A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Atomos VII


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (105 Reviews)
April 18th, 2014 | 27 replies


Release Date: 04/28/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A sign of things to come

There's a chance you may be familiar with the choreographer Wayne McGregor: his most infamous work should still be burned into your retina as a flutter-eyed Thom Yorke twitching around in the video for Radiohead's "Lotus Flower." More positively, he'd hopefully be best known as one half of a whole string of fantastic collaborations. The most recent of these arrived last year as Ben Frost's FAR and, even without seeing McGregor's accompanying dance, ears are all you need to attest to the most soul-tearingly punishing album Frost's ever put his name to.

McGregor reached out to A Winged Victory after using music from their debut to warm up his dancers and noticing how dramatically it affected them. They were to create over 60 minutes of music to accompany a long-form dance in four months: with McGregor passing on photographs and ideas with the intent of influencing instead of dictating. The result is a whole new LP, though for now we make do with a single, a b-side and a Ben Frost-involved reinterpretation to assure us the whole thing is going to be bloody lovely.

For all talk of a newly dark and cold direction (keeping in mind they started off with pieces about suicide), "Atomos VII" kicks off on very familiar ground. A bubble of clear drones is steadily increased by shy, string pulses before bursting out with a dramatic swell of orchestration. The piece diverts from the old path by choosing to linger afterwards, letting a more concrete cello take over before relaxing to a post-coital sigh. "Minuet for a Cheap Piano One" -previously so elusive- follows on with careful piano to gently nudge us toward sleep. The minuet could be a dance partner were it not so weightless: instead it sounds like a small white feather twirling around with the wind.

If most of this sounds slightly old hat, the "Greenhouse Reinterpretation" is a separate beast entirely. Ben Frost's characteristically abrasive, emotional guitar drones offer a stark contrast to A Winged Victory's pleasant aesthetic, and the juxtaposition adds a sense of desperation to the otherwise more straightforward piece. While an orchestra quietly hums, Frost's drones jump around uncertainly, and far from being uncomfortable it makes for a sound dark and cold enough to justify the group's original promise.

By announcing a new album for the near future, A Winged Victory will leave fans wanting more with an EP clocking in at less than 25 minutes. However, there's plenty of quality to keep us ticking over and, although it might have taken a little bit of Ben Frost-shaped help, it's clear the duo are eager to peep out of the ambient/classical sound they must now be so comfortable in. Whether they pursue this or not, fingers crossed to whether A Winged Victory created a whole LP with the same sense of wonder which make their debut so successful.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream: http://drownedinsound.com/news/4147658-exclusive-stream--a-winged-victory-for-the-sullens-atomos-vii-ep

I've been quite unwell, I hope the review's okay!

CaptainDooRight
April 18th 2014


30334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ambient classical sounds cool

JS19
April 18th 2014


4404 Comments


Ohman I want ths so bad

Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus

Rhyme
April 18th 2014


1203 Comments


awesome review dude

and yes this is fantastic

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only by Fire

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man

so nice to see it streamed early. Hopefully I can find the money to get the record - I still spin the s/t when shit gets dark.

IronGiant
April 18th 2014


935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

never listened to these guys before, their s/t always seemed like it'd get really boring from too much of the same thing (or lack thereof)... is it any good?

Amphoteric
April 18th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh damn didn't know these guys were making a new album

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2014


24097 Comments


nice review brudseph

I expect to like this quite a bit

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

zaruyache
April 18th 2014


7410 Comments


So the full-length Atomos--will that include these tracks and then some additional ones, or...?

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2014


4507 Comments


Oh shoot this leaked ~

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@IronGiant: well I'm a very big fan. It's incredibly beautiful.

@zaruyache: no official tracklist yet but I'm guessing just Atomos VII + others. Maybe they couldn't be bothered to name anything so we'll get Atomos I-VI as well.

Keyblade
April 18th 2014


15394 Comments


Wishlisted

Digging: Fen - Carrion Skies

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 18th 2014


10382 Comments


Nice work, man. Will have to check this out.

Love the review, though that first sentence could certainly afford to be split up a tad

Digging: Thou - Heathen

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought it was beautiful the way it was born but I've dolled it up to conform to your oppressive, patriarchal standards of beauty!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2014


10382 Comments


Thx 4 acknowledging my omniscience dawg!!!!1

Acanthus
April 19th 2014


9545 Comments


Like the darker direction, good review.

Digging: MO - No Mythologies To Follow

zaruyache
April 19th 2014


7410 Comments


@zaruyache: no official tracklist yet but I'm guessing just Atomos VII + others. Maybe they couldn't be bothered to name anything so we'll get Atomos I-VI as well.


I am excite.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

apparently the stream's only open for a week, so drink up people.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2014


7423 Comments


I nearly went to see these guys perform this stuff on impulse last year. Unfortunately it coincided with one of my depressive phases, so I spent the night alone beating myself up instead. Regrettable, in hindsight.

P.S. This is great.

CaptainDooRight
July 16th 2014


30334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rules hard, dem dynamicz



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