Friday, 6 April 2018

A Winged Victory For The Sullen - s/t (2011)

A Winged Victory For The Sullen's debut opens with a gentle, warmly embracing but melancholy string flourish - just what might be expected from a project including half of Stars Of The Lid.  It's quickly joined by some heart-tugging minimal piano - the other half of AWVFTS is pianist/composer Dustin O'Halloran.  There's more Tired Sounds-esque languorous string sweep to be had in the following two-part Requiem For The Static King, but again given a new twist in AWVFTS's more decisively neoclassical approach and O'Halloran's gorgeous Budd-like piano passages.

O'Halloran is further showcased on Minuet For A Cheap Piano No. 2, with the textures close to Nils Frahm territory, fittingly for an album that Erased Tapes picked up for European release (also appropriately, it's on Kranky in the US), as a dreamy wall of Wiltzie billows in the distance.  The album's great centrepiece is still to come, in the shape of the 12-minute A Symphony Pathetique.  An object lesson in slow-building loveliness, it's possibly the best example here of what an inspired pairing Wiltzie and O'Halloran is.

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4 comments:

  1. Thank you, Alan. I feel like I've been seeing references to this ... what would you say, ensemble? — for quite some time now. I pretty clearly remember a piece in The Guardian about the phenomenon of Neo-classical music, because I found it while googling around, trying to determine what is the preferred form of that term (one word, two words, hyphenated, or what? "Neo-classical" is Guardian usage, which seems definitive enough). Anyway I'm happy to hear what the buzz is about.

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    1. Hyphenated works for me. Without hyphen just makes me think of 'neofolk', a genre with one of the most spirit sapping chaff to wheat ratios I've ever encountered...

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    2. Ha! True that. Also, "neoclassical" apparently also refers specifically to an early/mid 20th Cent school that included Hindemith, De Falla, later Stravinsky among others.

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  2. Saw them live in a very sparsely populated concert hall a year or two ago. Fabulous live band.

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