Orenda Fink — Blue Dream
≡•≡ Sny a jejich role v životě. Album Blue Dream je tak zádumčivé jako dosavadní práce Orendy Fink, ale s více optimistickými tématy. V převážné většině písní na Blue Dream nacházím slovo ‘láska’, a pokaždé její hlas zní, jako kdyby to zpívala do něčího ucha, ne na mikrofon. Zvuky z přírodního/lidského prostředí společně se zvuky z počítačové sféry vytváří kompaktní sound: celý záznam zní nádherně, nikdy ne rušivě, naopak spolupracují ve vzájemné účinnosti. Moderní život může být snadno oddělen od technologie, která ho rámuje. Blue Dream poskytuje dobrý návod, jak by milostné písně z minulosti mohly znít v digitálním věku. Jedním slovem: podmanivé. Founding member of Azure Ray who also enjoyed a rich solo career and collaborations with Bright Eyes.
Ξ•Ξ If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?
≡•≡ Sharon Van Etten’s first record.
Ξ•Ξ 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.
Born: September 18, 1975 in Birmingham, Alabama
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Album release: August 19, 2014
FORMATS: DIGITAL, VINYL, CD
Record Label: Saddle Creek Records
01 Ace of Cups 4:05
02 You Can Be Loved 3:27
03 This Is a Part of Something Greater 4:35
04 You Are a Mystery 2:29
05 Holy Holy 3:57
06 Blue Dream 4:34
07 Sweet Disorder 3:44
08 Poor Little Bear 2:27
09 Darkling 3:57
10 All Hearts Will Beat Again 3:14
≡•≡ All tracks written by Orenda Fink.
© 2014 Orenda Fink
≡•≡ Pearl Boyd Vocals (Background)
≡•≡ Ben Brodin Producer
≡•≡ Greg Elsasser Musical Saw
≡•≡ Christine Fink Vocals (Background)
≡•≡ Orenda Fink Composer, Vocals
≡•≡ Todd Fink Producer
≡•≡ Zack Nipper Layout
≡•≡ Pat Oakes Percussion
≡•≡ Maria Reichstadt Artwork
≡•≡ Bill Rieflin Drums, Percussion
≡•≡ Carl Saff Mastering
≡•≡ Susan Sanchez Vocals (Background)
Album Moods: Brooding Autumnal Sentimental Bittersweet Calm/Peaceful Gentle Intimate Melancholy Reflective Warm Earnest Plaintive Yearning Delicate Poignant Soothing Wistful
by KATIE PRESLEY, August 10, 201411:03 PM ET
≡•≡ There will always be room in the world for stripped-down, one-singer/one-guitar declarations of loves lost and found, cooed into bedroom microphones and seemingly untethered to a particular place or time. Comfort may lie in tradition, but there's also exhilaration in expansion. On her new album, Blue Dream, Orenda Fink crafts a collection of distinctly futuristic love songs.
≡•≡ Fink and her Azure Ray bandmate Maria Taylor have both released several albums between the band's now-sporadic collaborations, each honing a separate aesthetic that expounds upon Azure Ray's busy-but-dreamy indie pop. Previously, Fink had pushed her work in a darker, usually electronic direction, while Taylor focused on sweet, traditionalist pop songs. The hum of machines still provides a backbone to Blue Dream, but the defining motif is now one of gentleness and burgeoning joy.
≡•≡ Stylistically, Fink marries her own layered voice with machine-driven echoes to create a warm, enveloping cocoon with a few robotic features and a purely human heart. "Ace of Cups" and "You Are A Mystery" most effectively blend the two; the former opens into amorphous electronic sounds and blinks into subdued synth-pop 16 seconds later, while the latter hauntingly employs a saw to create an effect that's at once extraterrestrial and folksy. Fink has hit on a gentle intensity that's as pensive as her past work, but with more optimistic subject matter.
