Tucker Theodore - To Make the Sun Hurt
(Antiquated Future 2013)
To listen to fuzz-folk like the kind created by mysterious solo artist Tucker Theodore is a study in musical paleontology. Crumbling remnants of drone folk lie fossilized beneath jagged chords and wet, unidentified sludge, all melding together to form an impenetrable wall of earth. The ten tracks that compose Theodore's new tape, To Make The Sun Hurt, are hewn from this rock and left untreated, making for an organic, gritty texture that, ironically, brings out a softness, a vulnerability in the music. It's more shoegaze, than folk, really, because noise and tape grime make up much of the murky wall of sound that oozes from the listener's speakers. Imagine Woody Guthrie going avant-garde.
The first strums on the opener, "Shifting Dunes", disintegrate at the touch of an eardrum, leaving swirling dust in its place. Theodore delivers his lyrics in the form of a rattling croak, as if the parched surface of the song has dried up his throat. It all sounds so beautifully lifeless; each note and word is forced out, and even the instruments seem to be moaning from some form of dehydration. "The Way Home" is the only track that provides a bit of relief from the thick dust storm, allowing for some rhythm to push through the tempest. A synth or sample of some sort adds foreign texture to the mix, and one can even pick out individual pluckings rather than hearing them all at once. To Make the Sun Hurt is definitely an acquired taste, but it will most likely appeal to those who value rawness in music.