Orange Cake Mix is the project of Jim Rao, a Connecticut
home-made cassettes inspired by the synthetic pop of auteurs such as
Todd Rundgren and Brian Eno. As it was often the case with independent
artists of the 1990s, Rao was way too prolific for what he had to say, and
therefore spread his best material over a huge discography.
More Mellow Hits (Elefant) and Grapefruit (1996) are formative
The instrumental album
Silver Lining Underwater (Darla, 1997) offers an intriguing hybrid of
synth-pop, kraut-rock and ambient music, but does not fully succeed in fusing
Fluffy Pillow (Darla, 1997) is similar to what
Richard Bone has been doing on the other coast
but with melancholy vocals (Feel Your Love, Broken Machine).
Lovecloud And Secret Tape (Darla, 1997) is a compilation of leftovers
from the early years.
Blue Island Sound (Darla, 1997) and
Another Orange World (Darla, 1998)
cannot offer more than tiresome repetitions of the same, simple concept.
The mini-album Microcosmic Wonderland (Audio Information Phenomena, 1999),
Observations of Tomorrow and Today,
and many other CDs and cassettes recycle third-rate synth-pop.
Rao makes CDs the way others brush their teeth: unfortunately, the artistic
quality is also very similar.
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