The relentless beauty of BUHU
Earlier this fall Austin cult pop act BUHU released their long awaited debut album Tenets through the imprints FMF Records and Kitsuné Musique. From humble experimental beginnings, lineup shakeups and a host of organic developments; principle leader Jeremy Rogers molded the sound and substance of the full-length into an economically executed exercise in capturing the light of life’s lessons and exhibitions of love into an intoxicating electronic brew. The result is something that is personal, revelatory and revolutionary as the record shimmers with an astounding glow like an epiphany or moment of shining clarity, adapted to the form of a pop song cycle.
Rogers opens Tenets with the slow jam love ballad “Yew” that professes endearing affections and gratitude for his spouse and collaborator Tiffany Paciga, complete with an accompanying minimalist bridge dancing visual from Olivier Dalipagic for Oh Wow Pictures (featured below). Interludes like "Tenet No. 2" and "Tenet No. 6" pepper the record as transitional instrumentals between songs that keep the momentum of sentimental and spiritual awakenings flowing in a motion of natural splendor. The doors of pensive perception and praxis are blown off on the sky-high keys of "All Eye", to the time-splitting energy and anachronism shattering illustrious brilliance of "La Truth" that practically exists in a time and place that is all its own. There are nods to Peter Gabriel in the updated 80s new romantic face lift of "In Your Eyes", to the emotive heart string striking tribute to Rogers' mother "Franny" that holds dear the memories of maternal nurturing in sublime expressions. Tenets concludes in a similar meditative tone and mode with “Kids” that feels like taking a dive through a reflective pool of nostalgia that feels hopeful and wistful with a mix of the melancholia that life experience brings. And as Rogers currently battles the local Spider House Cafe and Ballroom co-owner in allegations of sexual misconduct; BUHU pushes forward to achieve a greater sense of truth, peace, justice, respect and enlightenment both in their community and their surrounding world.
BUHU’s own Jeremy Rogers provided the following candid reflections on the making of the much awaited album:
Previous to this rendition of BUHU, we were an experimental electronic/rock trio. The other two members decided to hang their hats summer of 2016 leaving BUHU completely to me. I took what little money I had and bought a really cheap polysynth to match my really cheap mono synth and bought an even cheaper drum machine.
Day 1, The first song I wrote was “La Truth”. I just used a stock patch on my poly and arpeggiated the bass to it on the monosynth. I loved it. I felt like I unlocked some kind of secret in music. I was creating a full band sound with less than $1000 worth of instruments and equipment. And it sounded really good. I toyed around with the song and established a loose structure with some lead melody. I began to conceptualize the album. I wanted to use a finite amount of instruments not only for cohesion but also for budget. In the beginning, I knew lyrics were going to be very important. I looked to Peter Gabriel and Jackson Browne for inspiration. Between them I realized that the best way to sing honestly was to be completely honest. So I did. “La Truth” is a song about all the dishonesty and fear that kept me from being close with my wife. And it’s also about how I finally learned to let all that go. The vulnerability I exposed just to myself felt like a revelation.
I bought a really nice loop station and sampler along with a new drum machine and little arpeggiating polysynth and I had my full setup. I followed “La Truth” with “All Eye” (which I did not like much in the beginning) and then “Franny”. I cried outside on the patio of a busy bar writing the lyrics to “Franny”. That song is about my mother who passed away from breast cancer when I was nine. I then wrote a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” (which I vehemently tried to write my own song but it just came out as an original cover). I followed that with writing “Yew” which is all about my deep love for my wife and then I wrote “Kids” in the studio.
From beginning to end I honored the motif of only writing on the few synths I had. I recorded the album with producer Danny Reisch and even with his arsenal of synths, we really only used mine as all the tones and frequencies were perfectly matched. The lyrics are honest and vulnerable. I feel like you can tell I went on a very deep personal journey with each song on the album. Tenets is definitely the beginning of a new era in my life and journey in making art. I’m excited to see what else it hearkens.