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.


Desertshore – Migrations of Glass


Things have been very slow around here of late, partly due to issues over the past few months and more recently (and happily) a relocation of 6dft Towers to a more peaceful set of surroundings.  except for the ducks.  So I guess it’s rather apt for the selection of this record to celebrate my reconnection to the internet as migration is a fitting subject to recommence operations here, and as I now live in an apartment and have yet to meet my neighbours, it’s probably just as well that I start off my new life here with a gentle instrumental introduction to gauge how far I can push the volume levels before I move on to pre-glam Celtic Frost, as well as something varied and challenging to get my writing teeth back in and working again.  It’s also something that has been accompanying my early morning drives to work through winding country roads (something that is far too much fun to behold) so it’s nice to be able to – hopefully – put all these feelings into words just as Desertshore has managed to set them all to music.


Craig Ward – New Third Lanark

n3lAh, ambience.  A lovely thing to listen to, but a sod to write about as instead of filling the room with sound, a good ambient record’ll gently colour in the fringes while the brain quietly soaks it all in without telling anyone.  And while something labelled “Guitar Improvisations” on an album named after a community-resurrected Scottish Football Club may have people wondering what on Earth is about to happen, the fact that it’s Craig Ward behind it all has this scribe rather looking forward to whatever might occur, as he’s graced more than one favourite of this site during its lifetime.


Plinth – Music For Smalls Lighthouse

plinthAs true tales go, this is armchair-grippingly good and completely barking mad.  The story of Smalls Lighthouse is one that begins in an odd fashion before turning tragic, gruesome and almost comically macabre in fairly quick succession.  It also changed the law regarding Lighthouse Keeping in Britain so that three, rather than two, people manned such buildings afterwards.  Which makes sense, as well as explaining why lovable old kids’ TV favourite Portland Bill was accompanied by both Ross and Cromarty on his adventures rather than just one of them, because if not, it all could have ended up rather traumatic for a whole generation of children.  So what better subject matter than Strangeness, Death and Sadness can there possibly be for an atmospheric record?


Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest Liveblog

005Guten Abend, Bonsoir, Ohayou Gozaimasu, Hello and I hope there’s someone out there…

So, after the best part of a decade waiting and a couple of months after the treasure hunt started, there’s a new Boards Of Canada album just around the corner, and the livestream of Tomorrow’s Harvest is upon us, which you can have a gander at by popping over to BoardsOfCanada.com.  I have no idea how this is going to work this evening given that there’s only so much can be said for an album of presumably ambient instrumental overtones and there’s only so many adjectives, metaphors and similes that cover all that.  There’s a very real chance this could wind up looking akin to a very weird wine-tasting blog if I’m not careful.
So, erm, yes.  I am really looking forward to hearing what’s going to play over the course of the next however long the album is, I fully expect to not really take this very seriously, and ongoing comments would be welcome either at the bottom of this page, or via the Twitter feed at @6dft.  Spelling/factual/most other kinds of mistakes, repetition, digression and increasing madness will no doubt ensue.


Ooh – and for those not wanting to have the record spoiled in any way, I’ll probably only be commenting on a few tracks specifically rather than picking at each one (because there’s only so fast I can type!) so hope to get the ‘spirit’ of the first listen.  But if you’re determined to hang on another week until this record is in your well-manicured little hands, then good luck, and hope you pop back afterwards to have a peep below the line here and see if I’m wildly inaccurate in hindsight.


Hammock – Departure Songs

After a few months of trying its very best, the Great British Summer’s best once more wasn’t quite good enough.  Nights are drawing in, waking up for work in the morning in the dark is just as much fun as it sounds, and it’s still raining.  Thankfully I’ve got more than enough to keep me both busy and entertained as far as these pages are concerned, with the next few weeks in particular crammed full of new musical experiences both long-anticipated and slightly unexpected, followed by the prolonged agony of The End Of Year List, something that has appeared ominously on the horizon like the first bit of tinsel in the supermarket.  The fun thing about this year’s Sisyphean task is that as I suspect that much of it will be shaped by things coming out – such as this gem – over the next month or so, I have absolutely no idea how it’s going to pan out this year so I hope to be just as surprised by it as everyone else.

Something that I do like about the darker days is the excuse to withdraw completely from them by whacking the headphones on, closing the eyes and utterly immersing myself in a great record or two.  Which is quite handy as far as this one’s concerned, as it’s a 2CD set and so covers both bases in that respect.


Nu Nog Even Niet

Early this year, I braved the Mancunian cold to witness a wonderful show from A Winged Victory For The Sullen.  Not only were the headliners incredible, but I was also somewhat enchanted by the support act Sleepingdog, comprising Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie of the aforementioned AWVFTS, and Chantal Acda.  I was converted to a fan immediately, and was also intrigued to hear of this new project of Chantal’s.  It’s an organic coming-together of music, poetry and art that is the sort of concept that would have me running, screaming in terror, but her performance back in January convinced me to pick this one up.  And I’m glad I did.


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…


Lanterns On The Lake – Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

As a musical genre, the dreamy and ghostly music dubbed by the press as shoegaze never really got off to much of a start in the 1990s.  Probably most notable for that fateful day in Reading when Chapterhouse appeared higher on a bill than Nirvana, it was swiftly crushed between the arrival of Grunge and the birth of Britpop.  Slow and thoughtful had no chance when faced with directionless anger or safe, hedonistic blandness.  So it’s quite nice, if only for the sake of a polite “letting it have a proper go now that the bigger kids have left the playground” sense of fair play, that it’s having a bit of a renaissance now, albeit under the many flags of post-rock, neo-classical, baroque/chamber pop (and various combinations thereof).  That nobody can decide what to call it is always a good sign, as this generally means that bands and artists are connected with each other more by an idea rather than a list of rules.

I came across this album more or less by chance whilst doing a spot of online shopping.  The cover was quaintly intriguing, the label (Bella Union) is always an indication of eclectic quality, general recommendations were high, and Rough Trade are selling it with a free bonus CD.  Curiosity and the prospect of free stuff is always a winning combination, and I’m glad that I handed over the cash for it.


A Winged Victory For the Sullen – S/T

I’m fond of ambience in pretty much the same way that I am fond of the environment.  I live there.

To be in a physical space is all well and good, but the definition of a place’s character can be something far more interesting given the right combination of events, recollections and colour to bring everything to life.  And I use the word “colour” quite literally here, as this is the second album this year to provide that strangest of neurological gifts, the synaesthetic response.

Synaesthesia is an odd fellow but it’s less rare than people think, as it’s generally something that passes unnoticed at times.  It’s basically a state where (and it’s been a while since I did* the bit about the physical part of psychology at A-Level) the interpretive bits of your brain send the occasional signal to the wrong bit, hence seeing colours etc.  Anyway, this is the second album this year that has provided an unexpected visual accompaniment and somewhat unsurprisingly, one half of the duo here came up with the first one as well.  Which is making this very difficult to type when the air is dancing in front of my eyes.