Omrr: Devils for my Darling

Pitched as “an imaginary love story,” Devils for my Darling is the creative spawn of Omar El Abd (aka Omrr), a self-taught musician, guitarist, and sound artist from Cairo, Egypt. It very much locates itself within the ambient-soundscaping genre, with a particular emphasis on collage-styled construction. His is the kind of material where samples, field recordings, electronic treatments, instruments, and noise textures are sculpted into restlessly mutating wholes.

The material on Devils for my Darling turns out to be a whole lot prettier and gentler than the preceding might suggest. Yes, the arrangements are densely packed with textural detail (see “Illicit,” a vaporous meditation that evokes the image of a massive ship gradually materializing out of thick fog), but a delicate sensibility is evident in the care with which elements are combined. A case in point is “Quicksands,” where E-bow, acoustic guitar flutter, and kalimba emerge alongside a plethora of micro-sounds in a manner that feels musical as opposed to random or ill-shaped.

Processing is evident in the stuttering guitar effects and overall sound design, and the eight pieces exemplify the usual signatures of the glitch-laden digital collage. Yet while that's true, strong melodic elements regularly surface, such as the simple figure that arises within “Ink We Spill” to turn what would otherwise be a modestly interesting abstract construction into something more engaging. That melodic dimension asserts itself even more emphatically during “Aquiver” when the grainy surface textures retreat from view to grant the spotlight to gentle acoustic piano and orchestral string episodes. “Your Heartless Sky” on the other hand, benefits from the inclusion of a female singer's sorrowful emoting.

Your guess is as good as mine as to how all of this relates to the love story Abd conceived as a narrative template for the release, but that hardly negates the satisfactions the recording affords on purely listening grounds.

November 2017