If the term ''renaissance man'' can be applied to any contemporary person, it might be attached to Ghislain Caya, born in Montreal in 1966. This French Canadian musician and artist has considerable experience with classical music and guitar. But beyond this musical foundation, Ghislain offers much more to patrons and fans of the arts.
A case in point: the remarkable and original color pieces he produced, which can be used as computer-desktop wallpaper. These images would seem to stand on their own as framed works or as posters, depending on the location. Yet they are part of the Anyma world and the breath that passes through all who are in it.
Ghislain doesn't promote his artistic and design talent in a vacuum. The Anyma view of the world is made up of original compositions, color imagery and forays into the seemingly unlimited world of electronic and synthesized music. With a complex yet satisfying mix of computer software, synthesizers, guitars, Latin and African percussion, Ghislain presents an inner spirituality wrapped in a soft cloak of hope.
His current offerings are based in Amalgame, labeled in 1991 as a “French, techno-pop band.” This effort with Chrystian Bourassa and Yannick Belanger thrived for about three years. Collaboration- songwriting efforts produced success in their home province of Quebec, especially among the French-speaking community. Exposure through music contests and television allowed the effort to expand across the Atlantic to several European countries.
Ten years ago, Bourassa and Ghislain continued to work together with the composition of music to accompany an Irish short film for children (as Mysteriah). In 2002, the two formed Anyma, then released Anyma – Volume 1 in 2004.
Since 2007, Anyma has been the solo project of Ghislain Caya.
There are some specific guiding principles to the music and art of Ghislain, most notably experimentation and discovery. He says without hesitation that he is trying to reinvent himself every time he creates.
“This is my trademark.”
He builds on his strength as an arranger and composer, with particular emphasis on getting the correct feel for each composition.
“Each song has is own story, sometimes it's a feeling, a state of mind, sometimes it starts from one sound I like and compose around it.”
Ghislain is quick to point out that Anyma, in its current form, is moving away from the French-Canadian flavor, without abandoning the traditions that are so much a part of him as a person.
With musical influences such as Brian Eno, Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode, Anyma has been compared to Enigma, Delerium, Conjure One and Dead Can Dance, as Ghislain told an interviewer from WikiMusicGuide. But he also makes an effort to separate himself and Anyma from similar contemporary composers and musicians. Anyma means “breath of life” – from Latin. Ghislain feels that if he is true to the breath/spirit of his own life, his art and music has to be different from the work of any other person.
First-time visitors to www.anymaworld.com might wish to start with a look at the video with the inviting, multi-colored iris of the eye. The soft-edge mix of sound, color and motion capture much of what Ghislain is offering today, as does the second video. As one viewer commented, “Anyma is capable of translating the human soul into music.” Rhythm and sound meld effortlessly with the visual, successfully giving back what Ghislain has carefully taken from his world.
It seems that the listening public is not satisfied with their choice of music unless they can classify it, or place it in a section of their mind to be accessed at will. Ghislain surrenders only slightly when describing his work as electronica, ambient, chillout and downtempo. In fact, words and classifications tend to alter our perception of creations such as this. In most cases, they are better left unlabeled.
If there is a result from experiencing the work of Ghislain Caya it might be a non-sexual seduction, the sort of invitation that goes beyond gender and beyond the categories of music, painting and poetry.
Witness, if you will, Anyma - Volume 2, described on Ghislain’s Web site as “a sonic mandala that invites the listener to travel into the deepness of imagination.” The composition entitled “Floralis” has captured the minds of many listeners with its measured rhythm. The first offering on the volume, “Postea Bellum” is darker, with a chilling vocal track wandering through the landscape. “Inner Sanctum” is a cavernous hallway that should not be walked alone.
It is almost impossible for the listener to jump ahead within a composition or leap to another piece on the recording. This is accomplished by careful production, of course. But it is also the result of a consistency in the atmosphere, tying together the separate pieces. Even with “Messages,” a more melodic item than some of the others, or the clapping-style, hip-hop feel of “Emotional Senses” there is a thread to Ghislain’s work that defies breaking.
Ghislain says he has found his style and identity and nothing will keep him from success. Perhaps the only suggestion a listener can offer to the uninitiated is this: Close your eyes. The breath of life will do the rest.