on 6 October 2005
Ok, before reviewing this CD, let me just say that as of this writing (6th October 2005) the sound clips on this site are still WRONG. (Wake up amazon!) If you're considering buying this CD and want to hear what the Afro Celt Sound System sounds like, you might want to check out some other online music retailers. At the very least, look up one of the band's five other albums on this site and listen to those sound clips, which will give you an idea of what the band is like.
Now that the ranting is over, let's talk about the music. ACSS released their first album ten years ago to wild critical and commercial acclaim. That recording, VOLUME 1: SOUND MAGIC, was a world fusion masterpiece. Their subsequent releases have all built on that foundation, from the club-friendly beats of VOLUME 2: RELEASE and the global power of VOLUME 3: FURTHER IN TIME (which featured guests such as Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, and Altan) to the more organic and ethereal sounds of 2003's SEED and the dramatic reinterpretations of last year's POD (a remix project that was more creative and fulfilling than anything else in its class).
ANATOMIC is proof positive that the Afro Celt Sound System has honed its craft to perfection. The opening track, "When I Still Needed You" is a heart-wrenching epic that marries accordian, bouzouki, bodhran and other percussion, and superb programming with the impassioned vocals of Dorothee Munyaneza, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide who first collaborated with the band on the HOTEL RWANDA soundtrack. Next up is "My Secret Bliss," a funky duet between Iarla O'Lionaird and guest vocalist Sevara Nazarkhan. The 10-plus minute "Mojave" is the musical and emotional high point of the album, with atmospheric keys, spiritual Gaelic vocals courtesy of Iarla, and a vast array of instrumentation including uilleann pipes by Emer Mayock, dhol drums courtesy of Johnny Kalsi, some very soukous/East African-inspired guitar by Simon Emmerson, and beautiful Irish whistle and bodhran by James McNally, who plays just about every instrument imaginable, and plays it well.
Each song that follows is a joy, from the gentle African strains of "Sene" (featuring vocals and kora by N'Faly Kouyate, with a sound reminiscent of Youssou N'Dour) to the beautiful electronic ballad "Beautiful Rain" with English vox by Iarla. The title track is a classic Afro Celts instrumental with swirling keyboards, uilleann pipes, fiddles, and percussion that will light up the dance floor, while "Mother" features another appearance from Dorothee Munyaneza, trading vocals in a touching duet with Iarla. "Dhol Dogs" assaults the senses with aggressive programming and a symphonic, "Europe meets Asia" vibe, and then "Drake" ends the hour-long journey on a mellow note with a predominantly acoustic sound that eventually morphs into electronic bliss.
Producer/engineer Martin Russell ties the whole package together with sensitivity and grace, proving once again that the Afro Celt Sound System is the only act around to have discovered the perfect musical balance between man and machine. ANATOMIC is a feast for the ears and the perfect capstone to ten years of musical milestones from this groundbreaking band.
on 9 October 2005
There are no superlatives to adequately describe this CD. You just have to buy it to experience it for yourself. The band has gone way beyond the descriptions of World Music or Fusion, and has created a whole new sound, with production levels that are second to none. With each playing of the album you hear new levels in the music, subtleties that you missed on previous listenings. Plug in a good set of headphones, stretch out on the sofa and let the music do wonderful things to you. By the way, it took me 4 attempts before I could listen to the album without have to go back & repeat the track Mojave (track 3), which is by far the best piece the lads have ever written and one of the finest pieces of modern instrumental music I've ever heard!!!
on 9 December 2005
Five albums on – six if you include the their excellent “POD” remixes from last year – and the Afro Celts just get better & better. Totally in command of the complexities of seamlessly fusing African & Celtic melodies with western club beats they now radiate complete confidence in using the unique, multi-layered sound they’ve developed to make highly original music that switches effortlessly from the beautifully reflective to the genuinely exciting. Brilliantly produced, perfectly executed and much richer & broader than any simple categorisations such as “world”, “fusion” or “club” imply, “Anatomic” is the stunning result of a 10 year journey of exploration… a record in which every track’s unforgettably good and several are quite exceptional.
on 6 January 2006
....after seeing other comments this is going to seem so simple but I just had to add something about this totally brilliant group of musicians I discovered purely by accident when I bought their first album. I thought they were amazing then, saw them in concert at what I think was a World Music festival in London and then went on to buy their other albums, the latest buy being Anatomic. Words (almost) fail me. Their style is so exciting I could hardly contain myself when I was listening to this CD, particularly the totally stunning Mojave. I have yet to listen to this particular track on headphones, savouring the anticipation!! If you haven't got this disc - buy it now - you won't be disappointed.
I came across this album completely by chance while browsing a music download site and after sampling some of the tracks I decided to buy the CD. I've never really considered myself a world music fan but this is really excellent and even though the sound is a completely unique fusion of different instruments and voices it somehow seems very natural, like coming home. Sorry if that sounds like new age mumbo jumbo but that's the phrase that came to me. Honest, I'm not a mumbo jumbo kind of person, just a humble tealady.
on 17 October 2008
I happen to crash into Afro Celt recently (Shame on me I never came across them before!) while browsing for world music on Amazon and was initially driven by the "Anatomic (2005)" title and cover art. Then was convinced to buy a copy after reading so many superb reviews. The most interesting part being that I bought this along with Enigma's latest "Seven Lives Many Faces (2008)".
I dont want to undermine any artist since everyone puts in their best, but I just had to listen to both just once only to know that this 3 year old thing will just blow my head out!!! To be honest, I have not been able to listen to anything else for a month.
All world music enthusiasts should look no further and those starting to take interest also are looking at the right one. You will experience an invigorating intensity and seamless joy in this extraordinary composition. The third track "Mojave" is beyond any explaination. You got to let it rip through your headphones to know.
Hats off to Afro Celt and no doubt I am buying all 5 volumes!
on 29 September 2005
I must appologise for any afro celt fans wanting to hear a preview of our new record. Up to this date (29/9/05) what you get instead of our record is some hilarious bland jazz fusion. No we haven't all grown our hair into dodgy mullets, got curly perms and bought nice designer leisure wear. Smooth jazz be damned! It's the devils music, and we'd appreciate it if the hard working IT bods at Amazon replace it with genuine extracts from our new album or else we'll come round and lock you in a room with nothing but Kenny G records to listen to. Mmmmmm.Nice.
Simon Emmerson (Afro Celt Sound System)
PS: if amazon have by now corrected this mistake please ignore this posting
on 18 December 2010
I first came across the Afro Celt SS via the track featuring Robert Plant, on Volume 3. Bought that CD - and loved all of the tracks. So.. I bought all their others too...!
This latest CD is easily as good as their earlier stuff - and might even be better.
If you like their earlier stuff, don't hesitate to buy this one. If you have yet to experince the ACSS effect, it's a pretty good place to start, IMHO.
Reccommended - Buy!!
on 19 September 2007
I was so amazed when I saw this band and thought that Anatomic wouldn't be able to live up to my high expectations, how wrong I was. I expected this to be good but not as stunning and beautiful as it is...great clarity and combines african/celtic vibes with such smoothness its a pleasure listening, again and again..I love all genres of music but this has to be one of the best I've heard...buy it...you won't be disappointed!
on 7 September 2006
If, like me, you were disappointed by the shortening of their name and the more song/commercial direction of 'Seed', then don't despair or give up. This is more like what I was looking for from an Afro Celt Sound System album and even more so. Put it on some headphones and take it for a run.