My life, my love, and my child, The Enright House was born in 2001 as a sleepy collection of field recordings and guitar loops in a cramped university dorm room in Chicago. Although I spent most of my life living in Europe and America, I currently reside in New Zealand.
Sonically, my music is constructed from various materials: a passion for the derelict and broken, prolonged spells of depression and self-imposed isolation, a deep respect for classical music, a somewhat warped pop sensibility, and as much hope and idealism as I can muster on my better days.
Perhaps, as someone once suggested to me, it is a music best suited for rainy autumn-winter days, or for slitting one’s wrists, or for falling in and out of love and philosophizing about life, or simply for rolling around in your feelings like an Irish Wolfdog in the leaves of a forest park.
In performance, I currently incorporate mechanized drums, whispered vocals, synths, loopers, field recordings, poetry and a lot of guitars, the latter of which are typically manipulated with bows, bottle caps, glass rods, chopsticks, some love, some violence, and a handful of derelict effects. Sometimes I perform by myself, sometimes my friends join me.
Within the last year I released my debut album “A Maze and Amazement”, an Acoustic EP, various remixes and collaborations, as well as a split 7-inch. Outside of my bedroom studio, I also completed three tours of New Zealand (two of them with a wonderful band), played some exciting festivals, and was privileged enough to find people who helped me put together three gorgeous music videos.
Having resolved to dedicate my life full-time to The Enright House, I’m currently putting on the finishing touches to A Maze and Amazement’s follow-up album, and, after moving back to Chicago in February 2009, I plan on touring North America and Europe until I either collapse or use up my remaining college trust fund. Whatever the future might hold, there is no "plan b", only a life, which, from now on, I plan to live fully.
My name, by the way, is Mark, and I would like to thank you for witnessing my existence.
Be strong, be gentle…
Mark - Vocals and vocoders; Electric guitar + RC50 looping station; Nord G2X synth; MPC-1000 sampler; iPod for field-recordings and poetry.
Ostensibly a solo project, I occasionally invite good friends and fellow musicians to join me on stage. Currently my friend, Evan Schaare, plays synths live.
Remixes and Collaborations [For The New Intellectual, 2008]
Cat and Bird Split 7" [Sleepy Bedroom Operations, 2008]
Six Acoustic Renditions EP [Sleepy Bedroom Operations, 2008]
A Maze and Amazement LP [A Low Hum, 2007]
Broken Hands EP [A Low Hum, 2006]
Multiple tracks on 'A Maze and Amazement' received ample radio play on New Zealand commercial, independent and college radio stations.
'Darkwave = MC Squared' and 'We Might as Well Have Stayed Young' spent weeks in various radio stations top-10's, with the latter song reaching #5 on the national alternative charts, and the former song being nominated for song of the year at New Zealand's independent music awards (BNet awards).
A Dramatic Balancing Act
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Skittery percussion, ethereal drones with metallic resonance, a disturbingly atmospheric sound count...Skittery percussion, ethereal drones with metallic resonance, a disturbingly atmospheric sound counter-balanced by human, emotive vocals - The Enright House sounds like a dramatic balancing act; much like the crumbling architectural images that adorn his website. But The Enright House's songs aren't falling apart at the seams; they've been meticulously composed using computer manipulation and display a great depth of ideas and incredible texture.
Though noticeably abstract, the material is still very song-orientated. His songs are spiked with poetry and manipulated samples; often with great affect. The cryptic and mysteriously devious 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' relays the interview of a promiscuous young girl; removing the actual sexual overtones of her speech, only the tone and feeling of her voice reveals this context - yet her intentions seem almost obvious. It's this masking that makes The Enright House so special - nothing is obvious; yet context seems implied.
- Chris Andrews
Moody Gem Of An Album
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Christchurch act The Enright House have been picked up by label arm A Low Hum, and with this debut h...Christchurch act The Enright House have been picked up by label arm A Low Hum, and with this debut have produced a beautifully crafted, somber and atmospheric album. Melancholy pervades, the highlight for me being We Might As Well Have Stayed Young, an aching reflection on the passing of youth that those of a certain generation will no doubt relate to ("Listening to Skinny Puppy, we'd paint our ceilings black and tile our bathroom in mirror shards...") - it's become one of my favorite songs of the year.
The album is washed in lush arrangements; electronic elements mesh with drums, viola, piano, and guitars manipulated with bows, bottle caps and other assorted items. Instrumentals sit alongside the introspective lyrical contributions of Enright House founder Mark Roberts and the haunting poetry of Mary E. Jones. Light some candles, pour a glass of red wine and immerse yourself in this moody gem of an album.
