2015.03.25 A Winged Victory For The Sullen & Loscil: Live at The Warhol Theater

awvfts

Image from the Carnegie Museums website.

Yesterday evening I saw A Winged Victory For The Sullen Perform at The Warhol. It began with one man project Loscil who played a bass heavy soothing set of ambient and minimalist electronic music. His music consisted of pulsating low end bass and minimalistic electronic noise that were accompanied by a nice series of videos and graphics that appeared to interact in response to the electronics. His set was pretty to the point, beginning promptly and as many of these ambient / drone shows go he stood center stage behind some equipment with a laptop to his side which made the accompanying visuals all the more necessary for entertainments sake – a really nice surprise seeing as I haven’t yet delved into Loscil’s catalog as much as I would have liked to but it was performance that seemed to fit perfectly as a precursor to A Winged Victory’s performance.

Between sets there was a brief intermission and A Winged Victory took stage. Typically they are a duo but with their latest release, ‘Atmos’, they expanded their sonic pallet considerably with the addition of more electronics and a string trio. The set was considerably more low key than I had expected – the screen behind them was illuminated with a still pixelated image of what appeared to be static or maybe a blown out image of some hay. I kept expecting at any moment for the image to quickly change to a stark black and white video of some scenic landscape or perhaps even more appropriate, a video of choreographer, Wayne McGregor’s dance piece in which A Winged Victory’s second LP shares its name with but still the static image remained casting the performers as stark silhouettes. To make up for it the performance was one that sounded even better than their recorded material. There were moments – although brief where rippling sub bass came beneath the swirling strings, that kind of Ben Frost-esque bass that you can feel resonating with the swells of the strings and throughout your entire body  – it was a performance somewhere between the relaxing lulls of Stars of the Lid, a duo in which Adam Wiltzie was also a part of and dynamic songwriting of Kranky Records labelmates, Godspeed You! Black Emperor; a great mix of both the cascading simplicity of their first record and the more structured form that can be heard on ‘Atmos’. The group played for nearly an hour before performing a little encore.

After the show the duo hung out and chatted with fans at their merch table. I took a look around while picking up a copy of ‘Atmos’ for myself and noticed the variety of people hanging around – some were older types, people you might see at a gallery showing, some were crowd of flannel wearing kids with the thick rimmed glasses, some had their jackets covered in the patches of various punk and hardcore bands. I think the amount of diversity says something to the type of people their music is speaking to; modern classical is no longer for the posh gallery crawl goer but talks more to the kids who are willing to sew a cutup t-shirt graphic onto the back of an old denim jacket or even just the type of people who wouldn’t listen to classical on its own. For my girlfriend and my roommate this was their first experience seeing anything like this live – which is always a rewarding thing – to turn someone on to a style of music they naturally wouldn’t listen to.

You can stream the entirety of their set below.

Kinack – Ondas

“Zack Slavkin was born in Orange County, California, moved to Denver, Colorado at the age of 15 and at the age of 18, decided to graduate high school early and begin traveling the world.
Up and coming in the Downtempo scene, he dons the handle Kinack and lets loose natural flowing instrumentals, samples and MIDI, all mixed into a mirror of sound. This mirror reflects nature’s glistening beauty, crisp atmosphere, and all his experiences in-between.
Taking after his artist influences Emancipator and Bonobo, Kinack features live instrumentation accompanied by MIDI and samples. The young self-taught producer has been working with Reason production software all the way up to his first album, Ondas.” [from last.fm]

I downloaded this album awhile back right when it was released but haven’t gotten around to listening to it or reviewing it until just now. I had high hopes for it they were pretty much satisfied. I got something that sounded like a mixture of Helios, Tycho, and Bonobo and I’ve got to say: I like it.

This album doesn’t really bring anything new to the game, but that doesn’t mean its not good. It’s got the chilled out drums, the plucky acoustic guitar, and the nice melodies one would expect from a good downtempo album, and for a lot of people that’s all they are really looking for when they listen to something of this flavour, and that’s perfectly fine.

He has the album up for $4.99 on bandcamp, and I had got the album when he briefly had it set as “choose your price”. For some odd reason he thinks people are going to buy his album (lol) but if you ask around I’m sure you can find a copy of it.

I liked this album but it never really captivated me at any points or had anything WOWing, but that is just my opinion I guess. The production is airtight but the songwriting feels lacking.

Rating: 6.5/10

– Trelt