Johan Ess - The Left-Hand Path to Jahweh's Doorstep - Album Cover

This conceptual album is a sardonic IDM space-rock-opera response to American culture, spun with a mixture of standard instrumentation, synthetic textures, and a swank fetish for nonmusical objects.

A post-911 exposé on the common man, “Jahweh” focuses on Harry, a burrito enthusiast who watches the war in Iraq on TV. Harry works a lowly tech-support job, indulges in internet dating, and occasionally dips into deconstructing the flaws of humanity.

Given Johan Ess’s knack for the glitchy-chic, the material is a thought-provoking and well-executed musical oeuvre at whose heart lays the classic, good-natured desire to save your soul… or, at the very least, to reprogram your brain waves, you corporate slave.

released: February 2004
format: CDr EP, MP3
length: 33 minutes + 53 seconds

This release was made between the months of April and November 2003 at the shitty townhouse and Chez Coty in beautiful Orlando, FL.
All conceptualization, recording, engineering, production, and mastering by Johan Ess.
Self-released by the artist. Also sold though the now-defunct label Alpha Cat Boogie (aCb.0003) as well as on Soulseek Records (sual006a).

The voice of Harry is John Sapinski, an absurdly convincing progenitor of SLACK. The voices of disgruntled workers 1 & 2 (heard in ‘Call Center Worker’) are Chris Burton and Keith Readdy, fellow gnomes.The voice of Dave (heard in ‘Call Center Worker’), and the Burrito (heard in ‘The Happy Consumption Song’ and ‘Ouroboros’), is DJ Smith, a friend in the cave of hell. The voice of Susan (heard in ‘Internet Dating’) is Elizabeth Fernandez, a chaotic neutral. The voice of Jahweh is Jahweh, a satori amalgam of ‘Jah’ and ‘Yehweh’.

The chorus to ‘Call Center Worker’ is derived from lyrics by Momus.

The sleeve art was assembled by Johan Ess with artwork contributed by Matthew Xavier Crispell and Steve Gaynor. Title text design by Steve Gaynor.

PM888 of
I remember first listening to ‘Left-Hand Path’ and being like ‘woah… what the fuck’. It was like the bastard child of Syd Barrett and Richard D. James. The acoustic stuff, the more melodic interludes had this really sing-songy kind of feel to it and then it would jump abruptly into all this synthetic noise and screaming. I thought it was pretty fresh. Also, the thematic continuity of it impressed me. All of these loosely connected scenarios just dealing with the modern man as sort of an anti-hero paralyzed by inaction and copious amounts of junk food.

simon c of
A concept album about the modern Internet man, with amazing skits, crazed ramblings, weird jamming, and other extreme insanity – one of the most original releases I’ve heard in a long time. Something like the skit bits from The Goats ‘Tricks Of The Shade’ album vs. The Firesign Theatre? A must listen.

Reaction from Momus upon hearing ‘Call Center Worker’:
Wow, that’s rather impressive! I like how there are all these unrelated sections just supervening. It becomes like a documentary cabaret song, with a succession of ultra-realistic characters coming into the ‘booth’ one by one to scare us with their disillusioned (and somewhat camp) work experiences. The different textures and styles of the song (rap, Weimar electro-cabaret, acoustic guitar folk, glitchy electronica) make it interestingly confusing to listen to, and suit the ‘guest narrator’ device to a T.

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  1. This is one of my favorite pieces of classic ESS-ery. A master werk!