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Boys & Diamonds

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Averse to any easy classification, Rainbow Arabia's continent-trekking, kaleidoscope pop is rooted in no particular time or place, employing modern technological processes to an array of musical cultures and eras. The Los Angeles duo began with the purchase of a Lebanese Casio that played microtonal scales and Eastern beats, with which they quickly recorded their propulsive first EP, The Basta, synthesizing bossa nova and industrial post-punk with heavy Middle Eastern vibes. Digging deeper for inspiration from the worldly found sounds of Sublime Frequencies compilations, their follow-up EP, Kabukimono, expanded the color palette of their "fourth world" pop with dark, Arabic disco-dancehall jams sitting alongside sunnier moments with Caribbean and African flourishes. Rather than restricting themselves to the expanse and musical artifacts of Earth alone, Danny and Tiffany Preston recalibrate their focus aiming their sights upwards into outer space. Nearly a year in the making, Rainbow Arabia's forthcoming first full-length Boys And Diamonds is a stunning journey that not only marries East with West but also the past with the future. Immediately, you can hear some familiar elements found in their previous releases: Danny's asymmetrical tribal beats and lysergic pads, Tiffany's labyrinthine fretwork and tick-tock vocal swagger. But you'll also notice: the hooks are stickier and more confident, the rhythms are sturdier, and the production is lusher, even astral, giving the songs more space to breathe.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 1, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kompakt Germany
  • ASIN: B004GYS8Z0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,110 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
On their debut BOYS AND DIAMONDS, Rainbow Arabia delve whole-heartedly into world music. From the opening title track, their blend of African rhythms and instrumentation with indie dance comes off as immediately catchy. The Afrobeat influence is also prominent in the solid groove of "Blind" or the slow mystery of "Papai." But that's not their only influence: "Without You" dives into 80s synth pop, while "Jungle Bear" and "Mechanical" put both pieces in a blender. (Similarly, "Sequenced," inspired by The Field track by the same name, seems as close to pure electronic music as they get.) Tiffany Preston's voice carries the same tonal qualities as The Knife's Karin Dreijer, though Preston doesn't manipulate or push her vocals as much as Dreijer (at least until the final track). A fascinating debut nonetheless.
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Format: Audio CD
Listening to these steely beats and the perverted English always makes me think of Rapa Nui. I mean, the Casio keyboard this L.A. duo bought can certainly play all kinds of scales and sequences, and even if I can't locate which part of the rainbow they get their tricks from, they surely sound foreign. The nagging, childish voice is yet another thing to slowly absorb. Slowly, until it becomes part of a most addictive electronica fix. Still, what I dig most are the jungle drums.
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