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on October 2, 2006
I've attempted a number of times to listen to Anathallo in passing, mostly because they are from my area and I know a couple of the guys. But somehow, I just couldn't connect. It was too avant garde, too untraditional for me. Then I listened to Hanasakajijii (Part 4: A Great Wind, More Ash)... and nothing changed.

But I found myself hooked on certain catchier parts of the music, so I listened again. And again. And again. Until I started to realize there was a story hidden beneath. I did some digging on the internet and finally I wouldn't be satisfied until I heard it all. And as I dug I found my own treasure.

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums both musically and lyrically. The music is a combination of folk, modern rock, and modern orchestra. However, if you are expecting something in the vein of punk or rock, you'll be disappointed. It is very low-key, very thoughtful, often times dischordant, but never without reason. I find most of the energy is bottled in Anathallo's unique chanting and vocal arrangements found throughout the album (not to downplay the unique rhythms and percussion). The lyrics are pure poetry, begging to be picked apart and chewed. The heavy use of Japanese language and culture is an interesting choice, but it fits well. The overall theme even harkens to the band's own name, if you are familiar with its meaning.

I must also comment on the cover. That itself is a work of art. Look carefully at all the black in the image; it is a stencil cutout, with all the colors you see on a secondary cover behind it. Perhaps it's been done before, but I've never seen it, and everyone to which I've shown it is impressed. It's so distractingly pretty that it took me until today to notice the story is captured here, too.

If you're willing to put the time in, I would HIGHLY recommend this album. As for me, I'm off to buy a glockenspiel.
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on August 12, 2006
The swings and jitters of indie music can be utterly fascinating or pretentious --sometimes we're nulled by too many tempo changes, off-structures and fanciful metaphors that sometimes we are expected to sit and listen instead of drown in a pool of confusion. Of course it all depends on how you view it and what indie means to you, to some it means Pavement and Sonic Youth while to others it could be The Libertines or The Futureheads. Regardless there comes time when an album is so deliciously derived that all precepts or notions immediately left out the window. Though Floating World is far from being what "Funeral" was in 2004 or "Illinoise" was in 2005, it is a strong contender for top ten album of the year.

Playing with diverse acts like Chiodos and Mono is I caught my first glimpse of these guys. Their set consisted of everything from a marching band's bass drum to using items that have likely never been used as conventional instruments such as links of chain and even the crowd holding small balloons the band would pop to create a rhythm...talk about them demanding crowd participation.

The industry hype couldn't be ignored for Anathallo's first attempt at a full record of songs. The band has released an array of scattered EP's, all over a span of the last few years: one compiling 7 messy pop punk songs, one with some sparse covers of hymns, and a 3-song wonder EP that perhaps best dictated their sound and message.

This particular album crashed into my lap in the form of a giant envelope that as soon as I torn apart unraveled what would soon be to me a beautiful, delicately crafted album. To my amazement, the black cardboard sleeve was precisely cut in the exquisite designs you can notice on their images, overlaying the psychadelic colors underneath. I wasn't as suprised as I could've been--I know what Anathallo is about--always driving to do something different, unique, and their own.

Immediate reactions to the disc draw comfortable comparisons to Sufjan Stevens' latest (Illinois) and at its best moments, this band combines great experimental sounds with agreeable melodies and chorusing. Plenty of female vocals and sparse crooning bring the disc to immediate UV ray, and the vibrant, resonating sounds that occur on this album are often incredibly enjoyable. Key tracks include "Hoodwink" or the brilliant "Hanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash)," in which the vocalists and band follow-suit to combine their unconventional style with accessible melodies. Everything from pianos to horns find their way to the surface on this disc, and hand-clapping and even drumstick-tapping all make the music on this disc supremely vibrant and at the same time, sparse and moody.

At moments, I found myself wishing most of the songs were as accessible as the aforementioned, but as the album began to sink its teeth into me, I felt myself in a sudden luminated hopeful light that this medium of music is the way it is. Filled with tranquility, serenity, and delicacy, the album takes its listener on a compelling array of moods, consistently changing tempo and volume. The singer's voice is backed up by a slew of other singers as well as the album progresses, and while at moments the music might drag on to some, one can come to a grip of understanding when they witness the band's live act.

Truly, to encompass all of the thoughts and passion this band carries on stage would be impossible on record --I know to many this can be said for many bands but trust me, it's evident not just talk for these guys, and needless to say there are moments when the CD quietly and nearly disintegrates--but the band always seems to pick itself up again.

Don't expect an album you'll be singing along with--and don't expect one to hit you in the face right away, it takes time to grow and requires some special attentive listening to get the whole idea. Anathallo's mysteries are those for the patient. There's a reason this band is making waves and even opening for Dashboard Confessinonal--get your hands on one of these custom CD's while you still can and before they can't afford to make any more due to overwhelming demand. Anathallo are doing something genuinely different and unique with their sound--and needless to say, I am falling head-over heels over this one.
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VINE VOICEon February 15, 2007
This quirky great-lakes octet has certainly started their career with a wonderful and imaginative debut album. Brimming with all sorts of delightful vocals and melodies, it is obvious this band will have a bright future ahead of them.

