PARKSZ remix of ‘La Truth’ from BUHU’s album, Tenets (originally released September 5th 2018 via FMF Records). BUHU is releasing a Tenets remix EP late June 2019 featuring remixes from prominent electronic artists such as Summer Heart, Haulm, Brothertiger, PARKSZ and CAPYAC. A new remix will be released every month through spring 2019 leading up to the EP release.
BUHU is the shape-shifting musical brainchild of Jeremy Rogers and Tiffany Paciga. More than just a moniker, BUHU is a retrospective of their lives and a reflection, or refraction, of their relationship. Nothing is held back, all is laid bare. Born and bred between Wisconsin and Texas, BUHU’s recordings might be described as electronic bedroom pop, in the sense that Rogers produces them largely himself. But that term is way too reductive; these are no tinker-toy beats crapped out with GarageBand on a MacBook. BUHU’s compositions are powerful, sonically cinematic, multidimensional, precise, ever unfolding. The beats bump and the hooks catch. BUHU’s music attacks from both sides.
Tenets: principles, convictions, the core essentials. The first studio album from Austin synth pop duo BUHU is an excavation of sorts, as lead singer/producer Jeremy Rogers mines the seminal aspects and events of his life, stripping it all down and laying himself bare. It’s a risky effort; no scrims of hipster irony to hide behind here. Take itor leave it, Rogers seems to be saying throughout. Here I am, this is me. Something about the album calls to mind the scene in Spike Jonze’s Adaptation, when Donald Kaufman gently, profoundly rebukes his twin brother: “You are what you love, not what loves you.”
Love—and loss—are in abundance here. Two women play vastly different roles in what proves to be a cohesive narrative: the first, a new lover who’s shaken Rogers’ foundation and caused him to reflect, sometimes unfavorably, on the person he is or once was; the second, his late mother, who he lost at a tragically young age. These women are objects only in the sense that they’re objects of his affection and catalysts for self-reflection. His respect for each is palpable and complex. Tenets is, in essence, a love letter to them both.
We’re introduced first to his new love in the broodingly romantic opener, “Yew.” The homonym in the title is more than just whimsy; it suggests something blossoming, taking root deep within him. The very first line is a mea culpa: I wanted more than I could take, living like a fool with nothing at stake. The mirror doesn’t always present the prettiest image, if we’re brave enough to really look. But redemption comes in the simple, direct refrain that follows: Then I found you. The song is reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s confessional masterpiece, Blonde, both emotionally and sonically, as the legato restraint of the synth-and-string arrangement sets a mood that’s sexy but centered: the polar opposite of a cheap roll in the hay.
Side B presents a pivot. Here Rogers delves deeper into the recesses of his heart, reckoning with heavier matter than the joy of new love. “Tenet No. 6” serves as a prologue to “Franny,” with a wobbly, atonal synth passage that could easily have been plucked from some lost Tame Impala b-side. The beat that finally drops to signal the start of “Franny” is more minimal and moody than anything we’ve heard so far, almost James Blake-ish in its patient restraint. Soon enough we realize why: this is a song about Rogers’ mother, who he lost to cancer when he was just nine. It’s an elegy and a lament, a contemplation of the infinite prices exacted by that loss. Maybe you’d change my mind, he wonders. Maybe I would not know my wife, maybe had you survived—oh Franny. If a butterfly can alter the whole course of history, what effect must losing your mom when you’re nine have on the course of one man’s life?
If one word best describes BUHU’s first studio album, it might be verklempt; Rogers often sounds overcome, overwhelmed. When he’s in love, he can’t believe his luck. When he grieves, he grieves to the gills. It’s a brave, bold offering, anchored against the threat of sentimentality by the sureness of compositional instinct and production chops oozing out of every musical nook and cranny.
Tenets was produced alongside Danny Reisch (Shearwater, Bayonne, Wye Oak) at Good Danny’s in Lockhart, TX, and mastered by Jeff Lipton (Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire) at Peerless Mastering in Boston, MA. It’s set to be released September 5, 2018, on FMF Records.