According to Six Degrees, Rara Avis is an “Emerging Artist”, implying something fresh, something new. Instead, the guitarist and laptopper’s download-only EP, Shaktified EP 1, sounds dated. Nearly every element here feels canned, from the Enigma-inspired synth swells perfectly tailored for a yoga studio soundtrack, to the ‘90s Gaia trance beats, to the super-slick guitar licks. The lead track, “Medicine (Full Length Version)”, encapsulates all of the aforementioned offenses and adds clumsily delayed vocal samples to an already pretty dorky track. “Jumanic Rapture” is a nice enough cut, ambient and inoffensive. “Post Burn Syndrome” is the worst offender, drifting perilously close at times to light jazz. Its minor-keyed meditations save the track from sinking into Muzak, but barely. Closer “Yesterday” takes an odd turn, moving into a laid-back ditty of acoustic guitar and vocals, like Jack Johnson with a simple drum machine backing. It’s hardly groundbreaking, but quite pleasant, and more soulful than all of the post-New Age sequencing-plus-noodling that came before. If Avis were moving in this direction, then his “emerging” might be more auspicious. Mostly, though, Shaktified EP 1 is too predictable to recommend.
- Multiple song samples Streaming
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article