Editor’s note: Each week Cory Perla of The Public asks a local musician to tell us why they love their favorite piece of gear.
Lesionread is an electronic music producer from Buffalo. He just finished a cross country tour.
“I love my case because it’s an ‘all-in-one’ portable recording studio. It’s got a lid and wheels attached, and it’s just the right size to fit in my car. My favorite thing to do is while touring, meeting other musicians in each city and hooking ’em into my box so we can record tunes on the fly.” — Lesionread
Öona Dahl paints visionary dreamscapes through sound. Driven by wanderlust fever, she has absorbed creative energy in her travels and where she has lived from Buffalo to Berlin.
The artist moved to Buffalo by way of Orlando, Fla. with her mother when she was seven years old. Around 2004 she moved back to the Sunshine State to attend college. For the past year Öona has been living in Berlin but in June she packed her bags for a tour and has been living on the road ever since.
“Berlin is amazing; my favorite city I have ever lived in and I plan to go back one day when the cards are right. I miss my studio there but I will have one in Florida as well to work in. It was always a dream of mine to move to Berlin and absorb the creative energy there,” Öona said. “All the music is the best quality and you have so many creative motivated people around you that it challenges you to be better at your craft. I immediately felt the creative web there.”
Her productions and sets inspire complexity, a depth of emotional evocation and vision quests. Tapping into the more minimalistic realm, Öona said that playing the more melodic and entrancing style of house and techno comes naturally for her.
“One of my favorite quotes is by Hazrat Khan, ‘The person, who is in tune with the universe, becomes like a radio receiver through which the voice of the universe is transmitted.’ I feel closer to the heavens with the sounds of pure love and beauty. This is my one side. My other side does enjoy the darkness as well. My side project with my good friend Amber Cox has a bit more edge to it, we go by Slumber.”
The All Day I Dream parties were founded in 2011 by Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay. The events, which now travel across the country, have a foundation built on “technicolor emotionalism” and a specific dream-like atmosphere and landscape. A significant face on the Playa, Lee Burridge established All Day I Dream and maintains the immersive and experience-specific structure that Burning Man is known for.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to find inspiration. Creativity is built, molded and explored through boundless outlets. Öona finds creativity through traveling, dreams and reading. So enraptured by her novels she said that while reading, certain sounds illuminate within them. Her track titled “Soul of the World” was inspired by reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. “If you have read the book you know what the soul of the world is and you can hear the music that portrays it.”
When it comes to traveling she said she’s most influenced by Burning Man, even titling one of the songs on her album as “Beached Carny,” which was her Playa name in 2011.
As within, so without, Öona creates beauty through a certain parallel of space.
“My dreams take me to sacred places; I am in complete control of them and sometimes I am not. Wherever the journey takes me, good or bad, it inspires me to create the dream world with song,” she said. “I also have a small case of synesthesia where I can see color in sound. My music has a sparkling aura to it. When I hear chimes, music boxes, anything related, I see rainbows of spirals bouncing off the sounds.”
This fall her album will be released under Hallucienda, as well as a release of her music video by Barbara Klein titled “Wait. Lifted.” An EP through All Day I Dream is in the works and a Slumber EP titled “Body Clock” will be released the first week of October.
Check out her music video for “Somewhere We Can Go” that was filmed in Buffalo.
“We filmed the video in May 2014 in Buffalo. We couldn’t have asked for a more unique day to film. From sun, to sun showers, a rainbow and last a beautiful sunset over the Niagara River. I had two of my best friends featured in the video that I have been dancing with for well over a decade. I wrote the song right around the time I was living in New York in 2011. We would venture out to abandoned buildings to explore and get away. Buffalo in a sense is so much like Detroit, and doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I wanted to represent the city I grew up in and show that beauty lies in everything. Even a rotted abandoned building that has a forest growing on the rooftop. Forest Lawn is present time and Silo City is memories reflecting on a place where we go. A special thank you to my friend Don at DB Media that helped bring this idea to life.”
