It’s been a big year for Berlin-by-way-of-L.A. composer Dustin O’Halloran. In February, he teamed up with FatCat’s new contemporary music imprint 130701 to release Lumiere, which we loved, followed by Vorleben in June, a once-limited-edition live record re-released for a global audience. Now we find O’Halloran partnering with Stars Of The Lid’s Adam Wiltzie as A Winged Victory For The Sullen, a contemporary ambient outfit that will release its eponymous debut September 13 on Kranky (September 9 on Erased Tapes for our overseas readers). The slowly pulsating, melancholic “A Steep Trail Of Vicodin Tears” sits near the end of the seven-song, 44-minute collection, building from warm, bass-heavy drones into patient string movements led by Icelandic cellist Hildur Gudnadottir and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick, who, alongside Wiltzie, also performed on Lumiere. Amid it all, O’Halloran’s elegant piano contributions continue to disarm, aided this time by the nine-foot grand pianos on which they were born. Don’t sleep on this record; it’s probably the best collection of ambient music you’ll hear all year.
“Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears” (download):