Track By Track Guide: Athletic Progression – cloud high in dreams, but heavy in the air

Photo by Therese Vadum.

We’ve been championing Danish/Tanzanian trio, Athletic Progression for a while now, and for a good reason, their music is fantastic! With their latest offering, ‘Cloud High In Dreams, But Heavy In The Air’, the Aarhus-based band dive deeper into their intricately fused world of experimental, groove-based music.

Landing on South London musical movement Touching Bass the trio of Jonas Cook (keys), Jonathan J. Ludvigsen (drums) and Justo Gambula (bass) seemed to have found the perfect home for their wildly eclectic yet soulful sound.

Last month they gave us a taste of the LP with the spellbinding ‘OSAKA’, and now you can stream the project in all its glory. Arguably their best offering to date, the 16-track album is packed with colourful and vivid soundscapes that traverse hip-hop, jazz, beats and electronic gems.

Somewhere between Flying Lotus’ space-leaning electronics and the glowing dexterity of groups like BadBadNotGood and JD Beck & Domi, this new offering demands your attention from the first second to the last.

With ‘Cloud High In Dreams, But Heavy In The Air’ dropping everywhere this Friday, we take you through the record track-by-track.

Bella Sky

A short but sweet starting place, ‘Bella Sky’ kicks off the album with a certain playful charm.

JUNGELEN

If you’re looking for something fun, exciting and vibrant, then look no further, as JUNGELEN covers the bases. Beautiful electronic touches from Cook spearhead the cut, but it’s Ludvigsen’s intricate drumming that steals the show here.

Safran.Baby

If ever there’s a track that encapsulates this band, and what makes them so good, this might be the one. Crammed with intricate details that gracefully wash over you, the free-flowing instrumentation has me wanting to see them play this live. From the choppy beats to the head-nodding bass groove and soft keys the trio, create a super chilled out atmosphere.

Mortal Kombat

AP bring a different kind of vibe to the classic RPG!

OSAKA

A skittering slice of jazz infused with electronics. The lead single from the LP encompasses a fresh beat and urgent keys that skip and slide throughout while a warbling and booming Thundercat-esque bassline serve as the vibrant backdrop.

Officer Jimmy I

It’s time for a bit of breathing space with this brief interlude.

Ndion Farr

Opening with an ever so elegant piano flourish, Ndion Farr is a bit of beauty! Everything is on point from the very first note to the last: killer bass with a surging rhythmic pulse and wandering keys that seems to drive the song forward, keeping the listener on the edge of their seat. You never really know what direction the track will go next.

Officer Jimmy ll

Another short interlude with Officer Jimmy before heading into the longest track on the record.

DEBRA

A hazy but equally immaculate cut interlocking a tightly-knitted jazz groove with dreamy electronic undercurrents that uplift and elevate you from the moment you click the play button. This is good stuff!

Cooked Ones, Pt. ll

Get cosy and bask in the lush, glorious sounds of Cooked Ones, Pt. ll. Although it may be one of the most chilled out cuts on the album, the track still keeps things exciting by intertwining glitchy electronics with divinely gentle instrumentation. Just whack the headphones on, switch off the world, and enjoy over six and a half minutes of musical bliss. Seriously, the bass from Gumbula on this track is something special. 

#15 Carmelo

Lose yourself to the dreamy and utterly infectious soundscape. The subtle keys are utterly relaxing, serenading you from start to finish.

MOUSSAS FINEST

I love this album, and it’s hard to pick a favourite track, but this cut is a real gem. From start to finish, you’re reminded precisely why the trio is one of the most exciting new bands around. There’s an effortless feeling to how they seamlessly channel Yussef Kamaal style jazz-funk with FlyLo circa 1983. I love the element of urgency to the keys as the track pushes towards its end. Magical stuff!!

#301 Call

The phone rings, and the answerphone kicks in with a message that, although I don’t understand what’s being said, sounds pretty cool!

Extended Technique (ft. Brother Portrait)

It’s always great to see artists we love to connect, and it’s even better when the result is as earwormy as this! We’ve recently revisited and rinsed Saul’s No Fuss No Fight, which features Brother Portrait, and just like on that track, his talent shines bright. A match made in heaven, AP’s captivating instrumentation serves as the perfect backdrop for Brother Portrait’s potent lyricism and easygoing flow.

Justo’s Waltz

If a new adaption of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park were made, they should waltz 💃 to this elegant piece of music.

THE EXAM

Last but not least, the slightly off-kilter beat, bubbling bass, and choppy electronics of ‘THE EXAM’ closes the LP leaving you well and truly mesmerised.

Press play up top; you won’t regret it!


cloud high in dreams, but heavy in the air is out now – buy here.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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