Amina: Animamina
The Workers Institute

Some critical details about Amina and its debut EP Animamina: the group is a (female) string quartet that was formed in 1998 when its members met at a Reykjavik music college; Amina's playing has graced albums by Sigur Rós (Agaetis Byrjun and its follow-up), Efterklang (Tripper), and the Album Leaf record In a Safe Place; Animamina is not dominated wholly by strings but emphasizes exotic mallet instruments (like a glassophone) with strings featured secondarily; Animamina is not eighteen minutes of conventional classical string quartet material but instead resembles a brief performance of stately gamelan-influenced music; finally, though Amina enjoys a close association with Sigur Rós in particular (a full summer tour of Europe with the group is imminent), Amina's music evokes its Icelandic compatriot's sound on only one of the EP's tracks, the elegiac and melancholy “Fjarkanistan,” also the strongest of the four. The other three are credible too if somewhat more atmospheric: “Hemipode,” for example, offers a dense weave of rustic whistles and bass plucks while strings softly accompany dulcimer plucks and bass tones in “Blaskjar.”

July 2005