Om Shira & The Exile Orchestra is the base of an open collective of musicians, dancers, visual artists, photographers, and designers in Cologne/Germany.
"We come a long way, a billion miles we travelled just to be with you..." Billion Miles / The One
What is the best response to a system that doesn't allow you access to musical instruments?
You make your own!
Growing up in post-revolutionary Iran, Om couldn't get his hands on an instrument. So instead, he devoured all the music his father saved and brought home from his vinyl-shop after he had to close it down!
Arriving in Germany without the family as a teen, for Om making music was a real need to survive and to connect to people beyond language barriers. So he started to produce his early tracks on a Commodore-64, bringing friends together to form a live band and touring successfully through Europe and Russia.
Om always felt the urge to fill the gap between live-concerts and DJ-sets. His goal was to innovate the art of live-electronics. His vision of a real live electronic performance led a few years later to his futuristic audiovisual looping instrument called ''Freeak ''.
With his ''One-Man-Jam'', Om blended his original tracks made of electronic beats with live instruments like Guembry and Trumpet, his vocals and countless samples. What started as a solo project, soon attracted more and more musicians and artists from different backgrounds and cultures in the melting pot Cologne.
The Exile Orchestra was born!
The message of connection and healing was always the reason this collective put their energy and spirits together. The collective has meanwhile over 25 members from music, visual arts, dance, costume- and stage-design.
During the covid-lockdown Om went to visit his roots after seven years. A months long stay in the absolute silence of the Mesr Desert gave him the chance to reflect the demise of a close friend, pouring his innervisions about life and death, proximity and distance and healing into new songs. Further he met there new artist friends from the iranian scene, what led to new collborations and videoshootings at the birthplace of the new compositions.
Back in Germany he recorded final versions of the songs refining them with the additional sounds of The Exile Orchestra members. The result is „Heal“, an album not only to listen to, but also to be considered as a tool to come closer to your own soul and...to heal!
Revolutionary Audio Visual Instrument
FREEAK an avantgarde musical and visual looping instrument, is Om Shira´s unique invention, which is going to change the game of playing live electronics on the stage.
One of the main attractions of music has always been experiencing it live. The connection between moving and playing of a musician gives us a feeling for the emotions of the player; even if we don´t know how exactly his instrument (e.i. saxophone) works.
This has been badly missed on electronic music performances. The experience we have on live electronics is mostly some guy standing behind a laptop, staring seriously on its display! Till now...
FREEAK is gonna change this fundamentally. The singer and music producer Omid Shirazy put all his experiences on electronic music into his invention to push the borders on performing and improvising electronic music on the stage.
We will get you now step by step deeper into the world of FREEAK. The heartpiece of the instrument is a 4 track looping studio. You can play, record, mix and loop music on the fly as it happens on the stage. Through different in- and outputs you can grab anything you want; the sound of your voice, the live musicians playing with you, or even the audience crying and loop it into your performance. As we mention Looping:
Looping is THE upcoming discipline of live music by multiplying your musical skills in realtime. This means that you can record one instrument and let it repeat as you play a second layer on the top of it! So you can play a rhythm, add some chords, sing some melodies and so on till you have a complete composition.
Thanks to FREEAK, Om Shira can play solo as an orchestra or a band, allowing the audience to enjoy the “act” of playing, composing and improvising music at once, as it happens on the stage.
But this is just the beginning. There is a huge amount of effects you can use on the sounds you get through FREEAK. The mindpiece of the instrument is the „magical eye“, which allows you to put effects on your sounds just by moving your hand in 3-dimensions above it. You don´t even need to touch it, it works „theremin-like“ and looks like the eye of HAL9000 in Stanley Kubrik´s „Odyssey 2001“. You can even go further and play sounds by just waving your hands above the eye to play drums or synthsounds; looping it directly into FREEAK.
Ready to go one step deeper into the white rabbits hole?
FREEAK is not only a music instrument, but a unique visual machine as well. Om Shira uses at his performances FREEAK not only to create live music, but also to put it together with a stunning visual show. There is a bunch of knobs and controllers integrated into FREEAK, which you can use to organise, release and manipulate different visual clips, their colors, tempo and direction to mention a few!
As you can imagine, the combination of all these possibilities gives you literally inifinite possibilities to create and re-create art pieces. It is a mothership full of technic! But it has still enough space for you to put your essence into it; YOU are the soulpiece of the creation. And this makes FREEAK what it is: A real instrument.
The Exile Orchestra
The Exile Orchestra is an open network of musicians and visual artists around Om Shira from all over the world.
Based in Cologne/Germany we work on a huge range of audio-visual projects. The background of the artists in this orchestra couldn´t be more different: