For instance, the aptly titled, ten-minute odyssey "Take a Trip," "Lost in Shibuya" and album closer "Utopia" all recall a lighthearted version of The Black Dog and a time when some dance music was thought to be "intelligent." That said, those looking for the complex or innovative rhythmic designs of Aphex Twin will be disappointed: Alone has an overall more classical facture: it usually follows 4x4 beats with muted kick drums inspired by early '90s techno: "Words in a Bottle" and "One Upon a Time (Part 2)" have Speedy J and Dave Clarke on a quiet day written all over them.
The album isn't all about European influences, though, as "Lascive" displays an old-school Chicago vibe mixed with a complex orchestration of poignant beeps in the background. That is precisely Enola's strength: the lack of inventiveness on the rhythmic side is hugely compensated by the album's varied melodic twists. Unfortunately, when Enola veers from his initial plan, it isn't always successful, as a cut like "Pristi the Cat" lacks focus and direction and "Sarah" unconvincingly sounds like a trip-hop-tinged vocal-led ballad that wants to be Massive Attack but doesn't really seem to know how.
Alone is only Initial Cuts' third album, after a first long player and a singles compilation from Tekel, so it is still quite early to tell how it fits with the artistic direction for the label. Even compared to what has been released this year in France, Enola doesn't really sound like anything else, which makes him a welcomed peculiarity. The only points of reference would be the score Agoria wrote last year for Go Fast and, at times, DJ Hell's recently reminiscing about his formative influences on Teufelswerk. Considering both Enola's influences and aims on Alone, that is sufficiently reasonable praise.