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Carmina Formosa

Oren Avni channels Santana and David Gilmour on “Now I Know You,” a diss song with echoes of Morrissey. One is reminded of Pink Floyd again during the jam at the end of the Bob Marley parody “Three Little Jailbirds.”

Indie musical collective [ai]’s debut album CARMINA FORMOSA is now available from Amazon, iTunes, and other digital retailers.

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Based in Taipei, with members from the US, Israel, and Taiwan, [ai] was founded in 2014 by singer/songwriter/bassist Mark Will and guitarist Oren Avni. The duo then enlisted drummer Joe Chen for the CARMINA FORMOSA sessions, which were recorded, mixed, and mastered at 112F Studio by Zen Chien, a.k.a. the George Martin of the East.

The album features “Dystopian Theme Song,” which is destined to become the political protest anthem of the summer. The band is at its most Zeppelinesque on this track and on the hard rocking “Let Me Do It.”

Oren Avni channels Santana and David Gilmour on “Now I Know You,” a diss song with echoes of Morrissey. One is reminded of Pink Floyd again during the jam at the end of the Bob Marley parody “Three Little Jailbirds.”

Another side of [ai] is revealed in CARMINA FORMOSA’s songs of love. As heard on Korean radio, “If You Insist” is a Beatlesque tune with a hypnotic groove, slide guitar, and a jazz fusion jam at the end. “Love in the Time of Tuberculosis,” with its acoustic rhythm guitar and soaring electric lead, sounds like an alt-country version of a Bob Dylan ballad.

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Oren Avni channels Santana and David Gilmour on “Now I Know You,” a diss song with echoes of Morrissey. One is reminded of Pink Floyd again during the jam at the end of the Bob Marley parody “Three Little Jailbirds.”

Mark Will does his impression—complete with falsetto backing vocals—of the late great Prince on “The Kinkster,” a naughty little ditty which somehow flew under the radar of the censors.

The album also includes “Sister Dragonfly” and “Lonely God,” tracks which Will describes as “secular spirituals.”

All in all, [ai]’s CARMINA FORMOSA is an eclectic mix of songs in the classic rock genre, inspired by the DIY ethos of punk and presented with the playfulness of pop. The title of the album, with its unsubtle allusion to Carl Orff’s cantata, is a double entendre meaning both “pretty songs” and “songs from Taiwan.” The name of the band consists of even more polysemantic possibilities: [ai] is a phonetic transcription of a kind of mantra which may be associated with “I,” “eye,” “aye” (“forever” and “yes”), “ai” (“love” in Chinese and Japanese), “Ei” (“egg” in German), “ay” (the Spanish exclamation), and . . . ?

Listeners may also stream CARMINA FORMOSA on Spotify.

[Press Release]