Catch Öona tomorrow night in the Dnipro Basement Bar for ORIGINS, a party being thrown by Igloo co-founder Paul Kuenzi and Chuck Abbott.
Welcome to Sound Devices. My name is Cory Perla, music editor at The Public. This is how this column will work: each week, we’ll feature a piece of gear that one local electronic music maker loves. The gear featured here might be vintage, homemade, or brand spanking new, and we’ll ask one simple question about it: Why do you love it?
I’ll go first.
“I bought this [MicroKorg] synthesizer about 10 years ago to use in a band I was in at the time. We just wanted a way to add a layer of noise to our songs, and this guy did the job. I never mastered it; I suppose it’s not too late. What I honestly love about it is the character. I unearthed this last week after it sat in an extra room, unused, for a couple of years. I forget how that key in the middle popped out, but I do know that strip of duct tape with the notes for each key written on it has been on there since the day I got it.”
Few others have been as influential to the Buffalo electronic music scene than now Denver-based DJ and Igloo music co-founder Paul Kuenzi. He started the collective in 2011 along with Brandon Chase “out of a need for intimate venues, deeper music, and events more formulated around the music and the vibe.” Since then, the crew has gone on to host monthly events throughout the city, with DJs Rufus Gibson and John Sullivan currently at the helm.
Kuenzi is clearly passionate about the thriving Denver house and techno scene, stating that “every week there’s at least four to eight events going on, I can’t even support everyone I want to in a given week.”
“There’s a lot of creativity here, being a place that a lot of people are moving to from all over the world. I think that energy and intelligence is creating a lot of cool events here.” Having played sets at Beta Lounge, one of the regions premier electronic music venues, the selector has also continued to evolve artistically since relocating. When asked how his current sets differ from his early work, he claims to have “certainly slowed down speed wise, and tried to flow more and be smoother rather than be heavy, hard and slamming,” aiming to “make things more of a story rather than an in your face kind of reaction.”
Making his return to Buffalo on Saturday, Sept. 26 to host and play Origins, Kuenzi expects big things from the techno event that also features Berlin DJ Oona Dahl, Jessica Lyn, Gene Linet, The Abbott, and Drumsound Blvd.
“You’re gonna hear some weird, deep, spacey, psychedelic techno,” he said, specifically excited to hear the unique sounds of Oona Dahl, making her return to the city for the first time in two years.
“Music To Die Alone In Space To,” the newest project from Buffalo DJ/electronic producer Spruke, is a wildly imaginative concept album that places its’ listeners at the forefront of a celestial narrative. Narrated by an astronaut who has been untethered from their spaceship and set adrift in space with an hour left to come to terms with their situation, each track conjures a unique frame of mind that follows the narrator’s journey through “different levels of consciousness.”
“It’s one of those ideas that just stuck with me since I was a kid and I learned about the laws of motion for the first time,” said the artist. Determined to create a sonic departure from the more energetic forms of music that define his DJ endeavors, Spruke attributes his inspiration to “yearning for a sound where you’re patient and you let things take time to happen, you don’t make a million noises just because you can.” Also citing ambient music pioneer Brian Eno as a direct influence on the project, the producer born Bill Boulden shifts from electronica, to mellow house, to open-ended, atmospheric sounds throughout the tracks on “Music To Die Alone In Space To.”
The record introduces a fresh concept of individualized distribution as well, with it’s Kickstarter campaign serving as a platform to ensure that each person who pledges will be allowed to choose from narrators of different ethnic backgrounds and genders to personalize the immersive experience the album suggests. What initially began as three voice actors, a British woman, a Hindi woman, and a South African man, has led to an open forum for the project’s backers to choose virtually any type of identity they wish to accompany the album.
“When Hollywood gets a product like this, everybody gets a Midwestern American man in that role, people want to hear themselves reflected in the album,” says Spruke. In addition, six different versions of the album’s cover art are available for the listener to choose, with more to be revealed as the project continues to gather support.
