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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 112 - 11/16/05

Castanets
First Light's Freeze
Asthmatic Kitty Records

Let's go outside, dear. Into the murderous night. Let's go out walking. The war is on, all our friends are dying.

Now, there's an invitation you can't resist, and that's what you get in the first words of Castanets' second coming. The captain-Castanet, Raymond Raposa, brings forth the synthesizers and drum-machines as well as the old accoustic instruments, a blend no less cohesive or more confusing to the over-all feeling of the record. So, if you've accepted the invitation you'd better be prepared for a walk between the new and the old, the sweet and the sad. But nonetheless, a very rewarding walk if you're easily taken by scenery.

Raposa's greatest strenght lies in his arrangements and the way he manage to move us further in song without the verse-chorus set-up, yet still giving us the proper lifts and drops when needed. He creates soundscapes that both make for what's coming next and in their own right. He builds his songs gently and with such care that I've a few times had more joy in figuring out where what comes in or goes back out again, and from which channel, than in listening to the words and melodies. But that was fifth or sixth time around. Apart from the feeling that the album seems a bit short and the lyrics never really coming through to me, it's catchy in its own special way and funky like a latter-day Cohen. Steady beats and not depending solely on heavy chord-changes, these tunes opens for whatever sparse or rich arrangement they may suit.

What I'm saying is that here's a record that's gonna last me a while. Probably all the while I'm in the attentive mood or want to step into the Castanets' house with a bottle of wine. It's not a very scary place or sad place, or even a place to catch anything newsworthy - just a little house with some nice people that sometimes speak a language you don't quite understand. But you will someday, and while you're there they serve you well and treat you with decency.

Distribution in Norway: Tuba! / Tuba!.

Copyright © 2005 Anders Svendsen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Castanets article/review: Cathedral.

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