ANMA | Kitahama Ghosts
What a great introduction to the work of Andreas Mangweth, aka ANMA (not to be confused w/the hiphop Greek or the Japanese hardcore act) but the double bass playing jazz musician who has gone way leftfield here. Anyone who quotes Mingus on his homepage is alright in my book, but this record is not just “good” it’s a sleeper that kills it. What eactly ‘it’ is can be left to your imagination, after all these seven Kitahama Ghosts will haunt you for hours after listening, I promise (and I rarely do that).
I’m taken aback that I’ve not heard of this gent whose been turning out mostly 12″s for over a dozen years, alas, I’ve never had access to this Austrian until recently. Each track on this tape, as a whole, really plays well in succession. There are warped mysteries embedded thanks to the way in which he manages to (it seems) wield his stringed instrument (however, supposedly no acoustic instruments were used), creating a rhythm of malleable drone and grainy static. The textural qualities are inebriating once he starts to loop his patterns in fine layers.
Though one might expect by its title and coverart something a bit like a dreary shoegazer, this has pert electronics that are closer to cosmic than some obtuse melancholy. These ghosts are ‘spirited’ – “a selection of live improvisations inspired by events that took place in Kitahama, Osaka“. It’s a work of great detail and complexity, that sounds simple yet so emotive. Mangweth finds a way to hint at Eastern cultural traditions without excerpting directly from or reinterpreting directly – instead he has this subtly oblique approach that plays on and with tonalities and synthetic forms. Kitahama Ghosts Pt. 5 is a genuine hybrid of so many things, but at its core there’s this cosmic heartbeat, not an actual bpm, but it’s a living thing that opens like various compartments, one at a time.
ANMA‘s use of electronics seems to be enchanted by the elemental, by the basic glassine tones that, with just the right amount of tweeking and dialing up and down, become a way to sculpt and fashion new forms. Stay for part seven as you may miss the ghost in the machine otherwise. Here the form takes shape in the subtle engagement with the wind. Breathless.