K’an: Anima (Onyudo)
This is an absolutely stunning collection of tracks from artist Paolo Bellipanni. Don’t let the harrowing choral loops of the opener mislead you too much… while it begins with an unsettling tone, much of Anima is quite gorgeous. With a little patience, those introductory loops begin to shudder and shake as “The Tree in the Garden of Limbs” reveals just one facet of Anima’s beguiling beauty.
This beauty isn’t always so pretty, either, but just as striking when it feels tragic as it does when it’s fragile and warm. “Arsons Beneath Eclipsed Waters” reflects this oscillation from light to dark and everything in between with its patient but intense crescendo of tremolo guitar, drones, and feedback. At the core of Anima is Bellipanni’s use of guitar, electronics, voice, and effects in ways where it’s difficult to tell where one ends and the next begins. I suppose what’s also refreshing about K’an is that while there are so many touchpoints that feel familiar (Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Grouper, SunnO)))), The Haxan Cloak), it still sounds unique and unto itself. “In a River of Light You Carve Intersections of Darkness” brings a techno pulse into the mix, sounding not unlike the gloomy, hazy throb of Fennesz’s Hotel Paral.lel, but otherwise Anima is mostly a textural, visceral, languid affair. “Altars” is a slithering beast that clocks in at nearly 15 minutes, shifting shape several times before it breaks through with a cathartic power drone of voices, guitar, and electronics. It’s a moving precursor to the tightly wound title track that closes the album with a sublime swoon (plus an epilogue that surprises me every time). Though I’ve done my best, describing K’an’s music here doesn’t do justice to its power.
It’s tragic that I nearly overlooked this altogether — cheers to Onyudo for promoting this gorgeous gem. Highly, highly recommended!