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Maxine Funke - Seance Music Album Reviews

Maxine Funke - Seance Music Album Reviews
On the New Zealand singer-songwriter’s fourth album, spare acoustic arrangements make deceptively simple containers for songs charged with memory and mysticism.

There are times when Maxine Funke’s songs feel so light, it seems as if a heavy sigh could blow them away. But hold that breath, and her curious, knotty guitar quickly takes hold. Bring them on a walk, and the songs take on a kaleidoscopic quality as the shifting improvisations of birds, neighbors, bugs, and traffic peek through her murmured melodies.

On Seance, Funke’s fourth album, the New Zealand singer-songwriter charges her songs with the energy of open air just before a heavy thunderstorm. She accompanies herself on the guitar and makes use of a synthetic rhythm once, laying a sparse looping beat as the foundation to the meander of “Moody Relish.” There is a constant sense that something is about to happen, and to that end, Funke’s taut songs are anticlimactic. That tension, however, translates to a rare escape to a safe outpost for reflection on a vast plane of uncertainty, where recollections are richly bittersweet.

Much of Seance feels dedicated to making quiet spaces for memory. In “Homage,” she follows a spiraling route, lobbing questions about who could replace a departed lover—then asking who would ask the same of her absence. “Anzac Day,” meanwhile, nods to a holiday commemorating war casualties in Australia and New Zealand. But Funke takes a different approach by asking to remember conscientious objectors, honoring the courage of following through on a moral conviction despite the potential for ostracization and shame.

Concrete memories can be resurrecting forces, but so, too, can the abstractions of everyday details. As Funke recalls a breakup via tea trays and slammed doors on “Quiet Shore,” her short, rippling guitar part inches along with the fuzz and single-mindedness of a caterpillar. It turns hypnotic as Funke uses her acoustic guitar to amble over stray notes and fleeting passages.

Funke renders her scenes briefly, with the thin saturation of watercolor paints. On “Fairy Baby,” she illustrates a crepuscular beach horizon in a gliding lilt. She invokes the wine-dark sea, a Homeric characterization defined not by color, but by depth: “mysterious, hypnotic, dangerous,” as Mary Norris described in her 2019 book Greek to Me. Mysticism glimmers between Funke’s strokes, as in “Lucky Penny,” or in “Fairy Baby”’s mention of haruspication: divination through the entrails of animal sacrifices.

Funke saves her best for last with “Goodbye,” where she clarifies the difference between shyness and justified reservation—in a sense, remembering herself. “I’m not shrinking,” she insists, “It’s just you’re looking down at me from such a lofty height.” Instead, she’s immersed in her world, taking in portraiture by day and history books by night. But even assured introverts yearn for the tenderness of feeling understood on their own terms: “I like to be noticed/I wish to be seen,” Funke sings, a simple admission that can sometimes feel impossible to articulate.

Seance is Funke’s shortest record by a wide margin, but its slighter stature plays to all of its strengths. It slips away all too quickly, like so many memories.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Maxine Funke - Seance Music Album Reviews Maxine Funke - Seance Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, August 04, 2021 Rating: 5

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