Melancholy, mischievous and mysterious, Rainbows is the latest release from prolific London-based songwriter and producer, Dominic Owen. Full of soulful grooves, the EP combines traditional instrumentation with textured layers of electronic percussion and sound collage, reminiscent of Thievery Corporation and Jazzanova.
The title track's acoustic guitar riffs fit perfectly over the programmed beats and deep synth line, setting the mood for the rest of the record. Hearing the intro to this track, I knew I could close my eyes and let the music wash over me. With small details of sound permeating "Raibows" -- a small riff here, some harmonics there -- the song sets perfect tone for the rest of the album.
The second track, "Crime Scene" is a pleasant surprise. Riffing off of soundtracks to old spy movies in a minor key, the song sneaks up and, with spoken word samples, sexy horn arrangement and 70's vibe, sounds like something Barry White might play when he's in his love palace undressing a woman.
"Outside the Head" returns to the acoustic guitar and programmed beats, with a simple but beautiful vocals that lead into the last track "Sleeping Souls." More modern than some of the other material, the hypnotic melody plays with time and slowly brings you back to reality, wanting more.
Rainbows is one of those records that, in a very short space of time, shows a lot. Owen proves that new production techniques and trends in music can work in harmony with the material that came before it. Rainbows brings contemporary flair to music not always associated with today's electronics, and shows that -- when done right -- the two work very well together.
Andy Smith is a writer, offshore banker, wannabe musician and all-around curmudgeon. He is a director of Permanent Damage Records, a Bermuda-based electronic music label. Andy lives in Toronto, where he graduated from University College at the University of Toronto, and was editor-in-chief of The Gargoyle.