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Why? Shows A More Somber Side On ‘Moh Lhean’

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<p>(Photo: CPR / Daniel Mescher)</p>

Why? has spent more than a decade crafting experimental rock music with a strong dose of hip-hop. Much of that comes from bandleader Yoni Wolf, who has also toured as a solo rapper. The Cincinnati band's latest album, "Moh Lhean," is a collection of melancholy piano ballads -- some of them written after Wolf suffered a health scare in Central America.

More from OpenAir Sessions:

Why? stopped into the CPR Performance Studio before a Denver show to play four songs from the new album. Wolf also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about balancing various musical projects, the illness that influenced "Moh Lhean" and recording the album in his home studio.

Stream the session above. Interview highlights:

Vocalist and pianist Yoni Wolf on the different musical direction of "Moh Lhean":

"It's a pretty organic process, I would say, with seeing what feels right. And that's how this one came together. We have some other material that may be more in that other direction that didn't fit with these songs. You want to put a cohesive album together that flows and has some kind of consistency."

On making the album in his home studio:

"You start spending a lot of money. And you have to have grander expectations on how something will do because you're deeper in debt. With this one we felt like, 'OK, well let's just do it at our own pace. And do it on a smaller budget and keep it closer to home.' Sort of a reaction against how we had been doing things."

Songs performed:

  • "Easy"
  • "The Water"
  • "Consequence Of Nonaction"
  • "The Barely Blur"