Asthmatic Kitty Records

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Rafter

Sex Death Cassette

Catalog: AKR037 • Cover Art: Jonathan Dueck
Release date: January 22, 2008
  • CD $10.00

Rafter returns, once again donning his indigenous brand of oddity. His school bus-cum-Cabinet of Wonders rambles down dusty roads, polluting the air of pristine studio-calculated-concoctions with post-pre-psychedelic exhaust. He sets up camp in strip mall parking lots, steps out of the truck hat in hand, red hair gleaming in the sun, and offers a taste of his many sonic trinkets and audio delights. With a wave of invitation, he hops into the back of the Jalopy.

Enticed, you walk up the wooden stairs and find him hunched over a four-track recorder losing his mind, spinning it, tricking it  . . . man o man! It smells a little like a locker room, but with a peculiar hint of rose and lavender.  Seeing you, and surprised a bit, he stands up and starts opening little wooden drawers from the walls, where fake leather bus seats were once bolted, and hands you a litany of souvenirs: a paper sleeved cdr of Korean Pop Prince covers, a tidy mix-tape for a lost lover who was being wooed to the sheets at a barely respectable motel, an instruction manual for love-making populated with full-color visions of animals, trees, buildings, bicycles, cars, headphones, more animals, and fruit. 

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Twirling from the roof is a technicolor mobile of the life-death cycle crafted from yarn, tin cans, and pipe cleaners. The ham radio in the front of the bus has picked up some rainbows and glitter, gossip rocks, and lonely truckers singing their best talent show show tunes. Jars, cigar boxes, and socks line the tops of the cabinets, all full of broken songs, minor notes, and lost melodies collected along his way. A sax solo recorded in a cavernous machine shop falls out on the floor. Rafter hurriedly stuffs it back into one the cigar boxes.

He’s on a unseen marathon, running back and forth around his bus to flip his records: Guided By Voices, R Stevie Moore, Fela, Lightning Bolt, Fushitsusha, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Cody Chestnutt.  Full of hope and thankfulness and determination and chaos and wildness. Immediate, instinctive and largely automatic, he is like a worker bee hopped up on pollen, or Yoda digging through Luke Skywalker’s gear on Dagobah.

When you finally step through the Emergency Exit door of his museum-on-wheels and back out onto the tarmac, you leave with sweat dripping down your face onto your swelled lip; liquid salt, the quintessential flavor of late night post-disco parties and booty slinging good times. You’re heavy with it, like too much cough syrup on a stomach full of hi-quality sushi.

Before you’ve stumbled too far, the bus door swings open and Rafter tosses something your way. “Here kid, you forgot this.”  It is a collectors’ item, a helter-skelter boogie-down production of the slop-pop aesthetic. It is SEX DEATH CASSETTE, one of many strange beautiful chaotic albums to come.