Rafter Music for Total Chickens

[Asthmatic Kitty; 2007]

Rating: 0.5/5

Styles: minimalist, amateur, bad
Others: The Microphones, Animal Collective, Cat Walking Across A Piano

I've been putting off this review for a long time. I have my reasons, and they primarily stem from my complete distaste for this record and my apprehension about saying so. I was worried about coming across as a 'hater' or somebody who didn't 'get it.' Experimental/strange music always runs the risk of being misunderstood, and I was concerned with looking like a fool in retrospect.

But fuck my dignity. I'm making a stand: This record is bad. It's uneven, sparse to a fault, weird for the sake of being weird, and generally not entertaining in the least. Every time Rafter starts moving toward something worth hearing, they back off, leaving me holding my dick. I don't like that. When music starts to swell and build, so do I. If I don't get some kind of sonic release, my nuts get grumpy. Nobody likes grumpy nuts.

In Rafter's defense, there are quality bursts of noise here that actively engage the listener. Guitars, subtle vocals, electronics, and sparse drumming recall The Microphones/Mount Eerie or even Animal Collective. But the difference between those quality artists and this hack are startling. It's almost as though Rafter spends time mid-song tuning their instruments, to see how long we'll listen before getting pissed off.

This isn't a record you can put on in the background while doing a complicated task, because there are too many jarring sections. You can't listen to it actively, because there's not enough meat to sink your teeth into. The only thing I can see this collection of tracks being good for is those weird little interludes between actual songs people like to use while making mix CDs. That's all this record is. Those weird little bits of music wedged between quality art on a shitty, throwaway mix. Not for listening in an album format. Rafter, form cohesive ideas out of your sonic ADD diarrhea. You COULD make something great. This? Pure shite.

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