Microcosmic Island: Songs of Jim Rao

by Mud Pie Sun

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about

Jim Rao’s early cassettes from 1990-1992 were critical influences and inspirations for us. We were writing and home-recording psych-folk-pop guitar-based songs on 4-track cassette in those years, and it took no small effort to find fellow travelers back then. We first heard of the mysterious “James T. Rao” in a 1990 review in Fred Mills’ “Cassette Hell” column in The Bob zine. We wrote to Jim via US Mail, and he sent back a nice letter referring us to English psych label Acid Tapes, where we ordered his cassettes, receiving them via British Post several months later.

Finding Jim’s early tapes gave us a real sense of “Ah! Here’s someone doing a similar thing, only better!” His music and voice then were somewhat darker and perhaps more overtly psychedelic than his later Orange Cake Mix recordings. But throughout his body of work we heard an intimate, melancholy sound with strong melodies floating along on some strange river.

These songs come from the 1991 “Tao Window” cassette, now long out of print. That album stood out to us then and now for the way it flows between catchy songs and bizarre sound fragments, creating an emotional arc that ends with the stunningly beautiful “A Garden Gives You Everything.” Recording these songs came very naturally to us because they feel like they are already embedded in our musical DNA.
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These songs were recorded for "Orange Daydream," an Jim Rao/Orange Cake Mix tribute CD to be released at a later date on the Why The Tapes Play label. whythetapesplay.storenvy.com
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You can hear original versions of these and other early Jim Rao recordings here: tapewrecks.blogspot.com/2011/08/james-t-raos-microcosmic-recording-tips.html
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Many Orange Cake Mix recordings 1993-2016 are here: orangecakemix.bandcamp.com.

OCM Discography: www.discogs.com/artist/91109-Orange-Cake-Mix.

credits

released April 14, 2017

Steven: 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, vocals
Tom: electric guitar, chorus vocals on "Microcosmic Sister"

Recorded and mixed on 4-track cassette May-July 2016. Mastered by Carl Saff.

All songs words and music by James T. Rao; originally released on his "Tao Window" cassette (Acid Tapes, 1991, out of print)

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Mud Pie Sun Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"...an auto smash between a Morris Minor loaded with the solo recordings of Syd Barrett & a souped-up Dream Syndicate at their most experimental hot-rod." - Unhinged #9

Mud Pie Sun is Tom and Steven recording quiet and loud melodic pop-psych-folkrock-garage songs in their homes. Since 1989.
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