A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Atomos VII

by Brian Lange. Rating:9 Release Date:2014-04-28

The new EP, Atomos VII, from this ambient duo sounds like the soundtrack to a strange transcendental film from Greenland. Clint Mansell would be who comes immediately to mind, along with visions of underwater explorations or slow-moving dancers under a subdued light. 

The recordings began with one late night session in the famed Grunewald Church in Berlin after Dustin O'Halloran and Adam Wiltzie met coincidentally while supporting different music projects. Wiltzie was on tour with Sparklehorse and O'Halloran, who composed the soundtrack for Marie Antionette, met through a mutual friend backstage - the rest you can hear for yourself. If you still can’t get past the idea of this accompanying a dance, you won’t have to wait much longer as the full-length record will be the score for choreographer Wayne McGregor’s long-form dance piece. (He’s the guy who choreographed the video for Radiohead's 'Lotus Flower'.)

Atomos VII is lulling, soothing, and thought-provoking, and can tap into emotions you’re not ready to be vulnerable to. Unlike their debut, which was maybe too slow and melodic, too ambient without progression, or served needs as basic as visual accompaniment to other imagery (I want to visualize some sort of iTunes screensaver, the 2001 stargate, NOVA/BBC outer-space specials when I hear the music), this EP resonates with me as a story being told. A journey, building up to something climatic. Something which goes beyond dancers moving in slow-motion; water lilies floating on a still pond; painfully long crossfades in films while the protagonist sits at a rain spattered window thinking about the wicked world. 

The instrumentation is more based in the 'real', though. I would not liken this to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II (which is mostly machine generated). This feels heavily grounded in usage of the keyboard with suggestions of the Theremin. There's a lot of subtle humming which at some point becomes something of a white noise in the room. Always fitting for a planetarium, or gazing at actual stars, if you can find them. 

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