New Artist Highlight: Aura Blaze Requires ‘Open-Mindedness’ within the Rock/EDM Crossover World


Aura Blaze is a dream pop/shoegaze/psych pop mission began by producer and instrumentalist Rhode Rachel along with his Zappa-esque 2015 debut self-titled album. Clearly influenced by early psy-and-surf-rock just like the Seaside Boys, King Crimson and The Doorways with a tinge of psychobilly a’la The Cramps, Aura Blaze’s fashion again then was massive and daring and, energetically was type of a retro-styled match to The Polyphonic Spree. This enormous, orchestral sound solely comes out of 1 individual, nonetheless, so it’s not stunning that Rachel has made a reputation for himself in multiple indie style.

Whereas the debut album was virtually all analog rock, it’s additionally not stunning along with his cinematic, larger-than-life, Spector-esque wall of sound fashion that with subsequent releases, Aura Blaze would go on to include digital strategies. 2019’s The Glowing Black confirmed extra apparent digital play each in sound design in synths, in addition to a wholesome lashing of Jethro Tull-style prog rock. 2020 noticed his subsequent single “The Plight of the Soul Ablaze within the Face of Mortal Drudgery” – attempt to say that 5 instances quick – proceed this trajectory each with prog-style storytelling and psychedelic wisps of sound however including much more synths and sound design.

A concentrate on esoteric and non secular throwback vibes with psychedelic music appeared to be galvanizing as Aura Blaze’s fashion by the afore-mentioned super-long title, but it surely took a tough flip, or reasonably, an evolutionary step, with Rachel’s subsequent observe, “Trans-Dimensional Palm Tree.” Switching to a extra 90s The Remedy-style guitar, maudlin tones and hundreds extra ambient sound design, Rachel’s vocals grew to become softer and extra drone-like to match, conjuring Ian-Curtis-on-his-meds (or only a baritone Ian Brown, perhaps?) vibes. The music was far more shoegaze and dream pop than psych rock. Modernized however nonetheless getting his astral level throughout, “Trans-Dimensional Palm Tree” made an influence and continues to be among the many most streamed tracks on Aura Blaze’s Spotify web page.

Flash ahead to Open-Mindedness, Aura Blaze’s newest EP providing which dropped final month on Christmas Eve, Rachel has saved that shoegaze vein however re-incorporated the psych rock and much more kinds into the 2 authentic tracks. The title observe is simply as operatic and grand as Rachel’s earlier work however the cool submit punk vocal tenor and chord progressions are nonetheless there in spades. There’s additionally progressive bass work, 80s fashion synths and even a little bit of late-era disco tying the larger, theatrical sounds to the gentle vox. “The Summer season Solstice,” in the meantime, pays homage to Aural Blaze’s 60s-psych roots with Doorways-style organ synths and surf rock melodies, all whereas Rachel lyrically pays homage to the solar as a literal “Aura Blaze.”

The final observe on Open-Mindedness, if any readers doubted this long-suffering shoegaze nerd writer’s skill to select such affect from a contemporary artist’s work, is a canopy of “The Solely One I Know” by The Charlatans UK. Arguably an icon of 90s Brit Rock and shoegaze, The Charlatans had been additionally closely influenced by 60s mod-and-psych rock, so there. Rachel’s model of The Charlatans’ greatest hit might correctly be known as a remix, as he provides a great deal of much more spacey-sounding ambient sound design to the observe’s authentic construction (presumably even the unique stems) and extra ornamentation across the synths, making it much more theatrical and wall-of-soundey than the unique. It’s a grandiose replace of the traditional and he greater than does it justice.

With all of the kinds and sounds Rachel as Aura Blaze incorporates into his work and all of the completely different instructions he’s already taken mentioned work, one factor that hasn’t change and sure gained’t is his message. Whereas psych rock, shoegaze, dream pop et al. all have a type of woo high quality and are fairly esoteric, Aura Blaze goes past simply trippy musings. His lyrics and philosophy are entrenched in spirituality and excessive vibration expression, and he sees his music as merely a supply system. A extremely advanced, various and expertly- produced supply system, however a supply system nonetheless. With virtually infinite avenues to create mentioned system, there are additionally infinite potentialities on the place he’ll go subsequent along with his sound, however it is going to be assured to be lush, potent and heavy on the contextual Astral Blaze.

Open-Mindedness is out not on the well-known psych pop label Cleopatra Information. Stream it and Astral Blaze’s full discography on Spotify or click on right here to stream or buy on different platforms.

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