The long awaited follow up to 2006's Friends In Faraway Places, VALLEY OF THE BEARS delivers a heady mix of lush electronica, world flavours and muted beats, from Laroca.
It might be an exaggeration to say that Laroca (Rob Pollard & 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, global beats, 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.
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. Influences there are a-plenty, from Massive Attack to Gotan Project with a thousand musical stopovers in between. And yet Laroca still manage to sound like none of them.
"Valley of the Bears incorporates everything from Eric Satie-style piano to marching music via Augustus Pablo-esque melodica. And thats just on the opening Brassic. Elsewhere, there are hints of Africa, sweeping electro and heroic brass" Q Magazine
"Their instrumentals establish a unique identity, whether updating Isaac Hayes' oceanic orchestral soul or subtly becoming as dry - and as french - as Air" Uncut
"Valley Of The Bears is a genuinely fine collection of intrumentals that travaerse a wide range of influences. Everything from David Holmes-inlfuenced funk to Arabic-tinged flamenco is thrown at the listener to create a wonderfully rich soundscape to suit every mood. Pollard and Wakeford have got busy with instrumental layering to create the type of epic music that could grace the classic cinema of Morricone or the more modern fare of Tarantino or Steven Soderbergh. This is a terrific acheivement - one that's rich in ambition, high on quality and really deserving of a huge fanbase" Indie London
"Bands like this never get the credit they deserve, though if they had a shot at a soundtrack they could be onto a winner in terms of awards. Sit in a darkeded room and put this on from start to finish. Clear your mind. Don't let anything external affect your experience of the music. If you do this , it's easy to guarentee that you'll really get something from this album, there are a number of real gems on this release." In the News
"Air have long dominated this genre of relatively unrecognised computer-manufactured bliss. Unluckily for them - and luckily for us - Laroca could be the new challenger." BBC Music
"This is an album that is well worth exploring and deserves to be heard properly. Valley of The Bears is a grower with a depth that can only be discovered if you're willing to invest a little time in it it may become the coffee table of the year" The Line of The Best Fit
"Excellent music to chill out to, to have your tea to, or a dinner party if you are that way inclined, or its perfect funky cocktail bar music. Laidback, eclectic, everybody should have a few albums of this nature in their collection, for the lazy carefree chillout moments in life" Contact Music.Com
"It delivers powerful cinematic qualitities that transport you easily to a variety of places, a strong European influence, and enough interesting sounds to see you through a chilled out reflective summer's day." Music.Co.Uk