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A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN

A Winged Victory For The Sullen

A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Love Record Stores 2021 Edition

    Love Record Stores Edition available instore from 10am on Saturday September 4th, any remaining copies will be available on online from 9pm on the same day.
    Limited to one per person.

    '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 B?sendorfer 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 Pathtique', 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, the composer collaboration between Stars of the Lid founder Adam Wiltzie and L.A. composer Dustin O'Halloran, release new album ‘Invisible Cities’, the stunning score to the critically acclaimed theatre production directed by London Olympics ceremony video designer Leo Warner. Released on their own Artificial Pinearch Manufacturing label, the album comes as part of an agreement with A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s current label, Ninja Tune.

    Premiering in July 2019 at the Manchester International Festival, the duo was commissioned by Warner’s 59 Productions to score the music for the 90-minute multimedia theatrical stage show, adapted from Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel, ‘Invisible Cities’. Described by The Sunday Times as “a beautiful frenzy of movement”, it fuses theatre, music, dance, architectural design and visuals and brings to life a series of fantastical places and disparate worlds, centred on the tense relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and explorer Marco Polo. Originally conceived as a touring project, it’s last performance was in Brisbane, Australia before COVID-19 changed the world as we know it.

    “Four months is not a lot of time to create 90 minutes of music for a production using classical theatre, dance, & high res video mapping on a stage the size of 2 football pitches. It was a pleasure to work with 59 Productions, unlike other producers, they left the micro-managing at home, and let us get on with it. Early on in discussions with director Leo Warner it was realised that the human voice would take a central role in the score as it was essentially the only instrument we could see evolving over 600 years with a storyline that would not have the listener screaming “its Zimmertime”…,” says Wiltzie.

    Transformed into 45 minutes of breathtaking beauty, ‘Invisible Cities’ opens with the numinous ‘So That the City Can Begin to Exist’, as Wiltzie and O'Halloran draw breath from distinctively enthralling and vastly expansive worlds. The ominous soundscapes of ‘The Dead Outnumber the Living’ contrast with the new beginnings that are presented in ‘Every Solstice & Equinox’, while the jagged and uneasy ‘Thirteenth Century Travelogue’ is one of tension and dread.

    Elsewhere, ‘The Divided City’ captivates and intrigues while ‘Only Strings and Their Supports Remain’ and ‘There Is One of Which You Never Speak’ are bold roars for survival before the choral ambience of ‘Desires Are Already Memories’ and piercing drones of ‘Total Perspective Vortex’ bring down the curtain on a spectacular and incredibly emotive body of work.

    Releasing their self-titled debut album in 2011 (Erased Tapes), A Winged Victory for the Sullen has developed something of a cult status over the past decade and alongside artists such as Max Richter, Hauschka, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Tim Hecker, are the vanguard of the neoclassical and ambient world and can count the likes of Jon Hopkins as fans.

    The duo has gone on to release two further studio albums; ‘Atomos’ (Erased Tapes, 2014) and most recently ‘The Undivided Five’ (Ninja Tune, 2019) and were asked to perform at the BBC proms in 2015 by 6 Music presenter Mary Anne Hobbs. A Winged Victory for the Sullen also scored the music for the independent film ‘Iris’ (2016), directed by Jalil Lespert.

    Wiltzie is best known as founding member of drone legends Stars of the Lid, The Dead Texan and Aix Em Klemm and has scored multiple film projects including ‘American Woman’ (2019) starring Sienna Miller, ‘Salero’ (2016) and The Yellow Birds (2017). In 2018, he also scored ‘Whitney’ (2018), the estate-approved documentary about the life of the late Whitney Houston, directed by Kevin Macdonald. Elsewhere, his original music has featured in Hollywood films including ‘Transformers: Dark of The Moon’ (2011), ‘Godzilla’ (2014), ‘Like Crazy’ (2011) and acclaimed TV shows including ‘House M.D’, ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘Top Boy’. He also collaborated with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson on his scores for ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014) and ‘Arrival’ (2016).

    O'Halloran, a self-taught pianist from the age of 7, began his musical life as a guitarist and formed the much-loved indie rock outfit Dévics with Sara Lov, releasing four albums on Bella Union. As a solo artist, he has composed music for numerous film and television projects including Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006) and Drake Doremus’ ‘Like Crazy' (2011) starring Felicity Jones. Demand for his film scores is high and in 2015, he won an Emmy for theme music for the Golden Globe-winning Amazon series ‘Transparent’, starring Jeffrey Tambor. He has also collaborated with film composer Hauschka on numerous films, including ‘Lion’ (2016), with the score nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe. Most recently, he co-composed the music for the film ‘Ammonite’ (2020) with Volker Bertelmann, directed by Francis Lee and starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: There are few experiences I treasure more than popping some slow moving ambient business on the stereo and sitting down, and there are few bands that do that exact business better than AWVFTS. One of my all-time favourites return for another gorgeous suite of swelling pads and tentative piano.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. So That The City Can Begin To Exist
    2. The Celestial City
    3. The Dead Outnumber The Living
    4. Every Solstice & Equinox
    5. Nothing Of The City Touches The Earth
    6. Thirteenth Century Travelogue
    7. The Divided City
    8. Only Strings And Their Supports Remain
    9. There Is One Of Which You Never Speak
    10. Despair Dialogue
    11. The Merchants Of Seven Nations
    12. Desires Are Already Memories
    13. Total Perspective Vortex

    Purveyors of contemporary ambient and electronic inspired music, A Winged Victory for the Sullen make a bold return on new album “The Undivided Five”. The pair, made up of Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, have created iconic film scores and forward-thinking ambient groups, releasing a series of game-changing records for Erased Tapes and Kranky. On “The Undivided Five” they rekindle their unique partnership for only their second piece of original music outside of film, TV and stage commissions, creating an album that channels ritual, higher powers and unspoken creative energies. Their fifth release (following their debut album, two scores and an EP), they embraced the serendipitous role of the number five, inspired by artist Hilma af Klint and the recurrence of the perfect fifth chord.

    This album sees them create bold new work built on their foundations in ambient and neoclassical. Since their 2011 self-titled debut, the duo have emerged as part of a much-lauded scene alongside peers like Max Richter, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tim Hecker and Fennesz. Their 2014 album “Atomos” was the product of a commission to score a new performance by Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor, while 2016’s “Iris” was the score for director Jalil Lespert’s thriller, “In the Shadow of Iris”. They count the likes of Jon Hopkins among their fans, who included ‘Requiem For The Static King Part One’ on his 2015 Late Night Tales compilation. They composed the score for Invisible Cities, a specially-created performance to herald 2019’s Manchester International Festival, and have played some of the world’s most celebrated venues, including a sold out Boiler Room performance at London’s Barbican, and a 2015 BBC Proms show curated by Mary Anne Hobbs at the Royal Albert Hall.

    They were first introduced by mutual friend Francesco Donadello in 2007, a close collaborator who’s gone on to mix all of the AWVFTS records. O’Halloran launched his reputation with two acclaimed solo piano albums, attracting the attention of director Sofia Coppola, who asked him to score her 2006 film Marie Antoinette, and he has since won an Emmy for his 2015 theme song for Jill Soloway’s Transparent series, and been nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for his 2017 score with Hauschka for Garth Davis’ Lion. Wiltzie, meanwhile, founder of iconic drone outfit Stars of the Lid, has scored Hollywood films including Kevin MacDonald’s “Whitney”, Jake Scott’s “American Woman” and collaborated with Jóhann Jóhannsson for 2014’s The Theory of Everything.

    This album sees them pay greater heed to the small details in their sound than previously, something they say has been encouraged by the move to a new label. It’s been their first opportunity since their debut to create something that’s solely guided by their ideas, and it represented an opportunity to call back to that first outing while also building on the various ways in which they’ve grown. “We understand that times have changed,” they say. “We have evolved, but we also didn’t want to forget the beginning.”

    They channel influences such as Debussy, nodded to in the opening track, whose big chords and complicated arrangements inform a lot of their approach – parts that sound simple but require great skill to execute. Likewise, the artist Hilma af Klint – one of the first abstract Western artists – informed their ideas about drawing on spiritual influences to shape their work. “It’s like an invisible hand guiding things,” they say.

    The start of recording sessions for the album were marred by the death of one of their closest friends. Within weeks after the funeral O’Halloran found out that he would be expecting his first child, and it was soon after that a visit to see the art of af Klint brought home a profound realisation of life, death, the afterlife, and the spaces in between. She belonged to a group called "The Five", a circle of five women with a shared belief in the importance of trying to make contact with spirits, often by way of séances. This chimed with the duo’s unspoken approach to collaboration, and nudged them to return to their writing process centered around the harmonic perfect fifth; the five senses, the divine interval – The Undivided Five.

    The album was also shaped by the breadth of locations in which it was created, helping to shape its nuanced sonics. In addition to O’Halloran and Wiltzie’s respective Berlin and Brussels studios, the record took shape across six different sites. They recorded orchestral samples in Budapest’s Magyar Rádió Studio 22, re-recorded album parts in Brussels’ Eglise Du Beguinage’s unique, reverb-heavy surrounds (where Wiltzie has performed with Stars of the Lid and, in 2018, organised a tribute concert for Jóhann Jóhannsson), experimented with overdubs in Ben Frost’s Reykjavik studio, and recorded grand piano parts in a remote woodland studio in northern Italy. The duo pay close attention to the micro-level of sound, and each of these places was chosen for the qualities which could enrich the finished product. And it’s in Francesco Donadello’s studio in Berlin, where all of the previous AWVFTS material has been mixed, that the album was run through the studio’s analog board, binding the record’s different parts together.

    It was their connection to Jóhannsson which partly shaped the direction of their new album. They were asked to create a remix for him, which he heard before his death in 2018, where they unlocked a new process in terms of how they work. They recomposed the strings, using modular synthesis, old synths and string and piano arrangements, a method they applied to album opener ‘Our Lord Debussy’. “It’s about going into the DNA of music and taking different strands,” they say.

    The album is their debut for Ninja Tune, and comes as change is underway for O’Halloran, moving from Berlin – hence the title of ‘Keep It Dark, Deutschland’ – after a decade in the German capital. He’s headed to Iceland, the country where the pair shot their latest press photos and which is an important locale for both of them. The wide-spanning connections which have shaped the record are testament to their deep roots as artists. This album’s powerful energy is driven by the deep-rooted bond between them.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: ‘The Undivided Five’ is the newest outing from the masters of ambient classical music, A Winged Victory For The Sullen. Their debut album hit us all pretty hard back in 2011, and has continued to be on the player pretty much constantly since then. Though they’ve released a soundtrack and another LP since, this is really only the second full album, and it is every bit the spiritual successor. Soaring, spine-tingling swells of string and synth coalesce together into a perfectly organic, yet otherworld rush of emotion and heft. Brittle, tentative passages are suddenly engorged with indescribable euphoric joy, evocative but fleeting, bringing to mind their debut, but with every bit rendered in unparalleled definition. ‘The Undivided Five’ deserves every attention you can give it, every precious moment you spend with it revealing more secrets and more colours you didn’t even know existed. An unrivalled beauty.

    TRACK LISTING

    1.Our Lord Debussy
    2. Sullen Sonata
    3. The Haunted Victorian Pencil
    4. The Slow Descent Has Begun
    5. Aqualung, Motherfucker
    6. A Minor Fifth Is Made Of Phantoms
    7. Adios, Florida
    8. The Rhythm Of A Dividing Pair
    9. Keep It Dark, Deutschland

    A Winged Victory For The Sullen, the otherworldly collaboration between Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran, return with their third full-length titled Iris – available worldwide via Erased Tapes. Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran first met the director Jalil Lespert after he had discovered A Winged Victory For The Sullen on a music search online. After listening to their music, he immediately knew: "it was the sound of my new film". With an excellent cast of France’s finest actors Romain Duris, Charlotte Le Bon, and the director himself, plus a script filled with tension, sexuality and darkness, they knew there was a lot of musical territory to mine. It was agreed that they wanted to explore more analogue electronique experiments as well as working with a large string ensemble, to create something that felt very modern and still cinematic.

    “Despite A Winged Victory For The Sullen being associated with film score type music, trying to survive the process of creating the modern film score is not for people with fragile egos. It requires those who are the most responsive to change. The director and the film presented a new set of challenges, so we decided to stop thinking about cinema as an object, and moved closer to using the film’s images as triggers for experiences. The more we were able to let go, and see the music as something that happens, like a process – not a quality, the more we were able to reach a place that sounded like us. It was as if we were making our first record all over again, except being filtered through another language littered with dead metaphors”, the duo elaborate. The recording sessions began with their long time sound collaborator Francesco Donadello in the form of some modular synth sessions in Berlin. Dustin and Adam began working from the script in their own studios, and after filming commenced they continued to create music that could be used for first edits of the film – each day getting new scenes that triggered ideas that would become the base of the film score. Over the course of the next few months the two slowly crafted the music with weekly discussion from their studio to the editing room. The final sessions to what is now the score of Iris were recorded with a 40-piece string orchestra at Magyar Radio in Budapest.

    Upon label founder Robert Raths' request the over sixty minutes of material were then edited down to a concise album listen at forty-one minutes with a physical release set for January 13, 2017. The digital bonus track edition includes two solo pieces by Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie entitled The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 2 and The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 3, as well as tracks by Petite Noir, dOP, DJ Pone and The Shoes which feature in the film. The artwork was created by Berlin based illustrator Stephanie F. Scholz who also created the iconic cover for Nils Frahm's Music for The Motion Picture Victoria.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: ‘Iris’ builds on their already stunning canon with a smattering of pulsing synthesis joining their trademark modern classical soundscapes.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Prologue Iris
    2. Retour Au Champs De Mars
    3. Fantasme
    4. Gare Du Nord Part One
    5. L'embauche
    6. Le Retour En Foret
    7. Metro Part Three
    8. Flashback Antoine
    9. Galerie
    10. Le Renversement
    11. Normandie
    12. Comme On A Dit

    A Winged Victory For The Sullen

    Atomos

    Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran return with their second studio album inspired by contemporary dance and new instrumentation.

