Orange Cake Mix

Orange Cake Mix is the nom de plume of Connecticut resident Jim Rao. A prolific singer/songwriter, Rao began scribbling lyrics and humming his own melodies as a child; in the early '90s, Rao started recording his compositions on cassettes. Rao thought of the name Orange Cake Mix while stocking shelves in a supermarket. In June 1995, Rao released his first album, More Mellow Hits. True to its appellation, More Mellow Hits was a collection of acoustic pop inspired by the '70s soft rock of Bread and America. Rao would eventually explore other genres of music, embracing the synthesized rhythms of Depeche Mode and New Order, as well as the otherworldly sonic landscapes of Brian Eno. A second full-length, Grapefruit, followed a year later. Rao's 1997 album, Another Orange World, drew comparisons to David Bowie's early '80s work, while 2001's A Shadow of Eclipse and Other Phases of the Moon recalled Robert Fripp, Brian Wilson, and Saint Etienne. By juggling easy listening music with excursions into electronics, Rao carved his own niche in the independent scene. Orange Cake Mix has also been included on numerous compilations; moreover, OCM released a number of songs -- as well as entire albums -- available only on tapes. ~ Michael Sutton

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