This month will be a rather busy month in my world — and in the world of JOVM: I’m currently in Syracuse, NY for a wedding. I return back to New York sometime tomorrow, shoot a handful of shows and then head off to Montreal for the M for Montreal Festival (more on that later, of course). In fact, instead of getting ready for the wedding, I fired up the ol’ laptop to work . . . So let’s get to the business at hand, right?
Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about about the critically applauded and commercially successful Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hop act and JOVM mainstays Atmosphere. Initially formed over 20 years ago under the name Urban Atmosphere, the JOVM mainstays have developed and maintained a long-held reputation for pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop should sound like and concern itself with thematically, especially as its founding duo Slug and Ant find themselves inching towards middle age.
2016’s Fishing Blues continued a string of insightful, mature material reflecting men that have seen and experienced more than they could possibly put into words. That album’s material found the duo transforming from wild and untamed road warriors and settling into a hard-fought and peaceful cocoon of family and art. And while that seems ideal, we all know that over the past few years, the world we inhabit has fundamentally changed in a frightening fashion. In fact, last year’s Mi Vida Local thematically found the pair grappling with their own mortality — and the anxiety and fear that comes from the painful acknowledgment that you’re completely powerless and can’t protect yourself, let alone your loved ones from the dangerous of our world. Sobering stuff, indeed. And yet, that effort, much like its predecessors was largely centered around the duo’s deep and abiding friendship.
The duo’s latest single “Bde Maka Ska,” is the first batch of original material since the release of last year’s Mi Vida Local and interestingly, the track sonically and thematically continues in the vein of its immediate predecessor: centered around a bluesy production featuring twinkling keys, fuzzy, wah wah pedaled guitar, a gospel choir-like backing vocal, the song finds its narrator yearning for peace and serenity in a mad, mad, mad world. And while also taking careful stock of his own life and decisions, the song’s narrator coming to a profound realization: that sometimes we have to let go and let the universe and karma handle it — and that more important, that he has a loving relationship that gives him a respite from the world.