Spin #42 : Alison Wonderland : Awake
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #42
Have you ever come across an artist that you instantly click with? It might be because you hear their music at a time in your life that you need it or you pair it up with an important moment. When it comes to this weeks Spin, I instantly fell in love with it. I am talking about Awake by Australian EDM legend, Alison Wonderland. The first time I heard her was when I was driving out to Westmead in Western Sydney and the radio was playing 'I Want U' off her first album called Run. I was really impressed and made a mental note to try and find her stuff on wax. I still haven't been able to add her debut album to the R'nR collection but always on the hunt for it. Come along this week on a journey with my wife and kids as we spin this one!
Our 42nd Spin will be played in our front room on the Audio Technica turntable (AT-LP60XBT) and the impressive sounding Marshall Woburn II speaker. I have heard this record through our loungeroom set up and headphones so this time I want to test out the Marshall.
Image : Alexandra Margo Sholler (aka Alison Wonderland)
I can see the excitement in my sons face as he realises we are about to have another Sunday Spin. He has really become used to spinning records or putting on headphones to get involved. I can see the same excitement in our daughters face too but she is very little at the moment and actually is time for her nap. Back to this album and the cover art shows a purple haired Alison Wonderland standing there with a white shirt on and eyes rolled to the whites. It is simple but effective and looks good as a framed record on the wall. I have now placed the black wax on the turntable and get our son K to press the start button on the automated unit. He is growing up so fast these days and looking at his daycare photos this year, I can see he has become a little boy now. He is listening a lot more and shows such empathy for such a little kid. Night Kat Kiz and I took Q and K to the Santa wonderland for photos yesterday and luckily we had a booking as it took a while. It was supposed to be a photo every 3 minutes but there is no way you can expect little kids to take only 3 minutes with the big jolly man. They were both really well behaved for how long we had to wait and got to have some fresh made cinnamon doughnuts after the photos.
The stylus has been dropped and is working its way through the grooves, something that will never be taken for granted. There really is something magical about records. First track is more of an opener and mood builder than stand lone song, called 'Good Enough'. I like how talented Wonderland is and I found out that she is also classically trained in playing the cello. As we listen along, I can hear it building more and more until strings come through the speaker. The layering of the electronic beats and strings works well and gives me a Sudan Archives feeling too. If you haven't added Sudan Archives records to your collection, go online or to your local record store and add straight away. 'Good Enough' then has Wonderland breaking up the pattern by singing, "Is it Good Enough?".
The softer start to the next song 'No' provides a nice beat and eases you into the electronic music scene. I'm not hugely aware of all the styles but I did enjoy this track whilst working along during the week. As I'm listening along and having a look at the lyrics in the gatefold, I am thinking about the upcoming Christmas period and hoping that it works out for all of us. 'Okay' is a track that flows so well, giving me a No Mono feeling when I listen. Wonderland is very talented and I could see myself in my younger days jamming out to a lot of these tracks in the clubs. Probably not as dancy initially as other tracks on this album until the mid-way mark. Then there is the sound of breaking glass and recurring beat of her singing (not the same as Limp Bizkit 'Break Stuff'). As the song ends and the piano keys hit, we are left pondering the question that we find ourselves asking from time to time, "Can we be Okay?".
"Time feels slower inside of my head. Can I paint a picture of the world that I see instead". Wonderland starts of next song 'Easy' with these lyrics before the songs beats come through. I am watching K playing with his cars as the weather outside doesn't know what it wants to do - rain or be sunny. I think the last couple of songs have shown that Wonderland has had a few break ups or idiots in her life. The good thing is that she has learned a lot from her experiences, good or bad, that has lead her into creating quality music. I did see that this album copped a lot of flack but people are always going to tear you down. I was told some good advice recently about people that usually find happiness in tearing others down, are not happy with themselves. It is a reflection and they are unable to look at themselves each day in the mirror because they don't have the tools to handle their issues. Wonderland, if you ever read this then you obviously know that it doesn't matter what people think.
Next track that is spinning on Side A is the collaborative effort between Trippie Redd and Wonderland called, 'High'. This song in particular was not liked by the noisy minority but I enjoy the vocals. It gives Wonderland a chance to work the decks and showcase a different aspect of this album. If you get a chance, you should check out the ink Trippie Redd has on his face, not something I could pull off but respect to the man. The song ends with the sound of CHAOS coming through the speakers before rolling straight into the track. 'Here 4 U' featuring Blessus. They are extremely anonymous and I couldn't find a lot on them online. I remember listening to this track on the headphones and hearing the sound roll right through from left to right. I think so far, the beats on this one give me a Denzel Curry x Kenny Beats feeling or even an 80's synthy arcade game sound. As this one is playing I can smell the pies in the oven and our son jumping around all happy. As the stylus plays the last sounds and moves through the dead wax, it tells me that it's time to flip over the LP.
