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A Winged Victory for the Sullen

A Winged Victory for the Sullen Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Sep 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erased Tapes
  • ASIN: B005BV5DOQ
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,996 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. We Played Some Open Chords And Rejoiced, For The Earth Had Circled The Sun Yet Another Year 6:180.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Requiem For The Static King Part One 2:450.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Requiem For The Static King Part Two 7:370.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Minuet For A Cheap Piano Number Two 3:090.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears 4:260.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. A Symphony Pathetique12:41Album Only
Listen  7. All Farewells Are Sudden 7:350.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

The grandiloquently named project of a pair of blue riband mood-casters, A Winged Victory for the Sullen combines the talents of Italophile Californian pianist Dustin O'Halloran and Stars of the Lid's ambient drone-meister Adam Wiltzie, another American who these days calls Europe (Belgium, in his case) home. True to their chosen moniker, the music that this cosmopolitan duo fashion regularly takes wing and it's certainly a victory for subtlety, sensitivity and judiciousness over broad, flashy musical brushstrokes. Sullen, mercifully, it is not.

O'Halloran and Wiltzie (there's a buddy cop show waiting to happen, surely?) were drawn together in Bologna, Italy, at one of the final shows by the late Mark Linkous' much-revered Sparklehorse, with whom Wiltzie was touring (indeed, the two-part Requiem for the Static King, which lies at the heart of this seven-essay album, is dedicated to Linkous). Both enamoured of piano-based atmosphere and understated chamber orchestration (not to mention fine continental cuisine, apparently), the duo bonded in a number of European studio locations, fleshing out their crepuscular electronic keyboard drones and elegantly restrained piano motifs with lavish strings from the ubiquitous Peter Broderick and Icelandic cellist Hildur Gu�nad�ttir.

The results are, almost inevitably, meditative and cinematic, but also, more unusually for music of this so-called 'post-classical' stripe, rich in melody and genuinely haunting, numinous atmosphere. Thus, tremulous, pensive opener We Played Some Open Chords, while doing exactly what it says on the proverbial tin, sounds like a particularly brooding Harold Budd �tude sporadically weighted with Gavin Bryars-like orchestral gravitas, the latter tonalities warding off the chocolate boxy prettiness to which O'Halloran's solo works are occasionally prone.

The aforementioned, two-part Requiem for the Static King follows, its melancholy, Stars of the Lid-like drift/drone-scaping proffering a rapturous, John Dowland-meets-Brian Eno, Renaissance-ambient tone bath in which it is impossible not to become totally immersed. The ensuing Minuet for a Cheap Piano Number Two blends further geodesic drones with stately piano figures and updrafts of swooning, soaring cello - again recalling Gavin Bryars (particularly his masterful The Sinking of the Titanic), while the marvellously titled Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears, the highlight here, builds from muted electronic static to a gorgeous, near symphonic climax.

--David Sheppard

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CD Description

A Winged Victory For The Sullen is the first installment of the new collaboration between Stars Of The Lid member Adam Wiltzie and L.A. composer Dustin O Halloran. The duo agreed to leave the comfort zone of their home studios and develop the recordings with the help of large acoustic spaces, hunting down a selection of 9ft grand pianos that had the ability to deliver extreme sonic low end. Other traditional instrumentation was used including string quartet, French horn, and bassoon, but always juxtaposed is the sound of drifting guitar washed melodies. The recordings began with one late night session in the famed Grunewald Church in Berlin on a 1950s imperial Bösendorfer piano and strings were added in the historic East Berlin DDR radio studios along the River Spree. One last session on a handmade Fazioli piano in a private studio on the Northern cusp of Italy, before the final mixes took place in a 17th century villa near Ferrara with the assistance of Francesco Donadello. All songs were then processed completely analogue straight to magnetic tape. Their secret to harvesting new melodic structures from the thin air of existence was for the duo to push themselves to dangerous territory, realising that clear thinking at the wrong moment could stifle the compositions. The final result is seven landscapes of harmonic ingemination. In Requiem For The Static King Part One created in memory of the untimely passing of Mark Linkous they have taken the age-old idea of a string quartet and then shot it out of a cannon to reveal exquisite new levels of sonic bliss. Of the 13 minute track Symphony Pathétique , Wiltzie says after almost 20 years of struggling to create interesting ambient drone music, I feel like I have finally figured out what I am doing . Notable guest musicians include Icelandic cellist Hildur Gudnadottir, as well as Erased Tapes label comrade Peter Broderick on violin. A Winged Victory For The Sullen is not a side project it is the future of the late night record you have always dreamed of.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Sounds 12 Dec 2011
By Nellie
Format:Audio CD
The comments from the other reviewers are pretty close to the mark, in my opinion. I've enjoyed Stars of the Lid, for example, for years now and A Winged Victory ... do bear a passing similarity, hardly suprising given the involvement of Adam Wiltzie in the project. That said, Winged have their own sound, it's beautiful and haunting and I suspect what seems to be a superficial simplicity actually hides a lorry-load of skill and effort to achieve.

