Duster
Stratosphere


3.5
great

Review

by ubermensch5000 USER (6 Reviews)
April 18th, 2013 | 319 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Building blocks from the sky

The 1990s. An age of nostalgia, a golden age, a space age. Home of infinite burgeoning genres and bands. The ’90s witnessed hoards of independent musicians succeeding with the masses - some going on to gain more popularity at the turn of the 21st century, others disbanding before the new age. The ’90s also witnessed hoards of independent musicians creating fascinating, yet virtually unheard of albums that retained an amazing degree of obscurity in the 2000s. Duster was one of the latter. Formed in 1996 by multi-instrumentalists Clay Parton and Dove Amber, Duster showed us their own form of lo-fi genius with the release of Stratosphere in 1998. Their debut was recorded on a four-track, a feature that gives it an unparalleled aspect of nostalgia.

Upon starting Stratosphere, the receiver is lulled into a hypnotic state with the chiming and wah-ing of the opening track, “Moon Age”. This intriguing start is followed up by “Heading for the Door”, one of the more stellar songs on the album featuring a noteworthy chord progression. This track also includes plucky, phased guitars and muffled vocals, a recurring sound throughout Stratosphere. The album is pockmarked by miniature tracks that one could consider transitions (although very few tracks are lengthy), such as the dreamy “Shadows of Planes” or the reversed “Two Way Radio”. However, some of these simply fly by in the stratosphere without any striking attributes. “Docking the Pad” is a prime exception, having a tense series of chords interspersed with little sections of wah-wah guitar.

Stratosphere is an album of polarizations. On one hand, half of the songs, despite being repetitive and simplistic, mesmerize the listener. On the other, many of the songs plod along and float away, accomplishing nothing. Tracks such as “Topical Solution”, “Constellations”, and “Stratosphere” seem to suspend the listener in the album's limitless vacuum. “The Queen of Hearts” trudges along with a simple arpeggio-like progression. There's a nagging feeling that these musicians are tired, and that lethargy was transferred into the album. Despite these moments of failed magic, if you absolutely love the sounds of Stratosphere from the beginning then I can assure you, it will be love until the end.

With an artist like Duster, it is almost meaningless to discuss the musicianship. Bare drum rhythms, hushed vocals, and shoegazey guitars are to be found in abundance on Stratosphere. But it is not about the simplistic chord progressions or the sparse lyricism. It is about the atmosphere – enveloping you, encompassing you, and truly taking you for a ride through the space age. It is about the stratosphere. After a year of living with Duster's debut, I am assured I know what Parton and Amber were striving to accomplish. They did not want to make an album merely about astronauts, space shuttles, or the sky. They created Stratosphere to convey a life of the space age.




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user ratings (258)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 18th 2013


19989 Comments


album rules

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 18th 2013


19989 Comments


nope just this one

mindleviticus
April 18th 2013


10137 Comments


Contemporary is so good

Cygnatti
April 18th 2013


33288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love this album. Haven't heard contemporary, actually.

ashcrash9
April 19th 2013


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just downloaded this, diggin' it so far.

mindleviticus
April 19th 2013


10137 Comments


you think it's really good and yet you give it a 2.5?

porch
April 19th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

theyre testing a script that will make greg84 ratings more realistic

porch
April 19th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

on the subject of this album, as lakes once said: "as channing freeman once said: this album makes

me feel things. listen to it"

Havey
April 19th 2013


10277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

been spinnin this a lot lately

EvilCashew
April 20th 2013


144 Comments


spinninawy

DBlitz
April 23rd 2013


1693 Comments


this is really nice, haven't listened to it in ages. only flaws include the super lo-fi fuzzy stuff like the title track, "echo, bravo", intro, outro etc. but the bulk of it is just blissful.

i think i should give contemporary movement another chance. i can only remember the two amazing tracks from that one atm.

Cygnatti
April 23rd 2013


33288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The sure lofi fuzzy stuff is sweet.

demigod!
April 23rd 2013


49298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gonna give this a spin



ApplicationToHeaven
August 6th 2013


1566 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

echo bravo is probably my favourite song on here

Cygnatti
September 9th 2013


33288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Beat Demi up. >:/

Cygnatti
September 9th 2013


33288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He always does.

TheNexus100
September 10th 2013


2696 Comments


nope!

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
October 28th 2013


19989 Comments


wish i knew more music like this

ApplicationToHeaven
November 3rd 2013


1566 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfEKNkyV6ts

Chortles
May 17th 2014


21494 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuck i love this album



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