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Anenon's Tongue is a beautiful album. That's an adjective whose meaning has practically been obliterated by Hallmark prose and hyperbolic idiocy. But occasionally, a work of art digs deep enough to excavate the underlying meaning that existed in antiquity and figures to persist until we're soil and dust. This is beauty materialized through the abstract articulation of love, loss, fear, addiction, confidence, longing, hope, and sadness. At its best, the infinite array of human emotions swirled and distilled into sound. Sound becomes melody, harmony, and rhythm.
Released on Friends of Friends, the fourth LP from the musician and composer born Brian Allen Simon was created in just under a month far away from his native Los Angeles near the small town of Palaia in Italy's Tuscany region – home to some of the history's finest creators from Dante to the Florentine Renaissance painters, Puccini to Andrea Bocelli. If its backstory sounds almost absurdly picaresque, it's a reflection of Anenon's drive to find a setting staggeringly gorgeous enough to match the iridescence of the compositions. It was born inside a makeshift attic studio on the third story of a 16th Century Tuscan villa, during April of 2017.
As America shuddered in a dystopian spring, Simon decamped overseas to attempt to find something pure and ostensibly forgotten – soul music – not in the rhythm and blues sense, but something capable of reaching deep into our DNA coding and dimly remembered past. It's reminiscent of Brian Eno trying to produce an ambient record for Fela Kuti or Mulatu Astatke. Hints of John Cage and Steve Reich suffuse the former UCLA music history student's deft manipulation of space, time, tension, and mood. It's a beauty that's both plaintive and prismatic. A jazz album, an electronic album, an ambient album, a classical album, an agnostic spiritual.