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Dem Atlas – DWNR

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Label: Rhymesayers
Release: 2014
Listen: Fifth Element – SoundcloudAmazon iTunesBandcamp

Dem Atlas – DWNR

I have wanted to write about this album for around half a year now, I have re written this article numerous but never posted it for fear of doing the album a disservice, because of how much I love this album and how much it means to me personally.
But now the perfect opportunity has presented itself to me as DWNR has just seen a limited release on beautiful clear red vinyl. So now is the time to put my anxieties to one side and share with you why I think this album is great and you should be listening to it right now.

My first exposure to Atlas was at a gig at the fleece in Bristol, I had bought tickets to see atmosphere, one of my favourite hip hop acts and the founders of the Indie hip hop label rhymsayers.

I was excited to finally see atmosphere live as for years as I have consistently found inspiration in their music for years, that I hadn’t paid any thought to who the support would be and what they would be like, I wasn’t too bothered if they were good or bad I, was just stoked to see Atmosphere. However when Atlas took to the stage I immediately paid attention, and by the time he performed the track drive north I knew I was watching something special, the mellow and sombre instrumental and the raw emotion in the lyrics and performance just had me mesmerised. The whole set was fantastic and after that I was hooked I had to buy the full album from the merch stand.
Since then I have practically had the album on repeat and I believe I will continue to revisit this album for years to come.

DWNR is the perfect title, as it really encapsulates the vibe of the album with its mellow, dreary yet beautiful instrumentals, with excellent vocal flows and thought provoking lyrics coupled with catchy hooks. The album feels very personal in many places with tracks that feel as though they were inspired by deep thoughts, personal & emotional experiences.

Some stand out tracks

“Whatabout” – the opening track on the album starts not with a bang but a laid back melodic synth that are soon accompanied by the smooth, steady & yet powerful bass line.

“Wanabe a Kid Again” – an upbeat instrumental, with an incredibly catchy hook that will easily get stuck in your head for days. The lyrics perfectly capture the bittersweet feeling of yearning for the days of having no responsibilities. The song perfectly evokes feelings of nostalgia with the instrumental sounding like an homage to “walk on the wild side” by Lou reed, although with synthy tones and atmospheric sounds that sound like the call of animal that I would have imagined in my dreams as a child.

“Drive north” – a somber and beautifully dreary track that evokes feelings a quiet depression. The lyrics are powerfully delivered and have a sense that they are reflecting on Atlas’s personal emotion wounds. Despite the Dreary tone and deep subject matter the song still manages to be infectiously catchy, with a stong memorable hook on the course and excellent flow throughout the track.

“Down in the low” – Another great track that starts off sounding imposing with a strong guitar line that is quickly accompanied by a distorted scream by atlas before the drums come into the track creating a track with an excellent rhythm which is almost impossible to resist bobbing your head along to.

I cannot recommend this album enough to people, perhaps I’m biased on this but I feel the passion that went into the creation of this album, it feels unique. If you are a fan of Hip-Hop, rap or just music in general I cannot recommend this album and Dem Atalas enough, check it out for yourself.

Written by Dan McCluskey