‘Filled with image-conjuring lyricism, musical domination and smokey jazz vibes, it’s a truly transformative debut.’
Intro to Anima
Bringing together a collection of music and non-music creatives, Vienna based Anima set out to prove a point. Highlighting their approach of going with what they feel is right, rather than what fits into a certain genre, their debut track Naima sets the bar incredibly high. Delivered across two parts Ancestress/Naima, the release is heavily influenced and inspired by the 1960 John Coltrane track. However, in creating something that links back to those roots and pushes us into Anima’s musical future, we go on a journey just as transformative as the sound we experience. [Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Anima]
Setting up an air of calmness and transportation, a sound heavily reliant on atmospheric layers emerges. Insects click, birds sing and water flows. So mindful, it’s the kind of sound you find yourself being absorbed by instantly. What is it you are experiencing? Is it music for healing? Or comfort maybe? Given the automatic reaction it brings both may well be true, but unlike anything you’ve heard before, it’s definitely magical. Musical magic that is about to be enhanced by the most complementary of vocals.
Spoken rather than sung, much like everything around them these vocals are intrigue filled and at no point does your mind wander. Each line captivates, causing you to cling on effortlessly as space and almost slow-motion phrases take over the sound. Descriptive, image-conjuring story-filled passages contrast with expressive, distantly set floaty phrases. Oh there is so much to keep you focused. But within the evident freedom that lies at the heart of it, there is real intention, real creativity and real direction. But as Anima explains, the lyrics themselves have a bigger story behind them than we could possibly imagine.
“The lyrics were directed at triggering the sensory perception of the audience based on what I’d experienced at ancient sites: “Grains of sand underneath the soles of my feet/tiny little crystals penetrating my skin/little bugs and ants tickling my toe“. Returning to these places in my mind led to an encounter with the depths of Mother Earth and as a natural consequence, invoked the Feminine Goddess Energy: “Mother, Goddess, I summon your spirit.” [Read more here]
Moving through into the main part of the release, the atmosphere offered up at the end of ‘Ancestress’ forms a beautiful segue with the opening of Naima. Here though, in what is far from the first stark contrast, the spoken vocals of the former are transformed into spellbinding true sung ones. Warmed through showcase production from duo Oszillator (Max McManus and Point Blank Music School student Benedikt Meschik), you feel as though they are being projected into a space so open that nothing will restrict how far they travel. Swelling and soaring into our ears, they really are a thing of beauty. A beauty that is matched by the surroundings that they are in.
Linking wonderfully with the original, smokey harmon muted trumpet lines put us in the most sophisticated of jazz bars. Hinting at a new direction, synth-centred harmonies subtly shift while bass notes appear unpredictably. And every so often the image-conjuring atmospherics of ‘Ancestress’ fleetingly reappear to vanish just as quickly. In short it’s musical transportation that can quite honestly take us anywhere we wish to be. Containing an incredible amount of influences, fragments and ever-changing textures, while also forming an abundance of musical connections, you really have to hand it to Anima. Equally, in progressing further through the track we continue to experience this prowess.
Establishing a true rhythmic centre, as we head toward and through the midpoint the sense of freedom felt until now gets replaced by musical energy. Hinting at forthcoming dominance, rainstorm-esque rattles surge to take us into an atmosphere filled with real direction. Comprised of half-time electro beats and bass lines it is most certainly the contrast to what we have had so far. But in forming further connections – both musically and otherwise – the former motifs develop, while soft vocals captivate just as much as both of those instrumental elements.
Pushing this sense of momentum up a few levels, ahead of us arriving at what Anima entitles the “Naima epilogue” we find ourselves journeying through a mass of contrasting musicality. Touching on all elements of the track, the aforementioned texture becomes filled with hectic, double time synths chords, pseudo-improvisatory trumpet melodies, trippy beat patterns and soft, glitch-affected vocals! It is without doubt a collision of ideas and influences. However, like those earlier moments, and what is about to arrive, it’s a collision fits together wonderfully.
“The lyrics in what I call the “Naima epilogue“, reflect the aspect of her eternal motherly love, combined with her newly found fierce Warrior Goddess Energy “Armies, Goddesses, I see”,challenging us into awakening to our choices, “Weapons, melting like liquid glass“, and into re-tuning ourselves by nurturing primordial principles “In the glaring silence of the midday sun“ – back to the deserts of Ancestress.” [Read more here]
Generating a true sense of power and forwardness, in more ways than one, any calmness is cast aside to reveal a sound filled with dominance. Sub-bass rumbles in the depths, Blade-runner style glitches interject each other and curiosity-infused sustained melodies swirl above. It really is the most perfectly futuristic setting for the lyricism. Equally, with strength filled distorted vocals sending energy inside us and musical power being pushed into our ears, you really do want more of what Anima have to offer.
Find out more about Anima at:
#PointBlankTalent: Behind the Music: Interview with Anima
Music Video Feature: Anima: Naima