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Lepidoptera

Fursaxa

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Album Review

Lepidoptera readily shows that Tara Burke's work as Fürsaxa has if anything grown even more entrancing and commanding with time — that a greater popular context for her work has appeared recently certainly helps, but Lepidoptera readily transcends any easy "New Weird America" box to package it in. It's certainly important to note that her work hasn't simply come out of nowhere — comparisons to Nico or perhaps a more serene Patty Waters aren't unwarranted — but more importantly she has carved out an attractive niche worth enjoying for its own sake. In respects the possibilities of stepping out, however gently, from the expected standards of what is "current" in music seem so easy to do that it's a surprise more haven't done so, but that Burke can so readily call up what could be pagan mantras with the singing on "Velada" or create see-saw sea shanties gone off-kilter like "Moonlight Sonata" — nothing to do with Beethoven — is but part of the reason to celebrate her work. As with many recent artists generally associated with Fürsaxa, what seems to be gloomy is in fact often celebratory music, or something more accurately pitched carefully between two extremes. Such "Purple Fantasy" may have buried whooshes of sound like wind sweeping over plains and low-key spoken vocals, but the central combination of bells and flute suggests life, an expression of almost wild joy. Likewise the combination of keyboards and wordless backing vocals during the introductory section of "Poppy Opera" are definitely mysterious and haunting, but the core guitar melody, simple but affecting, again conjures up the feeling of a restrained folk dance from an unknown place and time. Perhaps the most surprising track in context is "Tyranny," starting off as it does with a loud, huge electric guitar drone, but the fact that it is a drone to start with is the point, with the addition of low rumbling drums, wild flutes, and Burke's chants resulting in a truly majestic song.

Lepidoptera, Fursaxa
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