A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Atomos
Timeless, solitary music is ready-made soundtrack to moments of sublime inner vision
It’s hard to know where to start with an album like this, one that simply uncurls itself out of the speakers / headphones with a majestic, enveloping and enchanting ease, creating right away this thoroughly immersive and diaphanous state of blissful wonderment that doesn’t feel like it has a beginning or end, but is simply sui generis and of the moment. It’s wonderfully timeless, solitary music, stark yet still comforting, and able to create a unique stillness, a perception that time is not really passing, but paused momentarily so you can engage fully with the strings, the piano figures, the sparse electronics, and whatever is whizzing about your grey matter.
A Winged Victory For The Sullen is the project of composer Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie of Stars Of The Lid, another duo who dealt in similarly grand and mellifluous strings / drone ambience. This, their second album, continues their exploration of contemporary classical composition; it’s at times sombre, exultant, elegiac, profound and at all times beautiful. It’s the kind of slowly insulating sound that has you ponder things differently. It’s grandiose headphones music that makes you feel alone, small, insignificant but simultaneously offers some brief illumination into a world where you are briefly unburdened with trivialities; it creates a Zen-like, transcendental state of becalmed serenity.
This eleven track odyssey was crafted at the request of Random Dance Company founder Wayne McGregor who asked the duo if they would score his new work. Given this blank canvas, they have created something fluid, dynamic but also compelling – from the portentous ‘Atomos I’ to the elegance of ‘Atomos II’s celestial climax, to ‘Atomos V’s synth crescendo, there’s mystery and majesty throughout the album. Atomos is deep and reflective, but still easy to engage with and a ready-made soundtrack to moments of sublime inner vision.