A Closer Listen is a brand new website, and Hanetration is a brand new artist. The cover art of his debut release is mysteriously fragmented and blurred, while the sounds within are a perfect match. Perhaps Hanetration’s New Year’s resolution was to release an EP, but he’s clearly been making music for a while. These four tracks exude the kind of confidence that comes from experience. Their base may be dronelike, but their surface is experimental; two of the tracks unfold like marches, the other two like processions.
When encountering a new artist, one wonders, “Will this person bring any new ideas to the table?” This is the arena in which Hanetration impresses. “Rex” makes a particular impact with a gurgle of voices atop what sounds like a ram’s horn; and then the parade enters. This piece has the feel of a religious ceremony: one in which repetition leads to trance, and trance to transcendence. One imagines saffron robes, the scent of incense, perhaps a hint of jasmine. The glossolalia is not intended to be understood; embedded in the surroundings, it operates as another instrument. The other highlight track, “Rufus” (no relation to Chaka Khan, we assume) carries a one-two-rest beat and a lead melody that sounds like a shamanic call to worship. But the real action takes place offstage, as a series of whooshes and underlying clicks takes root in the fringes. The melody seems at times distracted, perhaps even nervous, aware of the intruders yet unwilling to interrupt the performance.
We hope we’ll hear a lot more from this artist. Tenth Oar is a solid start to what may turn out to be a fascinating career. Congratulations, Hanetration, and welcome to the field; there’s definitely room for you here. (Richard Allen)