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Jon Anderson - Animation CD (album) cover

ANIMATION

Jon Anderson

 

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3.33 | 140 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Jon Anderson's 3rd solo album was released in 1982 (a year before the release of Yes' "90125" and during a time when he was collaborating with Mike Oldfield and Vangelis. With this album, Jon strives to make his sound quite accessible, but he does it without compromising his overall sound and style. He seems to touch on several different sounds and styles with this album making it more like his own album with the Vangelis influence less present as on his first solo album. The music ranges from a long progressive track (Animation) to reggae (Surrender), to latin (Much Better Reason), to acoustic (Boundaries). He does all this by using several different artists (Jack Bruce, Simon Phillips and David Sancious) to help him out as he did in the album "Song of the Seven", though this one sounds much more polished. He even used producers (Neil Kernon who worked with Hall & Oates, Tony Visconti who worked with David Bowie and T. Rex) that were used to working with popular styles.

Olympia - Upbeat with a guitar-led intro and then a bunch of synths come in. Anderson uses his familiar voice for a try at more accessible music. The squeals from the synth are a bit unnecessary along with the electronic blips and bleeps, but the track overall is good. The guitar continues to have a nice presence. Some mixed field recordings in the break.

Animation - This is the album's centerpiece even if it is at the beginning. It seems that the track is placed here purposely to appeal to the proggers who might expect some more complexity, and that's what you get here with this nine minute title track. The music weaves around some changing and complex rhythms, moods and styles. It could have fit pretty well on a Yes album, but the lyrics are definitely personal to Jon which is why it works better on a solo record. The last part of the track turns to a quiet, pensive sound with Jon's vulnerable vocals backed by piano and keys.

Surrender - Rolling percussion and twinkling synths bring in a mid-tempo track with a nice soft reggae backbeat returns to a more accessible style. Vocal layers are mixed in a choral feel.

All in a Matter of Time - Another mid-tempo song but this time with a nice flowing feel. Nice mix of guitar and synth here.

Unlearning (The Dividing Line) - A bit of a funky rhythm heavy on the bass and percussion makes for a catchy track and a good melody which isn't necessarily typical, but still accessible. Multiple vocal lines make for an interesting center section.

Boundaries - Twinkling keys and acoustic guitar bring this nice track in which sounds somewhat similar to "Wondrous Stories", and that's a good thing.

Pressure Point - Tricky percussion line and processed vocals bring this in and the melody line is a tad more complex this time around, so you could almost pass this one off as progressive. Nice harmonies and use of electronic effects.

Much Better Reason - Mid tempo with some latin-jazz leanings.

All God's Children - Percussion heavy with a steady beat and what sounds like a large choir for an uplifting track with a tribal flavor.

There is a lot of variety to this album and the songs are all very positive and bright as you would expect from Jon Anderson. Even though the progressive style is limited to 2 tracks, this is still an album I enjoy mostly because of the wide variety here which is accomplished while still making the album rather cohesive. Quite frankly, none of it sound too contrived (except for maybe the last track to a degree), so it manages not to get on my nerves after all this time. As a side note, there was a follow up to this album planned, but it never came to be with some material reworked into "90125". I would rate this as a 3.5 album, but I'll round it down because of the limited use of progressive style.

TCat | 3/5 |

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