Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
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Quality space rock
Charles S. Hague | Somerville, MA | 06/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of noise has been made recently about the lo-fi recording aesthetic, starting around the time Guided by Voices got noticed by everybody. Guided by Voices have always struck me as a band that is not necessarily helped or hindered by their lo-fi recording nature (although I think the lo-fi days for GBV are dead and gone now, which is just fine by me); Bob Pollard's sublime hooks work equally well coming from a home 4-track or a 24-track studio recording mixer. Why do I keep going on about GBV and not Duster? Well, I mention GBV because they are famously lo-fi, but Duster uses the 4-track recording method to very good effect on this album, in a way I've never heard before. That is, the home recording nature of many of the songs on Stratosphere has a very positive effect on the songs; I'm not sure I can say that about any other "lo-fi" album I've heard. The lo-fi recording techniques here add a layer of warmth to the songs that would simply be missing in a studio context.But what about the music? In one word: amazing. There isn't a lot of complicated stuff going on here, and that's exactly the point. The chord changes are deliberate and repetitive, just like the best space rock. There is a certain emotional presence to this album that is hard to describe; perhaps it's the soundtrack to the longest rainy evening ever. Some of the best music is made from simple, carefully crafted building blocks, and Duster certainly know what they're doing. I should note that this album is, in my opinion, better than their second album (Contemporary Movement). This is not to say that Contemporary Movement is bad -- far from it; it's actually quite good; it's simply not as brilliant as this album."
Good But Scattershot
Charles S. Hague | 01/20/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This album reminded me of all the wonderful things inspired bands can do with something as simple as a 4-track. The songs are extremely hypnotic, and some (like "Echo, Bravo" and "Earth Moon Transit") are not as "Slowcore" as critics would have you believe. My only complaint is that they end too soon. Track #1, for example, fades out just as its screechy weirdness and drum beat start to get interesting. Duster would have done well to cut a few items off this album's 17-song menu in order give their best compositions more room to breathe."