13 years after the departure of Labradford, following on from the release of the gorgeous post-rock effort ‘Fixed::Context’, and following on from a string of independent releases under many different names and monikers, members Mark Nelson & Robert Donne team up once again to form their latest project Anjou. Combining their forces with Pan•American’s Steven Hess (A group started by Mark Nelson), the trio have created an incredible listening experience, combining together the analogue, the digital and the live. Those expecting something remotely like Labradford might be disappointed with this effort, but those open to a wholly new and creative project from some of Post-rocks most inventive musicians will find ‘Anjou’ a very special musical experience.
‘Anjou’ certainly departs from the post-rock elements established by Labradford, and even the ambient-post-rock elements pushed forward by Pan•American. Instead, we’re offered an incredible barrage of static and noise that forms the music taking place. At first, it’s a little intimidating and scary, though one can easily surrender to the noise and find themselves at peace. There’s structure and music taking place in each of the tracks, which form incredible soundscapes unlike anything we’ve heard from these incredibly creative musicians. At first, analogue and digital elements take a very firm hold of the album, dominating the experience before giving way to guitars, bass and drums, somewhat hidden behind the layers being created by the band. It results in an incredible listening experience that conjures up a great number of images.
Anjou certainly establish what could be described as inaccessible music from the moment the album begins. There’s an odd element to whats being presented by the band, and it can take a while to get ones head around this new project. Many of the strengths of the album seem somewhat hidden, and a little bit hard to get a hold of when one listens to the album itself. The beauty of the music might not appear so easily, though once it does, it’s easy to get into the music, and understand what Anjou are hoping to create and present with their debut album effort. This isn’t scary and unsettling music, but rather beautiful music for those accepting of the challenging.
There’s a highly challenging element to Anjou’s debut album effort, though it is one that is highly rewarding to those willing to allow the music to simply take a-hold. Nelson, Donne & Hess all put their creative forces together in a wonderfully collaborative way, resulting in something that draws upon their already existing years of collaborative efforts, and pushes forward something new and exciting. It is perhaps a musical experience that is somewhat hard to classify in any specific genre, but this is perhaps one of the points the album is making. It’s not Labradford, and it’s not Pan•American, but it’s equally as creative and equally as exciting, just simply within a different context.
- ★★★★★ 5/5
Anjou’s debut album ‘Anjou’ is out now.