Philadelphia musician Tara Burke knows simple things can be deeper than complicated ones, and her work under the name Fursaxa is stunning proof. On Lepidoptera, the fourth Fursaxa album, Burke continues to mine bottomless depths out of elemental material. Her approach—usually minimal chords or a hypnotic drone married to multitracked vocal purrs—is pretty basic. But her knack for repeating, layering, and massaging those sounds until they sprout weeds, cast shadows, and spawn phantoms is supremely sophisticated.
Burke’s divine moans, which soar skyward like a galactic call to prayer, are certainly powerful. But it’s the way her meditative hums burrow into their surrounding elements—tactile guitar strums, hymnlike accordion tones, and curving flute flourishes—that makes Lepidoptera truly entrancing. “Velada” creates an airy reverie out of ringing strings and a makeshift beat, while “Purple Fantasy” sifts percussion rattles through spoken incantations. Later, “Poppy Opera” melts into a reflecting pool of vocal textures, and “Tyranny” creates an engulfing atmosphere through the help of brothers John and Michael Gibbons from Philly stoner-rock king Bardo Pond.
Mixing the reverence of a church service with the looseness of a hike in the woods, Lepidoptera feels like a sunny funeral, with Burke devoutly digging at the ground to release ghosts into the air. By the time the final track, “Una De Gato,” sends slow noise out into space, it’s clear that Fursaxa’s music is limitless.