Ouri: woman versus computer

Self-confidently feminine. Powerful, but also melancholic. Adventurous and open. Aggressive but oh so playful. These are only a few of the adjectives that are used to describe Ouri’s compelling electro. With roots in South America and native soil in Paris that she left long ago, she grew up in Montreal, which was the ideal breeding ground for her eclectic, cosmopolitan sound.

“The Canadian city is a special place for artists,” she told the blog of the music technology developer Native Instruments two years ago, after her debut album Superficial was released. “It is very diverse and open, with lots of space for experimentation. Interest in electronic music is growing rapidly.”

The fact that her classical background as pianist, harpist, and cellist has a soothing effect on the melodies that she creates on her computer was already clear on the 2015 EP Maze, which sounded both fierce and playful. On Superficial, she continued to put melancholy to beats with a tender touch, and her cooperation with singer-songwriter Mind Bath, which resulted in an EP release in late 2017, vacillated between mild and muscled, between female and male energy.

Ouri seeks to retain the laboratory vibe of the studio in her live shows. “Even if the computer is still the crossroads live, I try to look at it as little as possible. There always has to be the freedom to improvise because I want to be able to adapt the rhythm to my audience.” To her, the hybrid sound, which is created layer by layer, is a kind of augmented reality and she enjoys “not only creating abstract sounds, but something with which people can identify.”

On We Share Our Blood, the EP that was released last year, she used her own voice for the first time. “Despite crusades or potential AI domination, we keep sharing our blood: for creation or destruction. Either motivated by rivalry, fusion or strangeness, we blend,” she says on her Bandcamp page.

For the electronica artist, this is yet another reason to provide a vocal counterbalance to the raw drum breaks and imposing basses that she conjures out of her computer. This calming human effect results in salutary electronic mantras.

OURI 16/2, 20.00, Ancienne Belgique

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