anrimeal – Could Divine, Remembered

Posted: 25 May 2021 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Demo Records / Crossness Records – 30th April 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

While I’m no fan of remix albums as a rule, the last year or so has clearly made it difficult for artists to create new material, and since touring’s been off the table, options for maintaining profiles – or making sales – have be limited to say the least. And with time to reflect and review, revisiting and revising previous output through fresh eyes seems more than reasonable.

It’s also refreshing to see ‘Could Divine, Remembered’, the release from anrimeal (the recording project of Ana Rita de Melo Alves), described not as a remix album, but a ‘meditative companion piece to her debut album ‘Could Divine’’. As the blurbage explains, ‘‘Could Divine, Remembered’ refuses the limits of the traditional ‘remix album’ – sure, there are remixes here, but amongst them you’ll find demos, reflections, confessions, rituals, and the artist’s own heartbeat. The sum of these parts is an immersive audio documentary about the making of Ana’s debut. For those familiar with ‘Could Divine’, this is a chance to look behind the scenes and magnify its meticulous detail; for those unfamiliar, it allows a first visit to an abundant internal world.’

I fall into the latter camp, although drawing lines across between the tracks on this new reworking and the original proves an informative exercise, and the reworked titles provide some insight into the inspirations or ideas behind these alternative renditions of each song (notably ‘Encaustic Witches’ returns here as ‘Encaustic Witches as an Ambient Track to Help Me Sleep’ and ‘Headrest’ appears as ‘Headrest, A Story About Feeling’. Elsewhere, explanatory or embellishing details appear, as ‘Death’ becomes ‘Death is a Burning Ritual’.

“When I think of nature, nothing happens,” she says at the very start of the album on ‘Hello and a Half’: it’s quite a contrast to the twitter of birdsong and lo-fi acoustic guitar that heralds the arrival of ‘Marching Parades’, the opener on ‘Could Divine’, and immediately we’re parachuted into the documentary aspect of this fascinatingly multi-fascinated work, which lays Ana’s workings out bare. Cars pass as the speech takes on an almost spoken word narrative form – but even that’s not straightforward as delays double-up her voice and as she explains how the album is about her ‘going into the wild’, it seems that some of that wild is more psychological than literal, an exploration of internal territories hitherto uncharted. At times, it ventures into the kind of disorientating cut-up tape works of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin in the late 50s and early 60s, and elsewhere, her monotone voice, against a sift, dappled backdrop is soporific and sedative.

This is an album of ideas and of origins, of snippets and sketches, as well as of reworkings and revisions. It’s bitty, but somehow hangs together remarkably well as an insight into Ana’s creative process. At the same time, in straddling the before and after that sit either side of Could Divine, it questions the notion of the ‘end product’, the idea that there is ever a ‘finished article’.

The demo of ‘Could Flower’ reveals the early shoots of the idea that would become the album’s title track. It’s a haunting acoustic folk piece, which would subsequently metamorphosise into a fragmentary, multi-segmented work that transitions as if through a dream sequence. There’s an ethereal, evasive quality to Could Divine, Remembered, and it places the album in a realm all of its own.

As an aside, all profits from the release will be donated to Plataforma de Apoio aos Refugiados, a Portuguese refugee support organisation. In bleak times, we once again see art being used as a conduit for good – and this, it has to be said, is good art.

AA

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