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Album Review: Hinako Omori - A Journey… [Houndstooth]

Hinako Omori creates a nourishing ambient record to bring you closer to nature.
Hinako Omori - A Journey… [Houndstooth]

Hinako Omori - A Journey… [Houndstooth]

Yokohama-born, London-based composer and sound engineer Hinako Omori has released her debut album A Journey… The beautiful, ambient album was created from an immersive project made at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios for the 2020 lockdown version of the Womad Festival. Beyond some callbacks to some of the great ambient composers, it is inspired by the 1980s Japanese therapy of shinrin-yoku, “forest bathing” – which involves taking a walk in the woods as an exercise in awareness. She also tries to incorporate sound therapy to the work, something I have tried for my migraines and it didn’t work (but it could work for others).

"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."

To create this work, she collected field recordings from around England in some beautiful, natural locations like Wiltshire Fields, Mendip Hills and Chew Valley. Those recordings, which get their spotlight on the interlude “nature reset gap,” sit gracefully next to soft synths and her voice cooing in Japanese.

There is a blend of instrumental tracks like “Levitation” that bubbles with bright synths, or “Yearning,” which lives up to the name with cold synths that echo in the distance.

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On others, she uses her voice to bring out the best in her songs. Those tracks can be calm and still like on “Ocean," which feels like being way out at sea and the water seeming perfectly still, sparkling in the sun.

A Journey… does just that, creating a meditative and revitalizing journey of beautiful field recordings, synths, chimes and vocals. Walking in the woods is often a nourishing experience that brings you closer to nature.

"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,” explains Omori.

This album captures that beauty of the natural world around us in its blissful, warm embrace. Pick up a copy here and listen below via Houndstooth. The Bandcamp link has a continuous play of the LP as well.

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