Rarely has it been seen that a new artist or new artist project is executed so flawlessly from beginning to end. While there was surely marketing genius behind the marshmello project, they’ve got nothing on Matteo Milleri’s Anyma. Anyma’s brilliance goes far beyond marketing, and his pedigree as one-half of Tale of Us, leading the Afterlife label shows us why. Every single thing about the Anyma project has been meticulously planned and crafted to tie together thematically. The project is breathtaking in scope and execution. It’s more than a DJ/producer releasing rave tracks, it’s a vision of the future. Anyma’s debut album, Genesys, is the culmination of that vision, and it’s gorgeous both musically and visually. It shows the attention to detail and thematic storytelling that catapults an album from a collection of singles to a musical journey, and this one is also a visual journey. It’s an album worthy of looking back on years from now. I’ll go out on a limb (not really) and declare that Genesys will be on many Top Albums of 2023 lists, if not the winner of many.
Themes and NFTs
The Anyma project explores the themes of technology merging with nature, the nature of consciousness, artificial intelligence becoming human, love and coexistence. The groundbreaking thing about Anyma and this album is that each track features its own NFT which tells the thematic story of the track. The NFT is technically a bundle that includes the audio track, the static cover art, the gif-like visual, and then a clip of the visual being debuted or performed live for a massive crowd. So each track is multi-layered and each track tells a story in these themes. Normally we poo-poo anything having to do with NFTs, because normally they are being used in very gimmicky ways. Not so here. Anyma packaged each track into an NFT in order to recruit a crack team of graphic design artists. Visual artist Alessio de Vecchi crafted the visuals that have elevated Anyma tracks to new audiovisual heights in live settings. The NFTs sold for plenty of money on NFT marketplaces, and that income pays the visual artists to continue creating these masterpieces that we get to witness on massive LED walls at every show. No more generic screensaver visuals at live sets. You can see the debut of the visual for ‘Save Me‘ below.
Anyma as Art
The visuals created for Anyma are not intended to be just cover art or concert visuals. These are created to be fine art in their own right. To that end, Alessio de Vecchi and Anyma have held pop-up art studios where the NFTs are on full display. There is an entire art community around this Project, and that includes high fashion too. Anyma, and Afterlife in general, has built a very close connection with the Berlin streetwear brand, Label 44.
As if the thematic synergy and the groundbreaking audiovisual component weren’t enough, the music is stellar. Each track, with a few exceptions, features a collaborator that brings their own flavor to the track, but each remaining distinctly Anyma. The soundscape first debuted with ‘Running’ (not on the album), continues in one form or another in each of these tracks. Each track has its own story of being teased, then seeing the NFT debuted, and then finally being released to serious acclaim. In fact, Consciousness, Angel 1, and The Sign made our Top 10 Tracks of 2022 list.
At each major Afterlife event, we’d see the debut of a new track with a spellbinding visual. The opening track, Eternity, has been kicking off Tale of Us and Anyma sets since Tomorrowland 2022. Grimes has made several surprising live appearances alongside her collab, ‘Welcome to the Opera‘.
Genesys includes several tracks that were not previously released as singles, including ‘Chordial‘, ‘Samsara‘, ‘Save Me‘, ‘Unearth‘, ‘Walking With A Ghost‘, and ‘The Pact‘. Out of these tracks, it’s hard to pick a favorite but Chordial is a gorgeous progressive track that sounds different from many of the others. Each of these tracks is a monster in its own right though.
There’s no filler on this album. If you forced me to pick, I guess I’d say ‘The Answer’ is my least favorite, just because you forced me. It’s even harder for me to name a favorite, because at one point or another most of the tracks on this album were my favorite track for a good period. I personally love ‘Chordial’, ‘Syren’, ‘Save Me’, ‘Unearth’, ‘Walking With a Ghost’, ‘The Sign’, ‘Angel 1’, and ‘Consciousness’. How many of these will make our Top Tracks of 2023 list? I can bet several. That’s not even including the Rufus Du Sol collaboration, ‘You Make Me’ forthcoming on Rose Avenue Records.
It simply doesn’t get much better than this. Call it Album of The Year or one of the finest albums in electronic music in some time, but just listen to it and see the tracks at a live show.