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Hinako Omori

Born in Japan and raised in the U.K., Hinako Omori is a classically trained pianist who experiments with synths, treated vocals, and field recordings to create rich, rolling, sonic landscapes. Omori's work is inspired by her pioneering predecessors -- namely, Pauline Oliveros and Suzanne Ciani -- as well as Japanese electronic minimalism of the 1980s. At the age of three, Omori moved with her family from Yokohama to London. Two years later, she began to study the piano, a discipline that remained part of her routine right up until her university years. She experimented with synths at the age of 16, after hearing the work of the Swedish electronic duo the Knife. In 2011, Omori left the University of Surrey with a degree in Music and Sound Recording, initially working in roles involving sound engineering, record-label admin, and festival curation. As a musician working in the industry, she soon received requests from artists for her to join their touring bands, or to carry out session work. In time, Omori provided keyboards for Fionn Regan, Ellie Goulding, KT Tunstall, James Bay, EOB, and Kae Tempest. In May 2019, she issued a synth-drenched, instrumental, debut solo single, "Voyage," on the short-lived Ocean imprint. November brought Omori's first EP, Auraelia, a more intense offering -- incorporating deep tones and mangled voices -- themed around the side effects and altered vision that can accompany migraines. One year on, October 2020 marked a busy month for Omori. It opened with the first of many collaborations alongside the new age artist Clare Uchima: a calm, healing, and drone-like track titled "Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu." She ended the month with her own single -- the comparatively jittery and mechanical "Dopamine" -- but not before accepting a career-changing proposition from an old university friend. Oli Jacobs, now the head engineer at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios and co-curator of WOMAD at Home, asked Omori to contribute to an online iteration of the famed arts festival. She quickly raided her hard drive for atmospheric compositions and made brand-new field recordings in the nearby Mendip Hills, making use of these on serene, landscape-themed material performed at Real World, on the festival's livestream. March 2021 brought further tranquility on "Be Here Now," another single with Uchima. Omori then executed a high-profile, glacial remix of the Anchoress' "The Exchange," featuring vocals from James Dean Bradfield. In November 2021, she released "Speedwalking," a sonic companion to "Dopamine" characterized by a vibrant motorik vibe. London's Houndstooth label released three of the WOMAD performances as singles in early 2022: "A Journey," "The Richest Garden in Your Memory," and "Snow." March proved to be eventful, bringing "I AM" -- a third single with Uchima -- as well as a one-off collaborative live session with Alison Cotton of the Left Outsides on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction. By the month's end, Houndstooth had also issued Omori's debut album -- a journey... -- entirely comprised of her 2020 WOMAD material.
© James Wilkinson /TiVo
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