Exquisite is not a word I often use to describe a piece of music. However, it is a word I can use with real authority with regards to this record.
A Winged Victory for the Sullen is Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid/Sleepingdog). The duo formed A Winged Victory… in memory of Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, having met each other whilst Wiltzie toured with Sparklehorse in Europe. However, do not expect a Sparklehorse tribute band here because this record could not be further from that of Sparklehorse if it tried. No, this is very much what you would expect when a classical pianist and a drone musician come together.
A mix of sonic landscapes and stunning piano, this record is really everything you want from a piece of ambient, classical music. From the very first chords of ‘We Played Some Open Chords…’ there is an overwhelming feeling of beauty and when the piano enters the fray you are lifted off your feet and into the most wonderful of dream like states. The world around you will cease to exist. Put your headphones on. Let the every day noise of the city be replaced. Let the voices in the office become inaudible. Feel the stress and tension in your body just ooze out of you. Let this record wash over you and warm your heart and soul. Because that is exactly what it will do in one giant wave. If I could be lying on my bed right now, headphones on, eyes shut and lights low then I would because the world would be an amazing place to be.
O’Halloran is one of the finest modern classical pianists around and his compositions are perfectly complimented by the lush, warm sound scapes created by Wiltzie. The piano lilts in and out as the orchestration ebbs and flows all around. With Hildur Gudnadottir on cello, as well as labelmate Peter Broderick on violin it really is an all-star line up for this record and the compositions are absolutely dreamlike perfection. But it’s not all piano and ambience with the sound scapes often taking centre stage and the piano and orchestration drifting in and out of focus. It’s this mix that generates such a wonderful piece of music with both artists seemingly giving the others contribution the space to breathe and grow. This record will inevitably be described as meditative and cinematic, but it is also rich in melody and texture and it’s this brilliant understanding and manipulation of the relationship between sound and space that works so perfectly creating a record of real quality.
You really should have this in your collection. You can check out A Winged Victory for the Sullen here. And you really should. You will not regret it. Enjoy.