She DJs. She produces. She sings. She is a social media extraordinaire, offering some of the most honest and unfiltered commentary on the Internet (with the exception of Kanye, of course). She puts on an incredible live show, holding down festival spots, playing cheeky stripclub shows, and touring warehouses last year, and again this year. But Alison Wonderland, the golden girl of the Australian dance scene has reached new heights dropping her debut album Run on Friday. It is, so far, the essential electronic album of 2015.
Run is the product of Wonderland’s experimentation and dabbling in genres, leaving the bass on high and holding a clear mandate to make the whole project as earth-shattering as possible. With a booming off-kilter synth, Run is an electric opening track, overseeing the eleven tracks to follow. She then lays chart-killing singles ‘I Want U’ and ‘U Don’t Know’ on the listener; uncomplicated smash hits, which have held down high radio rotation.
It’s hard to slot Wonderland’s music into any single genre, as she flicks EDM, future bass, pop and trap in this album. The skill in this debut is how she funnels all these different sounds into her own unique brand. ‘Ignore’ is a grimey approach on Hudson Mohawke, whilst ‘Carry On’ is a future-bass banger with EDM strokes- co-produced by Dutch dynamo GANZ. ‘Games’ will catch the listener to be strikingly similar to Seattle producers, ODESZA.
Another real strength of this record, are the choices of collaborators that have been drafted in. Canberra three-piece SAFIA add swirling vocals, and tenses verses on ‘Take it to Reality’, which arguably steals the crown as the album highlight. ‘Naked’ is an angular bass gem co-produced with Perth up-and-comers Slumberjack. Her affiliation with Norwegian producer Lido is also well documented on social media, which has fruited ‘Already Gone’ and ‘Cold’ as co-productions. And through the multitude of collaborations, her classic signature is still branded on her beats.
With the exception of ‘One More Hit’ her vocals aren’t exceptional, sounding distant and filtered; actings as an accompaniment her hard-hitting production for a festival sing-a-long. There also appears to be a dependency for there to be vocals on every track. She could best service her music by writing more instrumental tracks, and then employing guest vocals where need be.
A largely unknown strength of Wonderland is her background as a cellist, turning an intimate knowledge of music theory into helping write bangers. This has translated into a precise approach, and clean production, where nothing feels unnecessary or out of place.
The progression since her debut EP Get Ready is a testament to how Wonderland has honed her craft. You can’t help but feel warm when listening to this album, that as she embarks on Coachella, she is about to break out of her bubble, ready to storm the world circuit.
Run is out now via EMI Australia