Epithymía by Anjou

Release date: March 24, 2017
Label: Kranky

The release of Anjou‘s self-titled album in 2014 certainly sparked interest in all those completely enamoured by the impressive discography by post-rock outfit Labradford. Featuring Mark Nelson and Robert Donne of Labraford, teamed up with percussionist Steven Hess, the debut work of this newly formed band seemed to owe a lot more to experimental ambient notions of Mark Nelson’s moniker of Pan•American than to the post-rock stylings of Labradford. All the same, Anjou was an impressive debut, one which enveloped the listener in a beautiful haze of ambient washes. For their sophomore album Epithymía, we see Anjou further developing this style and reconstructing previous notions, pushing out a vastly more ambitious release.

On Epithymía, we see a development of a more experimental ambient style of music, utilizing various techniques from varying genres to help create a style emphasising texture and mood, rather than simply creating the style of ambient music which simply occupies the background. Details pulsate through each track, owing more to post-rock styles, yet still failing to strictly adhere to the genre itself. It results in an incredibly interesting and varied album experience which slowly unfurls more details as it progresses along. The sonic journey it takes the listener on is one that is mystifying yet utterly engrossing and rich in detail.

Experimental works of this nature certainly feel a little difficult to approach at times. With the album not strictly occupying any particular genre wholly, it comes across as a difficult one to really define and work out what to expect. I find in these instances, it’s simply more enjoyable to really envelope oneself inside the album itself, and let it take you across an engrossing and mystifying journey. It’s perhaps in the surprise of what Anjou choose to do (and not do) that make albums such as these so interesting in the first place. There’s an incredible life and energy to the music that can be hard to understand but easy to get lost in.

Epithymía comes across as a very large leap in Anjou’s discography, one that serves as a very promising and enjoyable follow-up that is clearly evident of the meticulous creative process going into the whole thing. There’s a wonderful myriad of emotions and feelings that bubble to the surface when listening to Epithymía, ranging from (somehow) enjoyable tension and confusion to oddly becalmed comfort. As the album pulsates and radiates its ever burgeoning details, we’re sown a wonderful creative expression that refuses to be limited by what is expected, and instead lets the creative process lead it all down mysterious and exciting avenues.

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