Anemone Tube – The Three Worlds: Allegory of Vanity/Forget Heaven/Vanity of Allegory 3xCD Box The Epicurean/La Esencia 2017
Anemone Tube has been rather prolific in recent years involving main albums and collaborative splits; however, this triple CD does not contain new material, but functions to draw together a collection of earlier out of print and previously unreleased material spanning the years 1997 to 2013.
With the tracks on CD1 and CD2 dating broadly from the period of 1997 to 2000, they are notably looser and less refined, but do still retain a semblance of structure and direction, rather than being overtly chaotic. Overall there is a sense of the tracks being sprawling in scope, built around atmospheric yet abrasive sonics and fleeting musical moments which are revealed through synth washes, sampled Asiatic strings, clean-plucked guitar, pulsing programming etc. (depending on the track). An overall impression of this material is that the production sits towards the murkier grey-toned end of the sonic spectrum, which is particularly highlighted when compared to the tonal clarity of current material. Another observation to make is that as the material featured on the first two discs is from the earlier phase of the project, it is perhaps more typically representative of the abstract post-industrial sounds being produced at the time. As such the material on the first two discs is specifically interesting in providing context to the early developmental phase and is equally demonstrative of how far Anemone Tube have progressed with their sound and approach to composition and production on current releases.
With the first two discs providing a history lesson on the project, the material featured on the third disc more readily resembles the current sound and direction of Anemone Tube (six tracks are from the 2007 to 2013 period, with a further three from 1998 to 1999, but only released in 2013). The first unreleased piece, Obscure the Sun, is grim and ominous in tone and expertly blends field recording elements, mid-toned distortion and melodious synth lines; it unites nicely with the following three tracks which are previously unreleased pieces from the Death Over China recording sessions. While these pieces are equally complex and as engaging as the material on Death Over China, they are notably different for their distorted ferocity, junk metal crunch and pulsing structures (it’s then understandable why they were not included on the main album). The following four tracks are broadly similar in that they are short tracks which opt for a looser and sprawling, partly attacking, industrial noise approach. This then leaves the final track From Anthropocentrism to Demonocentrism II to conclude the set with a more recognized (and excellent) piece of heavily-treated field recording elements, invasive distortion, and looped melody-tinged drones.
On the visual side of things, the beautifully designed packaging, highly conceptual imagery and overall slick and refined presentation functions to unite these various recordings under a coherent banner. Available in two editions, including three separate CDs each in six panel digi-file (300 copies) or as a special edition hand numbered edition in a cardboard sleeve including a poster, sticker, and patch with logo (100 copies).
Editor’s postscript note: The above review was prepared based on receiving a pre-release digital promo, thus I did not have the complete artwork and packaging in hand at the time it was written. However, now that I have received the full physical release, I have noted it functions to more clearly separate the work into its three parts, which includes separate covers with individual artwork and liner notes that allows the strength of each disc to shine through. I have also found it necessary to reevaluate my prior comments above regarding the first and second CD’s, particularly as this new found appreciation has revealed far more variation and sonic detailing in the earlier works than the above review might otherwise suggest. So while each disc can certainly stand on their own, it also reinforces the impression of this triple album as a strongly focused conceptual set and is best appreciated in its intended totality.