Music Features

Ohmu Releases Debut Album, When Will Our Forever Longing Be Satiated

Winston Parker

When Will Our Forever Longing Be Satiated, the first full-length album by Ohmu, the solo project of Athens-based musician and designer Winston Parker, is a collection of dark ambient electronic compositions that invite a visceral journey inward. The name Ohmu, which translates to “king insect” in Japanese, originates from one of Parker’s favorite films, Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 anime Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

“In the film, the world has been destroyed by war and fire,” says Parker. “Toxic fungi jungles and giant insects have reclaimed most of the surface of the planet. The Ohmu are giant insects generally feared and regarded as destructive forces, but are actually quite passive unless provoked. They also turn out to be quite intuitive and sensitive, as opposed to these destructive blinded-by-rage creatures they’re usually perceived as. Really, though, it’s a film about kindness prevailing in a harsh human-created struggle, and it’s very sweet. All of those elements sort of made sense for the moniker.”

The beloved post-apocalyptic animation is a solid reference point from which to dive into the cinematic soundscapes of Ohmu. Often making music as a way to process stress, Parker’s songs are at times heavy and brooding, like a cacophony of cicadas during a summer storm. Moments of brightness bubble beneath the surface, however, and it’s this underlying sense of optimism that pulls the compositions out of the darkness to represent the duality of the human experience. 

Parker began creating music under the name Ohmu in 2017, not long after moving out to Winterville, where he found the peace and quiet conducive to creating. Active in the Athens music scene for many years, he previously deejayed and performed with various projects, including Abandon the Earth Mission, which he describes as sounding like “an aged electric piano hanging off a cliffside flooded stone structure reclaimed by nature.” 

He considers his early experiences as a student at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art and alternative radio station WUOG 90.5 fm to both be influential to his creative work. As a student in the Art X program—a now-dissolved area of emphasis that concentrated on experimental and multimedia approaches—he became familiar with Max/MSP, a visual programming language for interacting audio and video. As a station volunteer and host of the specialty show “Crisis,” Parker was granted access to a tremendous archive of experimental and abstract music. 

“Sundays at midnight turned into sheer terror sounds,” says Parker. “It started with playing different prepared recordings and audio manipulations across multiple CD decks mixed with slowed down records, but eventually evolved into fully live shows with a number of different musicians from around town.” 

Recorded between his home studio and Tweed Recording with engineer Nate Nelson, WWOFLBS was mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll Studio in New York. The album was primarily created using a Moog synthesizer, modular synthesizer, electric upright bass and the COSMOS Drifting Memory Station by SOMA Laboratory, a looper that Parker says is essential to his sound. Book-ended by drone-heavy tracks, each composition was edited from improvisation sessions. The new full-length release follows two Gaussian Drift EPs, which were also improvised pieces. 

“Improvising actually plays a huge part in this record,” says Parker. “It lends to a more authentic experience for me, which is freeing, especially when you’re surrounded by so much influencing you in the world… When starting to perform out in 2019 as Ohmu, improvisation was always part of my shows, so it’s really tied into how I create and perform music. Looking back, though, at my experimentations during WUOG and Art X, it’s always been a part of how I like to create. Playing and recording this way over the years has been the path leading to the style of this first album.”

Releasing a new album presented Parker with an opportunity to collaborate with two former art instructors whose work he admires. The album’s cover art, “Medicijnman,” was created by Michael Oliveri, a multidisciplinary conceptual artist and founder of the Art X program. Offering a rare glimpse into the invisible world of entomology, the image was captured using a scanning electron microscope as part of a photographic series recalling 17th century Flemish breakfast still life paintings. Its otherworldly, unsettling environment—juxtaposed with the underlying gentleness of the revealed subject matter—thematically resonates with the moniker and depth of Ohmu’s sound. 

Parker also invited Rick Silva, who previously taught a video art class in the Art X department, to create a music video for the album’s titular track. Now an associate professor at the University of Oregon, Silva’s videos, websites and installations explore themes of virtuality, futurology and speculative ecologies. Combining natural and artificial elements, grids of dizzying op art appear like monoliths within a landscape. The video, which debuted with an in-person premiere at Ciné this past Monday, will be released digitally on Friday, Oct. 6 along with the full album. 

Ohmu will perform at an album release show with Marcel Sletten, Organically Programmed and Ihlyatt at Flicker Theatre & Bar on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. Ohmu and Ihlyatt will also perform as part of the Sonic Space series at ATHICA on Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. The album will be available on cassette tape and digitally via

WHO: Ohmu, Marcel Sletten, Organically Programmed, Ihlyatt
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Flicker Theatre & Bar