Analecta – Janus Bifrons (2011)

Posted: February 21, 2012 by Is This Revolutionary? in Album, Reviews
Tags: ,

An·a·lec·ta (n-lkt) pl.n.-
 selections from or parts of a literary work or group of works, often used as a title.

I love when bands teach me vocabulary.

Analecta is a very fitting name for this three piece post-rock experimental band from South Bend, Indiana, three hours outside Indianapolis. Everything you’re expecting is wrong. Everything. You expect a post-rock band: wrong. You expect an ambient album: wrong. You expect a metal-filled thrash fest: you couldn’t be more wrong. What Analecta brings is a combination of everything you know and love about calm, atmospheric music and wraps it up in a pretty little bow.

At first listen, Analecta sounds like a pretty, yet simple, post-rock band. They have pretty ambient guitars, pretty electronic bits behind it. Pretty, pretty, pretty. I was digging what I first heard, but I didn’t know if I could take 50 minutes of that. After one song, the sound completely flipped, now more energetic after that opening 4 minute lull. On “Trying to Map the Horizon”, you first experience a theme of theirs that they reiterate throughout the course of their album: juxtaposition. Within 1 minute of the song, they hop into an airy synthesizer thrown against heavy, jarring guitars straight off my last Seventh Dagger release. I really was into the creative drum bits they used in this song as well, and that all lead up to this mountainous surge of energy, sounding a bit like Cloudkicker, but a little lighter (which I was totally fine with). Finally, with all that said and done, they pair it with a beautiful, God Is An Astronaut-esque layer on top, which was perfectly executed.

“There Is Life Here” was interesting little spoken word segment that reminded me of So I Married an Axe Murderer. The background was a odd, warping sound on top of what sounds like bongo drums. Combine that with a poem that’s deep, but has a poor flow, and that’s what you get: a coffee-house hanging poet at a poetry slam. I loved the poem, but it was really hard to listen to, even if only lasting for 3 minutes. But, “As the Light Bends and Shifts” totally makes up for it in terms of the spoken word section of Janus Bifrons. The female’s voice, complete with the peaceful ambient accompaniment, was an fantastic listening experience. In addition, “Moving to the Beat of the Unseen” was the best spoken word on this album. Mind blowing.

I was going to give this album a half-grade lower than I did. Something was missing. Then, 9:05 happened on “It Could Have Been the Greatest Escape”. I can’t explain it, but that one little crowd chant was all it took for me. Call me fickle, but in an album with so much emotion and atmosphere, you can start to feel really alone in your thoughts; a sense of togetherness, much like when And So I Watch You From Afar has a sing along, can complete an entire album.

Rating: Analecta is the total package for ambient music lovers. Spoken word (2/3 really good) for the poetry enthusiast, heavy riffs for the inner hardcore kid, and the overall ambiance to round it all out. I thank this band for being so patient about how long this took to complete, and I hope they continue making fantastic music. 3.5/5

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