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Anima-Sound - Stürmischer Himmel CD (album) cover





2.67 | 13 ratings

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3 stars After digesting the more savory albums on the kosmische smorgasbord, where would a still ravenous Krautrocker turn for his next meal? One option on a seemingly endless menu would be the (almost) undeservedly forgotten husband/wife team of Paul and Limpe Fuchs, bucolic misfits who in the wide-open musical culture of the early 1970s performed under the name Anima-Sound.

The couple's best-known effort, among Krautrock cognoscenti at any rate, was recorded for R.U. Kaiser's Ohr Records, a label renowned for its willfully offbeat talent roster (famously signing Tangerine Dream in 1970 precisely because the band had no commercial potential at the time). The closest contemporary equivalent to Anima-Sound was probably early Cluster/Kluster, but the difference is extreme. Instead of exploring the brave new world of electronics and synthesizers, Paul and Limpe pursued a strictly acoustic muse, using homemade instruments named with tongue-in-cheek vanity: Fuchshorn, Fuchsbass, and (my favorite) the onomatopoetic Klangbleche.

Don't let their unplugged hippie ethic fool you: the music is no less freeform or challenging than any other amateur, avant-noise freakfest. The word anima refers of course to the soul: the sustaining force inside all living creatures, including the livestock in the Fuchs family barnyard, denied the performance credit they so richly deserved here. The LP actually fades in on a rough field recording of sheep bleating in a very windy meadow, and the balance of the album sounds (not unpleasantly, to these crackpot ears) as if the same animals were somehow trained to play rudimentary percussion fills.

The singing too - if that's what this is - exists on the same spontaneous plane. One minute Limpe can be heard muttering quietly in a pre-verbal tongue; the next she's suddenly whooping as if Paul had just goosed her with his Schilfzinken. Laugh all you want (or cringe in embarrassed torment), but if the Fuchs had worn giant eyeball masks and tuxedos, instead of performing naked in black body paint, they might have been the world's first Residents, and be remembered today as pioneers of Rock in Opposition nonconformity.

The album is definitely an acquired taste, even for adventurous listeners able to forgive the dated lo-fi aesthetic. But there's a certain purity to their non-professional noisemaking, audible even today: rarely has grass-roots music ever been so deeply rooted in actual grass, or sheep manure.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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