City of Refuge

Release date
7 Oct 2008
Running length
15 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Celestial Shore 1:02 2,912
2 High Plain 1 2:35 2,565
3 The Destroyer 1:34 2,588
4 Prettiest Chain 3:46 3,049
5 Refuge 1 3:57 2,475
6 The Quiet 1:16 2,294
7 Glory B 3:58 2,986
8 High Plain 3 1:31 2,106
9 I'll Fly Away 1:24 2,403
10 The Hum 1:06 2,202
11 Savage 3:57 2,166
12 Shadow Valley 5:56 2,113
13 High Plain 2 2:43 1,941
14 Refuge 2 4:59 1,852
15 After the Fall 2:53 2,060

About this album

The result of three weeks alone in a Nevada desert motel room, City of Refuge, Castanets’ fourth full-length for Asthmatic Kitty (September, 2008), blazed into Ray Raposa’s mind with the rising sun. The idea came the morning after an overnight drive with tour companions from Oakland, CA, to Las Vegas, NV; waking in the back seat to a Nevada gas station dawn, Raposa said “here,” and as the drive progressed, so did his conviction that this was where he would record the next Castanets album.

He sought and found solitude in a mom and pop motel in Overton Nevada- unincorporated, two bars, no stoplight, home of The Lost City Museum – on the edge of Valley of Fire State Park (Moapa Valley to the indigenous peoples), an hour northeast of the surreal derangement of Vegas. Far from distractions and infused with the sense of isolation explored by the songs he’d written for the album, it proved the optimal backdrop. Minimal overdubs by friends Jana Hunter, Sufjan Stevens, Dawn Smithson (Jessamine, Sunn O))))), Scott Tuma (Souled American, Boxhead Ensemble), and co-producer Ero Gray were added later, but the silence of the sparsely populated region underscores the sounds of Raposa’s voice and instruments.

City, is many things, but amenable to a simple, generic description it’s not. Over the course of three albums and myriad EPs, Ray Raposa and cohorts have made a career of crawling out on tenuous limbs, but to the amazement of the crowd below, never falling off.

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