of hushed minimal beauty, the background sounds in constant motion, shimmering and undulating, overtones loosed to drift dreamily, all the while the piano plucks out painterly melodies, and like all the best songs, we would have been happy to have this stretch out and fill up the entire rest of the disc. Instead, the song fades gradually into the ether, from which drifts "All Farewells Are Sudden", a very UN-sudden sonic farewell, all slow swirling swells, hazy ambience and female vocals, creating a lush lovely droning harmony with the strings that gradually unfurl into a darkly moody soft-focus piano coda. So gorgeous. Fans of recent Stars Of The Lid will be in heaven, and anyone into dreamy mysterious ambience, minimal drones and avant chamber music will definitely find much to love here.