A Winged Victory For The Sullen: A Winged Victory For The Sullen (Kranky)
Adam Witzie of Stars of the Lid teams up with pianist Dustin O’Halloran for this elegant suite of beautiful tracks. It shares much in common with SOTL’s output of the past ten years, namely patient, gliding stringed chords and drones. But whereas Stars of the Lid’s last 2 releases have been double-album epics, this is quite concise, seven tracks under 45 minutes total. O’Halloran’s musical touch is subtle but refined and also enough to distinguish this project from Witzie’s side project, The Dead Texan. It doesn’t dip into the song territory that The Dead Texan flirted with, and is in that sense less immediate, but it is less prone to drawn out excursions than most of Stars of the Lid’s more recent fare. These pieces are largely arranged for strings and piano, with hints of overtones and perhaps some processed guitar that I think I hear in there? The balance between O’Halloran’s piano and the glacial strides of Witzie’s latter œuvre is perfect, always a shade or two more active than some of Stars of the Lid’s more patient pieces and feeling more bite-size as a result, in a good way. It’s difficult to do it justice in words, but surely this is one of the strongest efforts from any of the people involved. Blissful elegance, handled perfectly.
Special note for Portlanders: A Winged Victory For The Sullen will be performing live at Holocene on Saturday, November 12! It’s an early show, doors at 6pm. Benoît Pioulard and Ken Camden are also performing. Yay!