Residing in Los Angeles, Brian Allen Simon composes elegantly challenging, electronically driven pieces under the alias Anenon. Often incorporating elements of jazz, experimental, and ambient, he creates work which is just as captivating as it is moving. Having released full lengths Sagrada in 2014 and Petrol in 2016, as well as a couple EPs in the middle, Anenon has continually and consistently proven his status as an innovator in regards to both songwriting and production. His latest LP, Tongue, takes a step back from the overly-maximal nature characteristic within the digital age of music and instead provides a warm, heavily textured collection of songs which, instead of getting the listener to move their feet, aim to take them to a different place mentally, perhaps above and beyond the status quo of thunderous 808s and rolled hi hats.

Appropriately enough, I first heard the opening track “Open” on the Berlin U-Bahn, which, in my eyes, thoroughly enhanced the experience, given the track’s characteristically natural, spacious feel. The sounds of people hustling about to and from work merely added to the sampled birds and textures which Anenon employs. This organic approach toward sound design is a recurring theme in Tongue, and one which Anenon certainly uses to his advantage. We are frequently met with soothing, almost reassuring piano lines and comforting, wandering saxophone ventures. One thing that did surprise me after following Anenon so closely in the past is how Tongue is completely without percussion; although this threw me off a bit at first, the more I listened the more I came to recognize just how much movement is actually embedded within the natural scope of the tracks themselves, and subsequently how the lack of percussion allows the listener to groove with the tracks in their own individual, personalized way.

Touching on this natural sense of movement, I want to call special attention to the track “Verso” which, in my eyes, demonstrates the power of Anenon’s compositional approach. Starting with with an abstract, almost free-form piano line, we are soon met with an absolutely engulfing bass, adding both depth and clarity to the adventurous keys. On the title track, we are met with some rather avant-garde soundscapes, quickly followed by a heavily reverberated, ominous piano progression. Out of nowhere we are greeted with a warm, beautifully saturated sub bass which produces a quirky, satisfying countermelody. Gradually and effortlessly, the track builds into an ambient soundscape, allowing the listener to totally escape, distancing them from whatever may be serving as a source of unwanted tension in their lives.

If anything, Tongue demonstrates how so many seemingly disparate, contrasting sources of sound can come together in such a seamless, cohesive fashion in order to create something which is clearly stronger than the sum of its parts. It illustrates how electronic music can be warm, natural, or even organic; it shows us that jazz can be combined with sub bass to create something immensely powerful; it portrays how the avant-garde can greet elements of traditional melody with open arms; and, perhaps most importantly, it exhibits the power of a producer who sees and hears no boundaries.