[21 May 2007]
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.