Essential New Music: Anjou’s “Epithymía”

To turn an axiom on its head, Anjou knows its history and is not repeating it. Robert Donne and Mark Nelson have plenty of history in common, having spent six years jointly crafting haunting mood music in Labradford. After that trio went on permanent hiatus 16 years ago, Donne dove deep into abrasive digital electronics with Cristal. Nelson mapped out a more circuitous path through the far corners of drone, dub and noir-ish ambience in Pan•American. Donne reunited with Nelson to contribute some bass to Pan•American’s last album, but Anjou’s new aesthetic stands apart from all of its past endeavors. They’ve abandoned songs entirely in favor of pulsing, predominately electronic pieces that radiate a warmth that contrasts dramatically with Labradford’s chilly austerity but makes perfect sense when you note that the title of this album is a Greek word for forbidden desire. Nelson and Donne know all about youthful alienation, and they’re happy to leave it in the past.

—Bill Meyer