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Rainstick Orchestra - The Floating Glass Key in the Sky


Review: Jack Foley

THE Rainstick Orchestra describe their particular brand of work as 'wide-eyed hyperlink music for waking dreamtime'.

Comprised of Japanese DJ duo, Baku Tsunoda (25) and Naomichi Tanaka (28), they have been working together for the past four years, having met while DJ-ing in a Tokyo club together.

By day, Baku is an editorial designer and Naomichi a systems engineer, but it's the music that drives them and they excel in what they do.

Using guitars, piano, bass and sequencers, the Rainstick Orchestra provide music that is minimalist in design, yet quietly affecting to boot.

Take Waltz For Little Bird, for instance, the second track from the wonderfully-titled album, The Floating Glass Key In The Sky, which contains a sublime jazz vibe about it, while also delivering some delicate beats and a truly feel-good piano hook.

It genuinely makes you feel good while listening to it, catching you off-guard with its quiet simplicity.

The flute that runs through the latter part of Kiteletu lends the track a slightly mischievous quality, that once more proves quite enticing to the ear-drum, while the guitars possess a quietly melancholic feel to them.

The Rainstick Orchestra excel in producing mood music, the type of which wouldn't sound out of place on a soundtrack, but which seldom feels pretentious, or filler-orientated.

Powderly is another example of their minimalist approach working wonders, thanks to an urgent, clappy backbeat and some wonderful electronic flourishes that, every so often, provoke comparisons with Lemon Jelly at their most playful and surreal. The strings, too, are quite wonderful.

And Electric Counterpoint Fast is, as its title suggests, a somewhat funkier number, which plays like ambient techno without ever becoming too ponderous or repetitive.

The material on the album is a far cry from how Baku and Naomichi started out - the former as a guitar and piano player in both a Yellow Magic Orchestra covers band and a session group who played in the style of Maceo Parker and Funkadelic, and the latter, a former member of a punk band, with a deep-rooted love of the Manchester music scene.

It would be interesting to see what happens if they ever choose to combine those sensibilities - but, for now, we have this excellent debut album to sit back and enjoy (and it does work best in a relaxing environment).

Did I mention, too, that the Orchestra have been signed to the Ninja label? Looks like the pioneering label has struck gold again!

 

 

Track listing:
1. Trick
2. Waltz For Little Bird
3. Kiteletu
4. Powderly
5. Overflow
6. Electric Counterpoint Fast
7. A Closed Circuit

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