Currently there are 81 copies of the project produced in a nondeterministic manner, meaning each of which were made with random inputs controlling the tracks sound design so that the musical patterns remain the same while the sounds within them vary. No two versions will unfold quite the same way, an effort by the artist to “bring exclusivity back to music.”
With the standard copy of the record expected out this November, and custom copies expected in April, Spruke has set the stage for a work that bridges the gap between listener and artist, demanding an active experience rather than casual passive listen.
For 12 years the Music is Art festival has been doing more than just providing a day of free entertainment for the Buffalo community. Founded in 2003 by Buffalo native and Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac, Music is Art is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that exists to educate and promote the signficance of music in the community. Within local schools the MIA organization helps to provide instrument donations and refurbishment, music mentoring and educational camps.
The festival will run from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. in Delaware Park on Saturday, Sept. 12 and will be free and open to the public. Seventeen stages will be found throughout the grounds showcasing local musicians of every variety as well as artists, dance performances and more. Among the live musicians there will be approximately 80 DJs and 120 bands. Additionally – for the first time in 11 years – the Goo Goo Dolls will close out the festival on the Main Stage followed by a first ever fireworks display.
Use the Sequencer’s Guide to Music is Art throughout the day to maneuver through the DJ stages, all of which have been individually curated to taste. Be sure to check out a special DJ set by Qrion (クリョーン) who will be visiting the states from her homebase in Sapporo, Japan. While in high school she released her first two EPs which eventually led to working closely with Ryan Hemsworth. Through her own productions and sets she puts out hypnotic, emotional, dreamscape sounds.
Catch Qrion either from 3-4 p.m. at the Rose Garden Stage or from 8-9 p.m. at the Ivy Bridge.
The Lakeside Stage, curated by the Wax Museum Radio, will feature that eclectic variety of sound that WMR is known to showcase. The impressively built sound stack for that stage will be provided by Jolly Wailer.
10 a.m.–noon | Concurr
noon-1 p.m. | TrakBenders
1-2 p.m. | Drop D
2-3 p.m. | Dante Velour
3-4 p.m. | Jolly Wailer
4-5 p.m. | Potent J
5-6 p.m. | Keto
6-7 p.m. | SwaggleRock
7-8 p.m. | Mario Bee
8-9 p.m. | Folklore
9-10 p.m. | Owski
Be sure to check out the Sky Mound Stage, with a bill organized by Buffalo’s own Tobbio.
10 a.m.-noon | Soma
noon -1 p.m. | Devious
1-2 p.m. | Dizzmal
2-3 p.m. | Dubdecks
3-4 p.m. | sevenonesicks
4-5 p.m. | Bflo Lydia
5-6 p.m. | brother dre
6-7 p.m. | Charles Masters
7-8 p.m. | Xotec
8-9 p.m. | ALLDA
9-10 p.m. | Criminal Sound
Charlie Abbot, local DJ, photographer and right-hand man for some of Buffalo’s promotional companies, put together the lineup for the Casino Lake Stage.
10-11 a.m. | Kage
11 a.m.-noon | Feetwerk (SpaceLines)
noon-1 p.m. | Alex Morrison
1-2 p.m. | Monach FX
2-3 p.m. | Drumsound Blvd. b2b Search
3-4 p.m. | DJ Lalka
4-5 p.m. | Bacon
5-6 p.m. | Brother Bear
6-7 p.m. | Nickie Fowler
7-8 p.m. | Eyes Everywhere
8-9 p.m. | Ab-Bots
9-10 p.m. | Nate Howell
The Ivy Bridge stage has been curated by Keith Harrington, otherwise known as Projex, an artist that uses projection mapping and music to create a truly encompassing experience.
