Enon – Long Play

3 out of 5

Label: Pure Orgone

Produced by: Enon?

Interesting, but doesn’t offer much replayability beyond that: from a group that would get up to some fantastic noise soon after on Believo!, and then some beat- or distortion-laden pop, Long Play’s instrumental offerings are fairly tame.

I can’t find any information on this disc – which is a CDr – and the contents just point to the group’s website, so it’s unclear what the aim of the recording was.  If I had to guess, as this came a year before Enon’s SeeThru debut, and since most of the concoctions feel very electronic and insular (even the vocal-less version of Believo!’s Rubber Car), I’d say this was solo John Schmersal, experimenting with ideas.  And looked at through that lens, it’s easier to appreciate the cuts as sound demos; sketches of beats and rhythms.  It’s mostly very minimalist stuff, and though it has its share of bounciness and playful samples, it feels much darker than anything that followed, which certainly puts it more in line with Schmersal’s other solo offering, John Stuart Mill.

As Schmersal got further away from his cacophonous Brainiac influences, I fell further out of interest with Enon, so I’m also unclear how to pitch this for potential listeners.  I don’t think it would necessarily appeal to latter-day Enon fans, but it’s also not fleshed out enough to be some missing link between John’s earlier projects.  So again, it’s interesting.  And if you get a chance to hear it and wonder what might’ve been had Schmersal’s musical sparks alighted along these lines instead of straighter pop, then sure, that’s worth it, and it’s fascinating to “hear” an undeniably talented musicians thoughts being worked out via recording.  But beyond that, I can’t say it’s ever rotated through my playstack after an initial go-around except for this review.