This would appear to be a sonic adaptation of a Raymond Bradbury short story, taking as as base layer the 1975 reading of the story by… Leonard Nimoy! Around Nimoy’s dulcet tones, Zarelli’s Carwyn Ellis builds up a primarily electronic structure, echoing the happenings and mood of Bradbury’s tale. Out on Bronzerat.
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You know that you’re in for something bursting with epic bombast when Leonard Nimoy’s kosmik utterances are the centrepiece of a record, making the whole thing sound like an obscure 70s radio play. Carwyn Ellis, the force behind the Zarelli moniker, is clearly a massive trekkie. You can hear the echoes of costumed spacewandering all through Soft Rains, also based on a work of science fiction, the short story ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ by Ray Bradbury.
Reading the first snatches of the Wikipedia plot summary (review research 101) is actually quite tantalising, a sort of post-apocalyptic tale set in the near future centred on a hyperconvenient house inhabited by robotic cleaning mice, but only robotic cleaning mice. A dog turns up, too, but no humans. I’ll leave it at that and let Nimoy tell you the rest. Usually explicit narrative can eliminate any open-endedness that makes music such a unique phenomenon, but there is a certain haunting quality to the unified music and tale that is compelling, never coming too close to hypercheese, unlike a certain Public Service Broadcast that I heard recently…...
The music is a relatively subdued and minimal backdrop, consisting of guitars, drum machines, an army of synths, and... an Ipad. They’re all playing surges and blips in a minor key, bringing the necessary drama to the soundtrack. There are points when it’s a little too obvious or Vangelis, and when the beat drops in during ‘Blaze’ all subtlety or unpredictability is lost. I guess there are less classic synth strings in the earlier more droney section of the LP, which is preferable. And the sense that the story is leading the music brings the actual music provided by Ellis closer to padding out the story rather than standing up at quite the same level. But it’s still a great little radio play for those of the synthy persuasion.
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