For those who are not familiar with this band called Anima Mundi, well let me tell you that first of all you will be surprised because they are a band from Cuba, nowadays it is not common to hear a prog band from that part of the globe, so that simple fact led me to discover the band few years ago when they released their first album entitled "Septentrion", which was a symphonic (with hints of Neo) prog album with a very original and unique style due to the predominant use of bagpipes, and vocals in Spanish.
Last year (2008) they at last released their second album, an album which I was really looking forward to listen to, and whose sound is different from their Septentrion sound, here we will find some different things and nice surprises. The name of this record is "Jagganath Orbit" which is produced by Roberto Díaz, leader of the band and a very nice person who I've been in contact with, the running time is over 65 minutes of great music divided in 7 tracks.
Jagganath Orbit kicks off with the longest song of the album, which named "We are the Light" is reaching almost 18 minutes, and a track that shows the band's step forward and their new sound. It starts with a melodic and spacey background, some piano here and there and other noises, after the first minute keyboards enter along with drums and the other instruments making a clear 90´s symphonic sound ala Spock´s Beard in some moments, then, vocals enter and this was my first surprise, they decided now to sing in English, they do it and sound good, but I personally prefer bands singing in their native language. There is a great instrumentation I like a lot the background during this epic, there are also a sitar sound and some nice guitar riffs. The song has some comes and go's, small musical changes inside it, a predominant keyboard sound and a great progressiveness. The second half of the song has some acoustic guitars and a calmed rhythm, it is not the bombastic keyboard sound, it is more melodic. But then, the initial style returns and the rest of the song continue like this.
The second track is "The Awaken Dreamer in the Soul Garden Dreams the Flower Planets", a long name to a shorter song that has a mid tempo rhythm with some guitars, and after a few moments it turns into a softer and calmer song, with synth effects like the sound of air and a spacey feeling inside it, an instrumental song, another nice surprise.
"Toward the Adventure" has some synth effects that make me feel like being walking in an unknown place, then the song becomes stronger with the help of guitars and other instruments, this time the vocals return, this track is very good but not my favourite though I enjoy the changes they do during the song.
"There's a Place not Faraway" keeps the same line of the previous song, I mean the musical direction and style is very alike, even the running time of both songs just have a one minute gap, the vocals sound very sweet in moments, and the guitar solos with a constant drumming sound and of course the keys as background make this a very good song, though a bit catchy, but it does not lose its essence.
Suddenly, you may thing the same song its running but actually there is a new track, the title track "Jagganath Orbit" (In the Orbit of Love) that lasts 11 minutes with again some time and mood changes through it, but following the same album's style, I mean there are some moments on the song that reminds me to previous tracks, in other words I believe there are some repetitive or unnecessary moments, though the song as a whole is very good actually.
The next song "Rhythm of the Spheres" starts with a didgeridoo sound, then keyboards and small changes, then guitar and drums, and then again some softly and well placed keyboard sound, I have to admit that in some moments the reminded me to Flower Kings, well, the song structure is always building up something, so you can be there listening to the track and enjoying what you are listening to, because the music maintains you there, expecting something. After 5 minutes, the song makes a little stop, those spacey effects and noises appear again. Some minutes later the song changes again, and due to some great sounds they produce, in my opinion the song is becoming better and better through the minutes. Probably my favourite track of the album, beautiful.
And finishing, we have "Sanctuary", the last 5 minutes of the album are filled with nice symphonic prog, and honestly this again reminds me to TFK, nice song anyway.
There is a point that I noticed since the very first listen, because I believe it's obvious, and it is the lack of bagpipes, I mention this because in their first record what made me love the band was their unique and original use of bagpipes in their music, I must admit I missed it a lot in this album.
Jagganath Orbit, is a very good album actually, it does not matter if they changed their sound, I believe the production is great and their new musical style is good as well, I like the album very much and I consider it is very complete and consistent, though right now I still prefer the Septentrion sound, I am also pleased with Jagganath Orbit, and since now I am looking forward to their next release. My final grade, 4 stars, take a look to the Caribbean prog, there are worth listening bands. Review from Progarchives.com