    After releasing a first glimpse in the form of the ‘Atomos VII’ EP earlier this year, A Winged Victory For The Sullen finally reveal their second full-length album entitled ‘Atomos’, which besides familiar piano, string and drone sounds also sees the duo introduce flurries of electronics, harp and modular synthesisers.

    In 2011 A Winged Victory For The Sullen introduced themselves to the world with a self-titled album, showcasing their unique collaboration of ambient guitar drone from Stars Of The Lid member Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and sparse piano tunes by contemporary classical composer Dustin O’Halloran, winning them fans around the world. "An immersive, and inevitably cinematic, ambient gem" ★★★★ – Mojo

    Wayne McGregor, founder of Random Dance Company and resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet, was one of these fans and chose to play the album repeatedly during practices with his core group of dancers. After noticing the group's reaction with the music, he contacted Adam and Dustin to see if they could write the score for his new oeuvre. The duo were given complete artistic freedom and they treated the score with the same care and attention as their debut album. They recorded more than sixty minutes of music over a four-month period during the summer of 2013 across studios in Brussels, Berlin and Reykjavik, with the help of their long time collaborative sound engineer Francesco Donadello. During the recording process they realised, that this would become their official second studio album. McGregor provided them with the inspiration to expand their sound palette into more electronic territory, whilst keeping their signature chamber sound, resulting in a very unique record.

    IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
    “As a wise man once said, one who procrastinates their own choosing will inevitably have their choice served to them by circumstance. We had virtually no time for second guessing ourselves. That being said, we tried to balance the discordance between being creative, and fulfilling our duties for a commissioned soundtrack with a very strict deadline, and all the while staying true to our collective melancholy.” – Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie

    “We never imagined 2013 would be such an explosively creative year. The first record took us two years from start to finish, but in the micro span of time over last summer we were able to change the formula for the way we write, record, and let go. It was incredibly liberating.” – Dustin O'Halloran.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Atomos I
    2. Atomos II
    3. Atomos III
    4. Atomos V
    5. Atomos VI
    6. Atomos VII
    7. Atomos VIII
    8. Atomos IX
    9. Atomos X
    10. Atomos XI
    11. Atomos XII

    A Winged Victory For The Sullen

    Atomos VII

      Erased Tapes are pleased to announce the release of A Winged Victory for the Sullen's ‘ATOMOS VII’. The first installment leading up to the release of the second full length studio album 'ATOMOS', and score for choreographer Wayne McGregor's long form dance piece.

      McGregor was heavily influenced by the duo's 2011 self-titled debut, playing it repeatedly during practices with his core group of dancers. After noticing the group's reaction with the music, he contacted Adam and Dustin to see if they could write the score for his new oeuvre. The duo recorded more than sixty minutes of music over a four-month period during the summer of 2013 in Brussels, Berlin and Reykjavik with the help of their longtime collaborative sound engineer Francesco Donadello. This EP also sees the involvement of Ben Frost, who composed the music for McGregor’s previous work 'Far'.

      McGregor, mastermind behind the Random Dance Company and resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet since 2006, is known in popular culture circles for serving as movement director for the film 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'. He has also choreographed the Radiohead video 'Lotus Flower' and 'Ingenue’ by Atoms for Peace.

      IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
      ‘While we were re-amping guitars at Greenhouse studios, Ben expressed interest and admiration in the sounds we had created. We were planning for the B-side to be a metamorphosis of part VII, and Ben seemed the obvious choice. With the multi-tracks transformed, it follows a trajectory that we had not felt comfortable with before. But with Ben's involvement and influence, it was a painless entrance to this crooked, distorted world.’
      – Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie.

      ‘We never imagined 2013 would be such an explosively creative year. The first record took us two years from start to finish, but in the micro span of time over last summer we were able to change the formula for the way we write, record, and let go. It was incredibly liberating.’
      – Dustin O'Halloran.

      A Winged Victory For The Sullen

      A Winged Victory For The Sullen

      '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.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Martin says: The coming together of Stars Of the Lid and Dustin O'Hallaran is a happy marriage of the sweeping, contemplative drones of the former and the filigree piano led delicacy of the latter. An exquisite and meditative neoclassical wonder.


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