This new 6-song EP from the always wonderful and beautiful Azure
Ray finds the ladies exploring textures crafted almost entirely
from synthesizers and electronics. The dreaminess and majesty of the
music remains what the listener would expect, but the soundscape is
a touch sparser and less organic. The voices of Orenda Fink
and Maria Taylor, however, have not changed; they remain stunningly
beautiful in their harmonic interplay. The duo enlisted the help of
Andy LeMaster and Todd Fink for the production of the EP, and
while the overall atmospheric sound of classic Azure Ray continues,
it is in a somewhat different vein.
"Scattered Like Leaves" is a perfect opening track, filled
with low beats and cascading synthesizers at once airy and earthy
if that is at all possible. The vocals float over this bed of texture
nicely as they proclaim, "There's love everywhere. There's sadness
everywhere. So I keep moving on." That sentiment foreshadows
much of the lyrical content of As Above So Below, which tends
to deal with the themes of birth and rebirth
no surprise, as
Taylor was 8 months pregnant when the recording was happening. "Unannounced"
is a weirdly backwards-forward sounding tune, atmospheric and lightly
encumbered with the story of a missed love and the escape from all
that that love encompassed. "The Heart Has Its Reasons"
is the clear exception on this collection of songs. Piano and the
sound of the sea are almost the only legible sounds accompanying the
angelic voices as they weave their tapestry of wanting and questioning
As Above So Below finds Azure Ray in fine form. The more organic
instrumentation of their earlier work gives way to adventurous use
of synthesizers and electronics, but in no way does this change of
sound detract from the beauty put forth by the voices held within.
Instead, those voices stand out even more in the stark, somewhat ambivalent,
electronic landscape. The ladies of Azure Ray continue to define aural
beauty in their own way, easily holding fast the listener in thrall
for the duration of the EP.
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