A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos (Erased Tapes / Kranky)
LP / CD / DL
8 / 10
Electronic duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen deliver with their second album Atmos. Louder Than War’s Simon Tucker reviews.
Atomos is the follow up to A Winged Victory For The Sullen’s 2011 self-titled debut album. Born from a collaboration with renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor (Royal Ballet, Random Dance Company, Radiohead) the duo of Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran have with this album fleshed out their sound adding modular synthesisers, harps and electronica to their usual guitar drone and classical piano template and the results are extraordinary.
Anyone who has followed the duo’s output will have seen the development unfold, with the Atomos VII EP which was released earlier this year and especially if you happened to have caught their incredible live performances (this writer experiencing this first hand at last years ATP festival. An experience that could almost be described as spiritual). Atomos is the sound of artists growing more confident, exploring new layers, and not allowing themselves to be restricted in any way.
Each piece of music on the album is entitled Atomos (we get Atomos I, Atomos II etc etc) and each part bleeds into each other in a rich cohesive tapestry which ebbs and flows throughout its running time creating an experience that plays out like a masterful piece of dystopian literature, or the soundtrack to a long-lost silent film with a sometimes almost unbearable intensity.
Committing to Atomos can be a daunting experience as it has the power to force oneself to look inwards and embark on some soul searching. It has the power to bring up memories of events that you hoped to have kept buried within, moments and emotions that can be hard to deal with. Yet we are also reconnected to moments of pure beauty which can make you feel overwhelming happiness.
Using music as a tool for catharsis is something that many of us are prone to do and with Atomos, AWVFTS have created the perfect aid. Its use of filtered voices that scatter around never becoming comprehensible convey a sense of individuals searching for community, for others that are also trying to make sense of a world so fragmented and terrifying.
Atomos could be seen as a statement on the environmental, political, or religious issues that are affecting the thoughts of many of us in 2014. It could also just be seen as a lovely piece of music but that’s for you to decide.
Atomos needs to be listened to. Listen to its teachings and use them for what you will…
All words by Simon Tucker. More from Simon can be found at his Author Archive.