A Winged Victory For The Sullen – London Milton Court Concert Hall 19th October 2014

The last time I witnessed this collaboration of Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran play live, it was in Manchester’s Academy 3 – a wonderful gig venue, but wholly weird for the sort of music being performed.  So I guess it should feel somewhat more fitting for a performance such as theirs to take place in a more traditional classical concert space?  Well, yes.  And no, because their music sits happily between the two mediums so that where the former felt like a classical performance in a gig venue, this felt like a gig performed in a classical space.

This otherworldly ambience was helped along by making the atmosphere part of the performance thanks to a light dusting of smoke and a very creative use of lighting – indeed, lighting may well be the wrong word for it as most of the performance was partaken of in darkness, with two tiny fixed spotlights on the two composers and a variety of inventive methods of illuminating the central string quartet (including Stanley Kubrick on Viola, if we are to believe Mr Wiltzie, and I suspect that we shouldn’t) mostly from a position behind and underneath them, with banks of white lights twinkling away behind them, usually in underpowered hues of orange.

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A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos

AtomosPeace and quiet I something that I’ve been finding myself short of this week. 5am fire alarms, work stresses and two hours of localised attentions of the police, their dogs and their helicopter have all but banished any notion of calm from this particular parish. And that was just Wednesday.
In order to get myself back into the frame of mind required for this new gathering of music from A Winged Victory For The Sullen, I’ve had to wait until this beautiful October Saturday evening as the sun goes down behind the trees and there are no football results (usually adversely) affecting my Fantasy team to distract me. And so I have the perfect moment so sit here, take a deep breath and soak this all in.

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Sunday Whatever

011Cor, it’s all go here.  the last few weeks have been spent moving house and sorting out all the attendant woes that go with it.  I’m almost done, the internet is working, the new sofa’s being delivered on Thursday and I have a lovely new base of operations in an old mill overlooking a canal, a wood, and nothing else.  It’s beautiful by day, wonderfully dark and star-strewn by night and I have yet to find more than one shop.  Very strange screechy noises outside when the sun goes down too.

It’s all a bit re-energising though and I’ve pretty much already written as many things in the last 10 days than I have in the previous 6 months (either here or elsewhere – see below the fold for details), and hope to keep up to speed certainly over the next four weeks when there’s a fair old pile of stuff going on.  in the meantime, thanks for still reading and thanks also for the kind words posted around the web, it’s hugely appreciated.

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Sunday Whatever

071Sometime during the last couple of months when the hinges fell of this blog (and myself), I made a bit of a discovery.   I’m doing all of this wrong.  What I should be doing by all accounts is to spend more time saying that I’ve written something (or, in many cases, copy/pasted a press release) rather than sitting down thinking of what to say.  And if that’s the wrong way of going about things in the current climate of “look at me and give me traffic” music blogging, then I’m happy to be such a halfwit for not joining in.  6 Days From Tomorrow was never truly written in order to be read (I rarely read it myself, so I have no drive to make others do so.  But thanks for reading anyway, you’re more than welcome here), it was done as what I thought would be a private thing to get my thoughts in order when other attempts failed, and it’s not doing a very good job of that either!  That it’s become something else entirely from whatever I originally set out to so is a source of occasional pride, and that I’ve managed to gain such little victories without recourse to “You won’t believe what has done, it’ll blow your mind” clickbait shenanigans or paying neither Facebook nor for the privilege of spreading the word feels like quite an achievement in itself.

So, whenever I write something, I park it on the 6dft Facebook Page and the 6dft Twitter thing (although I have to say that this is a very underused feed and my personal one is much sillier), and I park it there once.  I tried the “ICYMI” thing last week that everyone else does (which some proper sites do several times a day) and felt such an absolute wretched tart for doing so that this will never happen again.  This doesn’t mean that I am averse to Likes, Shares, Favourites Retweets and other such word of mouth if someone gets to read any of this and feels strongly enough to do so, and in fact it remains a thrill to me whenever someone takes the time to do so, but I’m not doing any of this cobblers in order to be at all popular.  I’m doing it to keep my own ducks in a row.

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Best of 2013, Favourite Tracks

Albums are all well and good, but what of the individual songs contained within?  A silly question to be sure, but it’s a bit more complicated than merely going “well that was the best record, so it had the best songs on it” – that works sometimes, but not always.  Sometimes, a song in its right place in the context of its album home is a euphoric, emotional high; but remove it from its running order and the joy is lost.  Conversely, a song can be so big, bold and beautiful that it swamps the rest of the record to the point that it has to be removed and isolated to give the rest of it a chance.  In short, this list (in no particular order other than the one in which they occurred to me) has very little bearing on the wordy behemoth that preceded it.

The following ten tracks I think (by happy accident) typify 2013 as far as 6 Days From Tomorrow is concerned.  They all trigger a response that goes beyond mere emotional; they make the heart beat faster or slower, they make arteries expand or contract, they make eyes mist up or a focus sharper.  It’s a strange thing to be talking about how the act of merely listening to something can evoke a physical reaction, and maybe this is just something that affects me.  If the latter is the case, then I’m the lucky one.

