Boomkat Product Review:
Sasu Ripatti's monumental hour-long prog-jazz masterpiece is finally available again in a newly remastered edition and a first vinyl pressing in over two decades. When it was originally released in 2001, it arrived as a culmination of Ripatti's many divergent musical threads, weaving deep house, dub techno and fried textures into a sprawling pseudo-soundtrack to drugged-out excess. It still pretty much sounds like nothing else.
Ripatti was obsessed with Anthony Drazan's 1998 Sean Penn-starrer 'Hurlyburly' when he wrote 'Anima', using it for stylistic inspiration and famously jamming along to a truncated hour-long version as he recorded. "I was in the movie; almost like an extra character playing music," he says in the accompanying press release. Influenced by recreational drug use, the album follows the movie's cycle of cocaine-fuelled repetition, disorientation and paranoia, playing with a sloppy mélange of plastique electronic elements that dip in-and-out of view.
A casual flick through the album's single track doesn't reveal much, but listening from beginning to end mirrors its dream-like merry-go-round, enabled through the use of a DAW - which Ripatti used for the first time on these sessions. Using a MIDI controller to trigger and play sounds, Ripatti mixed the music while watching the film, burying voices in muffled dub echoes and Michael Mann-esque LA synth textures in concrete noodles, attempting to create a longform piece of music that evolved constantly, but barely noticably. If you're familiar with Luomo's timeless 'Vocalcity' or his previous Vladislav Delay album 'Entain', 'Anima' fits somewhere between the two; borrowing the smudged house of 'Vocalcity', but never allowing it to overwhelm its abstracted atmosphere. Instead, he freezes sounds in glacial repetition, maintaining a groove that barely moves from a single melodic refrain.
Corroded bass twangs and psychedelic echoes give the album its relentless motion, but - like an ouroboros - it eats itself continuously, feeding on established formulae to sustain them in perpetuity. As such, 'Anima' is perhaps the dub techno answer to the addictively excessive yacht rock of the '70s and '80s - an album about the drug experience that's rooted in lidless ambition, aesthetic knowledge, Hollywood surreality and literary smarts. When it ends with a splash, it feels like being doused in a bucket of cold water.