Atmosphere – Sad Clown Bad Year (#9​-​#12 Collection)

4 out of 5

Label: Rhymesayers

Produced by: Atmosphere

Are all of the Atmosphere “seasonSad Clown EPs worth owning? Yes. Even as a middling Atmosphere listener, I think each of these sets has a high percentage of hits, lyrically covering some fantastic Slug narratives and more crass, fun party stuff, with Ant’s production almost always spot-on the whole way through, a great balance between soul and more aggressive rock-tinged beats. If you don’t already own these, yes, this is a great way to snatch them all up at once, in some awesome deluxe packaging – black and white art with some Atmosphere-branded crayons, plus a full-on coloring book inside. If you do already own these, I’d argue there’s still value, not only because that packaging looks pretty cool (as does the black and white colored vinyl), but because of the convenience – you get digital, so you can listen to all of these in one go, but I actually think the vinyl is “better,” because it maintains one EP per side, and they make more sequential sense that way. Perhaps it’s less convenient than digital in that sense, and sure, but it’s two physical LPs in one set versus 4 CDs / LPs that you might have buried away somewhere. And though these aren’t remastered, they sound just as good now as they did on whichever other version you own.

The lack of any true extras besides the packaging accounts for the slight dock in rating – which is more about value than the material, as you should refer to the original reviews for that – however, there’s one further thing to consider: many reviews on Discogs mention the vinyl being warped, and I can support that. A guess (which I agree with) is that the inclusion of the crayons in the packaging, as a bulkier item, may’ve accounted for this warping. I was lucky enough to have a copy / player that doesn’t seem affected by this warping – it’s slight – but still something to consider.