A Winged Victory for the Sullen A Winged Victory for the Sullen

A Winged Victory for the Sullen A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Creating a sense of space ― the cosmos itself, a large dusty room or just the inside of the ear ― is where ambient music excels. Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid) and Dustin O'Halloran have taken that principle literally, seeking out large acoustic spaces to fill with the seven grand pieces that make up their first collaboration. Wiltzie's fluid guitar drone measures the outer reaches while O'Halloran's piano delicately anchors the structure one small flourish at a time. A pair of requiems in tribute to Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous set the tone of beauty touched by loss. That sadness is not without Wiltzie's dry humour, demonstrated by the title "Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears," a piece brought to full grandeur with help on violin and cello by Peter Broderick and Hildur Gudnadottir. It is with "A Symphony Pathetique" where the possibilities all come to fruition. O'Halloran's slow deliberation is punctuated by barely audible pedal depressions, carried aloft by organ drone and French horn. The piece slowly turns and curves like a nautilus shell gently washed ashore. This is truly a sublime and astonishing first effort. (Kranky)