Boomkat Product Review:
Sparkling debut album of analogue synth strokes by London’s Hinako Omori, massaging Moog Matriarch and Prophet 08 into wafting arrangements inspired by forest bathing, and recorded partly at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, circa her set for WOMAD At Home
“Bringing together therapeutic frequencies, forest bathing, and binaural sound, Hinako Omori's “a journey...” combines inner healing and natural landscapes into in an immersive cartography of the mind in ambient electronics. The album progresses not track by track but as a continuous journey; a stream of consciousness tracing hills and valleys with the warmth of analogue synthesis and Omori's voice always close at hand. It is an album with a spirit and awareness, that invites us to create a home within its sonic architectures, to find moments of peace amid our own cognitive distortions.
“a journey...” was recorded at Omori’s home studio and Real World Studios, when Omori was an invited to perform at the immersive online festival WOMAD At Home. Before the mixing session she headed out into the surrounding landscapes, capturing field recordings with a binaural head. These spatial, 3D recordings are woven throughout the album, and situate each track in different environments, from waterways to forests in and around the Mendip Hills. "I've been thinking a lot about shinrin-yoku – forest bathing," explains Omori. "Being in that environment reduces stress levels, it's good for well-being, improving our memory and concentration, boosting our immune system and lowering blood pressure, among many other benefits – I wanted to incorporate that into the album."
Omori is also fascinated by the physical and psychological effect of frequencies. "I’m very interested in sound therapy, brain entrainment and how certain frequencies can put our brain in certain states - alpha, beta, theta, delta," she explains. "Delta (0.5-4Hz) waves for example are said to contribute to deep restorative sleep and healing, and theta (4-7Hz) to creativity, intuition and emotional processing."
Omori detuned oscillators to create binaural beats, syncing to the Hz of our brainwaves so that listeners might further find themselves calmed by and immersed in these soundscapes, as a sort of sonic bathing and deep listening. Within this highly tuned and deeply relaxing sound world, Omori's vocals drift in and out, offering signposts and poetic lyrics that act as Rorschach-like motifs so that listeners might find their own narrative in the record.”