Rafter: Quiet Storm
Rafter: Animal Feelings
Following the pop-leaning lead of his last EP, Sweaty Magic, Rafter's latest longplayer, Animal Feelings, is a Technicolor pop blow-out that recalls Nintendo composer Koji Kondo leading a fantasy camp super-jam with Cody Chesnutt, Justin Timberlake, and the Tom Tom Club. Rafter's history and influences, his dreams and ambition, and his love for love, all come together as a sweet, fun, speaker-blowin', beat-busting ride into the inner-core of pop and R&B music. Ask him to drop names for his latest work and he'll say Justin Timberlake and Sublime Frequencies' Radio Phnom Penh without batting an eye. He'll tell you Animal Feelings is "a marriage record, a lust record, a death and sex record." Animal Feelings, his fourth LP for Asthmatic Kitty, is an idea-packed picnic of philosophies and fears, of affirmations and questions. Like all of his work, this record is a very personal piece of music and Rafter has a lot to tell you. Whether you choose to listen or not is the difference between you getting down on the dancefloor or simply standing outside the club, listening to the beats, muffled and gutless through the walls.
Rafter: 10 Songs
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." 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.
Rafter: Sweaty Magic
Sweaty Magic is the ultimate booty cap to Summer Oh-Eight's globally-warmed love-exhaust festival. Listeners taking a break from the floor to get another organic mojito-flavored energy drink might hear swirls of Tom Zé, Prince, Clipse, Zapp & Roger, Mr. Fingers, and D'Angelo staying up late in some non-exclusive beach rave with glowing extraterrestrial energy spheres.
Rafter: Sex Death Cassette
Inspired by influences as diverse as Guided By Voices, R Stevie Moore, Fela Kuti, Lightning Bolt, Fushitsusha, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Cody Chestnutt, SEX DEATH CASSETTE is an album full of hope, determination and chaos. It'll leave you with sweat dripping down your face onto your swelled lip; fresh, liquid salt, the quintessential flavor of late night post-disco parties and booty slinging good times. After dancing to this album, you're heavy with it, like too much cough syrup on a stomach full of hi-quality sushi. Rafter executes the helter-skelter boogie-down production so gracefully that it is no mystery why those in-the-know recruit him, including the likes of Fiery Furnaces, The Rapture, Arab on Radar, The Album Leaf, Rocket from the Crypt, Danielson, Black Heart Procession, The Peppermints, Hot Snakes, his own band Bunky, and fellow Asthmatic Kitty artists (Castanets, Liz Janes, and Sufjan Stevens).
Rafter: Music For Total Chickens
Music for Total Chickens is built from bits of pop architecture nailed together in odd forms; it is structurally sound (no pun intended), but at the same time it defies the conventional laws of (pop) physics. There are twisty-turny time signatures, swaddled in chunky guitar fuzz, sweet strings, harmonized "ooo"s and direct lyrical love-notes sometimes riding percussive trails all the way up great crescendos to pinnacles of bang-crash (like if Deerhoof recorded a self-help album).