ANIMATION

Eclectic Fusion / Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop • United States
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In December 2006, as part of a series called “Reissue: Classic Recordings Live,” Belden led Animation into New York City’s famed and more classically oriented Merkin Hall for a rare show performed by his extremely happenstance, inconspicuous aggregate. That’s where they “re-imagined” Bitches Brew, and where the BBC, in tow, recorded the music for posterity.

No, you won’t find Bitches Brew played verbatim with this group. To the contrary, Animation proves that a group of musicians can distill the essence of a classic album while creating a unique musical fingerprint to make it a “new original.” Asiento showcases musicians taking liberties, reinventing a work of art from 40 years ago and reinterpreting and applying the original work to the parameters and context of the 21st century. Such now-classic material like “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down,” “Spanish Key” and the title track, as well as other tracks from the original album,
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ANIMATION Discography

ANIMATION albums / top albums

ANIMATION Agemo album cover 3.98 | 4 ratings
Agemo
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 2011
ANIMATION Transparent Heart album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Transparent Heart
Eclectic Fusion 2012
ANIMATION Machine Language album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Machine Language
Eclectic Fusion 2015

ANIMATION EPs & splits

ANIMATION live albums

ANIMATION Asiento album cover 4.07 | 4 ratings
Asiento
Eclectic Fusion 2011

ANIMATION demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

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ANIMATION Reviews

ANIMATION Transparent Heart

Album · 2012 · Eclectic Fusion
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js
“Transparent Heart” is the second album by Bob Belden’s modern fusion project, Animation, and finds him working with a similar mix of 70s Miles with modern influences for another excellent instrumental collage. “Transparent Heart” contains a collection of tracks that flow together seamlessly to tell the story of Belden’s experiences in New York City; from initial impressions upon his arrival to the city, to the attack on the towers and its socioeconomic aftermath, and to the recent occupy movement. The end result is a modern fusion “symphony”, much like the city itself; kinetic, busy and energetic at times, but foreboding and darkly dramatic at other times.

The expected Milers Davis styled high energy jazz-rock workouts are here, and the band often recalls the DeJohnette led “Live at the Fillmore” sessions. Animation drummer Matt Young’s modern drumnbass influenced beats show how close DeJohnette was to a proto drumnbass beat back in the 70s. All the other members of Belden’s crew turn in great solos with Roberto Verastegui’s keyboard work being particularly interesting when he eschews flashy solos for a more modern approach that uses odd dissonant drones. Belden frames these energetic sections with dark electronic orchestrated melodies that sound like a modern movie soundtrack. Other quiet moments feature collages of taped voices topped with somber flute or electric piano colors.

This is an excellent CD whose depth and dramatic impact continues to grow with repeated listens. Although there is plenty of good modern fusion on here without a trace of 70s kitsch cuteness, “Transparent Heart” is more that just a fusion record, as it encompasses a wide range of styles and moods that paint a vast colorful soundtrack.

ANIMATION Asiento

Live album · 2011 · Eclectic Fusion
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js
“Asiento” is a live concert recording on which saxophonist Bob Belden leads an all-star cast in a recreation of the classic “Bitches Brew” album, but with the intention of adding drumnbass and Weather Report influences to Miles' original concept. The combination of Miles’ open-ended jams with drumnbass flavored rhythms and a Weather Report interactive ensemble mentality was a risky endeavor, but Belden and his crew pull off this experiment successfully and produce some great music in the process. The idea of a “Weather Report approach” could have gone many different ways, but Belden and the others wisely chose Weather Report’s hyper-syncopated years with Alphonso Johnson, as well as WR’s earliest experimental years, for their influence, and eschewed the more heavy-handed WR of later years. Likewise, the drumnbass rhythms supplied by drummer Guy Licata fit the original Brew bass lines like a glove and nothing sounds forced or contrived. Interestingly enough, the combination of Matt Garrison’s Alphonso influenced bass playing with the Miles style jam sessions often recalls similarly styled bassist Marcus Miller’s work with Miles in the early 80s. Also, the way the Brew tunes are strung together in a live concert also recalls Miles’ classic Fillmore concerts and albums.

