20 Best Avant Albums of 2014

The year's best in noise, out-jazz, contemporary classical, ambient, drone and more

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A Winged Victory for the Sullen, 'ATOMOS'
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8/20

8. A Winged Victory for the Sullen, 'ATOMOS'

Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid drone veteran) and pianist Dustin O'Halloran (who has soundtracked more than one romantic flick) join forces for a second album that finds swooning common ground between ambient, modern classical and indie rock. It's tender chamber music (sorrowful strings creaking and crying, gently pressed piano) joining with deep electronic hums for a sound that's at once grandiose and fragile. "ATOMOS I" sounds like the "Wicked Game" chord progression played by harmonium and string quartet, and highlight "ATOMOS VII" lets mournful sawing get washed away by a tidal wave of organ drone.

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