Orenda Fink began her musical career at the Alabama Music of Fine Arts back in the late 1990s. According to her biography at allmusic.com she was part of the band Little Red Rocket, which disbanded after two promising but largely derivative albums. She then moved with her collaborator, Maria Taylor, to the town of Athens, Georgia and began working starting up the group Azure Ray where they found their sound in dream pop and folk over six critically well received albums. When the indie label Saddle Creek records picked up the group she moved again, this time to Omaha, Nebraska.
Both Taylor and Fink also explore their own themes on solo projects. Fink’s first album Invisible Ones explored Haitian ritual and mysticism. Her second album, Ask the Night, is filled with gorgeous songs exploring Southern Gothic themes reminiscent of Ozark ballads and blues. In August 2014 she released her latest album, Blue Dream. This time her explorations involve spiritual mystery and the timelessness of love. In the words of her reviewer at NPR’s First Listen: “More than half the songs on Blue Dream feature the word “love” somewhere, and every moment of Fink’s performance sounds as if it’s being sung into someone’s ear, not a microphone.”
The following videos are two of the most haunting songs on the album. The first is “Ace of Cups” and the second is “This Is a Part of Something Greater.” I’m not a big fan of either video–the first somewhat derivative, and the second an ironic, stylish and visually engaging homage to horror that seems to be a forced fit driven by the director’s ego, which is completely off track from the song’s themes–clashing with them and then overpowering them: an artistic misstep and an all too common occurrence in music videos. Unfortunately there are no “unplugged” examples of these songs on-line, hopefully something Saddle Creek will address. This last week I came across an interesting on-line interview and performance at Echoes.org. The full on-line Wednesday, January 14th program can be found at Echoes Online. (paywall)
Note: The original version of this post has been modified to provide the link to Orinda Fink’s podcast interview at Echoes.org. I have also provided the link for the full Echoes on-line programming. Many thanks to Echoes.org.