Asthmatic Kitty Records

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Rafter

10 Songs

Catalog: AKR025 • Cover Art: Jonathan Dueck
Release date: September 12, 2006
  • CD $$6.00

Available through digital download services and web store only.  Packaged in slim cardboard sleeves beautifully designed by Jonathan Dueck.

This pop gem has been buried in the rough since 1998, when Rafter put the finishing touches on his garage-built masterpiece and called it “10 Songs.” At the time he was living in the infamous (and little-known) Go-Homes in downtown San Diego, an experimental living space inhabited at the time by a number of SD music luminaries. Pinback was busy recording their debut album in the same building, Rafter was recording a bunch of excellent bands in his garage, and all sorts of talented folk were within reach for a horn or string part when they were needed. Some simmering impulse in Rafter’s soul told him it was time to create an album of beauty, and so he went to work on ten luscious, wistful, sad and beautiful songs (after it was finished he suspected it was all to get the ladies to like him… ahh, the subconcious motivations of the human animal!).

This is long before Rafter had access to any sort of respectable recording set-up, having to make due with the crappy-budget deal, which is just more proof of how much you can do with so little when you’ve got the burning desire. A first computer provided, for the first time, the ability to experiment with looping and extensive sampling – long drum tracks could be reviewed and snipped for the essential feel desired. All sorts of instruments with myriad effects are employed with the end-result of songs like “Whiskey for Water,” with it’s driving distorto-bass and breakbeat drums overlayed with at least three distinct guitar parts, incongruent cheerful string-wash accents, and delicate and desperate (and again incongruent) vocals (not to mention the bird calls and other minutae springing up like a Max Fleischer cartoon epic).

There can be a feeling of these songs belonging to a different time, as you might expect from an eight-year lapse ‘tween creation and final fruition, yet these songs are so fleshed out and worked through that once stepped into, they tend to overflow contemporary technological and cultural streams. You can float along on top contemplating the slowed-up folk crunk of “My Friend the Crow,” improbably perched soundwise between Neil Young and M.I.A. (with a bit of Pascal Comelade thrown in for good measure), and thus forget that impulse to define and measure and relate everything down to it’s perceived place in the history of time. This is an album to lose your way in, headphones pumping and toes tapping and mind swimming in the rich environs authored by a persevering love-seeking dude.
(description by Dan Bryant)