An Azure Ray of light
Fans know Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor as leaders of the charmingly rocking Athens-based Little Red Rocket. Hardcore fans probably have seen an intimate duo show by the singer/songwriters as Orenda and Maria, now known as Azure Ray.
"When we started calling ourselves Azure Ray last year, it gave the two of us more of a band identity," says Fink. Taking some time away from their Rocket science, the musicians have revisited their beginnings.
"When we first started playing, it was just us," says Taylor, who met Fink in the mid-'90s when both attended a fine arts school in Birmingham, Ala. The artists soon began performing and developing their dual-lead vocal style while learning to write songs.
Soon, they had a backing band and were signed to Geffen Records. After that deal quickly fizzled, the two moved to Athens in '98, formed a new version of Little Red Rocket and last year released the wonderfully understated It's in the Sound. Darker moments of that album reflect the introspective glow of their first duo recording, Azure Ray (Warm Records).
"We don't know what to call the type of music we do," says Taylor of the decidedly non-folk album. Radiating with an isolated warmth and often stunningly somber in tone, the new disc was produced by Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers mastermind, Atlanta resident Eric Bachman. Former Man or Astro-man? musicbot Brian Causey assisted in production and added various instrumentations to the project.
"Now we have to decide which song we write is for which band," Fink says. "It gives us such a wider range now." Before Azure Ray, all material wound up as Little Red Rocket's. "Now we can do this material," says Fink, "then go and rocket and not worry about it."