The LP has been flipped over and my son starts listening to the sounds of 'Church'. It is worth checking out the music video for this one, Click here. I really enjoyed the lyrics on this track and have included them in the featured lyrics section below. It is about treating someone with respect if you expect to keep that special someone in your life. Something that resonates with me and want to pass on that to our kids. On the next track, Wonderland brings the tropical beats and almost Christmas sounding harmonies on 'Cry (Ft Buddy)'. It is a collaborative effort and they are battling to the softest sounding beats that keep the chilled out vibe of this album flowing.
'Happy Place' would be a contender for me for favourite song behind 'Church'. There is a big dance feel to this track and I can imagine this one going OFF at a festival, especially when the chorus drops. Make sure you play this one loud or through a decent pair of headphones in order to get the full experience. This song will take you to your happy place if you aren't already and the breakdown before the drop throughout is pretty memorable. I'm pretty sure I read that Wonderland wrote this song when she was in a really depressed state in order to help her achieve happier thoughts and brighter mood. Lyrics to remember on this track would be, "Fuck me up on a spiritual level".
The festival sounds of next track 'Good Girls Bad Boys' comes blaring through the Marshall speaker nicely and I can hear all the different layers to this one. The stylus hasn't missed a beat or drop throughout this superbly produced album by Wonderland. If you have been on the fence about this one or her other albums, I wouldn't hold back any longer. I know that Waxx Lyrical has her newest album, Loner on sale now. Check it out here if you want to add to your collection and support a lovely record of the month club.
'Dreamy Dragon (Ft Chief Keef)' is probably the song on the album that copped the most hate and honestly, I don't understand why. The collaboration with Chief Keef and the intro beats make this track catchy as hell. I think the people that hated this track initially will learn to love it over time.
Slowly coming through is the sounds of 'Hope (Interlude)' It acts as a bridge between the next song and title track but could have worked better rolling into the missing song. For some reason 'Sometimes Love' featuring Slumberjack failed to make it onto the vinyl version. Not sure why but surely they could have fit one more song on right?!?! I've listened to 'Sometimes Love' and am a bit bummed that it was omitted. Great track and worth checking out on streaming services if you get a chance.
Last song on Side B and title track, 'Awake' now comes through the Marshall speaker and it has Wonderland at her most vulnerable vocally. As this track is playing, I find myself looking at the back cover of all the photos of Wonderland. I'm noticing that some of them are slightly altered or drawn on (for example with black sharpie over her eyes or with lyrics). This track seems like a huge single and I can see why it was selected as the album title. Great song to finish off this underrated album and makes you want to drop the stylus again and again. Sadly, it is time to lift the stylus and put the LP back into its anti-static bag and jacket.
Thanks for coming along this week with us here at R'nR with Rylo and hope that you enjoyed our #42nd Spin. Being one week out from Christmas of 2022, I hope that you are all stocked up with your Christmas food and drinks as the shops now are full of mentals who don't remember the spirit of the season. If you feel like you have some time next week to relax, come back for our #43rd Spin as it will be one not to be missed. Clues I hear you ask! Well if you check on our social pages somewhere between Wednesday and Thursday, there will be a bunch posted for you. I am feeling the Christmas spirit and may add a few more extra clues in the weeks to come in order to help out. Happy Guessing!
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who like to scratch records (I know, it's hard) and be Kind to your Wax!
Alison Wonderland , Joel Little, Lido
SPEED PLAYED AT
BUTTERFLY BLUE - MALLRAT (2022)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, GATEFOLD WITH LYRICS AND PHOTOS OF ALISON WONDERLAND
"I shouldn't let you get to me, but you do, I let you take it out on me, yes it's true. You're saying sorry constantly, but you never, but you never (never), Never say a prayer for me, Never celebrate your hands on me. You better treat me like church (church)~ Church -Side B
LP / SIDE
HIGH (FT TRIPPIE REDD)
HERE 4 U (ALISON WONDERLAND X BLESSUS)
LP / SIDE
CRY (FT BUDDY)
GOOD GIRLS BAD BOYS
DREAM DRAGON (FT CHIEF KEEF)
OMITTED FROM THE VINYL
SOMETIMES LOVE (FT SLUMBERJACK)
Alison Wonderland sitting back and soaking in the atmosphere after a set