ANANTAKARA: Forgotten Key (2021)
Updated: Dec 17, 2021
“A music that swallows us little by little to fall into its seductive traps”
1 Right Time - Right Place 11:12
2 Behind Below and Above 9:18
3 Ask the Seer 9:36
4 Unnamed Rituals 8:27
5 La Force du Cœur [That Heart Courage] 3:24
6 Times are Changing 25:32
(DDL 67:29) (V.F.)
(Tribal, Neo-classical, Dark Ambient)
I have a soft spot for Anantakara's music, whose minimalist electro-acoustic vision reminds me a bit of Mike Oldfield. His brand new album for Aura Films is the soundtrack to a novel that has not yet been written nor adapted to movie. It's the story of a quest by people to find a key that will stop the self-destructive madness of the world caused by the behavior of completely confused and panicked humans. Sound familiar?
Musical synth pads bouncing with delicate rushes form the first rhythmic phase of Right Time - Right Place. They screw themselves to a sinuous sound wave that absorbs the shocks until annihilation to invite hand percussions to establish a balance between music and hypnosis. A bass line follows the rhythm while the synth whistles spectral tunes. A whisper of sound sets a more intriguing mood as our senses focus on the clatter of cymbals since the percussion arrives. A mass of sounds infiltrates the ambiences of the title, making radiate different elements which follow one another without however weighing down the minimalist curve of Right Time - Right Place. Like a carousel arrived at its destination, the rhythm evaporates little by little around the 6th minute. The sound wave resumes with more vigor. In fact, the track is reborn with more vigor in an aboriginal tribal vision, or electronic tribal folk, where the rhythm beats as much as whispers in a segment that becomes more intense. Too much, since the waves and the synth lines bicker a few seconds later to bring us to the last moments even more intense, courtesy of the orchestrations and their furious staccatos. Laying those delicate acetate blue synth pads on a sky filled with different lines and gradual synth pulses, Anantakara gives Behind Below and Above a solid opening whose hesitant piano is the final nail in our beatitude. A directionless track, as much rhythmic as atmospheric, it creates a fascinating atypical ballad whose unfolding is up to our imagination. Synth waves wander around stretching their ambient tones to bring Ask the Seer to our ears. We are in the core of a very ambient track with some acoustic chords of a Japanese guitar which shines in a tonal decoration put in scene by the multiple spots of synth. Even in a very lethargic state, Ask the Seer bites us the soul in a last right more musical and especially very intense.
We reach the structure in two times of Unnamed Rituals. Evanescent synth pads decorate an introduction animated by bass pulsations which knock of a heavy step. There is this piano which comes to torment the ambiences with its quite opposite direction and whose charm does not have anything to envy to these pads which release perfumes of enchanting mermaids' voices. The title loses its landmarks about 20 seconds before reaching the 4th minute. The philharmonic structure that tries to breathe second life into Unnamed Rituals is worthy of composer Pierre Boulez's crazy outpourings. Even my ears tried to get out of my headphones! It's a good thing that the 6th minute brings us back to a more accessible structure. It's a xylophone that animates the very lively La Force du Cœur [That Heart Courage]. The xylophone and other percussive elements are the bed for a keyboard to lay down its sequenced chords that gradually unravel from their rotating loops to let wind instruments fill in the native melodies of this joyful rhythm. If you like these rhythms traced by the limpidity and the speed of a xylophone, know that it feeds the rhythmic visions of the epic title of FORGOTTEN KEY. In my case, I have to go back to the album Transmuted By to measure myself against such a long track of Anantakara. And one can easily draw a parallel with Initiations since the structure of Times are Changing embraces as many phase changes in a less violent environment though. A more musical environment with various rhythmic explosions and where the symphonic side uses the electronic decor to make burst as much its harmonic visions as its cadenced cacophonies. Its introduction does not however let us foreshadow such orientations. Except that if one knows Philippe Wauman well, one knows that he can become as unpredictable as Philip Glass. From staccato to ostinato, the rhythms follow one another with a slight thread of coherence linking them. The play of the percussions is up to the mark with good sequenced elements. And when the last third of the track comes around, we hear a hint of serenity blowing through the air. A short moment before the torment, less violent, settles. Then, Times are Changing gets silent for a good 2 minutes before its ending time.
So what to think of this Anantakara's FORGOTTEN KEY? Definitely more accessible than Ashta, this new album joins the fragile beauties of Newt [At Whose Feet is Eternity]. The Belgian musician constantly flirts with dissonance without ever going there with both feet… or almost if we count the tumultuous phases of Times are Changing. As for the rest, the friendly Philippe knows how to stay tender and convincing with a music that swallows us little by little to fall into its seductive traps.
Sylvain Lupari (December 17th, 2021) *****
Available at Aura Films Bandcamp