Somnambule - Writing About Music

The Rainstick Orchestra ~ The Floating Glass Key In The Sky

The title of The Rainstick Orchestra’s debut release for NinjaTune sounds as if it might be the title or central element of a Haruki Murakami novel. The music also bears a similarly playful, light touch beneath which lurks a potential, unknown darkness. Waltz For A Little Bird is a rather gorgeous piece that might ably serve as soundtrack to a 60s French film sequence, a light rain falling as two lovers walk beside the river Seine. The music mixes shuffling, brushed percussion with marimba like rhythms. Difficult to resist the urge to skip and smile to such music. Kieletu begins with darting flute-like sounds that are overtaken by an assertive ceremonial pulse. Powderly flaps and flutters like a dove that has strayed mistakenly into a living room and is trying to escape. It’s paired with a sonorous violin and a woman’s voice that repeatedly asks ‘do you... do you... do you hear it?’ I think I do.

The Floating Glass Key In The Sky stirs together a variety of influences into an enjoyably refreshing cocktail. Steve Reich’s minimalism is never far away and there are also occasional traces of David Sylvian and Ryuchi Sakamoto’s Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (the Yellow Magic Orchestra connection is apposite as one half of the duo previously played in a YMO covers band). There’s Orb-like techno delivered with a deft, light-fingered touch as if played by a highly proficient lounge orchestra, and there’s even just a dash of 70s jazz funk of the Donald Byrd/Places And Spaces era. Each of the seven tracks is an elegant construction reminiscent of a perfectly folded origami sculpture. The result is charming, melodic and pleasingly original.
Colin Buttimer
January 2005
Published by Milkfactory