Anomie - "A Trip Into The Unknown"
(24th Century Productions 2002)
From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)
Anomie are Stu:Art Barton: Guitars, Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Fx and Programming. Accompanied by the strangely named Goatoid Wilson: Guitars, Bass, Keyboards and Synths. They are based in London, England and 'A Trip into the Unknown' is their first studio CD. Lasting around sixty minutes 'A Trip into the Unknown' moves through its nine tracks with subtle motions of colour. It creates variations of atmospheric soundscapes, each one building and evolving into the next phase with ease. The Synth work is spacey, the content strange and the overall sound quality is not too bad at all.
'Exit Reality One' is the opening track and it builds over its 2:42 minutes serving as the intro into 'Middle Man' which is the first of a handful of songs. The aforementioned song is terrible lyrically, as are most. I have tried to indulge and give them a fair crack of the whip but sadly, I cannot get away with them at all. This album is a mixture of these song songs as well as instrumental tracks mixed with fill in Synth pieces, and it is only within these Synth tracks that I find some sort of interest. A lot of these Synth pieces have spoken narrative sound FX overlaid, which to me was overdone. Almost everyone had some sort of FX on it. They are the main focus which dilutes the background I thought. Everyone has dabbled with this type of stuff... I know I have. I just would not release it that's all. I know I might seem harsh and over critical but I have to give my opinion.
'Paths of Life' sounds like a Lou Reed style song. The vocals are very much in that vein, and as I say the lyrics are not too good. But hey, someone's bound to find them elevating. The music on the other hand is good. Stu:Art & Goatoid play all the instruments well and the song structure is not too bad either. It is more in the realm of keyboard drum beats and stuff. I am not a big fan of drum machines & modules used for attempting real sounding drum kits. I prefer the drummer option because it opens more possibilities.
'The Violence of Science' is the last and probably my favourite track. It shows Anomie can create Spacey songs that are more relevant to the title of A Trip into the Unknown. It builds and motions through many courses, it stirs echoes with progressive chord patterns that allow the Guitar to throw solos into the cogs. The drums are Levitation style Hawkwind in the heavier places; Ginger Baker resounds in the style of the patterns and rolls and the vocals are thankfully illegible to me in places. The Synth work again is good and it offers a chance to enjoy that side of things. 'Exquisite' uses an extract from the very end of 'Bike' Barrett era Floyd, fading into what sounds like some Ravi Shanker'esque Sitar. These pieces offer insight to Anomie's style and to me they are more suited to my tastes than the songs are. Then again, they are ok songs; they are just lyrically weak, and there is too much in the way of Sound FX.
"Middle Man, O Middle Man you compromise just this time. To get the deal, you start to feel. O Middle Man, O Middle Man your aching head is full of doubt. But the need is real to make that deal."
They do get worse, but maybe that's genius.
For more information you can visit the Anomie web site at: http://www.anomie.co.uk.
Contact via snail mail c/o Anomie; 45a Melrose Ave; Wilesden Green; London NW2 4LH; UK.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard