Omen Wapta: Exploring The Un-Self

On March 9th Omen Wapta heads up North for a collaboration that’s been long in the making. Woody92’s multidisciplinary platform for warp-speed, shamanic techno and spiral-infused IDM is set to be repped by a variety of artists tightly connected to the label. But Omen Wapta is about more than just music. Through various art forms, the initiative explores connections with likeminded spirits beyond the self. 

Words by Kos van Erp / Pictures by Olly Gaery &  Martijn Kuyvenhoven

Untrodden Paths

Omen Wapta is easily referred to as a label. After all, the music is what’s most prominently ingrained in people’s minds. Upon closer investigation however, it appears that Woody ‘s-Gravemade is as much interested in investigating the back rooms of the mind. And with that comes the drive to stimulate the different factories of the brain through different art forms. Visual art, theatre, fashion; they’re ways to expand on the Omen Wapta experience. To create ”a transitory playground for the imagination”.

Let the most evident associations be our guide, however: we’ll take music as the starting point for this trek into the maze of projects that Omen Wapta has brought us. Woody’s own evolution as a DJ throughout the years reads as a rare, unwavering display of class. His early days of acid, experimental electronics and subdued industrial – on display in one of his older Boiler Rooms – seamlessly morphed with a deep and sincere appreciation of oldschool psytrance, goa and tekno. And even though he took his admirable, dedicated turn towards the brooding, mental, fast paced mysticism of Omen Wapta ahead of its inception, these influences still shimmer in the background.

Kos: ”Omen Wapta releases often tread into extreme BPMs – same goes for your DJ sets. What about fast tempos intrigues you?”

Woody: ”At the moment my fascination lies with the faster end of the spectrum, but there’s room for every BPM. For Omen Wapta’s curation I don’t look at pace, I select the music based on a feeling.

Right now, the story I want to tell comes across in the most complete way when playing at a high tempo. As an artist, the art for me lies in hypnotizing the listener to a point where they don’t even notice or care for the tempo events play out at. Layering and tranquility are crucial for that, probably more so than BPM. What fast pace does bring is a palpable, direct energy and intensity. Both intensity and tranquility facinate me, and are equally important for both Omen Wapta and for myself.”


Picture by Martijn Kuyvenhoven

At this moment in time we find Woody in his own lane, driving the Omen Wapta train fueled by the music of likeminded peers, and it’s hard envisioning him operating any differently in the years to come. Both Omen Wapta and his DJing reveal someone in the midst of freeing up a globally untrodden path; someone hellbent on delivering razor sharp, minimalist, lightning fast techno, IDM and drum ’n bass combined with intriguing ambient and drone. It’s a rare thing, having front row seats to someone spurring a completely new movement within the world of music.

As Woody expressed before, even though there might be a certain feeling or story he tries to convey, he’s most happy leaving the audience feeling whatever they end up feeling, as long as they feel something.

W: ”In general, I think that the feeling around Omen Wapta is there to reflect what I stand for, both as a curator and as an individual artist. It’s a multi-faced mirror of all of my fascinations with the world, and it attracts artist that I strongly believe in.

Working together and  bringing something into the world together are amongst the most fun things in life. Omen Wapta is a stage for different musicians, artists, and other forms of expression. Every single artist shares my vision and what I stand for. It’s one passion, expressed in multiple different ways.”

Let’s dive deeper into the imprint’s sonics by zooming in on three releases by three artists performing this Saturday.

OW6: Harald Uunk – Unseen LP 

Artwork by no189 and Woody 's-Gravemade


Let’s not start at the start. Let’s start at the latest instead. Harald Uunk’s ‘Unseen’ LP is the most recent release on the Omen Wapta imprint, and arguably its most full-bodied. With an intriguing package of 18 tracks, there’s a lot here to unravel. There’s staggering moments in the psy-infused euphoria of closing track ‘Unseen’ or the short-circuiting IDM of ‘Perseverence’. Their impact, however, is only as strong as their most introspective surroundings. The dubbed out chugs of ‘Meaning of a Sawtooth’ or the minimalist skeleton of ‘Clearvoyance’ are atmospheric anchors upon which even the tallest ridges get to lean comfortably.

For the incredible heights ‘Unseen’s structure reaches, equally consistent is the LP texturally. Harald has an extensive history of building his own instruments and effect units, and it shows. Standout shrieks, twangs and drones lay siege on the stereo spectrum in a constant, tense standoff with synthesized pads and patterns. A deep understanding of dance music’s history with reverb and delay, meanwhile, creates a shroud of haze through which ingeniously placed details get to resolutely step out. The comparisons with a hazy dance floor are impossible to miss.


OW3: Loek Frey – Decipher LP 

Artwork by Guillermo Lucena Mejias & Woody 's-Gravemade


Off the back of launching his own OQAD imprint this week, and with high watermark release ‘Decipher’ under the belt, Loek Frey returns to OOST this Saturday.

