Anjou

Epithymía

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

On their second full-length as Anjou, Labradford alumni Mark Nelson and Robert Donne artfully express fear, loneliness, and calm isolation. The album's six compositions are primarily on the lengthy side, with four of them stretching past the ten-minute mark, and they take their time to unfurl and evolve gracefully. Anjou seamlessly combine rough, tense elements with relaxed ambience, and the dark and light elements play off each other perfectly. Opener "Culcinae" starts out with shimmering waves of Fennesz-like glitch that are gradually consumed by icy, delay-covered cymbals played by Steven Hess of Locrian. The piece grows darker and noisier, yet it retains a sort of welcoming smoothness, and it ends up peacefully with warm synthesizer arpeggios and light, melodic drones. "Soucouyant" is the album's friendliest track, with bubbling synth tones similar to Mind Over Mirrors interlocked with skygazing guitar drift. But "An Empty Bank" is distraught and absolutely devastating, with a desolate, Loscil-like drone as well as funereal cornet playing a solemn elegy. Eventually this becomes contaminated with harsh feedback and delay, and it feels like the entire world is crashing down. It feels so empty and lost and regretful, and the sorrow resonates deeply. Even the album's shortest piece, "Glamr," masterfully captures something deep and intangible, with a faint dub techno pulse murmuring through the bubbling and crackling. Closing track "Georgia" incorporates barely audible hand percussion into its bleak soundscape. Epithymía is uneasy and sometimes painful, but it beautifully conveys dark, heavy emotions and is well worth the time.

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