Animation Machine Language on 2LP
Animation is the band originally founded in 1998 by multiple Grammy winner Bob Belden and Tim Hagans, which over the years featured musicians of the caliber of Scott Kinsey (of TribalTech), Matt Garrison, KJ Sawka (now with Pendulum), DJ Logic, Guy Licata (of Method of Defiance) and several others. At the root of Animation's sound is a sophisticated layering of hard bop and drum 'n' bass. The current and most radical lineup has coalesced around Belden on sax, Peter Clagett on trumpet, Jacob Smith on bass, Roberto Verastegui on keyboards + samplers and Matt Young on drums.
Tragically, this was Bob Belden's last recording before his premature passing on May 20th 2015. To help Belden realize his futuristic 2001: A Space Odyssey-inspired vision for Machine Language, he enlisted vocalist Kurt Elling as narrator for this cyberpunk opera: "My own memory of any conversations regarding the piece is that there was minimal discussion before making the voice over," said Elling, who had previously appeared on Belden's 1996 project, Shades of Blue. "The only real direction I received was to ‘sound like a sad, well-spoken computer.' I did the actual recording by myself at a studio in St Louis, with Belden occasionally commenting via ISDN. I did a cold read once down, without music, and expected Bob to make whatever edits and adjustments he wanted. I was in and out of the studio in an hour."
Belden's text for Elling reads like an excerpt from Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which later became the literary source for the 1982 Ridley Scott movie Blade Runner. And the darkly foreboding music, performed by Pete Claggett on muted trumpet, Roberto Verastegui on electric keyboard, Matt Young on drums, Belden on soprano sax and Bill Laswell on electric bass guitar, takes part of its inspiration from Miles Davis' 32-minute ambient requiem for the recently-deceased Duke Ellington, "He Loved Him Madly" (from 1974's Get Up With It).
Bob Belden, sax/flute
Pete Clagett, electric trumpet
Roberto Verastegui, synthesizers
Bill Laswell, electric bass
Matt Young, drums
Kurt Elling, narrator