About Azure Ray
Dream pop duo Azure Ray use graceful harmonies, patient folksy song structures, and touches of electronic production to create otherworldly songs that balance tranquility and intensity. Early albums like 2003's Hold on Love would prove to be quietly influential on the waves of indie artists who followed, its soft sadness and darkly ethereal atmospheres setting a template for a specific brand of opulent melancholy. After a highly active time in the early 2000s working on their own music as well as a host of other projects related to the Saddle Creek label, the band went on hiatus. After reuniting in 2008, Azure Ray released new material at a much slower pace, with more than a decade passing between fourth album Drawing Down the Moon in 2010 and its 2021 follow-up Remedy.
Azure Ray were formed in 2001 by Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor when they were living in Athens, Georgia. The two musicians -- both Alabama natives as well as childhood friends -- relocated to Athens after school and combined elements of folk, pop, and light electronica into their 2001 debut album. Taylor's boyfriend had just died, and along with Fink, she used songwriting as a method of coping with grief. The intensity of that loss informed the mournful tone of the group's earliest work, and would carry through in their sound to some degree from that point on. In January of 2002, Azure Ray issued the November EP on Saddle Creek, sparking a fruitful association with the label and its roster. The sophomore effort Burn and Shiver came later that year and exuded a more serene soundscape, as well as slick production work from Crooked Fingers frontman Eric Bachmann. Fink and Taylor also began lending their help to other albums, from Moby's 18 to Bright Eyes' Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground. Meanwhile, they also served as members of Now It's Overhead, another Saddle Creek band.
In 2003, Azure Ray continued their prolific pace by issuing Hold on Love. The album proved to be the duo's last release for seven years, though, and both musicians pursued solo careers in the interim. Maria Taylor put out three full-length albums and one collaborative EP (the latter recorded with her Saddle Creek friend Andy LeMaster), while Orenda Fink released a pair of solo albums, one digital EP, one album with her side project Art in Manila, and another with the short-lived pop duo O+S. Taylor and Fink returned their focus to Azure Ray in 2009, launching a brief tour that year before returning in 2010 with their fourth album, Drawing Down the Moon. For the next ten years, they occasionally released new material in the form of singles or EP releases like 2012's As Above, So Below and 2018's Waves. In 2021, the duo released their fifth album Remedy. It was recorded during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic with Fink Taylor, and producer Brandon Walters collaborated remotely on the new songs. ~ Andrew Leahey & Fred Thomas