- Renee Jones
When Did Nostalgia Become So Damn Beautiful?
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When did nostalgia become so damn beautiful? I've never really had patience with the emotion, myself...When did nostalgia become so damn beautiful? I've never really had patience with the emotion, myself – spending too much time thinking about illusory, idyllic visions of the past (that was never really better than the present, anyway) has always seemed like a waste of precious time. But after spending some precious time with the first full-length from New Zealand's The Enright House, A Maze and Amazement, I can't be so sure. All I know is that once you step into the hazy world of past and present, fact and fiction conjured by Mark Roberts, it's difficult to differentiate between reality and illusion, and that's just the way it should be.
The album opens with the post-rock influenced “Scattering the Sun Like Gunshot.” The tried-and-true beauty of the post-rock intro warms the listener perfectly for the dreamy album to follow. This is not a post-rock song, however, and rather than a crushing climax, well-mixed vocals break in, allowing a temporary release of tension in the face of building repetition, and it works perfectly. The rest of the album breaks away into more dream pop and indie-related territory, but the album as a whole works like a quiet-loud track – repeating gorgeous themes and ideas until the final release on “We Might as Well Have Stayed Young,” a mighty finale that allows us an escape from The Enright House's carefully-maintained world of nostalgia while justifying its existence.
A Maze and Amazement is a vulnerable record, but that only adds to its charm.
Special note should be taken of the use of spoken-word samples throughout the album, which are universally used to maximal effect, often contrasting with the lyrics to create a powerful sense of unreality. Longer songs like “Solitaire” and “Remember the Stillness” are crowded with elements vying for the attention of the listener, be it melody, lyric, or speech, but rather than collapsing under the pressure, all of these elements compensate for each other, creating a whole that exceeds the sum of its parts. Where the spoken word would be pretentious, the melodies sweep in and give the listener something to connect with, where the vocals would be weak, the spoken word comes in to detract from the lyrical dominance, and so on.
Any work that conveys any emotion as powerfully as this album does merits a whole lot of attention, and if The Enright House continues on this path, soon he'll be pretty difficult to miss. Don't let A Maze and Amazement slip under your musical radar – you'll be sorry you did.
Some Of The Most Innovative And Beautiful Music To Emerge From These Dark Lands
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The other day, just as we were about to close up the shop, in walks this mysterious man carrying a p...The other day, just as we were about to close up the shop, in walks this mysterious man carrying a package, neatly wrapped in waxy brown paper. "What's in the package?" I ask. "Why, it's some of the most innovative and beautiful music to emerge from these dark lands in many moons," replied the stranger. "You surely must be referring to the Enright House's new album, for I have just listened to that, and I must tell you I was taken aback by the melding of live and electronic instruments, morosely whispered vocals and all round eerie beauty of it all. Like Amusement Parks on Fire meets a gothic Mogwai, with a hint of glitchy click stuff. Oh yes, an impressive release indeed..." The man turned out to be a werewolf. The end.
The Ideal Soundtrack For People To Break Up And Fall Apart To
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Having spent the last week walking around minus contact lenses, I've appreciated what a beautiful th...Having spent the last week walking around minus contact lenses, I've appreciated what a beautiful thing the out-of-focus world is. To begin with, living in a haze was frustrating and confusing. Now I've grown to love it: everything has become deeply colourful and surprisingly personalised; being unaware and somewhat out of control has never been so entertaining. Form appears out of the blur, often to my complete surprise and delight. Not knowing what things are from afar, I just guess and steep myself in the delusion.
The Enright House came into my life at just the right time.
Mark Roberts has laid himself bare on this album, though just out of sight, within a murky bubble. Songs appear where you least expect, and are punctuated by hushed tones, which he sings to himself, more than to any expected crowd. The album screams with quiet frustrations, and though it seems like Roberts will unleash a tirade at any point, he restrains himself, and this tense quiescence is so much louder as a result.
He seems aware of his situation on songs such as 'Up', as he says he's "not dreaming / things are spinning incessantly out of control," with vocals surrounded by a flurry of sequenced drums and broken synth tones. But despite sounding frustrated at being so lost, Roberts never tries to seek some escape. When it seems like there will be some clarity and resolution, The Enright House swallows itself up again.
The ideal soundtrack for people to break up, give up, and fall apart to.
- Simon Wallace
One Of The Year's Best Hidden Secrets
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Christchurch band The Enright House have managed seamlessly to merge the rising tension of bands lik...Christchurch band The Enright House have managed seamlessly to merge the rising tension of bands like Jakob, Mogwai and Expolsions In The Sky with industrial and electro experimental moments to create one of the years best low-fi hidden secrets - an early success for the fledgling Low Hum label.
