Aisha Burns’ sophomore album ‘Argonauta’ came to life in a strange dichotomy for the Texan; musically everything was beyond her wildest dreams – things were great and she found herself in the throes of her longest ever relationship. However, during this period of elation, Burns lost her mother and while she busied herself with music and kept herself distracted all was fine, but when matters came to a halt, the realisation of her mother’s passing would bubble to the surface. When Aisha Burns was left with just her thoughts she would ruminate “the unfairness of life and death” and how it “spun around ceaselessly in my mind”. ‘Argonauta’ is a document of this time; it’s a brittle record, mostly built on the fragile foundations of Burns’ part country, part bluesy tones, with just the fleeting shimmer of a violin or a brief acoustic strum. There’s a sparseness that’s representative of the “moments of stillness” Burns would find herself in, as she would burrow deep into her psyche, whilst coming to terms of bouts of depression and anxiety.
Aisha Burns’ ‘Argonauta’ is the child of a strange chasm in my life, the space where both unfathomable, debilitating loss and new love and hope reside” muses Burns on her second album. Whilst tonally the album quivers with an indelible melancholy, there’s something in the way our protagonist’s voice gently floats on a cloud of vapour- like instrumentation, that gives ‘Argonauta’ a dream-like feeling and with it an almost carefree nature. It’s in the album’s sparse use of strings, minimal guitar motifs and the occasional heartbeat drum thud, that provides a mournful aesthetic. A calmness bleeds through Aisha Burns’ new offering but with it a sense of trepidation, as well as a feeling that the San Antonio resident is searching for something, like on the slo-mo hypnotic trill of ‘Leavin’, where Burns remarks “when will I begin to live in my own skin?”, whilst the track itself, in title particularly, reflects on the notion of leaving something behind with the urge to embark on something new, somewhere else.
People often say that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and ‘Argonauta’ has a similar feeling, in the way it’s stripped back, whispered nature grabs your attention, just as much as a shout would.
Words and Thoughts by Adam Williams