Rachel Lime is a songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, born in Seoul and raised amidst the cornfields of Minnesota. Her songwriting is accordingly both alienated and sentimental, searching for that elusive place in-between. Her debut album, A.U., was released on Inside Voices Records in June 2021, and was selected as an Essential Release by Bandcamp, and one of 25 notable Minnesota albums of 2021 by The Current.
The first songs of the album began on GarageBand, with a laptop keyboard as a midi controller. The vocals and instrumentals were recorded in the strange spaces brought about by the pandemic: her bedroom in a two-month emergency sublet, an empty recording studio, and an airbnb in rural Connecticut. Instruments included her flute from high school, a kayageum and janggu (traditional Korean instruments) she bought in a parking lot, and a piano in her former college’s music building that a current student snuck her in to play. These improvisations and workarounds, rather than detracting from the album, contribute to its sound: pop intentionally made strange, with shifts in tone and genre from one song to the next. It’s an album about voyaging to other worlds - and all of its contents were made mid-voyage.
The album’s title stands for a lot of things - Alternate Universe, astronomical unit, the name of gold on the periodic table. It’s about the longing for Someone Out There, whether it’s extraterrestrial life, a fantasy of a past relationship, or a 6th century Korean princess obsessed with the stars. Lime draws from influences as varied as Kate Bush, Beach House, Enya, fantasy novels, Carl Sagan's Cosmos, and Korean mythology. Though the genre shifts throughout the album, the songs are united by melodies rooted in pentatonic scales and folk music, and a sense of wonder, nostalgia, and longing.