Monday, March 23, 2009

O+S - "Self-Titled"

O+S is Orenda Fink (Azure Ray, Art In Manila) and Scalpelist, aka Cedric LeMoyne (Remy Zero). Their self-titled debut will be released by Saddle Creek Records on 3/24. Orenda has been very productive since parting ways with Azure Ray, her band with Maria Taylor. Just last year she released Art In Manila, a dreamy, alt-country collaboration with Adrienne Verhoeven from The Anniversary. Before that, she released a solo record under her own name. O+S finds her experimenting with found sounds and field recordings with Scalpelist to create a dreamy and haunting set of songs that sound like they were pulled from the classic 4AD archives. What started as a long time friendship between the two Birmingham, Alabama natives and a one time art project, evolved into a musical collaboration that was meant to be.

“New Life” opens the album on the wind, with Orenda’s misty vocals and a loop that sounds like wind chimes. In addition to Cedric LeMoyne, “Permanent Scar” includes contributions from former band mates, Gregory Slay and Jeffrey Cain, which may be the closest we may get to a Remy Zero reunion for a while and reminiscent of Remy Zero, every open space is filled with sound. The fuzzy bass and driving drum loop propels the song underneath ethereal vocals and twinkling piano keys that end the song on an eerie note. The simple and dreamy song, “The Fox” plays with celestial background voices and an acoustic guitar and little else, to great effect, sounding like a David Lynch lullaby. The cinematic plodding piano of “Toreador” is actually quite poppy and could be great TV soundtrack fodder. The title to the standout track, “We Do What We Want To”, sounds like the band’s mission statement and the coasting bass line gives the song a groove for the swirling synths to wrap around.

The trippy, atmospheric soundscapes on O+S’s debut makes for an interesting listen, as you try to decipher the code to the different loops while the hypnotic sound washes over you.


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