Spin a globe, extend your finger, and let it fall where it may. Chances are—unless your digit landed in the ocean—your finger will rest on a swath of land that influences Rainbow Arabia. The musical kaleidoscopic fronted by Los Angeles married couple Danny and Tiffany Preston is a truly limitless endeavor that best captures the digital free-for-all of internet culture with the insatiable appetite of modern musical obsessives.
Lightly tethered to the Day-Glo indie dance scene, the duo piles on howling Middle Eastern instrumentation, the rhythmic flair of ESG, sweaty favela beats, DFA dance punk, expansive sound drones, and enough stylistic vocal flair to knock M.I.A.'s paper plane right out of the sky. Their focus is akin to a Ritalin-less ADHD child on the loose, as genres, sounds, and entire concepts are eclipsed by a seemingly endless parade of sounds—it's a jet-setting LSD trip that takes you to the pop radio waves of Senegal, the Björk-approved Syrian techno of Omar Souleyman, and the finest moments of domesticated dance-pop. Just as a few noticeable influences fall into place—Tiffany Preston's bouncy coo shares a vocal similarity to M.I.A., and the band's swirling mass of sound locks arms with the genreless misfits of Battles, Crystal Castles, and Gang Gang Dance—Rainbow Arabia evolves into newfound territories, shedding any previous direction just as carelessly as they came across it.
As critics fawn over their pair of EPs, 2008's The Basta and the more recent Kabukimono, the couple is hard at work on their first proper long-player, due out next summer. And, as expected, it sounds like nothing you have ever heard. Danny Preston explains, "It's going to be African with '80s industrial sounds."
But long before Preston teamed with his wife to smudge the cultural lines of musical expression, he cut his teeth in the band circuit. "I was in a dub-dance-disco band called Future Pigeon for a while and then a Rolling Stones-style rock band for, like, forever," he says. The Prestons' musical palate was refined with the help of the Sublime Frequencies catalog—the couple dove headlong into a selection of obscure global music—and the internet's ability to bring this world to their doorstep. "There's a whole new movement of music right now with technology," explains Preston. "I'm really into what's happening nowadays."