OMRR – DEVILS FOR MY DARLING
Straight out of Cairo, at least that’s where label Dronarivm tell me the artist Omrr is from. I’m keen to know more and hear more.
I have the CD. I prefer physical editions because of the way the artwork sits between my hands. Even the modest digipack. It primes the sound for me. It’s also a bit of a ritual which slows down the experience of immediately pressing play from a file.
It’s a saturated colourful package with excellent photomontage artwork from Francisca Pageo. A headless woman, 50’s casual summer style walks in front of blood-red flowers more of which spill out onto the back cover. The printing on this digipack is a really strong and deep red afternoon light – it’s a Magritte-esque image. She could be a headless Audrey Hepburn. But it’s not a violent decapitation. There’s no blood except for the hue of the flowers. This person’s head has possibly evaporated…
On with the sounds. Lets see what happens to my own head.
Metallic fragments, possibly glockenspiel family, merge and meld with their wooden cousins in building a structure that could be situated internally in many senses of the word. But, at the same time, we are hearing field recordings of a physical neighbourhood.
This layering reminded me a little of Matteo Uggeri’s micro-editing, an artist who is also on Dronarivm, something I didn’t realise when I made this connection. Like Uggeri, Omrr is seemingly stitching lived experience with sonic commentary; field recordings of streets and other locales underscore snatches of plucked nylon strings. There’s also glimpses of piano and chimes, forming a dense palette of composition that is at odds with it’s light and breezy effect on the listener.
In terms of the chimes of the early record, there are moments where it’s hard to tell what is played live and what is sequenced, but when overt sequenced vibes appear it is not unlike the feel of Aleksi Perälä’s intriguing and expansive Colundi project.
Localities are heard over industrious shuffling and there’s a plaintive, distant cry – with sustained notes beyond the duration of most human lungs. But despite the frenetic dance of complex sonic pixels it’s not a cold listen. There’s an attempt to sculpt something warm. It is abstract, but phrases and melodies break through. Guitar work appears in random stereo fields and tunes and loops arise from misty origins.
The record is an intimate experience on headphones yet survives the full hifi hit through a half-decent amp. As well as drifting off to the sounds, I had this on, loud, filling the whole house as I cleaned up family mess from a bathroom (I’ve listened to it several times, outside of bleach and wet tiles also). But it survives these less than ideal tests – a sign of a well-made record in my view.
Drones start to arrive about half way in, with a BV Dub feel or a more dramatic Stars of The Lid number. The mixing is interesting – it’s somewhere between the ears, but where? The main compositional noises are pushed further back into the mix and instead of the drones and tunes leading the listener, they are equal bedfellows to static and drift.
There’s a track that reminds me of my own work on Eilean records with 78rpm shellac, if I can say that (on here it’s Your Heartless Sky) so I’m always interested in how we may place old recordings into the new – and it’s done with a natural ease here.
From here we get the two strongest tracks in the record, like a passing weather system that returns to the sound environment of where we all began – it ends like the shuffling of a clockwork toy over a drone-cum-sigh and I press play again.