Friends In Far Away Places is the debut long player from cinematic groove merchants Laroca. A heady mix of lush electronica, world flavours and muted beats, this impressive debut is the result of a sonic adventure embarked upon by the Laroca duo, known to their respective mothers as Rob and Olly.
Drawn together from Oxford and London through a mutual friend and a shared love of My Bloody Valentine-esque musical noise Rob Pollard and Olly Wakeford began their adventure experimenting with 4-track recorders and creaking eighties’ synths. Although the early Laroca sound was mainly electronic it wasn’t long before they were longing to introduce more live instruments. Both had played music from an early age; Rob, the guitar and bass, and former Royal College of Music student, Olly, had played keyboards, bass and, one of Laroca’s trademark sounds, the flute, ever since his arms were long enough. For Friends In Far Away Places, Laroca went on to enlist the additional musical talents of vocalist Anna Snowman (Fiona Renshaw), MC Mantmast (Grooverider, Friction), Ricky Fabulous (Belleruche) on guitars, Matt Derbyshire (The Second Whorl) on Rhodes and Mr Smiff (Breakin Even) on congas.
Admirers of Bonobo, Quantic, Lemon Jelly, Fragile State, Thievery Corporation and the Catskills label, Laroca’s sound is reassuringly chilled yet funky, symphonic, soulful, layered and exotic; drawing on world influences ranging from Sufi and Afro-Beat to flamenco and Eastern European gypsy. Laroca’s live show is equally as inspired, enhanced by the video wizardry of VJ Myogenic (Ulrich Schnauss, Gilles Peterson) they were invited to play at the Big Chill Festival long before they even signed to Just Music.
For Friends In Far Away Places is inviting and compelling; highlights include GENERALIFE, a Sufi-tinged filmic affair, Laroca’s signature tune Looking Like Lions and the hypnotic PLAGE LODO, inspired by a trip to Corsica, with its laidback, muted beats and soothing flute which can’t help but conjure up images of pure white beaches and Super8 holiday films.