• Album Review: Azure Ray’s As Above So Below

    By J. Brown

    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.

    The folk aspect of Azure Ray’s earlier work is gone from this album but Fink and Taylor still have no trouble blending their unique styles, thereby bringing together both an airy and frequently electronic sound. In addition to alternative universes, the latest album touches on Mother Nature, beginnings, endings, re-birth, and love. Notably, Taylor was eight months pregnant during the recording of the album, which clearly inspired many of the themes that flood these tracks.

    Listen to and download “Scattered Like Leaves” from As Above So Below:

    Azure Ray – Scattered Like Leaves

    In describing the thought process behind the album, Fink commented: “We looked for inspiration from James Blake, Nicolas Jaar, and Apparat in keeping the music minimal and modern but still working as a textural and emotional extension of the lyrics. We enlisted my husband, Todd Fink (from the electronica band The Faint), and Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes, Now It’s Overhead) as our dream team.”

    Since Taylor was pregnant, both Finks moved into Taylor’s home. Together they focused on an experimental approach to the album and worked side by side for an extended period of time. The uncertainties of being a new mother likely shaped Taylor’s own contributions to the album’s beautiful exploration of the unknowns of the beginnings. Taylor commented that the album “reflects the uncertainties in the future that we all feel–along with the wonder and beauty.”

    As Above So Below will be released by Saddle Creek Records on September 4th. Fink and Taylor plan to hit the following tour dates once the album is out:

    9/4 Birmingham, AL – Bottletree
    9/5 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
    9/6 Athens, GA – Caledonia Lounge
    9/7 Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Music Festival
    9/9 Washington, DC – Hamiliton
    9/10 Philadelphia, PA – The Chapel
    9/11 Boston, MA – TT The Bears
    9/12 New York, NY – City Winery
    9/20 San Francisco, CA – Swedish American Hall
    9/21 Los Angeles, CA – Largo
    9/22 San Diego, CA – The Irenic

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