Rainbow Arabia
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Rainbow Arabia

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Duo Pop Electronic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Stereogum Single release "Plena""

The California-based electronic duo Rainbow Arabia are scheduled to release their third full-length LA Heartbreak next month and today have given us “Plena,” an especially floaty depiction of unrequited love. The track remains reserved while shimmering with lightweight triplets and digestible melodies, leaving the tension to the lyrics. “Tell me what you want me to do” is a plea more than anything else, and the Auto-Tune break comes across as more emotional than stylistic. - Stereogum

"Pitchfork Review for FM Sushi"

A name like “Rainbow Arabia” comes armed with expectations: a childlike whimsy, a colorful disposition, and some sort of cultural appropriation are among things you’d likely chalk to up a group with the moniker. Their last album, 2010’s Boys and Diamonds, lived up to those first impressions: It was a collection of Orientalism-tinged ditties full of kid-friendly chants and West African melodies. But even when their songwriting was strong, they still felt more like an idea than a band. Their new album FM Sushi, released on their own Time No Place imprint with some help from Cologne techno giant Kompakt, retains that feeling of youthful mischief but reinforces it with tuneful songs and deluxe production that seemed only a distant possibility on Boys.

The Los Angeles husband-wife duo have undergone some changes since then. For one, they’ve brought in a live drummer to beef up their drum machine rhythm tracks. The pool of sounds they borrow from has also greatly expanded. While their reference points are still pretty identifiable, they throw sounds together in a much more interesting way than their old drowning-in-reverb indie pop. It’s noticeable early on, with the spry second track “He Is Sorcerer”, full of New Order grandeur and their most irresistible melody yet. Every phrase uncoils effortlessly from the last, like the stuff summer jams are made of. Tiffany Preston’s vocals sound unnervingly like the Knife’s Karin Dreijier Andersson, but her newfound confidence to play with her voice is almost enough to look past the resemblance.

Though the Prestons are definitely writing tighter pop songs this time around, their inspiration comes from an unlikely source: German synth and soundtrack music from the late 70s. Tangerine Dream and their many contemporaries have been a prominent thread in electronic music for several years now, often with guarded techno types, but the trio handle the influence in unusual ways. The puffy textures serve to make their pop songs plusher, but the inherently portentous tones provide emotional complexity as well. The title track is turned mournful heart-tugging, and they layer bluesy guitar licks over the the machine moans of “Moments I Had". Transplanting sounds from all sorts of genres, it would be easy to label them as record-collector pop or internet music dilettantes-- but their music feels too honest and eager for such cynical categorization.

That being said, it does feel like they’re piecing together bits from their favorite artists, intentionally or not. On moments like the arpeggio-drenched “River’s Edge”, or especially instrumental “Thai Iced Tea”, where MIDI sax rides a bumpy groove like a toy miniature “V-2 Schneider”, they’re their own band. But on “Lacking Risk” and “Three Moons”, they blatantly ape the chintziest of 80s pop. They do it well, sure, but so do countless other bands. And considering this is a group that apparently likes to re-interpret entire Tangerine Dream soundtracks in their spare time, it’s obvious that they’re capable of better. FM Sushi, then, is a stepping stone for a group suddenly poised to do great things, things their debut never even suggested. But looking over the precipice is different than actually crossing it-- so for now we’re stuck with them as they formulate their next move. At least it’s not a bad place to hang around. - Pitchfork.com

"Stereogum Single Review for "River's Edge""

Rainbow Arabia are slated to release a brand new LP this spring and lead off with new track “River’s Edge.” It’s dark and warped and perfectly suited for goth night at the rave warehouse. - Stereogum

"L.A. Times (Print Cover of Calendar)"

"Rainbow Arabia are L.A.'s new electro heroes"

Go to link for full story
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/25/entertainment/la-et-rainbow-arabia-20110325 - Los Angeles Times

"BBC review of "Boys and Diamonds""

In 2008 the UK independent label Merok, home to the debuts of Crystal Castles and Klaxons, put out a seven-inch from LA-based Rainbow Arabia. Sandwiched between releases from blog-adored acts Telepathe and Salem, the microtonal loops and ululating vocal of the Arabic-flavoured Omar K fit the label’s pedigree and whetted appetites for more. It’s slightly to Rainbow Arabia’s detriment, then, that their first album is emerging almost three years since that initial buzz was generated.

