Title: Annodam 94
Artist: Th.e n.d
Release Date: July 20th, 2013
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Enough Records
In some cases there is electronic, down-tempo / chill music that demands to be written about. ‘Annodam 94’ by Th.e n.d is one of these cases. From the opening swirl of Everything Starts With a Beginning you have the sense that there is something about this recording, you can tell this is music that has a story; has some element of a narrative to it. And, you aren’t disappointed when a voice explains that there is a possibility that the way perceive distance maybe not be the only way that objects relate in space to each other.
And as the strains of this first track end, and are the opening crescendos of Shiny Purple Circle begin, you will (if you haven’t already) look for the cover artwork. And, it’s in the artwork that you find the key to this release. The cover depicts a wooded setting with a path, on one side sits a naked woman with a silver mask to her face, along an ape headed person. A horse-headed man lays across the path, and in the background is what appears to be a burrow headed person is picking up something from the ground. It’s obvious these are your companions on your music journey down this wooded path.
It’s either an image out of your dreams (or nightmares), or one that reminds you of a fairy tale. It’s as if Mother Goose or the Brother’s Grimm had taken acid before writing their tales.
As each track unwinds itself before your ears, you are greeted with a new story. A new, environment that can be haunting, eerie, disturbing, or driving, direct and straight forward. All of the elements, from the instruments to rhythms form intricate dances of narrative. Sometimes these narratives are punctuated with spoken word elements that complete the overall piece, sometimes the dance is the complete form.
Listening through all twelve tracks on this release, you feel as if you have read a complete collection of short stories. Each one told lovingly, with carefully chosen narrative details and characters that are compelling and dynamic. You have been taken into a fantasy world that you don’t want to leave, and when you have read the last page you start again from the beginning, knowing that walking down this path again will reveal more things that you hadn’t noticed or paid enough attention to during your first journey.
I posited the question recently of what makes one down-tempo release really good, and others not so good. In this case we have an IDM release that separates itself from others by engaging us with story telling through music. Providing a listening experience that is as engaging as any well-written fantasy or sci-fi novel.