It’s easy to get lost in Anenon’s full-length debut, Inner Hue. This is music that begs to be listened to with a good pair of headphones, the kind where you lose track of how much time has passed while listening. But there’s an unexpected moment on the third track that gives one the impression that this album isn’t like most in the electronic genre. After seven minutes of sweeping, cosmic sounds, there’s suddenly a lone saxophone. It’s more of a saxophone solo, really, as “Stone River” is a little over a minute of Anenon, aka Non Projects founder Brian Simon, playing his tenor saxophone. Anenon’s sax shows up again throughout the album, but despite how unusual it might seem, it never feels contrived.
On album opener “Eighty-Four,” Anenon introduces another partner in crime on the album, the Rhodes keyboard. “Eighty-Four” is a beautifully ambient piece as Anenon slowly expands the sound on the track with the Rhodes and other audio effects until everything crackles and eventually pops. Anenon also uses a Roland 909 to provide straightforward beats that, along with the tenor sax and Rhodes keyboard, are where most of the sound on this album comes from. He utilizes audio manipulation techniques here, but it still feels natural as if he coaxed these sounds out of the instruments on his own. However, Anenon’s holy trinity will occasionally give way to other sounds like some guitar plinks or Laura Teasley’s haunting chants on the lullaby-like “Embers.”
The narrative is fairly abstract on Inner Hue although there is a dreamy, blissful theme throughout. It’s commendable then that Anenon can get these sounds out of these instruments without relying on samples. For example, “The Sea And The Stars” is an especially impressive instance of the gorgeous soundscapes that build around you on this album. And of course we have to bring up that damn saxophone again. On “Murmurs,” the tenor sax twists and turns in between Anenon’s manipulated keyboard. The album ends with “Entwine,” where Anenon plays comforting and lifting melodies on the Rhodes. Inner Hue is at one point a new genre, which we’ll call electro-jazz, and at others an expansive dream. This is the work of someone who put a lot of care into his melodies, and as a result, Inner Hue is an original and highly listenable piece of work.