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Fursaxa, "Lepidoptera"

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Tara Burke's music is a shining example of what is horribly wrong with all this New Weird America crap. For all of its cerebral machinations there is little emotional impact, almost nothing human capable of taking me from the mundane to the apparently odd world of psychedelic composition. Some of the music may sound nice and full, but I just don't connect with it.

Difficult music usually presents itself in one of three ways: as an academic experiment; as a means of expressing some idea in a non-conventional manner; or as a purely aesthetic recording meant to entertain or provoke particular moods or mental states. Fursaxa doesn't fit any of those very well at all and now that I think about it, most of this psychedelic folk stuff completely misses the mark on each one of those three qualifications. I don't mean for those descriptions to serve as a marker for whether or not a piece of music is going to be good or not, but I can't enjoy an album unless it evokes some human qualities that I can relate to. Short of being able to do that, I enjoy listening to bands that want to mess with classical structures or stretch the limits of what it means to be musical and so forth, that sort of playfulness can be entertaining.

Lepidoptera is as predictable as a Presidential speech, however. There are going to be tribal-like moments on this record, there will be wailing guitars that hush into meditative drones, and there will be vocals that make no sense and do nothing but muddle the record with ideas that only serve to remove me from the music instead of draw me into it. In other words, it is about as experimental as smoking marijuana and as exciting as getting pulled over by the cops after having a few too many at the bar.

There's nothing about this record that isn't old news. That isn't to say that it isn't pretty in some respect, but I honestly feel nothing but complete apathy toward it. Keep on chanting, keep on strumming that guitar, and keep on pounding on the drums and I still won't care about the music. If I were on acid, this would be the least interesting thing happening around me. It's as though Burke and her fellow musicians want to be as strange as possible while drawing the least amount of attention to themselves.

Using what has become the conventional vocabulary of hallucinogenic music, Fursaxa simply mumbles through eleven tracks of what might be called heavenly vocals, innocent melodies, and transcendent arrangements, except none of the songs add up to any of those. It seems to me that a lot of this New Weird America music exists in name only and that the musicians writing the best haunting and strange music simply keep their mouths shut and let the music do the talking for them. I can think of several other bands that do what Fursaxa is attempting to do, but a thousand times better. Not one of those bands has ever claimed to be part of any movement nor have they ever bothered trying to describe what their music is. I'm not sure that Fursaxa has claimed any alliance, either, but her record sounds like a lot of other music that bores me to death, so I'll go ahead and assume Burke is trying real hard to sound like her tripped-out brethren, all of whom sound flat and ridiculous to me, too.

It'd be great if there were something new going on here, but all I hear is the same hippy attitude posing as new experimental music. To make it worse, these hippies aren't even preaching ideals of love or peace, they're just talking bullshit and hoping to be revered for what amounts to total nonsense. Listen closely enough and you'll hear they're saying nothing at all.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 January 2006 14:26  


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