These jams/songs are fortunately lengthy and quite free in structure and thus give a lot of room for the musicians to stretch out. Of special interest are the many quiet sections in which the musicians supply minute floating elements, it is in these sections that DJ Logic's subtle noise contributions are able to shine. Every musician is given plenty of room to play long line solos that meander in and out of the mix. The wide open nature of this music makes it hold up well to repeat listens as there is always some new ideas to hear that you may have missed during previous listens. If you liked the original "Bitches Brew" album, or Miles' 70s jam sessions in general, then there is a good chance you will enjoy "Asiento" too. Also, if you enjoy "Asiento", then you may want to check out Animation's follow-up album, "Agemo", on which "Asiento" is given a special 360D headphone mix as well as bonus re-mixes by top named DJs and producers.

ANIMATION Agemo

Album · 2011 · Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop
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gbruzzo
Disc 1 of Agemo is a new mix (from the original stems) of Animation's Asiento. The mix was produced by Mike Brady of 3D60 UK Ltd (http://www.3d60.co.uk/index.php?cat=work&page=agemo for more information). The mix is specifically targeted to the headphone user: compared to Asiento, it's a totally new mix-design - much greater dynamic range (up to 20db), generally lower levels, Kinsey's keyboards are now more prominent and visible, spacing out of Licata's kit, spreading out of the soundstage and sound-sculpturing of DJ Logic's performance).

The 3D60 process is specially targeted to the Headphone user - playing Agemo on a Quad System, though an interesting experiment (I tried 5+1 surround :-)) and one that gives insights, is not the way to listen to this recording. I wish we could provide a mix that catered simultaneously for surround/quad/headphone listeners :-), but that, I'm afraid requires targeted mixes. Summarising, I warmly encourage you to put some (decent) headphones on, load the disc and switch the world off for a little over an hour....that is the way it is meant to be listened to.

Disc is an attempt to shift our attention from a New mix to a RE-mix. The names are solid, Laswell, DJ Logic himself, Youth (e.g. Paul McCartney's partner in The Fireman and Killing Joke bassist, and, Gaudi, Fanu and Joaquin Claussell. We wanted to get to DJ Krush, but it was a little complicated :-)

You will find more information about how Agemo came about at http://www.densesignals.com/2011/12/28/rarenoiserecords-a-myopic-retrospective-part-4/ and http://www.densesignals.com/2011/11/01/new-rarenoiserecords-release-nov-28th-agemo-by-animation/ for more information.

ANIMATION Agemo

Album · 2011 · Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop
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js
“Agemo” is a re-mix of Animation’s previously released “Asiento” album. “Asiento” was a bold experiment in which saxophonist Bob Belden led an all-star cast in a live recreation of the classic “Bitches Brew” album, but with the intention of adding drumnbass and Weather Report influences. The combination of Miles’ open-ended jams with drumnbass flavored rhythms plus a Weather Report interactive ensemble mentality was successful and fortunately made for some great material to re-mix with. The idea of a “Weather Report approach” could have gone many different ways, but Belden and his crew wisely chose Weather Report’s hyper-syncopated years with Alphonso Johnson, as well as WR’s earliest experimental years for their influence, and eschewed the more heavy-handed WR of later years. Likewise, the drumnbass rhythms supplied by drummer Guy Licata fit the original Brew bass lines like a glove and nothing sounds forced or contrived. Interestingly enough, the combination of Matt Garrison’s Alphonso influenced bass playing with the Miles style jam sessions often recalls similarly styled bassist Marcus Miller’s work with Miles in the early 80s. Also, the way the Brew tunes are strung together in a live concert also recalls Miles’ classic Fillmore concerts and albums.

The “Asiento” album certainly supplied some great material to work with, so how do the re-mixes on “Agemo” sound? Disc one is basically the entire concert in full, but given a very spatial headphone mix called 3D60. Although I usually listen to speakers, I gave this mix a test ride with a set of headphones and the spatial movement of the sound is very nice. Still wanting to hear the effects on a set of speakers, I also played this CD on an old quad system set on simulated quad sound and the simulation seemed to pick up a lot of the spatial movement. Disc two of “Agemo” takes the six original tracks on “Asiento” and assigns each track to a different DJ or producer for re-mixing in various dub, trip-hop and drumnbass styles. These re-mixes are mostly pleasant, but most don’t really bring anything new to the table. The one exception is Bill Laswell’s drumnbass re-mix of “Pharaoh’s Dance” which finds the perfect beat to drive the original snaky bass line.

Disc one of “Agemo” is excellent modern fusion with lots of wide open improvised instrumental sections that hold up very well to repeat listening. Each replay reveals new surprises and details previously missed. Disc two re-mixes that material into some nice club friendly beats, but with not as much adventure as disc one.

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