Far Rainbow is the sonic offspring of musician, writer and all-round good egg Robert Barry and drummer Emily Mary Barnett. This is their debut tape, comprising two long-form pieces of swirling, cobwebby electronics punctuated with chunky, echoing percussion. It brings to mind the free-spirited electronic kosmische musik that Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius may have created in their Cluster heyday if they had King Tubby rather than Conny Plank producing it.
At Open Sea is a soupy, hypnotic stew, full of ominous, off-kilter throbs and decaying synth chords. It’s a warm and hazy stew of drones and whirrs, made up from what feels like thousands of thin, onion-like layers. There’s some resemblance to the nostalgic, eerie retro futurism pioneered by Boards of Canada, that feeling of an idyllic childhood troubled by something deep below the surface.
Barnett’s occasional snare hits are like echoes of distant artillery fire, punching through the murk and adding a narcotic vibe to the layers of scuzz. It’s almost possible to imagine yourself lying on your bedroom floor staring at the ceiling as time itself seems to come almost to a halt and your favourite Depeche Mode track gets chopped and screwed by your own preternaturally heightened awareness.
Zero-T Problematics takes things into starker territory, with mournful wails crying out through a layer of tape hiss as Barnett’s snare clatters deep down in the mix. It’s like waking up at the end of the line after a night’s drinking, and walking out of the station to find a smashed up bus stop, the wind in your face and the roads empty.
That feeling of desolation remains throughout, with Barry’s mechanical grumbles adding more grit and dirt as the machine whines multiply and overlap, the dying cries of a thousand hard drive failures.
It’s more propulsive than its companion on side A, with Barnett breaking out an almost post-punk-funk groove halfway through as the synths and electronics seem to gurgle in alienated hedonism. Then the drums go supernova, accelerating with dizzying velocity and then collapsing in on themselves, leaving a vortex of juddering oscillations in their wake.