Atmosphere – Sad Clown Bad Fall 10

3 out of 5

Label: Rhymesayers

Produced by: Atmosphere

Amongst the different narrative / tonal approaches Atmosphere takes, I acknowledge I have bias for the more aggressive, upbeat tracks. I thought perhaps I just preferred those beats, but I think what I like about them goes hand in hand: the pacing encourages both Ant and Slug to experiment more, and Slug’s narratives tend to be a bit more to the point. Elsewhere, when things are more soulful or slow, the duo luxuriate in that – tracks loop for too long, and the stories about drink-drugs-sex ne’er-do-wells are cleverly observational as always, but are solely that – observations, and not much else. Very back-packy.

Sad Clown Bad Fall 10, another between-album EP of B-sides and whatnot, starts off with some upbeat tracks that match with my expectations, telling whole stories (Peyote) or just being a lot of fun (Party Over Here), while the remaining 3 songs are either of a “traditional” Atmos slow-roll model (Lyndale Avenue User’s Manual) or offer up really interesting beats, but don’t evolve on things much during their runtime. Mid-track Makes the Sun Come Out, for example, is really interesting – very minimal, just letting Slug do his thing, and it’s day-in-the-life storyline is actually pretty immersive… until it’s not, when it doesn’t go anywhere new. Followup The Rooster makes use of a soulful guitar line, but has a similar slightness to it; both of these songs feel more like tonal experiments than anything.

As a usual addendum for Atmosphere, the general quality maintained by the duo is impressive, since they put out a lot of music, but SCBF 10 is probably fittingly a B-sides collection.