Album Review: Invisible Cities by A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Great, Based on 6 Critics
The Line of Best Fit - 90 Based on rating 9/10
The recognisable wide-angle instrumental soundscape now incorporates some intelligently-arranged vocal elements at key points, serving well to convey contrast and dramatic effects arising out of Marco Polo's verbal images which have long exercised scholars' views on the disputed matter of their truthfulness. So, appropriately enough, "Thirteenth Century Travelogue" suggests a contrast between the real and the imagined (or between the genuine and the fraudulent), as the ambient texture is cross-cut by a slightly sinister metallic sound that uneasily breaks up the underlying majestic harmonies. Such deliberately unsettling intrusions testify to AWVFTS's willingness to go further beyond the more immersive that was a dominant characteristic of their earliest recordings.
When I was at college we went on a trip to Paris. Before we left one of our lectures told that that the best thing to do in a new city was meander at will and to get lost. He was right. As we flaneured about, avoiding tourist spots, we found a new appreciation for the city. It might have been ….
A Winged Victory for the Sullen, the duo of Dustin O'Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, are as well known for their film scores as they are for their intriguing blend of delicate electronics and classical ambient soundscapes. Their latest effort, Invisible Cities, is the score to a theater production of the same name. It is no surprise that this soundtrack is a surreal mix of poignant and moving instrumental tracks.
As A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran have built up a reputation over the last decade for operating in steadfastly ambient realms. New album Invisible Cities is their score to the multimedia theatre production of the same name directed by video designer Leo Warner (which itself is based on Italo Calvino's 1972 novel). The album broadly retains their defining stylistic principles, although there's maybe a little toning down of certain elements to fit in with its soundtracking purpose.
While appearing on albums for reputable labels such as Mute, Kranky, and Bedroom Community, today's electronic-ambient artists are also afforded a healthy sideline in commissions for dance, theater, art installation, and film. One key benefactor is the choreographer Wayne McGregor, who treats his internationally acclaimed spectacles like he's booking Moogfest, enlisting composers such as Max Richter, Ben Frost, and Jon Hopkins. But those lines seem especially blurred in the case of A Winged Victory for the Sullen, whose second album, Atomos, was written for McGregor.
Invisible Cities by A Winged Victory for the Sullen Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran's new album as A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Invisible Cities, is a soundtrack to Leo Warner's 2019 multimedia theatre production, itself adapted from Italo Calvino's 1972 novel of the same name. If the futility of writing about music is akin to dancing about architecture, then we're really struggling here, strangely coming full-circle, back to Calvino's medium. But, though divorced from its visual context, the music of Invisible Cities stands alone, proving a worthy addition to the duo's cinematic discography.