≡•≡ Thematically, love abounds. 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. Sounds made by humans and sounds made by computers dovetail gorgeously, never detracting from and always adding to each other's effectiveness. Modern life can't easily be separated from the technology that frames it. In relying on both, Blue Dream locates a blueprint for how the DIY love songs of the past should sound in the digital age. (http://www.npr.org/)
Review by Fred Thomas; Score: ***½
≡•≡ One of the founding member of Azure Ray and a frequent collaborator with multiple bands associated with the Saddle Creek Records scene, Orenda Fink carves out a special, less frequently visited space for her solo material. Blue Dream, Fink’s third solo album and first since 2009’s Ask the Night, tends toward dark and drifty ethereality, with lush dream pop arrangements brought to life by Fink’s opulent vocals. ≡•≡ Fink went in a slightly more synth–friendly direction with her solo work than the indie chamber folk of Azure Ray and the solo work of her partner in that band, Maria Taylor. Still rooted in organic arrangements, Fink's work takes on a more menacing, atmospheric quality on tunes like the "This Is a Part of Something Greater," a brooding meditation on death. Much of the album focuses on cryptic explorations of death, as the songs were inspired by the death of Fink’s aged and much beloved dog, and the strange dreams that came to her in the wake of that sad event. Even the slow-burning album opening single, "Ace of Cups," twists its slinky, catchy electric piano grooves around a melody so tense it feels like storm clouds gathering on the horizon. The more devotional "You Are a Mystery" comes on with a feeling of traditional folk brightness at first, but the ghostly wail of singing saw and walls of multi-tracked vocals calling out to a lost angel watching down from heaven quickly take the song from simple balladry into a somewhat spooky expression of lost emotions. Likewise, "Sweet Disorder" molds harrowing lyrics of exhaustion and pain to fit a lovely, slow-blooming mixture of arpeggiated guitars and crystalline vocal harmonies. Fink's ability to make these uneasy feelings still crackle with sharp beauty and lush presentation is what defines Blue Dream. Though inspired by death, woozy dreams, and other various states of upset, the album spills out from a center of complete calm and silent clarity. (Allmusic.com)
Artist Biography by Andrew Leahey
≡•≡ Although Orenda Fink made her first splash as the songwriting partner of Maria Taylor, she also became a respected bandleader and solo musician in her own right, drawing upon everything from Haitian folk music to pop/rock in the process. Fink and Taylor first launched their partnership as students at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, which led to the formation of Little Red Rocket several years later. When that group disbanded after two albums — 1997's Who Did You Pay and 2000's It's in the Sound — due to the dustup of Geffen Records' merger with Universal Music Group, the two decamped to Athens, Georgia, and formed the sulky pop duo Azure Ray.
≡•≡ While working to get Azure Ray off the ground, the musicians were also recruited to join Now It’s Overhead, which brought them to the attention of that band’s label — Saddle Creek — as well as its co–founder Conor Oberst. In 2001, both Azure Ray and Now It’s Overhead released debut records, and Taylor and Fink took up full–time residence in Omaha — Saddle Creek’s home base — one year later. A second Azure Ray release, Burn and Shiver, followed before 2002 was up. The pair's third album, 2003's Hold on Love, brought indie scene approval on the merits of the singles “The Drinks We Drank Last Night” and “New Resolution.” Meanwhile, Now It’s Overhead released another album in 2004 amid heavy touring.
≡•≡ Fink remained active outside of her partnership with Maria Taylor by working with acts like Moby, Bright Eyes, and Japancakes. Accordingly, when Azure Ray split up in 2004, she wasted little time involving herself with other projects, even forming two Saddle Creek bands (O+S and Art in Manila) and releasing material with both. Moreover, she struck out on her own as a solo artist, drawing upon her travels in India, Cambodia, and Haiti to shape the sounds of 2005’s Invisible Ones. A second solo effort, the stripped–down Ask the Night, followed in 2009. Later that year, Fink reunited with Taylor for another Azure Ray tour, and the pair released a new album, Drawing Down the Moon, in fall 2010. It would be four years before Fink’s third solo album, Blue Dream, materialized in 2014. The lush, ethereal album was inspired by the death of her dog and the songwriter’s cryptic dreams that followed that troubling event.
≡•≡ Throughout her time with Azure Ray and over the course of her solo career, Orenda Fink has never shied from exploring the darker edges of spirituality and the human condition. On her debut solo album Invisible Ones, Orenda explored traditional Haitian ritual and mysticism. She then followed that up with an examination of the Southern Gothic subconscious on Ask the Night. Needless to say, death has been visible in much of her music. On her latest album, Blue Dream, she looks deeply at the subject, reflecting upon a year–long meditation on death that started with a dog named Wilson and the words of Laurie Anderson.
≡•≡ “Just look at yesterday, and what you were doing, and how important it was, and how nonexistent it is now! How dreamlike it is! Same thing with tomorrow. So where are we living? Tibetans have unbelievably fascinating answers to that. This is what I’m studying because my dog died.” — Laurie Anderson
≡•≡ Orenda was sent this quote by her friend Nina Barnes after Wilson, Orenda's dog of 16 years, died. That year she found herself on a deeply personal search for the meaning of death. Pieces of answers, coded in riddle, came to her in dreams. Her dreams began to tell a story — about life and death and the afterlife, reality, and the fine line between the conscious and subconscious world.
≡•≡ She then spent the next year understanding the experience and filtering it through the musical inspirations of Smog, Violetta Parra, and Kate Bush to craft Blue Dream. The album truly came together at ARC in Omaha, NE with the help of producers Ben Brodin and Todd Fink (The Faint), along with drummer Bill Rieflin (Ministry, Swans, R.E.M., King Crimson).
≡•≡ Lead single "Ace of Cups" starts the album off by using the Tarot symbol of attunement and spirituality to explore the interconnectedness with the world and humanity that even death cannot undo. The haunting "Holy Holy" examines them directly with lines “We come into this world all alone/and we leave with not much more” and “I lay in bed/collect all my dreams/then I pay/someone to read them to me/the simple ones are just as they seem/but open your eyes/and they say so much more.” Whereas “All Hearts Will Beat Again” displays ideas Orenda came to understand upon reflection in lines “It’s a sign in the eyes/something in your smile/it’s a nod and a wave from the darkness/but our hearts will beat again/and the love we gave will come back/but i don’t know where or when.”
≡•≡ Writing the album allowed Orenda to contemplate the experiences that precipitated it and explore new perspectives gained over the past year. This process left her with the belief that we can only be truly healed if we find our "interior God." How do you find your interior God? There are many ways, but she believes one of them is through dreams. Dreams being the closest way to have a direct experience with the all-knowing past, present, and future.
Press: Jason Kulbel at Saddle Creek Records
Agent: US: Mahmood Shaikh at Flowerbooking, Inc (773.289.3400 ext 24.) UK/Europe: Kai Lehmann at Burning Eagle Booking (+49 (0)351 40 77 52 25)
21 Questions with Orenda Fink of Azure Ray
By Orenda Fink
May 02, 2011, A&C Interviews: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/ofink/2011/05/21-questions-with-orenda-fink-of-azure-ray/
Groundsounds interview: Orenda Fink awakens with ‘Blue Dream’ on the horizon ≡•≡ http://groundsounds.com/2014/06/13/orenda-fink-awakes-blue-dream-horizon/
By Priscilla Cordero, July 29, 2014
The Portable Infinite:
≡•≡ Inspirována obdobím sebezpytování po ztrátě milovaného psa Wilsona, podařilo se Orendě tento pravý a již vyzkoušený způsob psaní o vnitřním přesvědčení opět uplatnit a vytváří hudbu, která je bezpochyby svěží a jedinečná. Je zde mladistvý kvalitní zvuk, který vdechuje život do lyrických témat. Orenda zvládla dokonalou rovnováhu světla a soft s přítmím a hard. Budete chtít, aby jste si ji udrželi v drážkách opět a opět; je to fascinující album.
≡•≡ “Blue Dream floats in a state of meditative weightlessness suspended by plentiful pop hooks. Fans of Kate Bush should be pleased by the results.” — Entertainment Weekly
≡•≡ “Orenda Fink embraces spirituality and mysticism along with more challenging songwriting.” — Pitchfork
≡•≡ “Fink's voice is lush, full, seductive, vulnerable, mature, and innocent at various
times, and on rare occasions, all of those qualities at once.” — Pop Matters
≡•≡ “Lovely and visceral all at once.” — Paste
≡•≡ Bloodline EP (2005 · iTunes Exclusive)
≡•≡ Invisible Ones (2005 · Saddle Creek)
≡•≡ Ask the Night (2009 · Saddle Creek)
≡•≡ Blue Dream (2014 · Saddle Creek)