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Best Of 2012: The Other Things

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Only one part left to do, and the infernal list is finished for another year. I know why everyone else does theirs in committees now. Anyway, before I get things wrapped up and back to normal, I want to mention a few other related comings and (sadly) goings that made 2012 special for me.

It’s been a genuinely odd year for the blog, although that was mostly my fault. Twice I went “sod this for a game of soldiers” and hovered over the delete button, and being flattened by Facebook’s policy of not letting my friends read what I’d written on my own Page unless I gave them money to allow them to do so (I will never, ever pay to advertise on that site, and I am overjoyed to notice that none of the artists, musicians, bands and friends of this site have given in and forked out) halved my readership, because nobody could tell when I’d written something. The site recently crapping itself and refusing to work (resulting in the ugly hack you see before you) hasn’t really helped much either.
So I am grateful to various interventions in the form of a couple of strange appearances in the UK National Press, a continuing absence of anything better to do with my free time and especially the kind words of friends and visitors alike has kept 6dft (as well as myself in general) going, and going to the point where I have ended up up with just over twice the visitors of last year.  Which just goes to show that even Facebook’s Demented Ideas Department can’t keep a determined idiot from typing.
Before I get on with the business of getting this blog’s Number One album typed up and finished (although I suspect it won’t be too difficult to work out), I’d like to do a quick tip of the hat to all the other things that have piqued my interest his year.

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Sunday Whatever – Wordless Edition

Well, not this bit, obviously.

 

Hooray for 2-day weekends!  I’m absolutely knackered at the moment, something which is making me feel rather guilty after watching yesterday’s Olympics where someone who could barely stand up was apologising to an entire nation for finishing second, where all I’ve been doing is being alternately sat behind a desk and wandering round a warehouse for slightly longer than I normally would.

That’s one reason for the general quietness here, anyway.  The other is that I’ve just been a bit fed up recently.  A couple of weeks ago, I was sat listening to a new record (which I shall not name) and found the experience so dull that I actually forgot that anything was playing at all from the halfway point until about 20 minutes after it had finished.  As it turns out, it was the fault of the record in question rather than my own frame of mind.  That said, I’ve been in such a position several times before and know full well that when I’m depressed, the last thing I want to listen to is people singing about how good or bad their lives are, or what they think the listener should do in order to either cheer up or feel worse.  Which is where the good old instrumental comes in, as they’re largely neutral, letting the listener sit there to either fill in the blanks or just have a few minutes of nothing to think about other than “well, this is nice isn’t it?”
Hopefully later today there’ll be a more wordy Whatever, paving the way for a whole bunch of updates as soon as I can find the time to get a few words in edgeways…

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Sunday Whatever

Well, what a strange week that was.  Usually, popping down to London is the most stressful for this vaguely-panicked scribe, yet it turned out to be the most relaxed out of four jaunts around the country.  They were all well worth it though, it’s nice for me to occasionally realise that I’m not quite as antisocial as I tend to think I am, and running into friends old and new has left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that will no doubt be completely obliterated tomorrow morning when I go back to work.

Not entirely sure how many new readers I’ve gained this week (hi, fellow Grauniadistas!  Hope you find something worth hanging around for), I’ll probably lose them all again as this week I plan to put my feet up a bit, save for trying to think of something to do for this coming Tuesday as 6dft will be a whole two years old.  And, as the web-hosting types have already renewed my subscription, I have at least another year left in me.  Or at least paid for so I’d better make the most of it…

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A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Manchester Academy 3, 14/01/2012

And to think that I nearly didn’t go to this show.  For shame.

In fairness, I had a decent enough excuse in that I seem to have had a succession of bad colds from around just after Christmas that pretty much only completely cleared up last night.  I had my fellow gig-goers’ best health in mind with this, as well as worrying about how what I thought an ambient, neo-classical show would sound with me unblocking my sinuses in the background.  As it turned out, quietness was not something I needed to take into consideration.  And my minor ailments paled into insignificance anyway, when it transpired that the headliners’ viola player almost wasn’t let into the country, so if they were going to go the extra mile to make the effort to show up, it would have been rude for me to have stayed at home…

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Best of 2011, No.5: A Winged Victory For the Sullen

 

Right, let’s see if I can get the right year this time shall we?  I’ve now changed the year in the title of the last one from 2001 to 2011, wish it was that easy to do my Birth Certificate…  Anyway, the plan is to get two of these out of the way today – partly because I didn’t do one yesterday due to a spot of cold-based bedriddening, but mostly because this one and the next are linked by personnel, style and neurology.

I find it difficult to write about any artist or musical work unless the subject is playing.  Moods and feelings are easier stirred by what’s going on rather than what’s just happened.  This is an album where doing so is nigh-on impossible as it doesn’t so much require rapt attention throughout as subtly force it upon you anyway.  It’s also an album that exposes the ridiculousness of doing a list such as this as I’m not sure why it affects me so, why it sits here near the top of my favourites of 2011, or indeed why I so often sit listening to it as often and as bewitched as I do.  Although I have to admit that the synaesthetic lightshow that tends to accompany it is a bit of a help.

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