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Through an increasingly idiosyncratic modern lens, Non Projects founder Brian Allen Simon continues to chase the notion of the sublime under the name Anenon. ‘Sagrada’, his sophomore album, documents the work of an artist who, since the release of his debut LP ‘Inner Hue’, has spent time traveling the world and playing music alongside many of today’s sonic luminaries.
If ‘Inner Hue’ was an abstract painting, then ‘Sagrada’ is Simon’s foray into large-scale sculpture. Building on the light-step search for aural texture of his previous work, Brian bears a clearer voice throughout ‘Sagrada’ – the mark of a seasoned musician honing his craft with a focus only earned through experience. In these tracks, Simon’s tenor saxophone steps out from behind the tapestries of sound of ‘Inner Hue’ and takes center stage as both canvas and brush. Leading songs with a strong free jazz inflected vocabulary, the horn also shows up in processed forms as both texture and rhythm.
‘Sagrada’ was conceived as a document to bridge Simon’s more precise studio practices with his increasingly free form and saxophone-focused live shows. To that end, Simon utilizes his preternatural understanding of sonic texture featured on his previous work as a sort of clay and molds it around a new brand of skeletal rhythms. Riding the line between four-on-the floor and completely free beats with abandon, Anenon’s new rhythms spin from feeling as steady as a river to dropping out from under your feet at a moment’s notice. Because many of the sounds on ‘Sagrada’ were sourced from recordings of live shows as well as hours spent tucked away in the studio, the listener is somehow drawn into a feeling of thoughtful intimacy pulsing with the energy of an ecstatic crowd.
Brian’s first work to be fully inspired by visual art, the word that echoes in the listener’s brain while listening is “PERSPECTIVE.” Gone are the fuzzed out landscapes of earlier work, replaced here by clearly cut horizons, giving each track a sense of a steam train building momentum. Like a long journey, the listener is given berth in a warm and familiar cabin while watching the speed of the train paint the real world outside with blur and fade. This is a work clearly intended to be heard from front to back - with others or by oneself - and if given its space and time, ‘Sagrada’ opens the door to a road at once new and familiar.
Mastering by Yosi Horikawa
Designed at Black & White
Words by D.S. Chun