Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It feels like it's too early to be doing this - writing about Castanets, trying to figure out what Raymond Raposa lets go or puts through his head. For most activities, it's way, way too late. Everyone that I know - mostly sensible people with good heads on their shoulders - are passed the hell out by now. They've been in bed, asleep since just after the nightly news or the opening monologue for any of the late night talk shows. They've been sawing logs, recharging for tomorrow. These have never been the people that I want to know any more about than I already do. These are people who are usually only and exclusively capable of small talk and the pointless stream of pedestrian-like conversation. Oh man, it's only that it's so late that these things are even coming to me. It's likely that I don't mean them, but they seem about right just now. The problem with this hour, and whatever may follow, is that it's a wasteland. It's when the raccoons are going through my garbage. It's when anyone can go through my garbage. It's when tires are slashed on parked cars. It's when you kind of can't tell if you're dead or everyone else is. You're unsure about what's all out there and what all wants to get in, or will try to get in before the morning spooks all of the scavengers, thieves and miscreants back to their cover.
Raposa - though we've always seen him alive and well during the customary daytime hours - seems as if he'd be most at home living only through the time when the day has cooled off almost entirely and the night has got itself a solid footing. He seems as if he were built and conditioned for the wee hours when you've got the streets all to yourself. Those times when the crickets are exhausted from effort and when the moon is drooping - that's when Raposa's mind is sharpest. It's then when he's able to dig into those things that have been bothering him all day. It's only at that moment when he can finally make sense out of his greatest consternations. It's either that or they just get confounded even more. Sometimes there's not much of a difference there - between cracking them and muddling them into such glorious messes that you give up and accept them. The man behind Castanets never ceases to mystify when he writes. He never seems to give it all up and for that, he's a master of the form.
His songs are delightfully dreary and adroit for the way that their wanderings still make all the sense in the world, even when we can't tell you what that sense is. He makes us feel the way we feel when we're frazzled and losing our minds, but we still know that it's not the end and things could be far worse. He makes us feel the way we feel when we're okay with our craziness, sure, but more when we're okay with everyone else's craziness even more. Coming to accept the madness around us is when it all pulls into focus a bit more. He sings, "Yeah, even though we all have to dance sometimes to a song that we don't love like we should," and it seems that this is just a little of that acceptance of the rottenness that rubs us all.