In line with Omen Wapta’s vision, but perhaps taking the sound to its most austere extremes, ‘Decipher’ blossoms as a beautiful balancing act between 160-range techno and drum ’n bass devoid of every one but the most essential percussive elements. Switching between 4×4 and broken kick patterns, and at times sailing on pure delay as a last remnant of rhythm, there’s an immense drive to the album, achieved with just a handful of sounds. Subtle use of distortion and sample warping fragment your perception of time, like on the elemental ‘Attach T’. At other times the pounding kicks, subtle percussion and glitched out ambience of ‘Belise’ are there to keep up the forwards momentum.

The true essence of the album however, reveals itself most prominently in the eerie bleep of tracks like ‘Atone’, where almost complete formlessness skates about on a delightfully long ten minute runtime. It’s been a while since minimalism as an art form has sounded this fresh.


OW4: Floid – Yayomia EP 

Artwork by Gaia Azzi


When a brotherly bond manifests itself within music, time has proven that gold is most likely to be struck. With Woody’s brother Floid sharing a fascination for sparse, psychoactive, shamanic dance music, a release on Omen Wapta seems like natural course of action running its way.

The result ‘Yayomia’ organically slides into the Omen Wapta catalog. Leaning most confidently into the art of repetition out of all of OW releases, this five tracker is densely populated with onrolling techno experiments. With exceptional consciousness of the inner workings of rhythm, Floid carefully builds crystalline structures out of kicks, clicks, wooden percussion and the occasional muted hihat. Tracks like ‘Askin Adou’ or ‘Wadoo’ culminate and degrade over long stretches of time, adding opacity by means of mysterious found footage and recontextualized field recordings. The result is a strain of deep, hypnotic techno that – through the art of repetition, gradience and sparseness – might just approach minimalism’s classical values most closely. But built for only the most magical of dance floors.

Beyond sound

So, what’s Omen Wapta’s raison d’être beyond simply releasing killer tunes? It seems that its origin, its existence finds root in something deeper, profound and something its head honcho could probably talk about forever. There’s clear nods at history, spirituality, religion, ancient artifacts and shamanism to be discovered both in all aspects of an Omen Wapta artwork. Especially the ritualistic aspect of spirituality seems to feature prominently.

There’s the rite of dueling as seen in intermedial performance work ‘Dooha Ritus’, as shown at last year’s ADE. The performance is a display of tension and release akin to that of medieval duels, but translated to an industrial setting (Het HEM), underscored by the beautiful live soundtrack of Loek Frey and Harald Uunk, clad in the postmodernist garments of Armia Yousefi and brought to life through the wonderful choreography of Arad Inbar. The art direction by Woody himself creates a cohesive, imposing whole out of disparate backgrounds, time frames and media. So disparate in fact, that any part of the work could as well cave under another’s direction. Here, they amalgamate into a bizarre clash of the ancient and the futuristic.

K: ”When describing Omen Wapta, exploring the un-self and yet-to-be-embodied or uninhabited artistic realms seems to be a returning theme. Is there a spiritual or philosophical backbone to this for you?

W: ”I think that the overarching concept behind the label will always have a spiritual idea and angle. 

For me, there’s a profoundly spiritual experience in discovering the differences between certain music movements and movements in visual art, for example. With Omen Wapta I want to move and lift the listener into different atmospheres, akin to certain spiritual experiences. Leaving the self behind, leaving your soul behind, and looking for different qualities that reside within your inner being.”

Creatively speaking, these various visual art forms come as kindred spirits, given Woody’s background studying at The Hague’s Royal Academy of Art. His knack for visual storytelling shines through in how the sleeves of releases are curated, with Woody himself often contributing to guarantee a certain thematic and atmospheric consistency despite inviting different visual artists for the main input. A love for fashion also reigns supreme, as shown in one of Omen Wapta’s earliest projects: the collaborative collection with CF(Camiel Fortgens). Designed and curated in a creative marriage between Camiel and Woody, the collection featured 9 pieces, each sporting a QR code on the tag that links to early Omen Wapta releases by JEMAPUR and Yuki Matsumura.


Where it’s heading? Time will tell, but fact of the matter is that everything coming out of the Omen Wapta pipeline shall have a multidimensional, spiritual character engraved in its DNA. 

W: ”Every art form you mentioned functions as a key part of Omen Wapta, and there’s more depth to explore to every single one. Fashion is something incredibly close to my heart; same thing goes for the combination of visual art and music. For the future, that link is there and it’s begging to be expanded on.”

Needless to say we’re holding onto our courtside seats for dear life.

On March 9th Omen Wapta takes over OOST with two dance floors where the limits of speed and mindstate are about to be moved. Tickets are available via the button below.

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