It wasn’t too long ago when the name Oona Dahl was one that we in the world of House and electronic music weren’t familiar with. As someone who had met Oona in her formative years way back in 2008 in Miami during WMC, I’d only known her through the years as her former alias, one in which she successfully toured around the country DJing under for many years, harnessing a much darker, minimal techno sound (at least as far as from what I’d remembered from 2009, which was a year that saw minimal techno reigning supreme at its peak.)
It was only until last year when I first saw the name Oona Dahl pop up on an All Day I Dream podcast, when I knew before even hitting play or looking at any social media links that there could only be one possibility; this was definitely the same Oona I’d met years earlier, and she’d finally taken the years of hard work, effort, and maturing of the musical senses and abilities to find the place where her heart and soul intersected with the music she was playing and making.
Nowhere is this intersection of heart and soul more prominently located than on her debut solo artist LP, Holograma, just released on DJ Three’s new Hallucienda imprint. From the first ascending moments after pressing play, the album’s aptly-titled “Wait.Lifted” instantly brings you directly into Oona’s sonic soul-space, with delayed horns, chirping birds, and the heavenly voice of the feminine mother of life whispering down on the world from high above the clouds.
Holograma takes a wide range of left and right banking turns through the atmosphere during its flight. While listening, you glide from the sub-90bpm majestic sounding electronica which leads the album off and is heard again on tracks such as “Treescry,” and also veer off into heads-down, grooving house airspace, such as experienced through “My Pet Raven.” One element that remains front and center along the journey, is Oona’s deep sense of connection to birds, nature, the heavenly sky above. One can only help but feel a deeper sense of connection to the divine spirit of life, in general, while allowing her to take you along the journey that is Holograma, as a whole body of work.
It’s rare to be able to listen to an album and get a true sense of where an artist is along their life journey, and feel as if it’s existence from a sonic imprint is almost as, if not equally as unique as the iris of her eye. Holograma, however, will likely only end up as a sonic fingerprint indentation left upon the world, by the time we get to hear and experience her more as a budding and maturing artist.
The album reaches it’s enchanting crescendo with the unveiling of “So Cruel (Nite Version).” Here we are lifted to the highest ascent during the journey, held up by the weight of a pounding kick drum, and released freely into the air, like a little red balloon, by the release of Oona’s fingertips from the keys which give the anthemic summer sonnet the uplifting soiree of keys, pads and strings that glue this piece of work into the sonically intoxicating piece of art that it is.
The most challenging hurdle we seek to jump over as artists is the one which allows the end-recipient of our art to identify with us as the human beings we are, through listening to the music or art that we unleash upon the world. Oona Dahl effortlessly and gracefully soars over that hurdle in merely fifty-minutes, and that feat in itself makes Holograma tower well above cruising altitude in comparison to the dizzying number of carbon-copy, hit-chasing, emerging producers that release thousands of soulless, empty-hearted tracks into the digital universe on a daily basis.
Oona Dahl: Holograma (Hallucienda)
1. Oona Dahl: Wait. Lifted (3:42)
2. Oona Dahl: I See (7:26)
3. Oona Dahl: My Pet Raven (7:20)
4. Oona Dahl: Listen To The Waves (5:10)
5. Oona Dahl: Who Am I (2:58)
6. Oona Dahl: Treescry (5:43)
7. Oona Dahl: Veil Enchantress (8:49)
8. Oona Dahl: So Cruel (Nite Version) (6:02)
9. Oona Dahl: Tell Me I Belong (2:45)
First published in issue 149 of 5 Magazine featuring Pomo, Joey Negro, Paul Oakenfold, Adam Warped and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music for only $2 per month.