New imprint Omena popped its cherry on Record Store Day a few weeks ago with a single sided release by HNNY. With only 150 copies done up, war rations applied for all shops and there was a fair amount of hype around this record. I was keen as a commander to get my hands on one of those 150, but oh cruel fate: I was stuck with the inlaws somewhere along the Belgian coast the entire weekend, pulling my hair out, weeping silently. You see, not only has HNNY become a bit of an attraction in his own right with a string of stellar releases, but Omena is also a new pet project run by Tooli, who's also behind perennial favourite Basic Fingers, Gold Fingers and the ever dependable Local Talk imprints. It's safe to say Tooli knows what it takes to successfully launch a new label: the right name, the right visual identity, and - most importantly - killer tuneage. And oh boy did HNNY deliver (more on that later). So basically, all stars aligned perfectly for a beast of a record - which I had zero chance of ever getting hold of: injustice of the cosmic variety.
But then, to use the parlance of our times, 'new information came to light'. At around the same moment we got word that the distributor talked Tooli into doing a proper release of Omena 001, the mailman unexpectedly dropped off a package with one of the magical 150. Divine intervention? Or Tooli being incredibly kind to us? A bit of both perhaps, but imagine us sitting here, tillating, typing away with Always playing in the back for the 12th time in a row. According to HNNY, you can't listen to this while it's raining, it doesn't work like that. That's a filthy lie though, it's pissing it down here and I'm having a ball.
Is Always the most sophisticated composition written since Mozart? Hardly. Will it make you cheer and dance? Most definitely. Because that's what happens when you flip that drumloop from First Choice, layer a vocal loop from Alphonso Johnson's Up From The Cellar (from 1976 release Moon Shadows) over it and mess about with filters and effects a bit. Someone described it as both very simple and devastatingly effective, which is spot on. Even though it's basically one giant loop with a few breakdowns, it never comes close to getting ploddy and it's impossible to sit still to. I really like how HNNY does not seem to care one bit about using obvious samples (he even released a string of edits of fluffy chart junk). So many producers go to great lengths to find obscure samples and forget about the dance floor somewhere down the line.
Oh and in case you're wondering, YES, it mixes into GOT's Luv Thang like the two were destined for each other. The full release (catalogue number Omena 1.5) will hit stores this weeks, and comes with the original version, a shorter edit on the flip and new artwork, which should please punters and collectors alike. Absolutely essential stuff this, which most likely does sound even better when the sun's out.
Buy buy buy!
The second release on Omena (which might be or not be Finnish for Apple) is imminent too, a record by Briton Mella Dee, who's done bits and bobs for Sccucci and other respected house imprints, so that's something to look out for. How you like them apples?