It might be an exaggeration to say that Laroca (Rob Pollard and Olly Wakeford) make music like nothing you've ever heard before – but it’s pleasingly impossible to describe their heady, uplifting mix of cinematic grooves, chilled moods and exotic funk. Turntable culture and digital wizardry mix promiscuously with real instruments played live in the studio. Lush electronica and chopped-up 21st century beats fuse effortlessly with exotic gypsy flavours, tango rhythms and timeless Sufi soul. Chilled flutes and muted trumpets flirt wantonly with funky, choppy guitar riffs and brain-busting bass lines. It’s music that is one minute reflective and profound – and as playful as a new-born kitten the next. The long awaited follow-up to 2006’s ‘Friends In Faraway Places’, Laroca’s latest album ‘Valley Of The Bears’ (released earlier this year in June) is a fascinating mix of funk grooves, hypnotic electronic textures with more than a hint of Arabic singing, and Oud, delivering a heady mix of lush electronica, world flavours and muted beats. On ‘Valley Of The Bears’, Laroca didn’t set out to defy the straightjacket of convention, simplistic categorisation and close confinement. It just turned out that way. There are influences a-plenty on the record, from Massive Attack to Gotan Project with a thousand musical stopovers in between. And yet Laroca still manage to sound like none of them.
Rob Pollard , Olly Wakeford