Orange Cake Mix, the decades-long bedroom pop project of Jim Rao, went silent for a few years in the last decade, but simply because he went low profile doesn’t mean he stopped making music altogether. With the advent of Bandcamp, over the last few years his “lost years” have been well documented. One of those releases, At The Record Shop, has just seen a physical release, marking a welcome return to the physical world of a too-long dormant voice. At The Record Shop is a bit different from Rao’s work; though the trademark guitar bliss-out a la Durutti Column remains intact, this collection is a bit more abstract; it’s a seventeen-song tape, but only runs thirty-four minutes; many of the tracks are gorgeous but brief instrumental vignettes that coalesce nicely when placed together. The sound is blissed-out and dreamy and recall the work of post-punk band Eyeless In Gaza and the New Age duo Woo. The full songs, “Something/Anything” and “Wake Up It’s After Dawn,” stand toe to toe with his best work, while a cover of Felt’s “Female Star” pays homage to a group Rao is clearly indebted. Rao hopes that this cassette is the first in a series of archival releases, and I echo that sentiment; this is a welcome return from a man whose beautiful music needs to be heard.
At The Record Shop is available now from Why The Tapes Play