Learning the sense of separation from anatu

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anatu shows up like an enigma, begging you to ask the right question out of a musical experience that has about as many answers as your soul may need. Their identity is a nice little mystery that they don’t feel needs solving at the moment, but through their very personal and emotive songwriting and composition, you can piece together an idea -or roadmap- to the innermost depths of their soul.


And the puzzle is very much integral to what you’re about to hear from them. “As an 11-year-old, I discovered composing songs to be a sacred way to ask the many questions I had about this life I found myself in.” They say,  “To explore my feelings and maybe understand them. Is there justice? What is Truth? What is love?” they add.


Despite experiencing failures in other areas, music has remained a constant source of purpose and fulfillment in their life. They describe music as a “breadcrumb trail” that guides them through the challenges of living in this world. Without music, they feel lost and disconnected. Music provides them with a means of collaboration, expression, and learning that they cannot find elsewhere – something that every melomaniac is intimately familiar with.


“I make music for nobody’s needs but my own. The fact that others have found it, and seem to come back again, makes me wonder if perhaps I’m not the only one who needs these songs.

I chose to keep anatu more or less faceless in the hope the listener might seek what I am seeking, instead of seeking me.”


anatu is a multi-hyphenate artist who has long served as a producer.  Zubi, Papa, Kenny Berg, Rusalka, and AZEDIA among others have enjoyed their refined talents, and anatu in return has nourished their sound palette with the perspectives and leanings of these artists as well. But when taking on their mysterious new moniker, they’re free even from even that, turning into the ideal form of a musician, with no self outside of their perfect creation, or at least not one that we’re meant to be privy to; this is a way to strip the listener of expectations, perceptions, and prejudices and prepare a purer tasting of sound than if they were “John Garcia”, or “Jasmin Johnson”, or “Dan Nguyen”. 


This devotion to creative purity is a running theme integral to the creation of their latest album, “The Sense of Separation”. anatu did not want to compromise their musical expression by “using it to create something that was not real” to them. They worked various jobs and sold websites to support themselves while keeping that work separate and untouched. In 2018, they saved enough money to move and try to release music every week. They were able to do this for two years, and during this time, they collaborated with many undiscovered artists they met at open mic scenes, including Zubi, Kállay Saunders, Ashref, Amine Naami, Kenny Berg, Andrew Ace, and others. The musician has been able to create the music they want ever since.


‘the sense of separation,’ is an extremely refined work, with marvelous production quality from the first note all the way through the last. It strides very many different lines, from alternative/indie rock to ethereal dream-pop and even understated R&B accents that come unexpectedly, one of the key songs to notice this is track #2, “washed up”, where anatu offers a beefy, spacious soundscape that gladdens the heart and explodes your mind into a whole new dimension.

Speaking about “exploding your mind”, anatu frequently achieves this in the album, in particular with “freespeech” which may very well be a genuine masterpiece waiting to be recognized. This track is anatu’s take on psychedelic/prog rock elements taken into their most delightful and eargasmic conclusion thanks to the majestic guitar solo and the angelic vocalizations that accompany it.


“Every album is a culmination of my being until the point it is finished, animated by the same curiosity and interacting with music in a search for questions not yet answered.”


The album is of course filled with many more high points where the fusion between creative electronic arrangement and traditional alt-rock/pop elements meet. These moments are all sublime and unique in their own way, at times futuristic and at others quite “retro” and thus never easy to fully catalog into one genre or another. What is the true highest point in the album? That is entirely the listener’s business to find and not tell a single soul about, even the album itself feels too precious to share… but too good not to.


Keeping in line with this search for creative purity and independence, anatu is in charge of their own record label, called dojang. This has given them the ability to manage their earnings and avoid intermediaries taking a share. They have gained knowledge about several aspects of the music industry to run their label, including handling payments for over one hundred collaborators. Their past experiences with other labels have often required them to chase after payments if they received them at all. The musician and their partner have established a fair system that pays contributors monthly without requiring them to follow up. They are also intrigued by web3 technology and have been able to experiment with new release mechanisms through their independent label setup.





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