The origins of whisper core
Indie rock duo Azure Ray, composed of musicians Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, have released a remastered version of their 2001 album, Azure Ray, for vinyl and digital. The American female duo has known each other since high school, and their long-lasting relationship has created a secure and comfortable space to create genuine and passionate music. Following the passing of Orenda Fink’s significant other, the duo adopted an aura of grief and turned to music in order to create beauty from pain and generate art from heartbreak. The duo has managed to form their own genre of indie rock that has been appropriately named “whisper core,” and this genre has been adopted by artists like Taylor Swift. It has generated a musical breakthrough, displaying the duo’s musical significance and success.
Fink and Taylor are returning to the roots of their duo with this collection, which follows a theme of impermanence and explores the idea that everything has an end, the most important of which being love. Each track on the album has a clear theme of sorrow. However, there is no hint of anger or anguish anywhere in the album, only soft-spoken sorrow. Azure Ray warns that love fades and that it never feels stronger than when it is threatened to be taken away. “Sleep,” “Rise,” “Untitled” and “Another Week” describe the depression that is felt in the wake of loss, each piece with a soft, empty rhythm and weeping instrumentals portraying the numbness that is felt in this time. Cushioned fading vocals share the foggy feeling of the mind when faced with a deep empty sadness.
“Don’t MakeA Sound ” feels very personal, seeming to tell the clear story of the death of Fink’s significant other, the eerie sound of an ambulance lurking through the entire piece, leaving the listener with a knot in their stomach, wondering exactly what happened. “Watch the water wash them away,” the duo whispers, alluding to a person being so easily swept away from your life as if they were a shell on the shore of a beach, leaving with the crashing waves.
“4th Of July” sings of a dream, a vivid memory of the good beginnings of love, while “Fever” begs for that love to stay. “Safe And Sound” insinuated the period after loss when grief is current, and the hope of finding happiness is in the distance. “Displaced” describes a later time, when grief begins to lose power. The mourner is reminded that strong friendship is always present to alleviate the bereavement and that those connections are still present when the mourning period is over.
This remastered collection from Azure Ray reminds people that while grief is a long and tormenting process, there are people in our lives who help us get through it. The duo has highlighted their songs that define the genre they have created and the ones that help to establish that their work is the defining one of the genre. The duo is also releasing a book following their friendship through the years along with the album to allow listeners to connect with the more and understand the intimate and truthful place their music comes from.