Photo: Courtesy of artist
Record Store Recs: Öona Dahl Tells Us Her Favorite Places To Find Vinyl In L.A. And Berlin
With the unprecedented global disruption of 2020, it's important to support the music community however we can. With our series Record Store Recs, the Recording Academy checks in with vinyl-loving artists to learn more about their favorite record stores and the gems they've found there.
To experience one of Öona Dahl's DJ sets or immersive audiovisual experiences is to be transmitted to an alternate dimension, where everything has a holographic/rainbow tint. The New York-based DJ/producer/singer/visual artist first tapped into her digital sorcery as a young teen, making beats on Fruity Loops and Acid Pro. After attending her first rave in 2001, she picked up a pair of turntables to learn to DJ, and, a little later at 17, began playing New York clubs.
Over the years, her name and sound has become synonyms with the global underground house scene; she's played countless legendary clubs and festivals around the world including Kater Blau in Berlin, Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, N.M., All Day I Dream parties in many cities, Detroit's Movement Festival, Amsterdam Dance Event, Miami Music Week and Burning Man, to name a few. Not unlike her always-vibrant hair colors, her music is ever-evolving.
Under her name and the trippy-ambient-electro duo Slumber, formed with her close friend Amber Cox, she's released cosmic tracks on esteemed house and techno labels Hallucienda (her partner DJ Three's label), All Day I Dream, Anjunadeep, Watergate and more. Her most recent release, "Love Is All We Need," featuring '90s dance music icon Kirsty Hawkshaw (listen below), is a nod back Dahl's early electronic roots.
For the latest edition of Record Store Recs, we caught up with the "Astral Realm" artist to learn more about the records that give her life and create the backbone of her musical world. We also take a peek into her musical beginnings, a la her (rather epic) first-ever vinyl and CD purchases.
Please pick three to five record stores you love. (The links below have online shopping options.)
Space Hall in Berlin
Hard Wax in Berlin
Amoeba Hollywood in Los Angeles
Dahl (with Hopkins LP) & Dance Spirit at Ameoba | Photo: Courtesy of artist
For at least one of your favorite shops, share a recent record or two you bought there and what you love about the record/artist.
From Amoeba: I Am The Center (various artists) and Jon Hopkins' [GRAMMY-nominated] Singularity.
I would have to say Amoeba in Hollywood has been the record store where I have purchased some of my most prized vinyl. My record collection ranges all over from dance music to psychedelic rock. Over the years it's become clear that I really enjoy collecting vintage New Age sounds. One of my favorite records that I have bought recently from Amoeba is I Am The Center, which is this incredible compilation of "private press" or independently released New Age artists spanning from 1950-1990. I really enjoy waking up in the morning, drinking coffee and listening to music that is uplifting and this vinyl is my go-to!
Another album I recently bought from Amoeba that has been very inspiring sonically in Jon Hopkins' Singularity. What I like about Amoeba Hollywood, and also the San Francisco location, is the range they have with music: you can really lose all sense of time when you start digging.
Dahl & her dog Kowe with 'I Am The Center' | Photo: Courtesy of artist
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What's an upcoming/super recent release you have your eyes on picking up & why?
Most music I buy on vinyl these days are vinyl-only releases or vintage New Age. One that I have had my eye on that was just released earlier this year is Laraaji & Lyghte's Celestial Realms. It was originally only released on cassette back in 1986 so I look forward to hearing it for the first time on vinyl. There's something about listening to ambient soundscapes on a record that really opens up a sonic space.
I'm also looking forward to the vinyl edition of my [debut 2017] album Holograma which is coming out this summer on Hallucienda.
What was the first CD and/or vinyl you remember purchasing when you were younger?
The first CD I ever bought at my local record store was Ace Of Base's The Sign. I'll still put it on full blast in my car to this day. One of the first vinyl records I purchased was when I was 10 years old at a garage sale and saw Björk's album Post. I bought it because of the artwork, not knowing anything about Bjôrk at the time. It was one of the most important music moments in my life that steered me towards the direction I am today.
The first dance record I ever bought was Richard Grey's "Respect in Effect" (from Rescue Recordings) at Powerhouse New York in 2003. It's wild because at the time I was playing a lot of hardcore, trance and DnB [drum & bass] with my friends who were DJs. So my first dance music purchase being a house record is meaningful to me especially because I still play it in my sets to this day.