Rotondes welcomed experimental electronic jazz musician Anenon to its intimate surroundings on Wednesday night.
Anenon also known as Brian Allen Simon is the producer, multi-instrumentalist and founder of the Non Projects record label, whose releases lurk in the avant-garde section of the record store, which is exactly where his own works sit.
Simon’s first two albums 2012’s “Inner Hue” and 2014’s “Sagrada”, both released via Non Projects, explored his interest in the contrasting, yet complimentary, aesthetics of free jazz and electronic music. Later, as he evolved his approach, he shifted focus from music production based on electronic techniques towards a ‘free jazz meets minimal aesthetic’ which was evident on his new album “Petrol”, which was released earlier this year.
Taking to the dimly lit stage with drummer Jon-Kyle in tow, Simon furrowed his brow and immersed his head in front of the laptop as he began to build the layers of his sound whilst the jazz fills from Kyle created the tempo. Regardless of what came through the laptop the human element on each track was always more prevalent as Simon took to the saxophone with the most delicate of touches, and with a tone that gave it a somewhat African sound began to fill the Rotondes with atmospheric downtempo beats and floaty free jazz percussion.
The saxophone was ever present throughout, even when it was sitting back beneath ethereal rhythms it still managed to peer through the mist creating a hazy futuristic feel akin to Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack. This total immersion allowed for the melancholic saxophone to be used as more of an emotional texture than an outright accompaniment.
Managing to weave together classic experimental traits with wiry electronics, jazz improvisation, cinematic sections and spooky ambient sonics is no mean feat and with the use of the laptop Simon brought in the addition of strings which filled out the sound to a more tradition jazz section before delving back into some crunching electro beats. It’s this analogue-digital interplay that was so successful and without changing the pace too much they still managed to keep you immersed.
Gigs like this may never appeal to a mass market but they do help to contribute to a rich cultural scene within a city and Rotondes should be commended for putting on such shows throughout the year. If at least one person walked away feeling inspired, then the night was a success and I’m sure even with the modest crowd that turned up, there were more than a few that will have taken something from the show.