Anenon, “Tongue” (Friends of Friends). The new album by Brian Allen Simon, which comes out Feb. 9, features instrumental music that resides in a misty realm where cool jazz, ambient and electronic minimalism converge.
Simon, whose primary instrument is saxophone, is active in both the experimental underground and the museum scenes, having performed in alternative spaces such as dublab and public institutions including the Broad and MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art.
His fourth album as Anenon opens with a field recording of chirping birds and the sound of wind gusting into the microphone, as if the music had drifted in like autumn leaves. Created during a month-long retreat in Italy’s Tuscany region, “Tongue” was recorded in what Simon describes in notes as a “makeshift attic studio on the third story on a 16th century Tuscan villa.”
For “Two for C,” the artist envelops that horn within a beguiling synthesizer pattern that suggests Steve Reich’s “Different Trains”; a rich bass tone provides guidance. “Verso,” below, is the first teaser track. It swirls with delicate rhythms as if scoring the brush strokes of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
At more than eight minutes, “Mansana” uses silence and the room’s acoustics to create a virtual environment. Simon audibly pushes his breath through his horn before diving into a series of gymnastic improvisations. Waves of gentle hiss mix with subtly manipulated synthesizer tones.
Daedelus, “Wears House” (Dome of Doom/Magical Properties cassette). As with electronic music itself, Los Angeles producer and composer Alfred Darlington, who performs as Daedelus, is constantly pushing forward in search of unheard tones and textures. He does the opposite on this new mix-tape, which is drawn from sounds recorded at Southern California raves in the early 1990s.
Issued, like early ’90s rave mixes, on cassette, Darlington acknowledges lesser-known scene fixtures including Acen, Ray Keith, Altern-8, Manix and Bay B Kane, writing in release notes that the mix “is filled with those artists mentioned and much more, utilizing field recordings directly from raves where this music was played loud and thousands would be together alone in motion.”
As with producer Dan Snaith’s project Daphni, Daedelus on “Wears House” revels in the kind of exuberant tempos and beats that drove the first- and second-generation house and techno music. The track “1988” features a bouncy set of synth chords that mimic the kind that drove ravers batty back in the day. “Capulet” is jazzier and smoother.
The B-side of the cassette (which is available, like the stream and download, through Bandcamp.com) — features Daedelus working with rhythms from the mid-1990s drum ’n’ bass movement.
Jasper Bones, “Oscuridad” (Jasper Bones). One of a number of Southern California gentleman romancers making what Bones describes on his SoundCloud page as “wavy soul,” Bones first earned attention with “What’s Your Secret,” a low-fidelity ballad with a masterful chorus.
With a singing voice that suggests an unseasoned Bill Withers, the artist on his new track “Obscuridad” mixes English and Spanish, crooning in the former and moving into a singsongy Spanish-language rap later in the track.
He does so to a sparse, pitter-patter drum pattern and echoed, undistorted electric guitar. Like rising Hawthorne Chicano singer-producer Cuco (with whom he shares management), Bones is devoted to love songs and isn’t afraid to show his vulnerability.