American duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen have released a new EP entitled Atomos VII, ahead of the release of their sophomore album Atomos. Their debut album is still my favourite ambient release of all time, with it’s soothing melancholic beauty still taking my breath away three years on, so anticipation for the new album is very high. This new EP features three tracks, Atomos VII from the upcoming release, Minuet for a cheap piano part 1, an out-take from the recordings of their self titled debut, and a remix of Atomos VII by Ben Frost.
Atomos VII is a piece from the upcoming album and it’s simply stunning. The album Atomos itself is a score for a ballet of the same name, and the duo lent their modern classical ambience to it with real brilliance. It’s rather cold and moody, softly melancholic and blissful, AWVFTS create dreamy textural soundscapes to get lost in. With soft guitar drones and slow mournful strings, the band build an atmosphere throughout the eight minutes with such beauty as only they know how to make. With the second half of the track becoming more dramatic, with sections of darker bass drones adding another textural layer to a brilliant performance, this sense of drama gives the track a more cinematic feel. It’s an incredible track, and no one seems to come close to A Winged Victory for the Sullen for creating such blissful, melancholic soundscapes. Minuet for a cheap piano part 1 is equally lovely, with soft dreamy piano melodies played over the top of delightful guitar drones and hauntingly beautiful strings. It’s very vibrant and every note is full of emotion. These two tracks are simply achingly beautiful, relaxing and meditative, yet with an air of sad reflection to it, this is music to listen to with your eyes shut, absorbing every note.
The final track is Ben Frost’s remix of Atomos VII. I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Ben Frost by any stretch of the imagination, and find his work too ambling and clumsy to really get into a whole lot. And it’s kind of the same here, he takes the more beautiful string sections of the original, and just adds some clumsy electronic noises to them, smothering their slow beauty in unneeded textures, which kind of remove from the brilliance of it. It’s the slow and gradual build up which makes Atomos VII so good, and by filling in the slower building sections with dull textures, it just takes away from the drama of the original.
Overall it’s another good release from AWVFTS, minus the bland remix, but ultimately it feels just like a teaser rather than a well rounded release. It certainly builds the excitement for the next release, and if this is anything to go by it’s going to be simply gorgeous.
The EP can be streamed for free this weekend here.