When Adam Wiltzie & Dustin O'Halloran released their eponymous first album back in 2011, I was completely blown away by its beauty and it easily was my favourite album of the year. I always knew it would be difficult to double that effort, but 'Atomos' comes pretty close. Do yourself a little favour: close the door, turn off your phone, sit down and immerse yourself [url=http://boilerroom.tv/recording/a-winged-victory-for-the-sullen/]in the wonderful musical world[/url] of AWVFTS for the next 86 minutes. It's really worth it!
Following up the self-titled album - which I presumed would just be a one-off - was going to be a difficult feat. I agree with some of the points touched on by neckermanncj (below) that Atmos relies a little more heavily on neo-classical elements, but I'd add there's a very strong American minimalist influence on several tracks (Reich, Adams, Glass) as well as synth textures featuring more prominently than on s/t. I've had three listens through so far and despite it being utterly beautiful, well composed and thoughtfully structured over the span of the record, I'm not feeling the otherworldly whack that their first record delivered; there was something about the arrangements, mood, their duration and beguiling ambiguity on s/t that utterly captivated me.
Atomos is good, but not as good as their s/t. The first album blended ambient and neo-classical so perfectly. Plus it flowed so well from track to track. Atomos is more neo-classical than it is ambient, which is fine, but it doesn't have that balance like the first one did. Every track is named "Atomos #" because each track is more stand-alone and doesn't really flow as an album. The last song on Atomos just sort of ends, without something as memorable like "All Farewells Are Sudden." Atomos is by and large the best record of the year but just isn't as good as their s/t.