Ena - One Draw

  • Rustling, thumping sound experiments on the outer reaches of rhythm.
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  • Ena has spent a decade dismantling his electrifying drum & bass sound down to what I called a "molecular" level back in 2019. What was once designed to move Tokyo dance floors now exists as a sort of outsider sound art that has almost no relation to the material world, like strange textures dreamed up in some secluded laboratory. One Draw, which finds the Japanese producer on Nullpunkt, a label run by kindred spirit Felix K, isn't any friendlier than 2019's Baroque, but it does offer more room to breathe. The LP is based on the "one draw" concept, where you create images using a single stroke. The result is some of Ena's most focused work in years, with the grainy quality of his recent experiments applied to a slightly more structured template. To Ena's credit, his compositional method really is like a drawing that gets more and more complex with each new round of the brush. The repetitive, circular nature of these tracks means they sometimes resemble dance music— "Coral," for instance, has a head-nodding beat and slowly building melody. Still, though, even the beats are strange. "3 Digits" has the topsy-turvy arc of a vinyl locked groove, albeit one that subtly morphs as it goes on. Other tracks, like "Under The Water" and "Undine," are Porter Ricks-style thumpers, hollow in the middle and heavy on the top and bottom. They demand considerable attention, but also reward it. The extra space and patience on One Draw allows you to appreciate each rustle or thud, and makes each scrap of melody all the more alluring. If there's a track on One Draw that really sounds like nothing that came before, it's "Adaptation." Sludgy, swirling and almost mucky, it's the only one here that sounds like it was made from organic matter. The first thing it brings to mind is Rashad Becker's alien sound art. In fact, I saw the two artists play together at MUTEK 2019, where their commitment to freeform conjuring of arcane textures and timbres (and a keen grasp of surround sound) made for one of the strangest and most memorable electronic performances I've seen. Though it's far more stripped-back than that live set, One Draw has the same open, almost rebellious spirit. Here, Ena taps into the brilliance of his most restless and creative dance music in an entirely different context.
  • Tracklist
      01. Undine 02. Coral 03. Merman 04. Esperance 05. Under The Water 06. Adaptation 07. 3 Digits 08. 51th