10a.m.-noon | Keeter
noon-1 p.m. | Paiiinchaud
1-2 p.m. | Soma
2-3 p.m. | Short Circuit
3-4 p.m. | JeffRepeater
4-5 p.m. | ConArtist
5-6 p.m. | Pinja
6-7 p.m. | Armageddon Party
7-8 p.m. | Truey V
8-9 p.m. | Qrion
9-10 p.m. | PROJEX
Pat Williams, previously of Roboroc and now associated with The Attic, has put together this year’s Rose Garden Stage.
10-11 a.m. | Pulse Junkie
11 a.m.-noon | Ricky Styles
1-2 p.m. | Loki
2-3 p.m. | AreHouse
3-4 p.m. | Qrion
4-5 p.m. | Alex Vulaj
5-6 p.m. | Sunglasses Mike
6-7 p.m. | Kitz
7-8 p.m. | Miosi
8-9 p.m. | Pizza Pizza
9-10 p.m. | No Morals
Buffalo Rage Community Founder John Darnell has teamed up with Silent Event Entertainment and gathered a crew of performers for the Silent Disco, a brand new feature for Music is Art.
10-11 a.m. | Frank Pierce
11 a.m.-noon | Beast Ali
noon-1 p.m. | M45
1-2 p.m. | Marssick
2-3 p.m. | Ronin
3-4 p.m. | Heezy
4-5 p.m. | Kitz
5-6 p.m. | Jillie Hutch
6-7 p.m. | Local Heroes
7-8 p.m. | Dusty Bits
8-9 p.m. | Shooter McNappin x Buzz Trillington
9-10 p.m. | Notixx
If the Reggae/Dub Stage is more your vibe, be sure to stop through any time during the day of the festival.
10-11 a.m. | Benja
11 a.m.-noon | DJ Jahshua
noon-1 p.m. | Derek Hattewin
1-2 p.m. | Tokyo Drifter
2-3 p.m. | DJ Ruben
3-4 p.m. | King Eider
4-5 p.m. | Dr. wisz
5-6 p.m. | King Zulu
6-7 p.m. | DJ Redline
7-8 p.m. | DJ Convict
8-9 p.m. | DJ Maestro
9-10 p.m. | DJ Universal
Music is Art Festival
Saturday, Sept. 12
10 a.m.–10 p.m.
199 Lincoln Parkway, 14222
For the full schedule click here.
An eventful Labor Day weekend has come and gone, but the dancing won’t stop. On Saturday, Sept. 26 we will come together once more in the basement bar of the Dnipro Ukranian Center for Origins. Last week the Sequencer spotlighted some of the artists on the lineup, put together by Igloo co-founder Paul Kuenzi and Charlie Abbott.
In the second part of this series, we will meet Jessica Lyn, a fresh new face from Denver, Colo. by way of Buffalo. She moved to this city from the Hudson Valley in 2004. While not a Buffalo native, Jessica adamantly states that moving to Buffalo was the best decision she could have made for her journey through music.
“Buffalo gave me the tools that sculpted the adult I am today, and I’m proud to say that,” she said. With the help of some friends, Jessica found herself falling into the world of electronic music. Lucky to have the musical powerhouse of Toronto nearby, she became enamored with Break&Enter parties, which brought a slew of high-quality underground events.
Finding footholds in the funk, soul, and disco influences of house music, she also found herself drawn to the deep and intelligent sounds that techno brings. Jessica credits a part of her humble beginnings to Buffalo’s own Lydia Wrobel, better known as Bflo Lydia, who strongly encouraged her to learn to spin and let her borrow a set of turntables.
It wasn’t until early this year that she bought her own turntables and began pushing herself to play by ear, making it very clear “no laptops or sync buttons allowed in this house!” Due to her multifaceted interests, Jessica has described herself as “an M&M, with a hard techno shell and an ooey-gooey house center.” With names like Four Tet, Ben Klock, Luxxury, Gene Farris, Maceo Plex, Bicep, and Oliver $ making appearances in her playlists, she will be sure to bring a well-rounded sound to the party.
Stay tuned next week for a profile on Paul Kuenzi.