Album Review of Iris [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] by A Winged Victory for the Sullen.
Release Date: Jan 13, 2017
Record label: Erased Tapes
Belgium- and Germany-based ambient duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen have established quite a name for themselves by crafting beautiful soundscapes composed of piano, strings, and ambience. Here they use this foundation of compositional knowledge and fill it in with tricks and surprises to create a brilliant film score for French drama/thriller Iris. The duo’s effective use of reverbs and filters works wonders here, transporting the listener through an array of the same kinds of sounds, but they're treated whole-heartedly and differently with each moment.
A Winged Victory For The Sullen specialise in the cinematic, making music that can do drama in both the most sweeping terms and in the most nuanced. Their last record – although the term ‘collection of suites’ might be more apt – felt like the cleverest distillation yet of Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran’s fusion of classical and electronic, and this follow-up to Atomos was commissioned as the soundtrack to Iris, the fourth feature film from French director Jalil Lespert. Crucially, what that means is that the pair were working to somebody else’s brief for the first time, both in terms of the music itself and its relationship to the movie and when editing the record for a stand-alone release; Erased Tapes label boss Robert Raths’ insisted that they cut it down from over an hour’s worth of material to a more approachable forty-one minutes.
The music Adam Wiltzie made with Stars of the Lid, and later with the pianist Dustin O’Halloran as A Winged Victory for the Sullen, was often epic in scope. The cosmic drones both those groups utilized were well suited for soundtracking visual moments that showcased how primordial those sounds felt. Even though the swagger was always turned down a notch in the more piano-focused music of A Winged Victory for the Sullen, an element of the size and drama remained.
The punks have failed us. They should have uprooted this tuber-shaped, overbaked shit decades ago. Mind, Foxygen haven’t had an original thought between their two noggins in four years. Romance and sunshine occupy every cranny of their headspace - they can barely eat or defecate, for such petty chores distract them from the fine art of daydreaming.
It seems only logical that the duo of Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran should tackle a movie score. If nothing else, it’s been Dustin O’Halloran’s bread and butter for a good few years now, with the pianist even making the transition to TV to give Transparent its perfectly nostalgic theme song. Wiltzie too has soundtracked a smattering of indie flicks and docs, and considering the duo’s second album was a score composed for a Wayne McGregor directed dance performance, the duo making a film soundtrack together was only a matter of time.