Thom Yorke’s surprise third solo LP comes following a period of writer’s block and anxiety, as well as a self-professed ‘obsession’ with dreams. The title refers to Carl Jung’s theories of a ‘collective unconsciousness’, and it’s full of twitching, paranoid electronica. No surprises there.
Partly inspired by the tape loop experiments he witnessed at a Flying Lotus performance, much of the music is made up of sprawling ideas cut into short samples and repeated. This is particularly evident on tracks like the seven-minute ‘Twist’, which seems to bubble like a cauldron of eerie electronic effects, gradually disorientating the listener until ominous piano chimes signal an unsettling conclusion.
A woozy synth pattern dominates standout track ‘Dawn Chorus’, while on ‘I Am A Very Rude Person’ he sings “I’m breaking up the turntables, now I’m going to watch your party die” - perhaps comically referencing his divisive Boiler Room DJ performance.
The album is best experienced with Paul Thomas Anderson’s 15-minute accompanying film - a dystopian fantasy that sees Thom pitted against an army of shuffling commuters on a train. But sans-visual accompaniment the album can feel meandering and unfocused. Fortunately, the experimental production and dark atmosphere are compelling in their own right, and ‘Anima’ is ultimately a trip down the rabbit hole worth taking.