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(58:14, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Citadel 11:14 2. Nine Swans 4:07 3. Electric Credo 3:29 4. The Hunter 4:49 5. Insomnia 7:16 6. Electric Dreams 3:51 7. The Wheel of Days 5:28 8. New Tribes Totem 10:55 9. Her Song 7:05 LINEUP: Roberto Diaz - guitars, bass, percussion, loops, orchestrations, effects, vocals Virginia Peraza - synths, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Mellotron, Hammond, keyboards, orchestrations, percussion, loops, effects, vocals Yaroski Corredera - bass Marco Alonso - drums, percussion, saxophone Aivis Prieto - vocals with: Julio Padron - trumpet
Prolusion. Veteran Cuban band ANIMA MUNDI can trace their history all the way back to the mid 1990's, and unless I'm much mistaken they are the main and most important progressive rock band of their home nation to boot. "Insomnia" is their sixth studio album, and was released in 2018 by German label Progressive Promotion Records.
Analysis. Anima Mundi is one of those bands I have heard about over the years, but for some reason or other I have never actually listened to their music. I see that the band is generally placed inside a symphonic progressive rock context, and while that may well have been the case in earlier years this does not apply to their latest album. In this case we are heading into territories of a more expressive, trippy and overall cosmic nature. It is kind of difficult to exactly place this band in their 2018 incarnation into a ready made subset of the progressive rock universe. The music is futuristic in scope, much more so than what the description psychedelic rock would be fitting for, but at the same time this isn't really space rock either. If there is such a thing as dystopian progressive rock however, this is the band and this is the album. Floating psychedelic instrument details, layers of keyboards and Mellotron all have vital parts to play throughout in terms of creating a futuristic atmosphere. Perhaps even more so is the use of odd and eerie sounds and effects, at times giving this album an ever so slight touch of both industrial rock and new wave of the early Gary Numan variety. Some of the more expressive rhythms gives me something of a trip hop vibe, as well as associations to 90's rock band Garbage. In addition, the use of warm electric piano and cold acoustic piano for contrast is used to very good effect, as is the use of the saxophone to offset the dystopian moods with a more tranquil and jazz-oriented landscape. There are a lot of levels and a lot of variety explored throughout this album as well, much more than the above descriptions may indicate. 'Electric Credo' for instance, that opens in a manner not too far removed from 90's Ozric Tentacles and concludes as a creation that wouldn't be all that out of place on The Prodigy's "Music for the Jilted generation". Or take 'The Wheel of Days', with a greater emphasis on jazz explored in something of an otherworldly frame, a song that features quite a few passages that wouldn't have been out of place on the soundtrack of the original Twin Peaks TV-series. Cosmic, eerie and otherworldly music, with a distinct dystopian touch as far as mood and atmosphere is concerned. Futuristic, in a Blade Runner kind of way. We are taken a bit more back to Earth on the concluding 'Her Song' though, with less and gentler psychedelic and cosmic effects, blended in with some neo-progressive subtleties for a more melancholic conclusion to an album otherwise somewhat ominous in mood and overall atmosphere.
Conclusion. I find it hard to conclude Anima Mundi's latest album into any of the predefined sub-genres of the progressive rock universe. It is a compelling and enthralling album however, at times hypnotically so, a dark descent into a universe that in mood and atmosphere is as bleak and ominous as the aforementioned movie Blade Runner. If cosmic, dark and dystopian progressive rock sounds like something you would enjoy, "Insomnia" deserves to be placed on your list of music that needs to be given a spin. A darkly compelling and bleakly enthralling experience.
Progmessor: April 19th 2019
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