Pass The AUX is a series by Francesco Lupinacci that works towards presenting a critical analysis of a variation of music artists & albums that lay beneath the polluted mainstream sound,to widen your playlists and give you a fire AUX selection.
In the midst of chaos there's the beauty of excitement and the distortion of reality, but Atmosphere's 2005 release captures the passion that goes through an unstable mind-state. The hip-hop group's You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, is the epitome of hip-hop heads' intrigue for samples, as this album pushes the concept to its furthest boundaries. You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having is a chaotically sampled introspective adventure narrated through loud mixing, lyrics packed with versatile metaphors, and unique fusions of rap and rock.
Atmosphere has captured the nature of rap artistry that has failed to evolve from the late 90s to later 2000s through the lyricism of Slug and the one of a kind production by Ant, the group is committed to relying on self-abusiveness to guide them to eventual clarity. The album is ironically titled You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, although cover-art shows an annoyed Slug in a very dull rehab facility. The album is fun, often too fun, but the cohesive track-list brings consequences to reckless actions and sober thinking to mindless perspectives.
"We made the team without puttin' on the uniform,
smart went crazy and rode a unicorn through the storm"
Smart Went Crazy
Upon the album opening with its first track, "The Arrival", Slug whispers with uncertainty that "[he] really shouldn't be talking about this..." but then we're immediately hit with a nearly clipping frequency of an electric guitar that jumps you immediately into the set-tone for the rest of the album. It's chaotic from the beginning, the second you turned it a bit louder to check if anything was playing, the first of many guitar samples hits you as you leaned in to check for any sound in the opening seconds. It's at times restless and uncomfortable, but it demands you keep going until you're either addicted or transition to having hangover-like headaches; needless to say, its very exciting.
Samples very constantly and they're brought to life accordingly, but it's the prime ear of Ant that allows so much dynamic to how a song will change throughout the course of its play-time. One song leads to another, piano morphs into guitar, as vocals transform to beat boxing; none of it makes sense, but it all so fitting. The most notable instrumentals are on the very uplifting piano driven "Get Fly", the album's rock-like anthems "Pour Me Another" and "Smart Went Crazy", and the vocally altered and pitch swung sampled "Musical Chairs". Every song feels different despite their brilliantly consistent delivery.
"And i don't know what hurt it more,
Professionals journals or perpetual burn holes
Scarring up the dirt floor"
The most impressive portion of the sampling element comes from the songs' transitions. Ant samples anything from numerous drug commercials to piece together promotional advertisements for abuse, to Bill Cosby telling you what will feel good, to stringing together every sentence of any song ever consisting of the word "atmosphere". It's that weird spark of creativity within musical freedom that just becomes so charismatic.
The miraculous production showcase is backed in every song with lyrical technician and passionate emcee Slug. Every song becomes so engaging and personal, most are in fact directed in the form of a letter to make them feel even more sincere. It has to be noted that Slug goes the entire thirteen songs without any features, despite the overload of vocal snippet samples, and thus has to carry every verse and chorus himself while still making each sound different. As a lyricist, the production of You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, tests Slug as there is often no particular structure to any song.
"Who they play when the game's in a tight spot?
Slug, you can find me in the As of your iPod"
Atmosphere's Slug has to be praised after pulling off narratives of "That Night", metaphorically running in circles in "Musical Chairs", describing the wonder of what happens when genius turns insane in "Smart Went Crazy", and the wonderfully executed ode to travels "Angelface". A particular song that defines this album despite its chaotic nature is "Little Man". The album's outro "Little Man", a chorus-less, three versed letter; written to his son, father, and finally himself.
"The only women that love you [Sean] are fans and family,
Mom has no choice, but fans leave you randomly"
The album is a divisive experience, but what You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having delivers in any perspective, is exactly what is to be made of it. The approach of making and excitingly sad, all over the floor-like experience, yet tying it up with self understanding, forces listeners to achieve a different emotion through every listen once you Pass The AUX.