But given that the first US release for husband and wife duo Danny and Tiffany Preston, the Basta EP, was the product of a first weekend’s work together in their Echo Park basement, it’s understandable that their full-length needed time to develop. In the interim came a second EP, Kabukimono: five new songs padded out with a couple of forgettable remixes. Now, finally, we have Boys and Diamonds.

Kabukimono saw Rainbow Arabia expand their sample library beyond the overwhelmingly (and randomly, the pair having bought a Lebanese synth before they started recording) Arabic inflection of their earliest work, and Boys and Diamonds is eclectic to an even greater degree. So eclectic, in fact, that it proves difficult to pin down exactly who or what Rainbow Arabia is.

That isn’t always a problem. The West African guitar licks of the title-track wrap around an immediately satisfying sliver of electro-pop, while single Without You is a synth-smeared new wave gem that might have been plucked whole from a John Hughes soundtrack circa 1986. With hooks this good, who cares about derivativeness? But on the cod reggae of Nothin’ Gonna Be Undone and Blind – a disco crossbreed blending dancehall, Karin Dreijer Andersson and Cyndi Lauper – Rainbow Arabia give the impression of being a talented karaoke turn rather than a band with their own identity. On those tracks when you’re not so busy singing along that you don’t care, the quicksilver ventriloquism of Tiffany Preston’s vocals begins to seem more drawback than benefit.

There are exceptions. The brooding semi-instrumental Papai and the heavily percussive yet gentle Jungle Bear, wobbling along on minimal techno stabs, succeed without being immediately redolent of anyone else. The overriding impression of Boys and Diamonds, however, is of MIA’s global smash-and-grab style of musicianship minus the bonding agent of an overarching personality. Add that missing element to their songwriting talent, and Rainbow Arabia will have some substance to bolster their catchiness. - BBC

"RA review of "FM Sushi""

It's a comparison that Rainbow Arabia are probably sick of, but there's no way of around it: they sound quite like The Knife. It's not just the way that, in certain breathless moments, Tiffany Preston's voice sounds similar to Karin Dreijer Andersson's—they also share a fondness for big, hollowed-out synth sounds. F.M. Sushi, the LA duo's second proper album, is precisely the kind of odd, engagingly raw synth pop that The Knife were trading in prior to Silent Shout.

That might sound like damning Rainbow Arabia with feint praise. Far from it. In The Knife's evolution into something more serious, they lost a lot of what Rainbow Arabia still have in spades: innocent charm, vulnerability, a winningly lo-fi, art-pop sensibility. There are moments when F.M. Sushi flirts with the clichés of '80s major label synth-pop: declarative piano lines, synths mimicking guitar solos, saxophones, airbrushed keys that come perilously close to sounding like pan pipes, and so on. Unlike a band like Hurts, however, Rainbow Arabia get away with it because there isn't a bombastic bone in their bodies. Their aesthetic is more ZE than EMI.

