Boomkat Product Review:
One year on from the release of In The Vines, Castanets' Ray Raposa returns with another album filled darkly haunting alt. country and strange sound sculptures. It takes Raposa four songs before he even starts to sing, spending the first three noodling around with guitars, producing the gorgeous fanfare 'Celestial Shore' at the very top of the record, before delving down into more introspective, experimental territory with 'High Plain 1', which seems to experiment with delays, tremolo effects, or perhaps just some pickup switch cutouts. In any case, it sounds like Otomo Yoshihide putting his own spin on Neil Young's Dead Man soundtrack. When the 'proper' songs do begin we're treated to bleak tracts like 'Refuge 1', which takes Blind Willie Johnson's 'City Of Refuge' as its starting point or broken down acoustic numbers such as 'Glory B', which features a vocal contribution from Jana Hunter, who also lends her larynx to the vaporous background textures of 'Refuge 2'. Hunter is just one among several notable guests who help Raposa out on the album: others include Sufjan Stevens, Dawn Smithson from Jessamine and SunnO))) and Boxhead Ensemble's Scott Tuma. Stevens doubles Raposa's vocal on the sublime album closer 'After The Fall', which is reason enough to seek out a copy of the album, its running time is a meagre three minutes, yet it's every bit as thrilling an entry into the contemporary alt. country canon as anything in Will Oldham's recent catalogue. Recommended.