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FIRST LIGHT'S FREEZE [Vinyl]

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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First Light's Freeze
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Vinyl, November 22, 2005
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (November 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asthmatic Kitty
  • ASIN: B000BKX9XY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,027,395 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Castanets first album Cathedral was a surprise release that came out of nowhere with its unique style and knocked me back a bit. Raymond Raposa created an album that mixed folk and country with drone and free jazz in a way that seemed natural and it crept into my head and onto my year-end list. With First Light's Freeze, he retains many of those pieces, and also draws a touch of electronics into the mix. The overall result isn't quite as solid as his previous album, but nonetheless contains some of his best work to date.

Once again, there are shorter pieces of ambient drones that fill in the gaps between the longer pieces, and the album opens with one in "(The Waves Are Rolling Beneath Your Skin)" before the album starts in full with the desolate-sounding "Into The Night." The track mixes sparse, acoustic instrumentation with the buzz of streetlamps and haunting vocals (that touch on politics of war) into a track that sort of drifts like a dense fog. "A Song Is Not the Song of the World" drops a slightly fuzzy electronic beat behind strummed guitar and building vocals before the track skronks out about halfway through with some bursts of noisy guitar, synth bubbles, and organ.

From there, the album is even more mixed. "Good Friend, Yr Hunger" is a weird electronic stomp with banjo, droning e-bow guitar, and melancholy vocals from Raposa while "Bells Aloud" drops off into billowing alt country, a subdued track drenched in reverb and haunted with regretful vocals. Arriving in short bursts are hazy, short bursts of droning guitars that act more as chapter dividers than bridges between tracks. In places, the new instrumentation sounds a bit well-worn, such as the drum machine beats and guitar beginning of "No Voice Was Raised.
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Format: Audio CD
The Castanets are the perfect eclectic band. While they're on the Ashmatic Kitty label with Sufjan Stevens and the Danielson Famile, I can't help but mistake them for a Young God Records band. They take after the Swans and the Angels of Light in a big way, but unlike the former, they forego the long slow-metal dirges and focus their experimentation on diverse instrumental change-ups and likeable chanting vocal melodies, although you'd get the feeling they'd be quite comfortable covering the Swans or Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.

The second album takes off just where the first left us. It is just as good and there are no major alterations to their sound. Like, say, D. Banhart's Rejoicing in the hands and Nino Rojo, or the two Franz Ferdinand or Interpol releases, they haven't changed much but manage to keep up the creativity. The Castanets are a good distance into the experimental side of modern music. They pay good attention to backing instrumentals as well as to vocals. They're dark, despite the vocalist's likeable tenor, and manage an honest, low-key and endlessly fascinating album, living up nicely to last year's debut, Cathedral. Good for fans of darker, complex, serious music.

My favorite song so far is No Voice Was Raised (if you're the single-downloading type or if you want to try it out)
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Format: Audio CD
Castanets second record futher redefines experimental folk music with hypnotic, sorrowful yet optimistic sonic wizardry. The Album's title, "First Lights Freeze" is an excellent metaphor for the chilling, bone rattling lyrics and heartfelt guitar plucking. Along with Ray Raposa's ethereal, crackling voice and flawless compositions, guest artists like percussionist Nathan Hubbard and Sufjan Stevens help drive this album from good to great. Very Very Highly recommended!
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