Islands Beneath the Sea

Far Rainbow are an English duo who produce their work through a combination of field recordings and percussion, plus sounds generated by the familiar array of contact mics, feedback, effects pedals and so forth; out of all this clutter the team of Emily Mary Barnett and Bobby Barry produce pleasing, compelling drones that are littered with textures and debris, abstract objects that float around the listener as we’re immersed in a sluggish sea of sound (and I am taking a cue from a track title here). Gradually, their washy ambient drone grows more solid, morphs into something with a living, breathing pulse; throbbing electronics forming a simpatico bond with the crisp drumming patterns. While understatement and restraint are still the keywords here, it’s very refreshing to hear an ethereal drone given more substance and energy by the simple addition of drumming; and Barry’s drumming is not only distinctive, his inventive and minimalist approach is entirely suitable to the mood. He’s neither “rocking out” nor providing a mindless Techno backing, in other words. Both sides of No Medicine That Can Cure A Fool (ZERO WAVE ZWAV001) start off rooted in the “real world” by dint of the naturalistic field recordings that open each track, and as they change they gradually draw the listener into a fantasy dreamland of strange sound. I can certainly detect the painterly origins of visual artist Emily Mary Barnett in the work. This is the first release on the Zero Wave label, and there’s a club of the same name which the duo organise at Kentish Town. Very nice. From 17 September 2015.