Not that Rainbow Arabia are alone in those qualities—there are plenty of cute but ineffectual synth acts operating in similar territory. What sets them apart is their songcraft and their gift for arrangement. It is exquisite. They always had hooks, but where the appeal of their debut, Boys And Diamonds, lay mainly in its world music rhythms and melodies, FM Sushi is straighter, painstaking in its own low-budget way and—bathed as it is in a potent fug of despairing melancholy—far more emotionally resonant. The way key tracks ("Thai Iced Tea," "Precreation," "He Is Sorcerer," the beautiful, Chromatics-like "FM Sushi") unfold with such easy, irrefutable logic is the mark of a band in the zone. - Resident Advisor

"Fact Magazine review of "FM Sushi""

Rainbow Arabia’s second album is a subtle triumph for the trio. Previously working within the vein of Italo-leaning synth-pop, Rainbow Arabia now align themselves with a strain of dreamy electro that has become more elegant in its execution, grandiose in its scope and with more overt cinematic ambitions (possibly thanks to the likes of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive). A tall order perhaps, but FM Sushi pulls it off. Having recruited a third member in former Cursive drummer Dylan Ryan their sound has been comfortably elevated, and the percussion proves to be the anchor that they drifted along without on their debut Boys and Diamonds.

The whole dynamic of FM Sushi has something very Los Angeles about it, as the 10 tracks navigate wide urban spaces imbued with a lingering sense of dread and decay. It’s the sound of insomnia-fuelled drives past late night dive bars with a shoe box of old cassettes on the passenger side, smoke rising densely and restaurant windows casting the interplay of light and shadow as more sunset-tinged than sun-drenched. The vernacular is that of a post-countercultural, inner city jazz slang stripped down to an almost staccato temperament, then rebuilt with subtle layering of synth arpeggios and disjointed vocoder treatments that pay dues to the grainy ambience of ’80s synth pop. Swells of dubby reverb, loaded chord progressions and forlorn brass hooks grant moments of respite within an anaemic, claustrophobic mirth, and call on Rainbow Arabia’s enduring fascination with Tangerine Dream and early ’80s German electronic prog (think Dieter Moebius and Robert Schroeder) with a learned, rather than appropriative, quality.

This isn’t to say that the gloominess makes FM Sushi disengaging. Far from it. The LP is refined and well-balanced, with a mature tone and steady pace, and Tiffany Preston’s voice in particular is a delight. It’s not too dissimilar to that of Ruth Radelet from Chromatics, yet has its own wavering and uncertain timbre that makes her the ideal accompaniment to the other sonic aspects in play. She breathes furls of colour into the album’s more tonal elements, helping it avoid the danger of dissolving into a haze of mood alone.

Again, bringing in a drummer has bolstered their sound to marvellous effect. The driving kick drum of ‘Math Quiz’ steadies the sonorous saxophone and the brittle, searching sensuality of Tiffany’s voice, and ‘Thai Iced Tea’ and ‘Lacking Risk’ call on Italo disco with their layers of overdubbed drum machine melodies referencing ’80s cop show theme tunes. These reference points all collate on one of FM Sushi‘s best tracks, ‘Precreation’, where the group’s Depeche Mode crush intensifies to the point of giddy glee; then, as the squelches of ‘Silence Me’ pull the album to a close, Tiffany’s voice at its most confident-sounding, it becomes clear that Rainbow Arabia have come on leaps and bounds from their debut, releasing an evocative, vivid album beyond the expectations of most. - Fact Magazine


Through the mirages of Tatooine, between the silken sheets of Syrian sand Rainbow Arabia march towards the Gulf of Oman, as the chattering madness of their isolation babbles across the emptiness like a ghostly menagerie.

Bored poltergeists sit on the edge of the night, watching their prey.


Lost in an interzone between the city and the sand, Rainbow Arabia fall from one to the other with an open mind which belies the fear in their eyes and reaffirms today's climate of a global musical unit.
This is dense, complex and rootless music. - NME Print magazine

"Fader review of "Without You""

The YouTube description for Rainbow Arabia’s “Holiday in Congo” promises “tropical awkwardness,” which is maybe a more apt description of the band’s usual output than our standard, “seems like a super dubious band name/cover art.” The first thirty seconds of “Without You” are familiar territory: mondo-“world” percussion, basic square wave and bell synth. But then it all drops out and front woman Tiffany Preston’s belting out I’M STILL HEEERE, exposed as she’ll ever be. When the drums kick back in they’re in vogue, darker. It’s becoming. The toms reappear, of course, but they’re backing that big snare now, more Gloria Estefan “Conga” than just conga, if that makes sense. 7-inch coming February 22nd on Kompakt, look forward to remixes by Nguzunguzu and Michael Mayer. - FADER

