Tuesday 3 April 2012

Orange Cake Mix - Soul Surfing

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com 

Jim Rao has been making music as Orange Cake Mix for over two decades and his output has been so incredibly prolific that it's too much to list here, but the trip has seen him take in melodic 60s and 70s AM radio influences as well as ambient analogue electronics, all of which has been home-recorded on a trusty four-track. Despite being based in Bristol, Connecticut, and never having toured, his music has slowly spread the globe seeing releases on dozens of labels from the US to Spain, Japan and his latest on Peru based Superspace Records.

'Soul Surfing' is an almost entirely instrumental work, using washes of sound that have filtered down through Silver Apples, Cluster, Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine, but veer towards the more mellow work created by these predecessors. Guitars are treated, dubbed, reversed and distorted. The excellent psychedelic swirl of 'Running Out Of Sky' could have come directly from Lazer Guided Melodies-era Spiritualized and there are many more rich space-drones to be found on the album; the bubbling 'Pacific Coast Highway Revisited/Exit To Nowhere' being another highlight.

This is very much a record for those who like their drones woozy and extended and is unlikely to appeal to fans of straight-up pop thrills. If you are of the ambient/shoegaze/kraut/dreampop persuasion then this selection of hazey, sweeping delights will tick plenty of boxes, from the gentle strum and Spectrum-esque synth swoops of 'Other Gardens' through to the warped sitar hum of 'Krishna Vision #4', you should find 'Soul Surfing' a highly intoxicating journey.

Orange Cake Mix's website

Superspace Records' website

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