“What has happened to us? What will happen to the vampire cult?” Stratosphere is the coveted debut album from San Jose slowcore / space rock / “experimental depressed music” trio Duster. While their space rock progenitors spewed sprawling, reverb-soaked instrumental dirges as a means to tickle the urges of their childhood sci-if nerddom, or to provide a backdrop for their burnout homies’ sophomoric drug trips, Duster were clearly launching themselves into space as a means to escape the heartache and banality of life in shithole Silicon Valley circa the dot com boom. And while the lyrics are a reflection of their musical and physical surroundings, they transmit as much gut-wrench in somber instrumental “Queen Of Hearts” as any of the songs with words. You can hear Clay Parton, Canaan Dove Amber and Jason Albertini literally losing themselves in the music… more often than not, the vocals are transmitted via what sounds like a crackly radio filter; the guitar doubles as lost frequency turbulence on “Shadows Of Planes.” Perfect soundtrack for gazing out into the hot summer night sky and wondering “what’s the point???” - “Heading For The Door,” “Inside Out,” “Stratosphere,” “The Twins / Romantica,” “Queen Of Hearts” and “Earth Moon Transit” are some highlights, but you should really strap in and experience the full flight program for best results. This stunning reissue on 'shadow shaded' color vinyl mirrors the original 1998 LP tracklisting, omitting “Echo Bravo” which is only available on the original CD edition or the long-gone 4LP boxset. Housed in high-quality tip-on sleeve, recommended.
- 'shadow shaded' colored vinyl
- housed in tip-on sleeve
- limited edition
- original release year: 1998
- music label: Numero Group 2022
reviewed by Isosceles Kramer 06/2019