"Mix Magazine Review of "FM Sushi""

For the second Rainbow Arabia album, Danny and Tiffany Preston switch from Kompakt to the LA-based Time No Place imprint. Whereas 2011’s ‘Boys And Diamonds’ found the husband and wife duo applying a vibrant kaleidoscope of world music influences, their darker second album leans more towards mid-
80s baroque-pop. Tiffany’s spectral wail gives the opener ‘River’s Edge’ a ‘Hounds Of Love’-era Kate Bush feel, while instrumentally, standouts ‘He Is Sorcerer’ and ‘Lacking Risk’ recall Depeche Mode’s early output. Elsewhere, the homage to yesteryear doesn’t work quite so well, with ‘Thai Iced Tea’ and ‘Math Quiz’ both bearing an unfortunate resemblance to Kenny G’s saxophone-led lounge stylings. - Mix Mag

"Interveiw with The Quietus"

Go to link for full interview
http://thequietus.com/articles/03194-rainbow-arabia-interview - The Quietus


L.A. Heartbreak (CD/LP, Album) - Time No Place/Kompakt (2016)
FM Sushi (LP/CD, Album)- Time No Place/Kompakt (2013)
Boys and Diamonds (CD/LP, Album) -  Kompakt (2011)
Kabukimono (CD/LP, EP) - Manimal Vinyl Records (2009)
The Basta (CD, EP) - Manimal Vinyl / Tiny Man Records (2008)




Inspired by the purchase of a Lebanese synthesizer playing microtonal scales and lo-fi Eastern drum patterns,Rainbow Arabia began a escapist diversion from Danny and Tiffany Preston's day jobs. The demos they recorded, which were written and put to tape in a matter of a days, became their debut, The Basta. Barely existing for only a few months, the married couple were picked out of the ether by NYC sonic alchemists/kindred spirits Gang Gang Dance to support them on a cross-continental tour in 2008. Once they got back (and to their surprise) they quickly found themselves a legitimate act with acclaim from PITCHFORK, THE FADER, XLR8R, NME, in addition to a word-of-mouth groundswell for their fresh, contemporary East meets West take on the Sublime Frequencies catalog that inspired them so much in the first place.With a penchant for global pop and psychedelic tribal beats, Rainbow Arabia caught ears across the pond releasing the "Omar K" seven-inch on UK's Merok Records (Crystal Castles, Teengirl Fantasy) leading to their first European tour in 2009. Not interested in merely musical/cultural tourism, the Prestons shifted their focus outward in writing their first full-length album Boys And Diamonds. The single from that album, "Without You", has been heard on shows such as, Gossip Girl, Eastbound and Down and Girls. Also, it was featured in Spike Jonze's trailer for his skateboarding movie "Pretty Sweet" which got more that 1 million views.

Rainbow Arabia's third full-length album 'LA Heartbreak' wades through familiar neon waters but even more deliberately -  keeping the focus on what distinguishes them from the sea of electronic pop acts out there - Danny Preston's adventurously exquisite arrangements, sturdy songcraft, and Tiffany Preston's potent vocal delivery. 

 Their third full-length album, "L.A. Heartbreak", is due out 11/11/16. It is a dreamy, melodic machine pop that takes cues from Tangerine Dream, OMD, Moroder, Jan Hammer - confidently painting with bolder strokes with leaner, brighter production and infectious hooks evoking 80s radio pop that skew more towards Madonna and Cyndi Lauper rather than darker post-punk influences referenced on Rainbow Arabia's earlier album, "FM Sushi".

Band Members