By Kelly Scott | August 31st, 2010
In the spirit of tradition and impatience for the new Azure Ray release (Drawing Down the Moon, 9/14), I sifted through my inefficiently catalogued CD collection to locate Orenda Fink’s 2009 side adventure, O + S. The aptly titled O + S is the workings of Orenda Fink (Azure Ray, Art in Manila) and long time friend Cedric LeMoyne (Remy Zero), who currently operates under the nom de plume ”the Scalpelist.”
The origins of the band initiated when Fink was invited to the esteemed Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha to engage in an art residency. Embracing her love of nature, Fink decided to approach her project by collecting field recordings from diverse locales, ultimately leading her from Omaha to Haiti. Scooping up the Scalepelist along the way, the two transformed Fink’s project into a withstanding musical endeavor.
It’s perhaps not surprising that O + S sounds like an extension of Azure Ray, which is good (depending on the album), but safe. I thoroughly enjoyed that they pursued the practiced tactic of Fink’s previous work and incorporated tinges of Portishead. But where that pleases, it also predisposes the album to marginalization. Regardless, the pair do a commendable job at creating encompassing sonic landscapes and amplified atmospheric texture. The real personality of the album derives from the eclectic loops implemented from Fink’s travels, ranging from random street clamor to coffee shop conversations (“We Do What We Want To” and “Toreador”).
Not ones to monopolize attention, O + S have dwelled in obscurity for the bigger part of the past year, save the Grey’s Anatomy and Dollhouse appearance. With hope, I see this album filling fashion-forward establishments all throughout the country. Generous, digestible, and best served with a stagnant and reflective afternoon, the self-titled O + S delivers.