Sunday, 12 June 2011


I like Rainbow Arabia. Their remix featured on Health's Disco2 of 'Before Tigers' is an interesting one - not my favourite, but it spurred me on to have a look at Rainbow Arabia themselves. And I was happy with what I found.

They seem to be a source of contention, as you can see from these comments on YouTube - are they liked? Unliked? Seems pretty mixed to me. The sheer mix of comments is pretty fitting too; they're a mixed up duo with a mixed up sound. They're actually a married couple from Los Angeles, Danny and Tiffany Preston. I got the impression they were from Lebanon, because of a story about the inspiration behind the music, told by Danny - "It wasn’t until we ordered an Arabic Casio from a Lebanese website that Rainbow Arabia was formed."

So you see why I thought that. It's also because their sound is so un-LA, un-USA, and so much more world, ethnic, tribal. They sound a bit like MIA, though like MIA blended up with a more lo-fi, experimental sound. They're certainly brave in how they make their music, pioneering weird sounds in microtonal synths, Eastern beats, and conjuring soundscapes that transport you from wherever you are to somewhere mad, somewhere that might not even exist. The video below for 'OMAR K' is bizarre.

Starting with tribal drums that carry on throughout, a spooky, ska-like, melody bounces around over the top as Tiffany's echoing voice calls you up to dance like a Dervish, or more likely just move like crazy. The video, in which Tiffany and a little girl with a tomahawk transform into bloodthirsty monsters with beards and fangs, suits the song totally. This is Rainbow Arabia's sound; carefree, brash, and full of energy. The next song, 'Without You' - taken from Boys and Diamonds (released March 1st, 2011) shows off a more new-wave influence.

Touching sounds, and lyrics tinged with the fear of being "so lonely", are contrasted against the tribal beats which typify Rainbow Arabia. From the video you can see how much the Prestons enjoy the music they make. And this is the key behind the songs they make.

Their passion creates a kind of transcendental sound; you can feel their energy and love of music in every single song. If you're a fan of MIA (the only coherent comparison I can make) I would very much recommend this lovely band to you. Well, at least I hope they have brightened up this grey Sunday evening.

Listen on SoundCloud or Myspace.

Or follow on Twitter...

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