Ehnahre - _The Man Closing Up_
(Sound Devastation, 2008)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (8.5 out of 10)
The embers of Kayo Dot smolder fiercely through the spastic, fractured jazzcore of Boston's own Ehnahre, a new quintet comprising members of that band as well as less prominent bruisers forcefedglass and Biolich. The press release says that the label "stumbled across" the band through MySpace, which brings to mind horrid, implacable imagery of some goateed intern loaded on Irish coffee and Cool Ranch Doritos patiently, willfully running through the online playlist of any and every band whose genre listing says something like "death metal / punk / mutant disco", hours of this, sitting limpid in his own flatulent squalor, searching, doubled over in front of an incandescent monitor like a hunchbacked nose tackle zeroing in on a target... nope, that one's not it. Fuck. I almost want to give the album a 10 to justify that intern's existence, but the band isn't quite there yet.

Ehnahre are definitely on the "avant" side of hardcore, meddling with rhythmic sensibilities and wielding broken silence like a machete hacking away at the chipped edifice of jazz fusion. The elders have either died off or abandoned their posts, and now the offices have been rewired, the tombs fumigated and watchdogs like Frank Zappa and Henry Rollins replaced with seizure inducing epilectics such as John Zorn and Mike Patton. Ehnahre, though, are hardly the clown princes of post-neomathcore or whatever the hell the kiddies are calling it these days... nay, _The Man Closing Up_ heralds itself as a concept record patterned on the writings of Donald Justice. It doesn't say -which- writings, but a quick -- and I do mean quick -- Google turned up a ream of sampled poetry which seems to focus on mundane, everyday observances. It's possible I've got the wrong Donald Justice altogether and the Ehnahre muse is actually channeling a leading EU economist or maybe a ponderous Atlantic City pimp. Either way, lyrics aren't exactly abundant here, as poetry the music is a lot closer to the jazziness of the Beats than this Justice character, and for all I know the "concept LP" angle is just a ruse to avoid having to come up with song titles.

I'm actually pretty much on board for the Tourettes pastiche of lumbering, staggered beats and shards of resonant doom Ehnahre purvey, though I wouldn't be surprised to learn I'm doing a piss poor job of brandishing my enthusiasm. So maybe a few affirmatives are in order: yes... _The Man Closing Up_ is cogent and cerebral, a time released spansule of long play aural gratification gift wrapped in a swift kick to the nuts; yes!... Ehnahre pull off the enviable feat of making music on an attention span measured in increments far less than the standard 12 bards, although requiring an intense focus befitting a Wagnerian song cycle to mentally assimilate; YES! the album is worth your $16 -- which comes out to something like $3.25 / track (you apparently pay extra for song titles) -- and I'll tell you why: those addled Okies stinking up the apt. complex with their bathtub meth will be driven senseless and suicidal by the jittery, fragile crystals of sonic glass erupting piecemeal out of your 100W Pioneer speakers, beaming insidiously through the insulation-free walls on a beeline trajectory straight to their frazzled nerve receptors, there to bounce around the confines of their paranoia racked skulls like errant electrons in a supercollider demonstration gone awry. There are test tube shattering frequencies galore and subliminal voices that sound like wolves baying over the muted cries of a howling baby, and fuck, man, what Okie can withstand that level of monstrous torture? It's like musical waterboarding with "plausible deniability" written all over it. You can't put a price on that, nor a musical rating either, so I'll give it an 8 1/2 because that's my favorite Fellini film, and I like the conceivable parallel of a band recording an album about the inability to record a conventional album.


(article published 8/1/2009)

7/28/2013 D Lake 7.5 Ehnahre - Old Earth
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