Aniseed is a musician working quietly in the Norfolk countryside who over the years has been building a catalogue of work and sound experiments across a swathe of styles. This single release comprises of music recorded through a combination of magnetic tape and modern recording techniques, with roots in both electronic and acoustic traditions. Fragments of guitar and Dictaphone recordings are built upon by keys, brass, weightless percussion and stripped down synths.
Geranium – four track EP
2. The Game with the Tin Cat
3. Mr. Mylar
4. Geranium Detector
‘Crabshells‘ evolves from a collage of broken snares into a more solidly formed melody composed by blocks of repeating and overlapping guitars – reminiscent of early Bibio. ‘The Game with The Tin Cat‘ provides an example of one of Ani’s more obscured sound-worlds, featuring an ebb and crackling that draws itself from those early memories of life in the water mill. ‘Mr Myler‘ has reflections of ‘crabshells’ with its gentle acoustic strings which start to layer, but this time we take a different course with a slow strumming bass eventually being joined by mellow synth layers. ‘Geranium Detector‘ leaves with something more stripped back, working through snippets of dialogue and something akin to footsteps whilst a synthesizer unwinds above. Across all the tracks there is a commonality — a feeling of delicately formed resolutions that are on the verge of falling apart.
What a little treasure, overall a very organic sound with a wonderful use of field recordings that add depth to the tracks. There’s a playfulness to the music and a sense experimentation in the production. It’s such a pleasure going through the layers of the EP finding new things as the music evolves and uncovering little elements you previously missed. If Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin are part of your collection you may want to track this one down.
Side Note: may be a limited release on certain formats.
Release Date: 23rd November on Chloride City
…..if that’s peeked your interest, take a trip into the world of Aniseed….
Aniseed is standing on a water damaged desk in an abandoned office building, microphone in hand. The tiled ceiling has fallen through in places, exposing air ducts and wiring. The panels that dropped down are cracked and crumbled atop the stained old carpets. “They left all their paperwork” says Ani. “What would cause them to get up and never come back?”
Ani came to record sounds, and has spent the day walking around with a long mic trailed by a long cord. The office is beige and grey, but Ani is vibrant – messy pearlescent hair and a shirt covered in a pattern of miniature multi-coloured shirts. “I come to a lot of places like this. Even though nobody is here, there is a lot to hear.”
These sorts of inanimate sounds underpinned Ani’s own childhood in the rural throws of East Anglia. “I grew up in an old watermill. Sleeping, playing, eating, whatever. Everything was backed by that hiss of water and the creaks from the turning water wheel.”
These early memories have indelibly coloured Ani’s perception of music – through most of their work there is a distance to the compositions and something bubbling beneath the surface. “I like to blur the acoustic and the synthetic. There’s something about lo-fi recordings that creates a sort of shadow to the music. It lets you listen differently at different times.”
Ani takes a break from recording the ambient creakings of the collapsing cubicles and sits down on an overturned late-90s copy machine. “Sometimes I come out and record sounds really late at night. The whole world sounds different at night. There are sounds in the early hours that most of us never hear because we’re either too pissed or fast asleep.”
Opening up a rucksack, Ani produces two apples, a pack of clove cigarettes, and a bottle of Robinson’s squash (and sips without diluting). “I’ve always tried to spend as much time awake at night as I can. Growing up I always listened to music late into the night on my Walkman. I played The Best of Queen and Spice World by the Spice Girls over and over and over again.”
Cassette tapes played a major role in the shaping and development of their sound. Ani recalls discovering a trove of tapes in the late 90’s: “I found them [tapes] in a shoebox behind a park near where I grew up. Most of them were blank, but two contained voices from some sort of church service with organ music and lots of static”. Disembodied and without context, these recordings left an indelible mark on Ani, and became a sort of catalyst in their fascination with found voices and sampled conversations. “I almost like to believe somebody buried them there just for me. They knew I was coming to find them. That’s not the case obviously, but it would make my life seem less random.”
Ani was excited by music and in their early-to-mid teens taught themselves to play guitar, the piano, and a dozen or so other instruments (including the flugelhorn). The traditional “band” setup never suited Ani particularly well, and their early attempts at ensembles (Zebra Sage, Hessian Sex Mask, and Lesser Pharaohs) dissolved before producing any notable recordings. Ani eventually came to the realisation that their music could be made in solitude, without much expense or fanfare.
“My first attempts at preserving anything musically would have been on a hand-me-down PC from my neighbour, who was a retired engineer. It was a piece of shit though, constantly crashing. I had a bootlegged copy of Acid but no MIDI controller. I’d programme notes with mouse, one at a time”. Ani used this set up to start creating experimental, folk-inflected noise-scapes as well as convoluted mixtapes. Soon after, Ani began drip-feeding these recordings onto Soundcloud and also amassed a private library of hundreds of tracks.
After eating, Ani packs up and leaves the office block through a shattered ground floor bathroom window, carefully lowering themselves into the alley below. A short hop over a padlocked gate and Ani is hurrying down a city street in downtown Norwich. It’s raining quite heavily. A bit wet and winded, Ani arrives at the bus terminal and sits on a covered bench, waiting for the next service heading to the rural village they call home. “I’ve been writing a lot recently, lots of new stuff, but I wrote the songs on Geranium a year or so ago while I was working in a factory.” Ani sees their bus rounding the corner into the station. “I think they’ve probably replaced me with an automaton by now.”
The bus arrives. Ani boards and pays for a single ticket from a pocketful of small coins and then climbs to the second deck, sitting right at the front, forming a colourful silhouette behind the misted windscreen. Ani’s finger traces some shapes onto the fogged glass, but the bus pulls out and rounds the corner before it can be deciphered.