NEW MUSIC NOW: FAUXDEPHONE

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No way can I keep up with everybody wanting reviews, though I try. I do, however, make an effort to pay close attention to local offerings. What I hear coming from the Denver/Boulder scene rates from meh to brilliant, as you would expect.

When it’s brilliant, I feel joy. So it is my happy duty to advise you to check out Fauxdephone’s “Why Anything?” e.p. A few seconds in, I knew I was hearing something special. While the tunes often have a whimsical, playful, dissonant feel, there’s a somber undertone in the lyrics that requires repeated listening to grab hold of. The tunes incorporate rock, rap, samples, folk, and who knows what other genres hiding in the sonic layers. I wouldn’t call this an outright faith-based work, but my ears did perk up to the obvious spiritual overtones.

Denver’s Paul Buscarello, 22, is Fauxdephone, and he plays nearly everything on the recording. On good days, I can stand myself playing a little guitar, so I gotta give chops ‘n props to this multi-instrumentalist. I am the type of musician who relies on someone else to push all the buttons when it’s time to record, so I truly am fascinated and a little envious when someone can basically do it all him (or her) self.

Buscarello recorded “Why Anything?” last December with his roommates Billy Overton and Luke Randazzo. Here are his comments about the recording and the project’s theme.

“I am sort of a musical instrument collector, so a lot of background instruments are things I have lying around that I don’t really know how to play. The trumpet part in ‘Thoughts’ is me after practicing and learning for a week and then playing over and over until I got a usable take; I haven’t touched the trumpet since.

The phone choir (the chorus in ‘6:3 Tree of Life’) was attractive to me because I like the artifacts and lo-fi sounds from people recording through laptop computers and cell phones and untrained voices as well. So I sent myself singing the part to friends and family and told them to sing along, with me agreeing to put in whatever they recorded (some made up lyrics, etc).
So, the album is mainly about suicidal ideation, seen through a bunch of lenses — mostly Christian faith — and how feeling depressed ultimately expands into the thought ‘Why anything?’

Why get up in the morning? or Why do I think about myself so much? turn into Why should I live rather than die? or Why do I exist? or I don’t know. It’s like when a toddler asks ‘Why?’ and as you explain each question you get more and more abstract until you throw up your hands and say ‘Because.’

‘6:3 Tree of Life’ has a bunch of references to the story of Jonah and the whale and how self-pity works as well as Ecclesiastes. ‘Thoughts’ is all the voices in my head. ‘Good Enough’ is sort of saying enjoying the little things is reason enough to live. It’s all very whiny and self-indulgent but I felt like if I recorded songs it might help me curb those thoughts and feeling and actions in my actual life. It hasn’t, but oh well.”

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-Darren Thornberry