Reviews

Drawing Down the Moon

5/2/11 | Thenervousbreakdown.com | www.thenervousbreakdown.com | Feature
It had been nearly seven years since ORENDA FINK and Maria Taylor had worked together as the celebrated duo Azure Ray and as long since they released their critically acclaimed album Hold On Love. It had been a long wait for music fans, but thankfully that wait came to an end with the release of their haunting single Silverlake. Silverlake presents a non-album track from the sessions that became 2010 s Drawing Down the Moon, Fink and Taylor's first recordings together as Azure Ray in years. The first round of recording was done with Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse) prior to his death.The girls remember the time they spent with Linkous fondly during those sessions. "We were very fortunate to record this song with Mark. It was the first time we worked together and the first song Azure Ray wrote after our six year hiatus, so everything about the song is dear to us." The highly anticipated full-length album from Azure Ray is a sublime future classic titled Drawing Down the Moon, released on Saddle Creek in September 2010. The record was produced by Eric Bachmann at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, North Carolina, mixed by Michael Patterson in Los Angeles, CA and features guest appearances by Andy LeMaster and Liz Durrett. With their three prior full length albums and the November EP the duo drew fans from around the globe with their transcendent songwriting and stunning vocals. Drawing Down the Moon is an even more impressive and beguiling delight. Their undeniable talents lie in balladry so breathtakingly visceral that it soars straight through the ears into the veins until it pumps firmly into the heart. Drawing Down the Moon opens to drops of harp wrapped loosely in luscious vocals that wind through a fairytale melody; "Wake Up, Sleepyhead" is a perfect introduction to the record, a lullaby to stir the senses. "Signs in the Leaves" is haunting, a devastating tale of giving up someone you love and then longing for them with your entire being: "cause the birds don't sing,/ and the trees don't speak to me/ and I don't see signs in the leaves anymore/ I'm a little worried/ I'm a little worried that I killed something inside of me when I let you go." If heartbreak has ever sounded more beautiful, we have never heard it. The record closes with "Walking in Circles", a track which embraces and envelopes the listener. Subtle but striking guitar finds itself laced through pointed, poignant lyrics on time and emotion, "we lament with the passing of time/ hoping we never show it." Azure Ray are famed for their bitter sweet melancholy and Drawing Down the Moon is a perfect ode to their harmonious musical gifts. Twelve flawless songs worth waiting every second of those seven years for. 21 Questions with Orenda Fink Please explain what just happened. I'm not sure. I'm blaming it on the jet lag. What is your earliest memory? Talking to my great grandfather's ghost through a picture window on our farm in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. If you weren't a musician, what other profession would you choose? I used to say social worker, but I've become bitter and jaded since then, so I'd have to say a screenwriter. Describe a typical work day. On tour: Wake up and shower Check out of hotel Try and come to a band agreement of where to eat Drive 4-8 hours to show Soundcheck Eat Play Drink Check in to hotel Repeat, repeat, repeat? Is there a time you wish you'd lied? Nope. What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen? I'd say, "Stop getting perms. They are not improving your looks." If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be? Sharon Van Etten's first record. What are three websites?other than your email?that you check on a daily basis? Facebook, The Huffington Post -- that's it. From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration? The people around me. Name three books that have impacted your life. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be? My wedding. How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon? I played guitar in Rilo Kiley for a tour (Jenny Lewis is the singer). Jenny Lewis was in foxfire with Angelina Jolie. Angelina Jolie was in Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt was in Sleepers with Kevin Bacon. What makes you feel most guilty? Leaving my dog to go on tour. How do you incorporate the work of other artists into your own? I take a lot of lyrical cues from my favorite novelists. And sometimes I will study the song structures of my favorites songs. Please explain the motivation/inspiration behind Azure Ray's Drawing Down the Moon? The bond that Maria and I share as friends was the motivation for this latest Azure Ray record. We've shared a lot together over the years and it was inspiring to reconnect. What is the best advice you've ever given to someone else? If you're thinking about killing yourself, get on a plane and spend some time in a third world country helping people. Most likely, you will change your mind. List your favorite in the following categories: Comedian, Musician, Author, Actor Comedian - Andy Kaufman. Musician - Nina Simone. Author - Kurt Vonnegut. Actor - Jack Nicholson. If you had complete creative license and an unlimited budget, what would your next project be? I would make a horror movie. What do you want to know? What's in the afterlife. What would you like your last words to be? "I love you. I'll see you on the other side." Please explain what will happen. A bottle of wine will be opened.
Drawing Down the Moon

Drawing Down the Moon

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