Animistic Beliefs Practice the Magic of Electro

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Linh Luu and Marvin Lalihatu inherited the night. Hidden in the shadows, veiled beneath dense clouds of smoke, and perforated by stroboscopic spasms, the pair command any space they inhabit. Fleeting flashes illuminate their beings to reveal what is otherwise masked by the anonymity of a sempiternal evening: a duo that harnesses the power of Animism to champion an electro dystopia. However, the sound that Linh and Marvin have pioneered over the past years surpasses their iconic precursors. Beyond the pair’s programmed basslines and punchy drums sprawls an elegy to the night, comprised of unobtrusive beats that bind with dulcet melodies to form Animistic Beliefs.

animistic beliefs, rotterdam, 2019 © borshch

every piece seems to be a character with a soul

Under the basic beliefs of Animism, it is said that all creatures, places, and objects possess a soul and a spiritual essence. Linh and Marvin adopt that same theory when referencing their production setup. “The traditional pre-Christian belief system is an analogy for our instruments because every piece seems to be a character with a soul,” Marvin explains. The Rotterdam-based duo believe that within their harmonic Korg PolySix, lustrous Elektron Digitone, and definitive Roland SH-101 & 808 reside characters worthy of connection and collaboration. “We approach it in a very abstract way — a ghost in the machine vibe,” Marvin goes on to explain. The duo’s sonic exploration extends beyond the countless hours spent jamming in their decked-out studio: it was within the rave as punters and performers that they began to embrace the tenebrous patterns that unveiled what lies beneath the surface.

Wondering what sound will come next, what the other will come up with, and settling into the realisation that it won’t always sound the way they want it to — that's where the real freedom is.

The way in which Linh and Marvin arrived at their name may lead you to believe that the pair follow a stringent plan in how they approach every aspect of music, but their first interaction was somewhat fortuitous. In the senior year of high school, the two took the same English and Economics classes, unbeknownst to each other that together they would release a number of records under the Animistic Beliefs guise, including a six-track tape release with sonic tastemaker Legowelt.

animistic beliefs, rotterdam, 2019 © borshch

During a live performance is when Animistic Beliefs come to life. During their performance at Supynes festival in Lithuania last July, the pair stood centre-stage, bathed in red, commanding the ravers before them on lake-side stage. Pummeling kicks resounded through the woods, escaping from the dear machines they’d lugged all the way from their studio in Rotterdam. The two live to be on stage and revel in the challenge of improvisational performances.“To keep it interesting, the improvisation helps us surprise ourselves,” Linh explains. “We get surprised by the sounds that come out during a live show. You can guess what comes out but not exactly what it will be. You get inspired on the spot, also by each other and I like that part a lot. Wondering what sound will come next, what the other will come up with, and settling into the realisation that it won’t always sound the way they want it to — that’s where the real freedom is,” Linh says. “We learned to accept that the sounds won’t always be nice or what we want.” The way the two describe making music is always by fiddling, noodling, or wiggling around. It’s an approach that begins and ends with their ability to vibe off each other. Jamming together for many years has a built a chemistry perfect for improvised live performance. “We felt the flow the first time we ever performed together and we have known each other for a long time. From that moment on, together, we have grown as we evolve as artists and expand upon our craft even further.”


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