Azure Ray is the dream pop-duo, Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink. Formed in Athens, GA their 2001 debut self-titled record included the singles “Sleep” and “Rise.” Azure Ray’s 2002 “November EP” and 2003’s “Hold on Love” were formative contributions to Omaha’s Saddle Creek Records' indie scene, before Fink and Taylor disbanded in 2004 to pursue solo projects. They reunited again in 2008, later releasing 2010’s Drawing Down the Moon and then 2012’s As Above, So Below.
Waves is Azure Ray’s 8th studio release, and first new recordings in 6 years. The EP includes 5 songs, “What We’ve Become,” “Last Summer in Omaha,” a new recording and revisioning of 2003’s “Hold On Love”, a cover of R.E.M.’s “Nightswimming” and “What We’ve Become (Interlude).” Recorded over several sessions in Joshua Tree and Los Angeles, Waves was co-produced by Azure Ray and Louis Schefano and mixed by Andy LeMaster, and is the first Azure Ray release on Flower Moon Records (owned & operated by Maria Taylor). Azure Ray’s self-titled debut and follow-up record, Burn and Shiver, were also re-released on Flower Moon Records in 2018.
About the release Maria & Orenda say:
A few months ago, we received a heavy, nondescript brown box covered in “magnetic media” stickers. Inside were the original reels from the first Azure Ray record (including some songs or versions that never made the final cut). Something about seeing the giant antiquated grey metal boxes made us nostalgic for those early recordings. There we were, barely 20, in our tiny, messy apartment in Athens, GA trying to cope with the tragic loss of Maria’s boyfriend, a fellow musician who was taken way before his time. Grief ended our first band, but we eventually turned to song-writing again; and the cathartic exercise thrust upon us by tragedy ultimately led to the birth of Azure Ray.
We actually had been talking about writing and playing shows again as Azure Ray for a while when that box of reels arrived. Around that same time, we booked our first reunion show since 2013. The sold-out crowd packed the beautiful, ornate building from wall-to-wall and the stage was decorated with hundreds of white lilies bathed blue light. Reuniting as Azure Ray again for the first time in a decade was a turning point for both of us after all that had changed in our lives over the last few years.
Less than a year since our most recent “reunion” show, we are excited to announce our new EP, Waves The same Azure Ray that wrote “Sleep,” “Rise,” “November” and more isn’t just back again – we’re here as we’ve always been. This EP was about revisiting what Azure Ray has meant to us – and felt like to the listener – over the last 18 years. So for the last few months we’ve been demoing songs back and forth over email and Facetime between Omaha and Los Angeles, until this August when we packed up a car and drove out to a house in Joshua Tree to record. These songs are both a yearning and nostalgia for the Azure Ray of the past, and new perspectives on how and why we make music – with 18 years of love, life, and loss in between. It’s a record we’ve been aching to write – without even knowing it – just like the first one almost 2 decades ago. So today, we’re excited to share with you our favorite Azure Ray songs in years.