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Anima Mundi

The Way

Review by Mark Johnson

I was searching for new music one day when I found this album. I previewed it and was amazed just at the sample tracks. Then I made the purchase on iTunes. This may be my favorite album of the year. It is incredible. This music is powerful, despite being only four tracks. This is the kind of music I used to listen to and expect on every album back in the heydays of prog during the 1970s. Hearing this for the first time was like listening to Going for the One or Close to the Edge for the first time. I implore you to buy this if you are looking for a return to the professionalism which was once commonplace. Anima Mundi is from Cuba and they doing everything they can to improve their web presence and get their music to their potential audience. Once this music reaches a larger audience I hope it will help lead other bands back to the magnificent level of play that was once common in the 70s. Buy and enjoy every moment of this one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Time to Understand

Hollow, reflecting, deep, bell–like synth sounds open this one full of mystery. The chime-like synths welcome the building drums, lighter synths and guitar as the soundscape begins to open up. How you open an album is just as important as how you close it.  The trademark bass on this album, bringing back that “Squire-lead” sound, really helps add balance. The lead electric and synths are original and amazing. Virginia Peraza, keyboards, and Yarosky Corredera, bass, are near the top of my watch list after this album. After this triumphant instrumental section, and there are many throughout this four track album, we get the first lyrics and vocals.  Carlos Sosa’s voice is original and hard to compare to anyone else. Although the music will remind you of Yes, Sosa’s voice will remind you that this is new. With this style of music you are expecting Jon Anderson. Well there is only one of him, but Sosa’s voice has a deeper range. He can sing high, but usually sings straight ahead prog. Rather than copy Jon Anderson, as so many Yes– ounding bands have done, Anima Mundi takes a different direction with Sosa. And it sounds better. The synths and lead guitar lift the sound, though Sosa often contributes his lifting voice to these ovations. The instrumental mix just rocks throughout this track and that awesome bass is set free to build a groove. The synths, drums and lead guitar follow as the sound takes flight. The instrumental sections of each of these pieces would make any rock god jealous that he (or she) didn’t conceive them. This is full of power, mystery and most importantly - wonder. That is something that has been missing from prog for so long. The dreamy wonder synths float like a cloud in the sky. They force you to sit back and think. That is what Yes and many bands seemed to demand of their music. With this music as a soundtrack it’s easy to sit back, close your eyes and contemplate the universe. The acoustic lead and bass guitar just after the mid – section will fill you with warmth and comfort like Yes’s “And You and I”’s mid – section does. Yes, you can feel this music. If this doesn’t move you, then I’m not sure what will.

Spring Knocks on the Door of Men

The best epic song I have heard all year, this is simply amazing from end to end. Slowly, Mónica Acosta’s bassoon delivers mystery and eerie precision to the opening of this piece. It brings back memories of the opening of Disney’s Fantasia finale. But that is where the similarities end. The soft cascading keys and synths surround you as the bass lay a foundation which is shortly built upon with precision lead chords and exciting electric riffs that lift the emotion of the piece. The synths remain constant as a soft surrounding tranquility envelopes the soundscape. Then Sosa’s voice is added to the mix. The lyrics fit the mood and sound of the music so well. That glorious bass is right there in support. Those cool guitar riffs will bring back many of the highlights from Squire and Howe, but in a completely original way. Then the musical calliope winds up full force and an instrumental extravaganza takes over the soundscape. There is no way to really describe this section fully. It is much better experienced. You are only halfway through this song and already enthralled. A good mixture of the soft light of the mid section of “And You and I” contrasted with the instrumental flights of fantasy witnessed throughout many of Yes’s catalog of albums. There is also a nice mix towards the middle of this instrumental section of some of David Gilmour guitar and Rick Wright’s keyboards from Pink Floyd. The last 6:33 minutes open with a flute and acoustic guitar like a new spring day. The lifting nature of the power of the music is incredible. The closing synthesizer movements almost bring tears to your eyes. Music like it used to be made. “Spring (indeed) knocks on the door of man.”

Flying to the Sun

How do you follow that last song? You follow it with a feverish flight to the sun. After a slow synth and woodwind opening, Sosa’s vocals enter, and the band take off fast. That Squire–like bass is fantastic.  This is the rocker of the bunch. But the instrumental sections are just as impressive as the first two tracks. This one does drive faster and harder than the last two. This is similar to a “Siberian Khatru” after the power and glory of “And You and I” on Close to the Edge. This is another magnificent journey. The instrumentals on this album are worth every minute. Then as if we weren’t already dazzled enough, they add a spectacular pipe organ section which just takes this song over the top! I did not want this section to end. The synth entourage which closes this piece will bring back many memories of some of the best of ELP. This is another powerful anthem to the sun.

Cosmic Man

How do you close this fantastic album? Cool spacey and majestic synths rise high to fill the air as the lyrics and vocals weave the tale. The soft solid drums are excellent and then there is that steady power bass. The bass has been wonderful throughout the album, but is really highlighted well here. This is a vocal driven song as compared to the other three tracks on the album. But don’t let that statement assume there are not as many synth and guitar highlights. This track is the shortest on the album at 8:19, but again, don’t let that fool you. There is just as much here. The riffs around 5:30 are just amazing as is the supporting synthesizer work. They do not leave you hanging in any way by providing a great sample of heavier electric lead with that bass weaving its way through the action. Stunning, blistering, lead electric guitar leaves you with that desire to want to come back for the next album. I haven’t said enough about the drums and that’s a good thing. They are solid throughout. The front of the stage is given to the lead electric, synths and that wonderful bass.

 
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