The brainchild of Mark Roberts - who has now expanded the band to a four-piece - manages to layer gentle guitar noodling on top of fierce post-rock rhythms to create these moody undulating soundscapes over which his vocals ride.
The end result is hypnotic and strangely melodic in a late-night album way, like on the synthesizer drone of Up, where apathy gets the better of the protagonist. There's some lovely use of sustained notes throughout, especially on Solitaire where Roberts' murmured vocal is contrasted with the breathy Mary Jones. Pick of the album is the soaring beauty of Darkwave Equals MC Squared where an electro-clash opening gives way to a sunny guitar refrain and a gentle lyric pleading for a lover to return.
Definitely one to watch.
- Lindsay Davis
A Lyrical Labyrinth Of Weird Computer Bleeps, Pretty Pop, And Indie Cool
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Welcome to Canterbury, home of the Enright House - the one that guitarist/vocalist Mark Roberts bu...Welcome to Canterbury, home of the Enright House - the one that
guitarist/vocalist Mark Roberts built with help from Simon Gemmill
(drums), Evan Schaare (synths) and Thomas Labert (guitar). If Ayn
Rand were to listen to this it's easy to imagine her applauding the
individuality of the four boys whose thoughts keep running away to
the Fountainhead. There they frolic with Sigur Ros and take high tea
with Philip Glass.
This is one of the first releases from the A Low Hum label, and it's
a lyrical labyrinth of weird computer bleeps, pretty pop, indie cool
and industrial electronica. Highlights are Darkwave Equals MC Squared, Solitaire featuring poetry by Mary Jones, the static electricity of Do Re Mi and the album's highlights, We Might As Well Have Stayed Young, with Shocking Pink Nick Harte on drums. Come in, don't bother to wipe your feet - it's not that sort of house.
- Vicki Anderson
Complex And Dense, But Highly Accessible
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Mark Roberts is a very nice man. He’s very intelligent too. And he also makes wonderful music with T...Mark Roberts is a very nice man. He’s very intelligent too. And he also makes wonderful music with The Enright House. Ostensibly a solo project, the Christchurch artist has released A Maze and Amazement and added a few more members in the process.
A Maze and Amazement is a beautiful album, complex and dense, but highly accessible. It’s a languid dream, shifting between melancholy and uplift, heavy on mood and texture. In other words, it could probably be described under the term “post-rock”, but there is so much happening here, it’s a little too reductive to try and sum it up in a term or two.
[The result is] a rather shimmering piece of work. A Maze and Amazement (...) is ambitious and gorgeous to listen to. While approaching his music from an intellectual angle, it’s also a stirring piece of work, that reveals more and more to you every listen.
Unlike say, Godspeed! You Black Emperor which thunderously document an apocalypse, this is much more personal, much more insular.
- Brannavan Gnanalingam
Lush Flowing Arrangements Scattered With Intensity
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And the surge from Christchurch begins... This is a wonderful album from the Enright House who has b...And the surge from Christchurch begins... This is a wonderful album from the Enright House who has been quietly making moves over the last year and a bit to be regarded as a "...hey , have you heard that new band from Christchurch...".
Opener Scattering the Sun Like Gunshot reveals what this band are all about. Lush flowing arrangements scattered with intensity but also relaxed structure.
There are overtones of familiar influences here which groups the band loosely with other NZ legends Jakob, HDU, Bailterspace, Karetta. Even the hint of previous CHCH group Parsec.
It's a mostly instrumental album but when the vocals do present themselves they do so like a layered instrument creating an even deeper sound.
It's wonderful. Buy it now and see them live.
Music For Rainy Autumn-winter Days Or For Slitting Your Wrists
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Music for rainy autumn-winter days. Or for slitting your wrists during them. Or for drinking the 20t...Music for rainy autumn-winter days. Or for slitting your wrists during them. Or for drinking the 20th cup of Chai late and philosophizing about life. For rolling around in your feelings like Irish wolfdogs in the leaves of Hagley Park.
Set lengths can vary anywhere from 25 minutes to well over an hour, depending on the circumstances of the particular show.
Generally speaking, we tend to get extremely personal with the audience during our performance. We use a variety of intimate and often uncomfortable field-recordings that weave in and out of our songs, we talk to the audience during the set, and the mournful and emotionally exhibitionistic nature of the music favors an environment where people can relax, find the inner space to contemplate their own lives, and engage with the music.