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Anima: Anima (reissue)

Argentina’s Viajero Inmovil (which means “stationary traveller”) continues to unearth forgotten relics at a pace Indy Jones is having difficulty matching. One of the latest tomb desecrations yields a late 1980s, LP-only, eponymous release by the quartet, Anima (Soul). Led by keyboardist Octavio Stampalia, bassist Daniel Spinelli, drummer Santiago Aynacioglu, and the voice of Alejandra Hamelink, Anima are joined by a number of guests who contribute on guitars, bass, saxophone and background vocals. Hiss is very audible, and the liner notes suggest that, by default of discovery, this CD was mastered directly from an LP—this is not a remaster.

The instrumental “Séptima Novena” (Seventh Novena) opens in grand symphonic style—Octavio’s huge synth sounds grace the other instruments in a matriarchal embrace—no question about whose album this is. Wim’s sax solo during the last minute suitably complements. Fat analog strings carry “De Aquì A Cien Mil Años” (From Here Across 100,000 Years) across the carpet in regal fashion—the rhythm section enters and the swirling, embedding analog sounds recall the tapestries of Vangelis’ Heaven and Hell and Albedo 0.39. “Brillaràs” (You Will Shine) is the first track to feature Alejandra’s voice in all of its alluring stature (the short mezzo-soprano segment on the first cut was by Tatiana Flatas)—not a moment early in what is a very middle-of-the-road number. Alejandra sits out “Cita Clandestina” (Secret Meeting), another change of pace, as if Octavio jumped off of the prog cart and can’t quite manage to climb back on as it races down the rails. "Cita" is a funkier-sounding track: Spinelli’s bass possesses that resonantly chunky tone noticeable in 70s funk. Octavio’s lines have a 70s cinematic flair which help, incidentally, to make this track one of the album’s best.

”Alreverso Del Tejido” (Unravelling The Weave) is the only guitar-led tune—Charly Moreno’s tone is a dirty sort of cool—and the first to break beyond average length, lasting just over eight minutes. What sounds like a nice digital piano line by Octavio is sadly undermixed. Moreno’s flourish on Spanish guitar fades out abruptly, instead of tapering off—the previous track also had an abrupt ending. “Tributo A La Eternidad” (Tribute To Eternity) and “Ciudad Sin Tiempo” (Timeless City) bring back Octavio’s lush string leads and crisp piano, Daniel’s unobtrusive bass-playing and Santiago’s less-than-adventurous drumming—only his restraint is suspect, his timekeeping won’t draw any complaints. At least we’ve got that voice…

The CD bonus tracks don’t amount to much more than curious filler: “Héroes Sin Medulla” features more of Alejandra’s lovely pipes; “Rigel” is instrumental, and begins rather comically with a somewhat oriental motif realized on some lo-fi synth sounds. The composition shifts into familiar symphonic territory while not leaving much of a dent on the musical landscape. The ending elicits a chuckle or two with the return of the “preset” sounds. Basically an uninteresting, structured sound collage—with the actual term palabras uttered by a monotone male voice (without pause) from beginning to end—"Palabras" should come with an award: one for sitting through its duration without reaching for the stop button. Very, very, very, very annoying. “Bonus” goodies aside, Anima is a pleasant foray into lite-symphonic territory.

Added: April 12th 2003
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Viajero-Inmovil Records
Hits: 3260
Language: english

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