An official live recording released in commemoration of Vladislav Delay's headlining performance at the 2001 Ars Electronica festival (September 1-6), Naima is more fascinating for the moment it captures than the actual musical performance itself. Recorded less than a year after Mille Plateaux had released Delay's sprawling Anima album, this performance purportedly harks back to that piece for its source material. However, you probably wouldn't guess that from listening to the hourlong performance. In fact, there are few overt references to Anima; rather, there are momentary allusions to aspects of Anima, but for the most part, Naima is a drastic reworking (hence the anagrammatic title) that is more notable for its lyrical allusions to Delay's work as Luomo. The Luomo allusions come via guest vocalist AGF (aka Antye Greie-Fuchs, billed here as "Girlfriend"), who highlights Delay's ambient dub ramblings with her trademark spoken word ramblings that uncoincidentally quote freely at times from "Tessio," a much-celebrated Luomo track much at odds with this featured performance. It's this blurring of distinctions that makes Naima somewhat of a puzzling curiosity piece: it's billed as a Delay performance, though it's actually more of an AGF one; it's purportedly based on Anima source material, though that's less than obvious; and the Luomo allusions further blur the line between what you'd expect from this performance and what you're in fact presented with. The end result is less than essential, but Delay completists (as well as AGF ones) will certainly want to seek out this somewhat hard-to-track-down album, which was released by the Cologne-based Staubgold label. As an addendum, it's worth noting that the CD packaging is quite well done, providing ample documentation of the annual Ars Electronica festival that began in 1979 and was held annually at Klangpark, otherwise known as Donaupark, a picturesque park in Linz, Austria, that straddles the Danube River.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier