City of Refuge
(Asthmatic Kitty)


City of Refuge is what you get when a musician spends three weeks holed up in a remote Nevada motel, said Brian Howe in That’s what the Castanets’ Ray Raposa did when recording his hauntingly stark fourth album. Searching for emotional refuge, the freak-folkie has created “his most nakedly honest record.” City of Refuge delves so deeply into Raposa’s core that listening to it sometimes “feels more like voyeurism than dialogue.” Being exposed to his desolation makes this album “at once disconcerting and deeply compelling,” said Eric Danton in The Hartford Courant. Starting with a series of elegiac sketches of guitar noise, the album eerily captures the “vast, silent space” and solitude of the desert. When Raposa’s “thin and hypnotic” voice appears on the fourth track, “Prettiest Chain,” he paints a rich, spooky panorama of the Southwest. Raposa never totally succumbs to his surroundings, said James Christopher Monger in All Music Guide. Hope and self-enlightenment are found in “Glory B,” “After the Fall,” and his cover of the spiritual “I’ll Fly Away”—suggesting clear steps toward redemption.