Mood really is important here, or rather your frame of mind plus your ambient circumstances. The combination will decide whether this music gets drowned out by a real-world hubbub or succeeds in magically washing you away. Get your frame right and this is an outstanding album. Well done.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
A pinch more variety for a year of music that's over-flowing with superlative releases from artists of every genre, hybrid and movement - a winged victory for the sullen are an instrumental duo providing compositions of monumentally beautiful, atmospheric and minimalistic(ish) neo-classical.

I'd describe this as Interior film-music. It aches with the same longing as Thomas Newman's soundtrack for the film `American Beauty', yet carries all the subjectivity to make this a malleable and deeply emotional journey for its audience, with absorbing strings and poignant piano shaping moods of melancholy and hope alike.

Using the word `Victory'; implying positivity, change and perseverance and the word `Sullen'; implying melancholy, depression and angst, the titled of this album and project couldn't be more apt. A piano of this quality and played this well can tell such a tale - with sad minor melodies occasionally finding jazzy yet hopeful resolutions, and the strings often a warming undercurrent, also provide thick chords which, although not `triumphant' sounding (I think `victory' and `triumph' and I think of fanfare) certainly help communicate moments of life affirming equilibrium in the sullen dirge.

For someone with my tastes and musical inclinations, those being more towards aggressive and raucous styles, this sort of music is extremely therapeutic and can accompany me while I work, travel, or just sit back and relax, wholly calm... it can also detoxify my ears of the brutality I so often subject them to. To some people, who would no doubt be a more suitable audience for this kind of music than myself, I'm certain this would be found to be quite heavy going and they may struggle to find nothing but pleasure, as I do, from the listening experience.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly recommended release 2 July 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A few weeks ago I was browsing a website where someone recommended Stars of the lid as some relaxing music. Little did I know that within a few days I would be thoroughly hooked.

When this came up as a recommendation from Amazon I immediately checked this out via Google.

Boy oh Boy another gem of patience and joy. Somehow Adam W has hit the core with me.

Neatly sitting in the gap between classical and ambient along the lines of Phillip Glass (particularly Kooyanisqastii) this set of compositions is less stark than some of Eno's (well loved by me) work. The inclusion of cellos is particularly resonant with the way I emote about and with music.

If this genre of music is your cup of tea or you are just curious I can recommend that just one listen will leave you sated. I on the other hand am bashing through repeated listens.

Finally, at the time of writing, a concert in Hackney has been announced, off I go !!!!!!!!!!!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Obvious influences, but so what? 24 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Stir together some Harold Budd, some Roedelius, a smidgeon of more ambient Eno, add a hint of the second disc of Tosca's Dehli9 and you will come up with something like this album.

For all its influences seem obvious to me this is not a barrier to enjoying the beautiful, peaceful sounds.

Recommended to those who like the above-mentioned.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victory for the cheerfull 5 Jun 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Sometimes you listen to a piece of music, and you don't quiet understand how you should feel about it; don't try with this.
Play it and play it again, and stop worrying about the other other music you brought along with you for the long journey.
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