Originating in Sydney and now split between the UK and Australia, Au.Ra is the musical pairing of Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandles. As previous projects came to an end (Parades/Ghostwood), the pair began making music together in 2011 - improvised long sessions that consisted only of a drum machine and two guitars.
Having released singles with labels LebensStrasse (Portugal) and ArtIsHard (UK) in 2012 & ‘13, the duo signed to LA based label felte (Public Memory, Soviet Soviet, Ritual Howls) and released their debut album, Jane’s Lament, in 2015.
The album received strong critical reception in most corners of the world with The Guardian, for one, writing, "After succumbing to the riptide pull of the opening track, “Morning”, you stay submerged, sound-bathing in layers of sublime guitar tones and effects that evoke a bevy of shoegaze legends like Slowdive, Ride, and Pale Saints. Two years in the making, the gradual build of Jane's Lament paid off in its drowsy unhurried air.”
Shying away from live performances in the past, the duo played a rare run of shows in the US and Australia to support Jane’s Lament - highlighted by sharing the stage with Gary Wilson at The Echo and a live performance on KEXP.
With Jenkins based in Sydney and Crandles in London, recording was restricted to the brief windows they had together. In the Summer of 2015 & ‘16, they holed up in Sydney’s 301 Studios for ten days to record their second album Cultivations.
Pairing structure and spontaneity on several vastly different songs (see: the intricate, slow-moving guitars of "Dreamwork" and the disjointed dance loops of "Blue Chip”), the album observes pop structures while frequently bending or stepping outside them altogether. That goes for everything from the shimmering keys and steely percussion of "I Feel You" to the lush, melancholic melodies of "Set the Scene"—tracks that take cues from King Tubby's dub-wise delays and classic, murky synth-pop. Not to mention "Nowhere," a humid number that channels such richly woven reference points as the surreal '90s program Wild Palms and the artful duets of David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto.