Track Of The Day: Hinako Omori – ‘a journey’

A soft, lilting creation that transports listeners into a state of calming bliss, London-based artist Hinako Omori has shared her latest single ‘a journey’. Taken from her forthcoming debut album of the same name, which is set to be released on 18th March via Houndstooth, the track gently meanders through memories and reflects on their ambiguous nature, guided by a lightly distorted, meditative voice.

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Hinako moved to the UK when she was three years old, beginning her musical journey by learning classical piano. She later trained as a sound engineer and has now transitioned into working with analogue synths (including the Prophet 08 and Moog Matriarch.) Heavily inspired by the physiological effects that music and sound frequencies have on the body, field recordings and the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (“forest-bathing”) her music seeks to connect with, and understand the human condition in intricate and invigorating ways.

On her new single, Hinako’s use of warm, expansive synths supplies a gentle rush of tranquility, which she describes as “a journey through the cartography of the mind, piecing together past events which seem to appear differently each time – revisiting memories, and healing cognitive distortions.” This is further reflected in the beautiful accompanying music video, created by Emi Takahashi.

Hinako will celebrate the release of her upcoming album with a special performance on 19th March in the Purcell Room at London’s Southbank Centre accompanied by London Contemporary Orchestra. You can buy tickets here.

Watch the video for ‘a journey’ below.

Follow Hinako Omori on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Photo Credit: Annie Lai

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Carmel Smickergill – ‘Questioning’

Having performed with the likes of New Order, and with acclaim from BBC 6Music’s Maryanne Hobbs, Manchester based musician Carmel Smickersgill has been mentored by the acclaimed Anna Meredith and prides herself on creating unique ‘outsider pop’.

Taken from her upcoming debut EP, Smickersgill today has shared an utterly spellbinding new track. A quirky reflection on identity, ‘Questioning‘ immerses the listener with its captivating whirring grace and celestial energy, creating an exquisitely ethereal soundscape reminiscent of GIHE fave Jenny Hval. A perfect introduction to the intriguing, multi-faceted offerings that are yet to come from this innovative new artist. Of the track, Smickersgill explains:

I think how you react to something, how you pronounce your vowels etc when you’re caught off-guard, really says a lot about who you are and where you’ve come from… ‘Questioning’ is a celebration of identity, but one to be taken lightly. Revel in the bold changes and big shapes.

We Get What We And We Don’t Get Upset, the debut EP from Carmel Smickersgill, is set for release on 15th April via Prah Recordings. And I cannot wait to hear more of her intriguing soundscapes!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Elspeth Moore

Track Of The Day: Catherine Moan – ‘Soda Pop’

A buoyant synth-pop tune that bubbles with romantic frustration, Philadelphia-based electronic musician Catherine Moan has shared her latest single ‘Soda Pop’. Taken from her debut album Chain Reaction, which she released last year via Born Losers Records, the track is a sugary sweet, 80s tinged exploration of joy, love and loneliness.

Inspired by the likes of Depeche Mode, CHVRCHES and The Chromatics, Catherine Moan blends dancing beats, yearning vocals and cinematic synths to create her shimmering electronic sounds. Like many artists in the past two years, Catherine used the mandatory solitude that Covid-19 brought to her advantage, writing and recording her debut album Chain Reaction, which new single ‘Soda Pop’ has now been added to as part of an extended release.

Chain Reaction is a product of a year spent habitually online in my bedroom,” Catherine explains about her record. “The songs tell a story of digital love and coping with excessive solitude with your own body in isolation.” It’s in this solo universe that ‘Soda Pop’ was born, fizzing with its playful energy and gently relieving the vexations of physical and romantic loneliness via bouncing beats and shimmering synths.

Listen to Soda Pop below.

Order the extended edition of Chain Reaction on cassette here

Follow Catherine Moan on bandcampSpotifyTwitterInstagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Nuna Morales

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Softcult – ‘Gaslight’

An urgent, shadowy guitar tune exploring the “sinking feeling” of self doubt in an unbalanced relationship, Canadian duo Softcult have shared their latest single ‘Gaslight’. Taken from their forthcoming EP Year of the Snake, which is set for release on 4th February via Easy Life Records, the track is a melodic caution to listeners, gently encouraging them to recognise the unacceptable patterns of behaviour described as “gaslighting.”

Formed of Ontario-based twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, Softcult cut their teeth playing live shows in their local town of Kitchener, before moving on to bigger audiences on the North American tour circuit. Their experiences of playing and working within a male-dominated industry formed the foundation for their current sound, which is born from the desire to reject toxic standards of femininity, challenge misogynistic behaviour and embrace a more equal world. Latest single ‘Gaslight’ continues this narrative, with its poignant lyrics, yearning dual vocals and swirling guitar riffs.

“We wrote this song about gaslighting and how it really messes with your head and your perception of reality,” guitarist & vocalist Mercedes explains. “Being in a relationship that constantly makes you question your decisions and actions, your feelings and emotions, even your soundness of mind. It’s a tactic that many abusers and groomers will use to tear down your defences and make you easier to manipulate. We wanted to raise awareness of this manipulation technique, so that whoever hears the song will be able to recognize those red flags if they encounter that kind of behaviour.”

Watch the video for ‘Gaslight’ below.

Follow Softcult on SpotifyInstagramFacebook & Twitter

Softcult UK Tour Dates 2022
Thursday, February 17th – Crofters – Bristol
Friday, February 18th – The Victoria – Birmingham
Saturday, February 19th – Heartbreakers – Southampton
Sunday, February 20th – The Key Club – Leeds
Tuesday, February 22nd – The Garage (Attic Bar) – Glasgow
Wednesday, February 23rd – The Deaf Institute – Manchester
Thursday, February 24th – Camden Assembly – London

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut