Rafter: 'Zzzpenchant' Rafter is Rafter Roberts, a San Diego solo artist who makes trippy, experimental electro-beats set against his mellow, almost detached voice. With a natural instinct for music, Roberts plays most of the instruments and programs the beats. His second release, Sex, Death, Cassette, is a colorful, digitally textured record.
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Rafter: "Zzzpenchant"

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Rafter: 'Zzzpenchant'

Rafter: 'Zzzpenchant'

Rafter: "Zzzpenchant"

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Rafter, usually working behind records, shines in his solo act. hide caption

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Rafter is Rafter Roberts, a San Diego solo artist who makes trippy, experimental electro-beats set against his mellow, almost detached voice. With a natural instinct for music, Roberts plays most of the instruments and programs the beats. His second release, Sex, Death, Cassette, is a colorful, digitally textured record.

The instrumentation is consistently vivid. The first cut of the album, "Zzzpenchant," has a persistent keyboard riff with disjointed bass and drums. The saxophone that enters soon after the first section saves what would otherwise be bass-heavy electronica. Rafters' voice hides behind the vibrant music, deemphasizing the lyrics, a quality found throughout the album.

Like other solo acts, Roberts recruits friends to support him during live performances. However, the colorful instrumentation is still done almost entirely by Roberts.

As a child, Roberts preferred "recording on a magnetic tape" more than "watching television" and later played in a punk band. Roberts cites his older brother, "a music nut," as the heaviest musical influence who introduced him to "punk and new wave and experimental stuff."

By day Roberts is a producer for the label, Asthmatic Kitty Records, which also releases his records. He says his tech skills have improved dramatically while working with artists like The Fiery Furnaces, Castanets and Pinback.