Animat: How to be a Shadow
You know those interviews where they ask people for their favourite things about living in Sheffield? Well, when they get round to asking me, Animat will be up there with the rest. I’ve been trying to spread the word ever since I first came across Sheffield’s masters of ambient dub, and this, their forth album, is as beautiful and fascinating as anything they’ve ever produced. Word must be getting out there, I’m pleased to report, as this is released on Banco De Gaia’s ultra-cool Disco Gecko label.
The album is a collection of music adapted from their recent soundtrack to a 1974 French film Un Homme Qui Dort, which they’ve been performing around the country over the last year. The films they specialise in providing music for are most certainly not silent films, (how many more Dr Caligari soundtracks can we take?), but films with minimal dialogue, where their music can enhance, or underscore, or compliment or even contrast the screen images. Listening to this soundtrack, the moods and settings are rich and varied but above all fascinating, creating a soundscape and atmosphere which shifts and turns. It’s tempting to play it in the background, and it does work that way, but listening closely and repeatedly reveals hidden subtleties and real beauty. I’ve yet to see the film with its accompanying new soundtrack, so the forthcoming Sheffield premier, at Regather should be a night to remember.