Dusty Stray - Family Album - Compact Disc
Basta 3093192 | Released 2013.
This third release by Dusty Stray on Dutch indie label BASTA is a transatlantic co-production with the legendary American producer KRAMER (Low, Ween, Urge Overkill, Galaxie 500).
KRAMER expressed interest in working with Dusty Stray when he happened to hear debut album Tales Of Misfortune And Woe. He and Jonathan Brown, the man behind Dusty Stray, decided to not let an ocean come between them and started working together on a new album. For Family Album, Brown wrote and recorded songs in his Amsterdam studio, then sent them to KRAMER for additional accompaniment, mixing and mastering.
The end result is unlike any Dusty Stray release to date. While the songs are grounded in an intimate folky-acoustic feel, they tend to branch out into other less-charted realms complemented by KRAMER’s sparse instrumentation and bold production style. In addition to his usual guitar and banjo, Brown played a variety of lesser-known instruments such as the sheng, bulbul tarang and a small metal WWII ration box filled with broken cufflinks.
The title track is an homage to American artist Morton Bartlett, a Harvard-educated bachelor who sculpted his own secret fantasy “family”: large, life-like plaster children who inhabited his Boston apartment and were only discovered after his death. … He made clothes for them and he would put them on their anatomically correct little bodies. He’d take pictures and then he would put them in what he referred to as his family album…
The new album also features more typical Dusty Stray fare such as songs about love-gone-bad, drowning horses being swept out to sea, a “lullaby” in which a baby screams its head off, and of course no Dusty Stray album would be complete without a murder ballad. In this case a depiction of the religious cult Heaven’s Gate and its mass suicide awaiting the Comet Hale-Bopp. As an added bonus, Family Album’s decorative 20-page booklet is made up of photographs from Brown’s found family photo collection.
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