Anima came to me courtesy of @hernameiscalla when Sophie tweeted about the track Seoul which is indeed a lovely thing. A little scratching around revealed an imminent release, this CD entitled Puzzle. Being a sucker for most things, pre-sale, preview etc I signed up for the CD and duly got my two free video files, more of which anon.
Aniima was originally four Icelandic girls on strings and things, Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir, Hildur Ársælsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Sólrún Sumarliðadótti. All four studied at the Reykjavík College of Music but soon extended their classical music to more contemporary flavours. They put out the track Seoul and the CD Kurr and accompanied Sigur Rós on tour and contributed to the albums ( ) , Takk and Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. More recently they have added two Icelandic chaps, first Magnús Trygvason Eliassen on drums and a little later Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson (aka Kippi Kaninus) on electronics and bits and pieces. The free video with the pre-order includes an eight minute slot of their performance at the Reykjavík Arts Festival in 2008, the start of Aniima as a six-piece.
So what is Puzzle like? Its a combination of familiar sorts of sounds, inevitably a bit Sigur Rós, hints for me at least on the opening track of Pat Metheny Group, a bit of Múm (and not just because of the Icelandic provenance) and generally that ethereal, dreamy classical/folky with knobs on sort of stylee – bits of bowed saws and cymbals, played wine glasses, subtle drum machines, harmoniums, strings, xylophones…. you get the idea… plus the glacial clear vocals.
At only forty minutes it cant be accused of outstaying its welcome, but at the right time and place it is a beautiful set, calm and soothing, almost transporting if you are in the right mood. Over and Again is clearly the closest to a single type track, What are We Waiting for has those lovely almost childlike vocals and personal favourite track Sicsak
If you’re not careful its the sort of music that could pass you by but you would be the poorer for that. Wrapped up by the fireside or languidly lazing on a warm summer evening (ah now a distant memory) it is perfect chill stuff
The Youtube video is them as a four-some performing Seoul – to be honest the pre-order video is a better representation of them nowadays but I can’t find it anywhere to embed….