Boomkat Product Review:
Batshit and brilliant unheard material from Limpe and Paul Fuchs' Anima project, recorded back in 1973 not long after the release of their debut album. Wild-eyed and completely freeform, it's necessary listening for anyone looking for a missing link between Valentina Magaletti and Supersilent. Next fucking level basically.
In the late 1960s, percussionist, violist and vocalist Limpe Fuchs and her sculptor partner Paul formed Anima, operating on the periphery of the krautrock and free jazz scenes, building their own instruments and deliquescing recognizable motifs - vocals, rhythm, angular riffs - into chaotic, almost orchestral movements. "Underground Altena" catches the legendary duo at an interesting time in their evolution; the release comprises the contents of a tape Limpe Fuchs recently dug out of her archive, and was recorded in 1973. There's not much more information than this, except that 'Altena' might be a reference to a festival the duo played in Burg Altena around that time.
Limpe Fuchs' singular vocal chants and percussive flurries sit at the heart of the both sprawling improvisations, Paul interrupting the atmosphere with abstract echoes from his innovative tone sculptures. Paul built an instrument they named the "Fuchsharp" that had two pickups and could be bent into unusual tones, somewhere between the pedal steel and an open tuned broken guitar. Alongside this, Limpe used a drum kit augmented with iron tools and metal sheets, and plucked strings by foot connected to a metal ring that replaced her hi-hats. The resulting sound is confusingly tough to describe, even decades later - there's a connection with the more outer-realm kraut/kosmische material of the era (particularly Kluster), but Anima were operating on a higher plane of existence, spiritually looping their boundary-pushing experiments into the language of folk, chamber music and brutalist free expression.
Their sounds reflected their outsider reality: the couple lived in a tiny Bavarian village, farming and working towards self-sufficiency as the world was shifting quickly towards consumerism. Their art was assembled around both artists' particular sets of skills, with Paul fabricating playable objects and Limpe devising their musical usage.
It's a holistic view of ensemble music creation that still sounds shockingly fresh, touching many contemporary nodes, from US outsider icons like Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano to Norwegian avant-jazz troupe Supersilent or UK experimental punks This Heat. Fascinating and electrifying gear, beginning to end.