When chillout isn’t quite chilled out enough, where tempo is never tied down, and intensity goes out of its way to do the exact opposite of relaxing you, Anenon’s LA confidential ‘Petrol’ is like a bathtub being too hot and with oils too pungent.
Greatening the need to pull the cosy blanket tighter to your chest, Anenon’s Brian Allen Simon begins with ambient, self-helping immersion in tune with the electromagnetic pulses of your brain, a prelude to rhythms stopping just short of being junglistic. Born out of improvised jams with studio partner Jon-Kyle Mohr, ‘Once’ and ‘CXP’ go deep into the rainforest until reality becomes a mirage, detailing how Simon’s electronic relaxation comes with jump leads still attached.
Simon’s use of saxophone, the often maligned chillout staple aimed straight at the coffee table or the blandest of inner city cruising, is here used as a more cunning weapon in genuine emotional texture – or just given a damn good squawking. Horizons have expanded markedly since 2012’s ‘Inner Hue’, becoming the next practical step after '14's ‘Sagrada’ and last year’s ‘Camembert’ EP.
The electronic light show ‘Mouth’ lays you down but then ravishes you with sparkles of synths. From being largely exhilarating, even when prone and checking its resting pulse, ‘Petrol’ can turn sour just when you think you’ve reached parity. ‘Machines’ warns you to be on your guard with strong analogue/digital interplay, and the title track expands the album’s orchestral leanings with violins jabbing like daggers.
‘Petrol’ creates a contradictory parallel: it taxes the more you invest in the music, when its premise promotes taking leave of your senses. A short, sharp burst of intensity, it’s like a 40-minute session on the massage table with kneading thumbs being pushed into your brain.
Words: Matt Oliver
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