Their music is probably best described as an Indie band with folk and orchestral influences, rarely getting "loud" enough to even be described as rock. It contains mostly acoustic guitars, lots of bells, pianos, trombones, clarinets, and flugelhorns (which I have never heard of until now), also many unconventional "instruments" mostly in the percussion area: feet stomping, clapping, chains, pipes, and what sounds like a bunch of drum sticks banging together in the opening "Ame."

Most of the vocals are performed by several members at once, and all eight members contribute to the vocals. There are often relatively higher-pitched vocals, and plenty of harmonization and backing vocals. They are always very playful and jaunty, almost evoking a carefree, perfect world with no worries. My favorite vocal performance is perhaps on "The Bruised Reed" or "Hanasakajijii (three: The Man Who Made Dead Trees Bloom)."

The poetic lyrics tell a story based on a Japanese fairy tale, and also contain some Japanese poetry.

Anathallo's song structures are quite unique, often taking sudden shifts and twists in the mood and tempo, creating an unpredictable sequence of melodies, but they are anything from random and unorganized. There is definitely a progressive logic with many great build-ups and arrangements. Although many of the songs are sparse and minimalist sounding at times, there's a fair share of wonderful collaborations where the band's musicianship is truly unveiled: most parts of "Hanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash)," which was the song that originally turned me onto the band, and the last couple minutes of "Hoodwink," to name a few.

This is one of the most refreshingly distinctive albums I have bought in a while, and I'll definitely be looking forward to the band's next album. ~2007 IcemanJ256
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on June 7, 2006
In all my years of listening to music, I have never once felt compelled to post a review of an album on Amazon, but I just can't keep quiet about Floating World. This album is 54 straight minutes of enthralling, absolutely breathtaking music from (in my opinion) one of the best and most creative bands playing today. The packaging is amazing, too. I'm thrilled that it's getting national distribution! Please pick up this CD, and drive any distance necessary to see this band live. It's worth it.
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on June 8, 2006
Unlike anything you've ever listened to, Anathallo combines warm sounding trombones and trumpets with xylophones (or marimba or some sort of percussive melodic instrument) with velcro and ratchets and playing cards. Creative and complex rhythms (try to clap along, I dare you) and beautiful melodies make this band one of the best I have ever heard. If the radio bores you and you need something truly unique on your iPod, this is the band for you.
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on June 6, 2006
Floating World is beauty captured on a CD. There's not enough good I could say about it... Every song is gorgeous and intricate. Each time I listen to it I uncover more about each song and enjoy it more! I could do my best to describe this CD for you, but I think it's more something you have to hear for yourself than be told about. Do yourself a favor and buy this CD!
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on June 9, 2006
I bought this on a whim. The name Anathallo has been around for a while, but my lazy, uneducated impression was that they were some dumb Sigur Ros knock-off or something like that. But the packaging of "Floating World" was so esquisite when I saw it at the local indie record store I picked it up anyway.

And they proved me just about utterly wrong. While I won't deny that there are some Sigur Ros elements, there are many more times where artists like The Animal Collective or Sufjan Stevens are more apt comparrisons. Yet unlike other indie groups who are nothing more than paint-by-numbers wanna-bes, Anathallo bolsters their sound by writing exceptional songs. They impress you by what they do... not how they sound.

Undoubtedly if this CD finds an audience, Anathallo could be topping many year-end lists.
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on January 19, 2007
"Floating World" takes you on a whimsical and unique journey. It is a beautiful story, told through smooth harmonies and twinkles. A story that makes you feel connected to the world. The musical talent and creativity are un-like anything I have ever heard. Anathallo uses music to create a portrait that is rich and flavorful. It will make you happy to be apart of this "Floating World."
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on November 22, 2006
Listening to this album is such a joy! Anathallo mixes the sound of classical minimalist inspired bands like Sigur Ros with a genuine message to create unique and meaningful music. I particularly enjoy tracks five through seven--a beautiful sequence of songs to compliment any activity in my day! This album is a fantastic supplement for fans who find themselves in between Anathallo concerts.
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on January 30, 2013
Anathallo - Floating World

Anathallo's "Floating World" is a wonderfully expansive album that is full of character and life. This seven-piece ensemble wrote and recorded this creative album as a concept album telling the story of a Japanese ancient fairly tale.

Musically Anathallo mix brass with rock instrumentation over which Matt Joynet adds his fragile voice and enriched lyrics which works very well to the muisc. Musically this band would be kind of a symphonic version of say a mix of The Flaming Lips and The Fleet Foxes. Sound effects are used throughout the album too to add to their working concepts and ideas.

A times this album almost plays like a movie soundtrack with some really moving and theatrical-like musical moments.

This is truely a beautiful album full of rich creativity and interesting song construction that is not to be missed.
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