Finland's Vladislav Delay gets more mileage out of less sonic material than almost anyone working in electronic music today. In 2000 and 2001 alone under the aliases Uusitalo and Luomo, he's explored minimal techno and a thoroughly idiosyncratic version of house music (respectively), and he has returned to his original moniker for the fourth full-length Vladislav Delay release. Unlike minimal techno artists like Thomas Brinkmann, whose metronomic beats are intended to recall (and are sometimes even created by) the precisely recurrent click of a horizontal scratch on a vinyl record, Anima travels out to the land where the beat is implied rather than stated. Not that there are no percussive sounds--aside from the continuous oscillation of two sustained keyboard chords and similarly circumscribed single-note melodies, the bulk of the sounds are scratches, whirrs, clicks, and buzzes that ebb and flow with the regularity of calm tidal water, but never outline the steady 1 through 4 of the dance floor. For just over an hour (bookended with some contrastingly tense conversational snippets), this is all that happens, and either most of the music is created by real-time knob twiddling or it is generated by unprecedented degrees of programmed randomness. But the upshot is remarkably varied and unrepetitive, in the sense of strictly audible sequences and loops. --Bob Bannister
Anima weaves a combination of his various guises, a sixty minute experiment of sonic dub and his ever-present waves of drone. Recorded as one track, noises peak out corners and tickle the edge of hearing, all coated in echo and reverb effects. It's a hypnotic beatscape journey that challenges your attention, seemingly determined to hide content in the background.
Delay's dogged determination to reinterpret territory he's mined before pays off as an artistic endeavor. Since it conceptually remixes his prior work, though, it serves more as coda to a successful 2000 than a piece that can stand beside Entain or Vocalcity.
To cut to the chase: If you're looking for an album to buy, and you want to try Mr Delay, then the better album is Mutila. There is more variety, better pacing, and less of the overly flowery gestures. Anima is a lush, mostly beatless beast, and showcases a wishy-washyness that does not make for satisfying repeated listens.
Vladislav Delay has made much ambient music with varied success and varied names. Through the Clicks&Cuts cd volumes his name has gathered momentum and so have his releases. This one, which came out with this fantastic cover, did him well, but unfortunately it is not so good.
The cover is really good though, isn't it? Makes you want to buy it instead of Mutila, but that would be a mistake.
**Entain, which you can buy with this album, is too similar. The better match is with Mutila.
Mutila is the better album, this is what I'm trying to desperately to say here.
However it isn't quite business as usual. Delay is known for throwing in minute speech clips (and other "human" sounds like coughs and sighs), and only "suggesting" melodies and rhythms rather than playing particularly noticable ones outright. Also much of the rest of the sounds used, other than melodic or percussive - are very much "found sounds" - short bursts of everything and anything. Well all this is taken even further here; with few brakes and soft passages, and fragments of melodic suggestions bursting forth every so often, I'd say "cacophony" describes Anima well (and not at all in a bad way). The one single constant throughout most of this release is the soft ebb of the trademark Delay pads, placed further back in the mix, but always there. Taking a look at this thing in Sound Forge is an educational experience - this is dense and complex stuff and you'll hear something new every few seconds, if you listen well enough.
Anyway, essay over. Vladislav's music kicks serious low end - so buy Anima ASAP.
NOTE: The vinyl - according to some _very_ reliable sources - apparently contains different material (and there's six sides of it!!), so get both that and the CD for the full experience.
that is, in part, why this release gets only 3 stars. i want to like it, i really do, but i constantly have this sense that it's constantly starting and ending, opening and closing, without ever being anything. anima is eight hours of music condensed to one by cutting out the songs. the box set that could be would astound even the most determined hater. alas, no such thing exists.
In listening to this cd, I forget that it's on most of the time --- at the beginning I realize it, and some parts in the middle, but overall the swoop/sweep/click/I don't know what to classify it classical music(?) part just blends into a hypnotic blah for me. Parts in the middle (it's one 62 min track) give it structure and storyline feel, but hypnotize until the end 2 minutes which contain more stressed sounding vocal clips with v.delay's swoop-housey minimalistic sound. There's no beat, only sweep/swoop on this cd. Saying all that though, I love it, and have listened to it at least 6 times in the last week.