A bit of advice: try to watch and recall David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” when you hear “Stolen Years” for the first time, the new album by Anduin, North American musician Jonathan Lee’s project. Not only is there a direct, very quick identification between the film’s bipolar noir and the songs, but one might even really wonder whether this is an alternative undeclared soundtrack to the film. The Lynch concept has deteriorated over time, to the point that today even Lana del Rey has a sort of Lynchian air; every time a critic uses his name, a cat dies somewhere in the world. But there are times when it makes all of the sense in the world, and this is one of those times: Anduin’s new album, so far the best title in the genre this year - a disturbing, hypnotic mix of dark ambient and jazz - represents a passionate point of encounter between Angelo Badalamenti and Deaf Center.
Last year we theorised about the return of the sax, but we never thought that it would show itself so intensely in an album like this, with this style. Besides the ambient drone that Lee uses to weave the atmospheric spider’s web of his discourse, on “Stolen Years” the saxophone plays the starring role. There are momentary, but noticeable sax solos throughout the album, giving it a heavy cinematographic charge; an amalgam of sensations calling to mind lonely nights, dangerous alleys, dark roads, blurry images, unidentifiable faces, and labyrinthine dreams. It is ambient noir in the best possible sense of the expression - the precise, conscious sum of Badalamenti, John Zorn, Vangelis, Barry Adamson, The Haxan Cloak and Kreng, among many other references.
But apart from this jazz exploration, “Stolen Years” shines and arouses enthusiasm for other reasons, especially for the degree of perfection and expressive purity that Anduin shows on this album. It possesses a more certain, convincing mastery of tempo –short songs, lasting an average of four minutes, without detours of any kind. It is also interesting for the widening of his chromatic palette, which allows him to diversify his discourse and, in a certain sense, make it seem more accessible. “Stolen Years” is cerebral, perfectly measured and balanced, but it has a profound, careful sense of emotion that makes the album our man’s best title published to date.