Atmosphere – “So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously” review

Atmosphere is a revered underground duo from Minneapolis, Minnesota consisting of Slug on the mic & Ant on the boards. Initially a trio from the beginning of their formation up to release of their critically acclaimed debut Overcast!, they would later go on to build an independent empire with their Rhymesayers Entertainment label whether that be signing acts from Brother Ali to the late Eyedea or putting out their best bodies of work like God Loves Ugly or Sad Clown Bad Dub 9. Last we heard from them was WORD? a year & a half ago which wasn’t a bad return to form for them considering the mixed reception The Day Before Halloween got for it’s experimentation, but are back again for album #13.

“Okay” is a cheerful opener to the album assuring that everything will work itself out in the end whereas “Eventide” dives into boom bap territory talking about someone pretending not to hear Slug & pulling it off in an insincere manner. “Sterling” has more of a rap rock flare to it this time around admits that he’s running like he’s up against the clock, but then “Dotted Lines” fuses more guitars with kicks & snares talking about being unsure as to what to say to his woman.

Meanwhile, we have Atmosphere diving into funkier turf on “In My Head” encouraging someone to wake him up & check to see if he still has a pulse leading into “Crop Circles” talking about to do whatever it takes to making the same mistakes twice over a crooning beat. “Portrait” returns to the boom bap confessing he’s trying to treat his body like a church these days, but then “It Happened Last Morning” has a more industrial sound to it discussing a panic attack he had on first avenue.

“Thanxiety” makes it known that you gotta stop & try to smell your own accomplishments sometimes over some synthesizers & thumping drum patterns while the 6-minute “September Fool’s Day” talks about how this is more than production & showmanship over a piano instrumental. “Talk Talk” embraces a more electro-funk sound assuring there’s nothing here to fear & to set your secrets free while “Watercolors” has a more stripped-back sound talking about feeling like he’s driven by the sacrifice to suffer from the hunger of composure.

Moving on from there, “Holding My Breath” is a soulful reggae hybrid discussing never feeling alone when I’m alone by himself while “Still Life” keeps it tranquil talking about the whole thing being pretty like a painting even though it’s all coming to an end. “After Tears” by Sa-Roc serves as an interlude with a chipmunk soul instrumental tackling a heartbreak that’s threatening to escalate while “Positive Space” talking about haunting record players.

The penultimate song “Bigger Pictures” gets ready to round out the album with an acoustic guitar accompanied by kicks & snares looking back on his life up to this point but after the “Truth & Nail” interlude, the final song “Sculpting with Fire” psychedelically blurs the lines between self-reflection and derealization. However, the outro & official closer is actually a reprise to the opener “Okay” aptly titled “Alright”.

Of the 3 albums that Slug & Ant have given us since COVID changed the world forever, there’s no doubt in my mind that So Many Other Realities Exist Simultaneously has to be my favorite of the bunch so far. The production here is more gentle in comparison to all of their previous efforts combined as they present an unnerving excavation of paranoia that can be grafted onto the general malaise of a pandemic weary society full of civil unrest.

Score: 3.5/5

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