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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 19 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SCD / Asthmatic Kitty
  • ASIN: B0002X6FA4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #266,226 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Cathedral 2 (Your Feet On The Floor Sounding Like The Rain)
2. Just To Break Free From A Hundred Families
3. Industry And Snow
4. You Are The Blood
5. No Light To Be Found (Fare Thee Faith, The Path Is Yours)
6. Three Days, Four Nights
7. As You Do
8. Cathedral 3 (Make Us New)
9. The Smallest Bones
10. We Are The Wreckage
11. Cathedral 4 (The Unbreaking Branch And Song)

Product Description

Originally released in 2004, this was the debut by a unique voice of avant-country, San Diego's Castanets. Backed by haunting, angelic voices and recorded mostly in a secluded cabin in the northern California woodlands, "Cathedral" illuminates the dark architecture where faith and doubt clash in an often ambiguous search for the divine. Castanets create music that is epic and inspiring. From somber love ballads to haunted tales of frustrated redemption, the delivery is potent and devoid of cliche or sentimentalism. Echoes of The Velvet Underground, No Neck Blues Band, and the delta blues harness a strain of ancient Americana that even today pulses through a subdivided and paved landscape.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly great album! Dec 21 2004
By Andy French - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Cathedral" is one of the best new albums by any group I've listened to in probably a couple of years. And I'm not affiliated with this group in any way -- I just read about the album, bought it, and haven't stopped listening to it! Nearly every song is great. If you like Neutral Milk Hotel and other hard-to-classify groups like NMH, I guarantee you will love this album. It's haunting and beautiful and I will stop gushing before you stop believing me...
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is probably not for everybody Jan. 28 2005
By The Last Person You'd Expect - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was suprised that many of the reviews here were not as good as I might have expected. Personally, I am continually intrigued by their very unique sound-- something like a cross between Devendre Banhardt and The Swans; it's a gloomier, soft-spoken indie-folk with meaningful lyrics and a heavy orchestration. It isn't something that'd go over well at parties, but perfect if you're in the mood to sit and listen. I'd recommend it to fans of the aforementioned Banhardt, Vetiver, et al. and esp. those interested in experimental stuff. Anyway, I highly recommend this as one of my favorites of '04.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Castanets: Cathedral (Asthmatic Kitty, 2004) Jan. 6 2006
By sylantroadie - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Step into the Cathedral of the Castanets and you will be ushered into an album that is coherent, beautiful, and well-crafted. Within the context of this album, one enters into the grand cathedrals of Raymond Raposa. Those cathedrals, if I am correct, are four in number. The first houses the entire album in all its complexity and simplicity (yes, contradiction in terms, but it seems to work here). The other three "cathedrals" ear-mark the disc at it's beginning, ending and after its mid-point. Housed at the center of the disc is the track, which clocks in as the longest on the disc: "No Light to be Found (Fare Thee Faith, The Path is Yours)." This brings weight to the center of the disc since it is a pivotal track, as I will mention below. Although boiling down an artist's work into comparisons never really gives one a true feel for what the artist is doing, I feel the need to give some indication of the sound to my readers. Castanets remind me of a hybrid of a few great artists: Sufjan Stevens (A Sun Came era), Deerhoof, mixed with alt-country and the stylings of Frank Lenz (Last Temptation style). Enough of the broader sense of the disc, lets get down to particular songs.

Cathedral opens with "Cathedral 2." It's a slow-tempo song with droning sax, sparse drums and sprinkles of acoustic guitar. There are female and male vocals and various sounds mixed in for good measure. Raposa is a master of imagery and that is apparent from the very first track. Water runs throughout "Cathedral 2" and gives the listener a sense, not only of it's ability to envelope us, but also its depth, movement and sound. The picture painted is puddles growing to lakes and rivers building at the bottom of the steps. The last line of the song leads into what follows on the album: "It's all right to want something more than this." "Industry and Snow" starts out with acoustic guitar and what sounds like a child's xylophone. It has a subtle alt-country feel and eventually becomes louder with looped feedback with odd guitar sounds and a mixture of other noise.

