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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Castanets @ Jules Maes

posted by on January 15 at 13:12 PM

Castanets continue to fascinate. 2005’s brilliant First Light’s Freeze is an album perfectly suited to in these ice-slick, silver-skied days. The music sounds like it was tuned in from a dilapidated barn excavated from some autumnal Washington Irving ghost story of New England—far away in memory and physical space, broken down, still retaining a faded romance. That conceptual distance—the narrative it implies, the longing it conveys, the movement it inspires—is Castanets’ greatest power.

In the Vines, released last October, is more intimate, closer despite its general chilliness, like it was recorded in a living room in San Diego, which it was. It’s hard to make a banjo and steel guitar sound sinister, but Castanets’ main man Ray Raposa does just that on both records. Horns show up on In the Vines, warm and gentle, brightening up his otherwise a twilit songs. Not sure if Castanets’ electro mantra-folk will stand up live in Jules Maes tonight, and I have no idea who’s in his band these days, but I’m curious to find out. Til then, this gem from First Light’s Freeze titled “A Song is Not the Song of the World” will keep the chill close by.

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