Buy: Amazon Valley Of The Bears by Laroca is quite possibly the most brilliantly obscure and eclectic record you're likely to hear. It encapsulates everything from French trip-hop to the sort of thing you'd hear on a car advert to ambient electronica. Opener Brassic is said car advert music. So much so, I'm not even sure if it hasn't actually appeared advertising a Citroen, or something French anyway. It is orchestral motifs on trip-hop beats with strangely impressive results. Spontaneity was something that Laroca wanted to capture on Valley Of The Bears and there is an overwhelming feel of a jam, adding a special something. The songs are crafted together superbly too, they know where each is going despite the feeling of a jam. The ambient and airy trance of Elevator Tester is a highlight, the complex layers of synth pads, woodwind, horns and distant drums combine perfectly, it's one of the most impressive things you'll hear this year. You can't even imagine how it all comes together. The jazzy funk of Eerie follows with ease, flowing into one another despite being so very different. The French Trip-Hop of Carpe Diem (Profites De La Vie) offer the first real vocals and it doesn't matter that you can't understand a word of it. The flowing French vocals suit so much better than anything this side of the channel could have managed. It's ethereal, cinematic; Continental and further; funk-filled and so much more. There's so much happening you could talk about it- and listen to it- all day. Laroca have put their signature stamp on every song making each song intrinsically linked, yet sounding so dissimilar to each other. The musicianship is as impressive as the compositions themselves, and the combinations they bring together can often bewitch. 7/10