"You Are the Blood" is an upbeat song in its message. This has imagery in it that is possibly of a redemptive nature. The song itself begins with distorted horn and fades into simple drums and dreamy guitar. Vocally, the song reminds me of Frank Lenz' work on The Last Temptation.... "No Light Be Found (Fare Thee Faith, The Path is Yours)," is the longest track on the disc and occurs centrally, changing a bit of the tone of the disc until the end. Reminding me of Gary Murray's work on LN, the vocals are quiet with a very light acoustic accompaniment. This is a very honest song about faith, love and friendship that is melancholy in tone and looks forward to later songs that speak toward redemption. Because the lyrics of this song seem so pivotal to the album, I find they are worth quoting.

I got something that my baby wants

She's got something that I want too

Baby and I are through

I've been down to the bottom with a bad, bad man

Down to the bottom baby with a bad, bad man

Lay me down with her gentle hand

He said this darkness, it was untrue

That there was no light to be found in you

But I know Darl'n that's not true

I had a dream so dark that I could not tell

But that's just as well

But I don't know babe just where you've been

But I've hung myself heavy here

Babe, I don't know where the hell I am

I thought that man, babe, he might have something that I need

But he had no anger for you or for me

Babe, I swear that man didn't even know the sea

And some of these friends of mine, I miss them so

Good Lord, these sweat friends of mine, how I miss them so

But some of these others are driving me around on some cold, dark, and strange and deathly road

Bring me down to your river, I want to see how it runs

Down to your river darl'n, I wanna know just how it runs

That man waits on the path, but I know for good I'm done

I've got a feeling that that man, he's just begun

This song is followed by "As You Do," which seems to reference the relationship mentioned in "No Light" by proclaiming "I wish you loved me as you did." "No Light" feels so connected with this song that the album seems to flow right together at this point. Although "No Light" is a bit depressing, "As You Do" seems to end on a lighter note with the line "the closer we get, the lighter it sense/the louder it gets." Why this feels upbeat to me, I'm not quite sure, but the music seems to contribute to some of that. Following "As You Do" is the track entitled "Cathedral 3." This ushers the listener into another section of the disc that centers both on redemption and the relationship that seems to be involved with the woman mentioned in prior sections of the cd.

"The Smallest Bones" paint great imagery about our limited existence and our waiting for our meeting with the Eternal One. Raposa croons, "My God / it's an eternity waiting for thee / there's a cancer / in the smallest bones / in the smallest breeze / and our houses have not grown their wings." I find that Raposa paints great, simple imagery that is subtle and beautiful in his lyrical content. He ends the song with "And my Lord / It's an eternity / waiting for thee." "We Are the Wreckage" is the second to the last song that really ties up many of the themes on the disc. Female vocals make another appearance on this track and the relationship between Raposa and his ladylove makes another appearance. It seems that the relationship has never been made perfect, yet there are bright signs at the end of the song with organ and perhaps xylophone accompanying the singers. Hope is communicated at the end of this song, which leads the listener to the last of the cathedrals: "Cathedral 4". It seems that, as the new Cathedral is entered, the singer has resolved much of what he has encountered with the "bad man" and has come to terms with his relationships both with his lady friend and God. This song starts out simple and moves into a more poppy style song. It certainly shows that the melancholiness of "No Light" has been left behind and hope is now on the horizon.

On first listen, I didn't expect much from Castanets. Once I truly listened though, I was drawn into the story it tells and was taken to all the Cathedrals Raposa wished to usher me through. This disc is a true journey through hope, despair, and renewed vigor in life. I say "yay" for the Castanets and encourage all to listen for themselves.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I have the right Nov. 28 2004
By Jim - Published on
Format: Audio CD
to give my opinion, because no one else will. This album is a bittersweet, lo-fi, soft but intense, look, into questions about faith and love. The delights of this album include the ecclectic instrumentation and strong songwriting. Reminds me of Califone, with songwriting reminiscent of William Oldham. Enjoy it, I did.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy shakiness March 20 2009
By IRate - Published on
Format: Audio CD
3 1/2

Castanets came on like a freakishly western Low, with a curiously clanging approach made for desperate ears. Fortunately, what could have easily gone awry, surprisingly works for the most part, indulgent you-are-here production and all.

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