Release Date 11/01/2019
Purveyors of contemporary ambient and electronic inspired music, A Winged Victory for the Sullen made a bold return on new album The Undivided Five, released in November on Ninja Tune. The pair, made up of Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie (also a member of Stars of the Lid), have created iconic film scores and forward-thinking ambient groups, releasing a series of game-changing records for Erased Tapes and Kranky.
On The Undivided Five they rekindle their unique partnership for only their second piece of original music outside of film, TV and stage commissions, creating an album that channels ritual, higher powers and unspoken creative energies. Their fifth release (following their debut album, two scores and an EP), they embraced the serendipitous role of the number five, inspired by artist Hilma af Klint and the recurrence of the perfect fifth chord. The album can be purchased here.
"Aqualung, Motherf*cker", the short film for the song taken from The Undivided Five, is a multi-disciplinary feat encompassing narrative, character, music and film, from the vantage point of artists in collaboration. Today they share the video via Pitchfork, alongside an announcement of tour dates for 2020 for North America and Europe. See below for the full list of dates, and watch the video here.
The film, which was co-written by Adam Wiltzie of AWVFTS and Jonas Govaerts, is a dark thriller in which a villainous character, played by Nikolai Kinski (the son of infamous actor Klaus Kinski), motions through the aftermath of a brutal murder in an ominous unemotional haze. As the film progresses the nefarious protagonist undergoes a jolting transformation that seems to suggest a stark duality, which in turn provokes a strange and uncomfortable empathy for the mysterious murderer.
For Wiltzie the narrative, which never fully reveals itself, indulges in the dark fantasies that lurk beneath the lucid frustrations in life. Threading a dangerous line between cold-hearted intentions, and the insidious allure of glamorized gore in cinema, our imaginations have the capacity to transgress morality, and to quite a beautiful effect.
Inspired by their love of cinema, especially the work of Kon Ichikawa, Wiltzie and the band’s other half Dustin O’Halloran, wanted to take their music beyond abstract confinements and use it as the catalyst to a story, as told freely by their creative counterpoints.
They recruited the help of up and coming Belgian director Jonas Govaerts, who is widely known for his affinity with off-kilter thrillers, to limn out a rich visual world for the film through his own lens. ‘’I felt an unusual, but very welcome, a sense of trust when making this short film. What could’ve been a purely professional assignment, actually felt like a true artistic collaboration, which, to me at least, is rare.”
Finding the perfect villain to fulfill the leading role came unusually easy as Dustin O’Halloran who had previously been introduced to the respected actor Nikolai Kinski through the director Cary Fukunaga (True Detective), knew he was their guy. “I met Nikolai when I first moved to Berlin and over the years we bonded over art and cinema. We were always thinking of ways to bring our two art forms together in collaboration, and we knew this was the perfect moment.” - O’Halloran recalls.
Kinski immersed himself in the abyssal melancholia of A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s music, and the sinister narrative. Aided by the masterful prosthetics of Bobby McGlynn (Vikings), he emerged with a deeply stirring three-dimensional character who transcended the role bringing it to another dimension of unsettling brilliance. “There’s an innate duality in AWVFTS’s music, and I liked that my transformation felt like a visualization of the tension between opposites without being cliche - the journey this takes you on, essentially speaks for itself.’’ - Kinski offers on developing his character.
The result, whether it’s dark, beautiful, or both, is a testament to the power of collaboration when good faith and creative freedom is entrusted upon like-minded artists to follow their instincts in a process.
Our Lord Debussy
The Haunted Victorian Pencil
The Slow Descent Has Begun
A Minor Fifth Is Made Of Phantoms
The Rhythm Of A Dividing Pair
Keep It Dark, Deutschland
A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN 2020 TOUR DATES:
02-20 Amsterdam, Netherlands - De Duif
02-21 Berlin, Germany - Funkhaus
02-22 Münster, Germany - Petrikirche
02-23 Prague - TBA
02-24 Hamburg, Germany - Elbphilharmonie
02-25 Bruges, Belgium - Magdalenakerk
02-26 Bristol, England - Trinity Centre
02-27 London, England - Round Chapel
02-28 London, England - Round Chapel
02-29 Birmingham, England - St Paul’s Church
03-01 Glasgow, Scotland - St Luke’s
03-02 Manchester, England - St Philip’s Church
03-03 Dublin, Ireland - National Concert Hall
03-04 Belfast, Ireland - Rosemary St Church
03-05 Brighton, England - St George’s Church
03-06 Liverpool, England - Road Unitarian Church
03-07 Brussels, Belgium - Begijnhofkerk
03-29 Knoxville, TN - Big Ears Festival
03-31 Brooklyn, NY - Murmrr Theatre
04-01 Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
04-04 Montreal, Quebec - Places de Artes
04-08 Chicago, IL - University Church
04-09 Saint Paul, MN - Amsterdam Bar and Hall
04-11 Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
04-13 Vancouver, British Columbia - St James Community Square
04-14 Seattle, WA - Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
04-15 Portland, OR - The Old Church
04-16 San Francisco, CA - Grace Cathedral
04-17 Los Angeles, CA - First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
04-20 Austin, TX - Central Presbyterian