With big artistic streaks and a whole lot of technical expertise, Portland’s Onuinu
Â hands us a formidable reason to take disco-hop seriously with debut albumÂ Mirror Gazer
. As a whole, the record produces a constant floating sensation. Take outer space, compress its vastness as much as possible, and churn it through beat and rhythm-making machines. This is whatÂ Onuinu seems to have attempted,Â resulting in a kaleidoscope of futuristic, celestial sounds of its own sub-genre.
Multi-instrumentalist Dorian DuvallÂ shapes all of the space on Mirror Gazer. The title track opens the door to an expansive world of synth-pop and funk before warping into the finest track on the record, â€śAlways Awkwardâ€ť. The sounds of lo-fi guitars and Duvallâ€™s light vocals permeate throughout the song, all over a thumping hip-hop beat. This tide-like progression of pause and crash continues with instrumental â€śA Night Withâ€¦â€ť and the sultry â€śA Step in the Right Directionâ€ť, remaining consistent through Duvallâ€™s airy artistry.
Duvall calls his creation disco-hop, but Mirror Gazer is a little more complicated than a clean crossbreed. He is clearly inspired by hip hop: the beats provide the backbone to his songs, every other layer aiming to keep things sultry. On the other hand, the record also features little bits of prog-rock (â€śMirror Gazerâ€ť), New Wave (â€śLast Wordâ€ť), and light rock (â€śHappy Homeâ€ť). Duvallâ€™s talent comes from the liberty to take from his predecessors and mesh them into something new in his technically adept hands.
Duvall is proactively creating a new genre, but itâ€™s no question that heâ€™s simultaneously making enjoyable music. Thatâ€™s why disco-hop works: It collides two worlds with other sub-genres to meld into a cool palette of celestial sounds.
With Mirror Gazer, Onuinu resembles the stereotypical cool kids of Portland: a little bit nerdy in some ways, but too coy and fun not to enjoy. More importantly, Duvall has confirmed that he is far from the musical equivalent of a novelty item. The talented and intelligent Onuinu â€“ and his disco-hop â€“Â is here to stay.
Essential Tracks:Â “Always Awkward”, “Ice Palace”