When artists Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor harmonize their sounds under the moniker Azure Ray, listeners have come to expect a dreamy essence to the pop duo’s sound but on their forthcoming six-song EP, As Above So Below, Fink and Taylor take Azure Ray into an alternate universe. The dream-like quality remains, but these songs are almost eerie-sounding, far more electronic, minimalist and sonically rich. The album is inspired by parallel realities that seem cruelly just out of reach when lulled into a state of calm by their honeyed and wispy vocals, as though the words float above you like clouds your hands will never grasp.
Sometimes the best concert experiences are instances in which a band takes you by surprise because you hadn’t planned on seeing them, and it must be said that accidentally stumbling upon musical awesomeness is one of those few unrivaled feelings that put a smile on my face. The band Big Harp in particular fits this description. I had never heard of this husband-and-wife duo but they were one of many performers at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles recently and their set was outstanding.