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

INTERVIEW: A.A. Williams

A creator of heavy, beguiling soundscapes; London-based musician A.A. Williams has been compared to the likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, but she’s captivating in her own right. Her 2019 self-titled debut EP caught the attention of critics and fans, and now she’s set to return to the prestigious Roadburn Festival in April this year, as well performing a headline show at London’s Southbank Centre in March. We caught up with Williams to ask her about her EP, her collaboration with Japanese instrumental giants MONO, and her anticipations for her London gig…

 

It’s been just over a year since you released your debut EP (Congratulations!) What are you most proud of about this record? And do you have a favourite track?

Thank you! I’m so pleased that the songs resonate with people. Hearing so many positive words from people at shows makes me very proud of what these tracks have become. I don’t have a favourite song. They are each important to me in their own right.

You beautifully cover Dolly Parton’s track ‘Jolene’ on the EP. If you had to pick someone to cover one of your tracks, who would you pick?

I think Johnny Cash would have done a beautiful version of ‘Control’.

The EP also features three “stripped down” live rehearsal recordings. What process do you go through when deciding which songs you’re going to strip back? What elements of a live recording do you enjoy the most?

Generally, each song can be stripped down, because each song begins in that form, as a voice and with either guitar or piano. The hardest thing is to decide how to treat the instrumental sections, sometimes I’ll sing a guitar line or incorporate a few melodies into one piano part, but generally the main focus is to ensure that the arrangement has enough space and doesn’t sound too mechanical. I love all elements of recording, I’d spend every day in a studio if I could. The best thing is to press record when you’re running a song, just in case, even if you don’t feel fully prepared! You never know what magic will happen.

You’ve just released a split EP with MONO. We know you toured with them last year, but talk us through how this collaboration came about, and what the reaction to the record has been like so far.

Taka heard my EP and got in touch to see if working together would be something I’d be interested in. I’d met the band briefly at Roadburn 2019 (I was performing with them during their headline show. They performed ‘Hymn To The Immortal Wind’ with a string quartet, of which I was a part), I couldn’t wait to take on the opportunity! We emailed some ideas between us and gradually found the time to record in July last year. I’ve been so pleased with the reaction. It’s great to see that fans of instrumental music are open to the inclusion of vocals and a slightly different approach.

You’ll be making your Southbank Centre debut when you headline The Purcell Room on March 12th (tickets available here). What are your anticipations for this gig?

I’m so excited for this performance. I’ll be extending the full-band line up to include a string quartet and adding some guest vocalists too. Up to this point, all of my shows have been supports or festivals, so it’ll be a joy to be able to spend more time on stage and create a fuller show.

Do you have plans to release new music this year?

I’m always writing, so fingers crossed!

Who, or what inspires you to create your music?

I find writing a very therapeutic process, so I’ll often begin working on a song because purely because I find it enjoyable. I don’t deliberately write inspired by anything or anyone, though ultimately we are each a sum of everything we’ve ever heard, seen and felt.

You’re returning to Arctangent festival this year in August. Is there anyone on the line-up you’re looking forward to seeing?

I’m really looking forward to seeing Maybeshewill and Amenra, and I’d like to catch Swans and Svalbard too! The weather was so awful last year that I didn’t really get to see many other artists, so hopefully I can remedy that this time around.

As we’re a new music blog, we always ask the artists we interview to name a new band or artist they’ve been listening to. Who would you like to recommend?

Gaupa’s 2018 self-titled EP is so good! It’s as if Björk had formed a psych-stoner band. Also, I know they’re not new, but I was recently introduced to Khemmis. I’ve really been enjoying their album, Absolution.

Thanks to A.A. Williams for answering our questions.
Follow her on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

LIVE: Indian Queens – Meltdown Festival 2018, London 15.06.18

After watching Hackney trio Indian Queens perform to a packed out Purcell Room at The Southbank Centre last night, we have only one ambition: to become as skilled a guitarist as Jennifer O’Neill. The band were hand-picked by The Cure’s Robert Smith to play his exceptionally well curated 2018 Meltdown Festival, and after their mesmeric, sharply executed performance, it’s easy to see why.

Together, vocalist & guitarist Jennifer, bassist Katherine and drummer Matt create thoughtful, atmospheric sounds reminiscent of bands like Warpaint and Radiohead. Performing against a backdrop of kaleidoscopic visuals – which were a fusion of live footage and urban buildings – Indian Queens played a captivating set, featuring brand new single ‘Pretty Little Thing’, released via Cool Thing Records on the day of the show.

Bare-foot bassist Katherine was animated throughout, delivering her moody bass lines with stylish aplomb, whilst drummer Matt was the driving force behind it all – even after he dropped a stick, he recovered the rhythm seamlessly. Jennifer’s vocals were as magnetic as her guitar riffs, effortlessly anchoring the performance of singles ‘Save Yourself’ and ‘Get No Rest’. She confessed mid-way through that the band had accidentally left their set-lists in the dressing room, but the trio moved from song to song with such ease and precision, this oversight was barely noticeable. Their set closed with a standing ovation, which was unsurprising, but entirely deserved.

If you haven’t caught Indian Queens live yet, a) what have you been doing? They were the secret openers for our March gig at The Finsbury earlier this year, and b) buy a ticket to their headline show at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen in October here. They’re a must-see for those who appreciate hypnotic, alternative guitar tunes.

Photo Credit: Emma Viola Lilja 

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut