Lurien Zittertkopf

March 26, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

An enthralling electronic release marrying sophisticated and striking ambient moments with a penchant for drum and bass rhythms

Ohr’s music has always seamlessly stitched ambient textures and the sturdy pulse of dance music together, and Luma/Chroma once again proves how much ground he still has to cover. Influenced by classic dub and techno alongside jazz’s lush harmonies and the delicate production of microhouse, Gregory Cory Todd’s music under the Ohr name is constantly rewarding and always delightful to listen to, dance music that doesn’t land too heavily and instead emphasises breathability and layered compositions. Across its eight tracks, Ohr allows Luma/Chroma to ebb and flow between dreamy dance tracks and spacious ambient pieces, a brisk but lovely collection of songs where the softened drum loops and thoughtful infusions of glitch and microsound only pull you deeper under Ohr’s spell, using the language of dance music but decorating it with atmospheric elements from more immersive genres. It’s an album that requires patience and attentiveness to its many components, but Ohr makes every second of Luma/Chroma rewarding no matter where you look. Most importantly, though, it is simply a collection of beautiful electronic tunes from a talented artist in the experimental underground. 

With his history in audio engineering and sound/visual design, Todd’s attention to detail and solid foundations to build space upon make Luma/Chroma an incredibly rich listen. From the second the skittering drum and bass groove kicks One Copy into gear with noise-kissed synth pads on top, his vision is evident and powerful. Further built upon in the hypnotic pulse of Luma Blur Dub and Titleist that follow, all three tracks feature a consistent rhythmic movement driving them forward but slowing the surrounding instrumentation down to display all the beauty along the way clearly for the listener – just because there’s some drums driving the music, doesn’t mean he won’t make space for those extra instrumental colors. This causes the fully ambient pieces on offer – Barrier - Grid and Fix Two Points – to stand out even greater in the tracklist with how they pull the listener in despite being less eventful, Ohr dropping the percussion to give way for hints of drone and noise in Barrier - Grid and splatters of glitch and futuristic synth leads in Fix Two Points. The artist knows how to show you exactly what he wants to in each moment, and even as the soothing techno beats and ambient layers coalesce into an overall relaxing listen rather than a weighty one, you never lose sight of the beauty and subtle changes that are the backbone of Luma/Chroma. While Todd puts a barrier between you and the static haze of these songs, he never hides anything from you – you just have to lean in further to capture his magic. 

In its entirety, the album sucks you in with its gentleness and smooth production, but the intricacy of the underlying arrangements is slowly revealed, the quiet rhythmic shifts between the first and second halves of Luma Blur Dub or the snappy hi-hats floating in and out of Crossfade, barely noticeable without a laser-focus but immediately felt, regardless of whether they catch your ear or not. These nuances change the feeling of each song just enough to rewire how you’re processing the song without making it too clear what did it and enticing the listener to revisit the album. 

Ambient dance music can often feel as if fades into the background while it’s on, but Luma/Chroma encompasses a detailed background and everything happening in front of it, the ambience carefully crafted with its sensitive layers and embellishments so the techno jams can bask in its light. It presents Ohr’s experimental electronica as compositionally enthralling and gorgeous at a surface level listen all at once. The artist knows what makes interesting electronic music click and lays it all out for the listener to uncover.