Italians Do it Better: Anenon Taps Tuscany for His New LP, ‘Tongue’

Chris Daly breaks down 'Tongue,' the excellent new LP from Anenon.
By    February 22, 2018

Chris Daly is living under the Tuscan sun.

While you and I were busy last April still planning and/or recovering from another joyous Dyngus Day, Los Angeles-based Anenon was busy in the Tuscan region of Italy building a makeshift recording studio in the attic of a 16th century villa. Sure, we had fun throwing buckets of water at each other, but that didn’t stop the musician born Brian Allen Simon from creating the incredibly intimate Tongue, a highly personal album that evokes solitude and the quest to deal with it.

Utilizing mostly soprano sax, piano, synth and field recordings, the producer/multi-instrumentalist and one-time founder of the the Non Projects imprint paints plaintive soundscapes, in part colored by the simplicity of his surroundings, but also self-admittedly as a way of dealing with the inanity that has taken over the day-to-day living of most Americans. Make no mistake, the odds of you dancing to any of these tracks is pretty close to nil (though I suppose that with enough cocaine, “Verso” comes nearest to achieving that target), but equally, if not more importantly, every song here will resonate emotionally, resulting in Based God’s honest thought and reflection.

Songs run from the under-two-minute “Contra,” essentially a piano mediation with bits of sax sprinkled here and there, to the sprawling, eight minute-plus “Mansana,” the literal and figurative opposite, predominantly horn with the keys tip-toeing in towards the end. To quantify this as background music is a disservice to all involved. This is contemplation music, hinting at emotional peaks and valleys without ever committing to a bludgeoning approach. The music never smacks you around, instead choosing to seep into your essence.

With such avant-garde gems such as Petrol, Sunsets & Clocks, and more already under his belt, Anenon is a force that finally is coming into his own outside of just L.A. His year-long performance residency at the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art certainly didn’t hurt his stock, either. On his fourth full-length album proper, another one on the Friends of Friends label, Anenon shows continued growth as he explores the furthest branches of jazz. While most beat heads would have been content achieving the ultimate goal of the Adult Swim bump, Anenon instead wiped away any lingering memory residue to break new ground.