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Afrofuturist soul of Aeon Fux

Aeon Fux at Le Voyeur, Saturday

Aeon Fux at Le Voyeur in Olympia, Saturday, Oct. 10. Courtesy of Facebook

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Certain bands and artists come along that blow one's little, wannabe music-loving mind. Tom Waits did it for me when my dad showed me Big Time; St. Vincent threw me for a loop when I saw her video for "Marrow;" Prince challenged my sexuality the first time I heard "Darling Nikki;" Frank Zappa weirded me out with "200 Motels"; and Tiny Tim's somewhat forgotten live album, Tiny Tim Live! At the Royal Albert Hall, fundamentally changed the way I viewed the person who, for all I knew, only ever sang "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."

Included in this list of game-changers would also be the likes of Sun Ra and Parliament-Funkadelic. These are artists who still thrill and confound me. Watching them perform is akin to dropping in on an alien planet, which is by design. Among other categorizations, Sun Ra and P-Funk both dabble in a philosophy and aesthetic known as Afrofuturism, which - to quickly and shoddily sum up - is the combination of science fiction, mysticism and Afrocentricity. Sun Ra may explicitly say that he's from another planet, which is not necessary to the spirit of Afrofuturism, but it certainly helps to freak out and intrigue a young white me.

Into the fray comes Aeon Fux (AKA Olivia Hatfield), a student of Afrofuturism at Evergreen College, and a burgeoning artist with a sound that's both utterly unique and reverent of past artists. There's an element of subversion at play in the music of Aeon Fux. While the music harkens back to late ‘50s and early ‘60s doo wop and soul (complete with mostly a capella tracks, all the better to highlight Hatfield's effortlessly gorgeous voice), the subject matter leans toward political and personal beefs, delivered with a straight face, even when the lyrics are out there.

To wit: a two-song pairing, the first song being called "Call Me," and the second being called "Don't You Dare F-ing Call Me You F-ing F*#@." With these two concise songs (both are roughly a minute long), Aeon Fux tells all you need to know about the life of that relationship. First she pines for someone, then she comes to her senses and cuts ties. All we're missing is the middle bit, but that's always the boring stuff, anyway. Musically, the songs are very similar, even down to Hatfield's tender vocals, but the message of the second song couldn't be any further than the message of the first. When Aeon Fux says get out of my life, she means it.

Similarly, I don't doubt for a second that Aeon Fux would follow through on her promise to beat up that noted creep of a photographer in her song, "I'm Gonna Beat the F@#$ Out of Terry Richardson."

Still, it's not all threats in the form of beautiful music; sometimes, it's just plain music that happens to be delightfully weird. With the looped vocals and the love and affection given to the beats, a lot of Aeon Fux's music reminds me of a less-busy Tune-Yards. This is music that's not progressive in technical terms, but in terms of mood and impact. Aeon Fux seems to have burst forth fully formed (interesting, given her professed love of butterflies, whose wings have also made their way into beats for her songs) as an artist of completely compelling originality.

Saturday's show at Le Voyeur, featuring Aeon Fux and others, is a fundraiser to send books to prisoners, which is a very noble cause. Still, even if noble causes aren't your bag, I implore you to get your mind blown by Aeon Fux. You can thank me later.

Le Voyeur, w/ Shadows, Half Hearted, Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 p.m., $3-$5, 404 E. 4th Ave., Olympia, 360.943.5710

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