Brian Allen Simon, also known by the moniker Anenon, continues his soundscape journey with the release of his sophomore album, SAGRADA. Entangled between the intangible lucid dream and sound-based travelogue, SAGRADA is an eleven track poetic soundscape– a reflective and intimate meditation on honed-in spiritual experience. Over the last few years, Simon compiled live tenor saxophone recordings in global cities across the world, most frequently at the Shibaura House in the Minato district in central Tokyo. During quiet, reflective hours in his East Los Angeles studio, the tracks were mixed, warped, and edited by Simon and later mastered by Japanese producer, Yosi Horikawa.
cover design by Black & White
The English translation of SAGRADA is “sacred.” Following the trajectory of Simon’s identification of where these holy moments originate within influxes of time, the contemplative and introspective “VoiceOne” and “End” bookend the compact forty-minute quest. The first four tracks are flooded with Simon’s low bombast saxophone and muffled piano, best heard in “Shibara” and “Aurora.” Both songs are frantic with intensity and melodic buzzing, progressively unwinding down, steady and slow. Composed primarily on a Korg PolySix synthesizer, “Lights and Rockets” gradually builds layers of sonorous ambient textures, bearing a resemblance to his first LP release, Inner Hue and echoing the canonical electronic music of Aphex Twin’s seminal album, Selected Ambient Works.
Leading into the fifth track, a shift in sound can be gauged with “Lithograph,” bringing the mood to a quieter, nostalgic yet disjointed reflection–a waltz back to the days of music boxes and novelty-free record players. Static created by samplings of decrepit records becomes slightly overbearing, but with the introduction of a simple piano scale, the abrasion is balanced, the mood is soothed. A sudden transition into “Karma,” a tapping top hat and electronic drums guides the latter half of the album towards one of a more upbeat tone. “Color White”, recorded entirely from Simon’s tenor saxophone, leaves a lasting imprint on the entirety of the album and stands as one–if not the–strongest track on Sagrada.
Like layers of painting, the album builds with more listens from beginning to end. SAGRADA complexly contextualizes the hours, logistics, and sentiment of navigating the familiar and the distant. The end result is an album that celebrates a ritual of remembering.
SAGRADA releases on Nonprojects September 26, 2014 with a live performance at Center for Arts, Eagle Rock in Los Angeles, CA. You can preorder your copy on the Nonprojects store here.