Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Hanna-Mari Ojala a.k.a H-M O (Finland) – Hello? (sample track from recently released EP Weird and Proud)

‘Hello’ was the first ever song played on NMC, the catchy Dragonette one and by way of an introduction to the publication, and maybe it’s time to say hello again, with or without the question mark.

The Swedish label Lamour seems to be branching out recently, having signed up the Norwegian SkarWorX this year.

The latest offering is from Hanna-Mari Ojala or H-M O, a self-taught artist and poet from Oulu, Finland, who especially enjoys creating experimental electronic music because of the freedom it gives her. She loves conjuring up worlds with sounds, like painting with vibes or translating energies into tunes.

Is it just this particular genre that specialises in the shortening of artist names to initials? I know Anna-Karin Berglund, or AKB as she is better known, has been a regular on the label for years.

H-M O describes herself as an artist who loves to surprise herself by combining elements that when put together comprise something completely unexpected, a whole new entity larger and more complex than its parts, which she calls “divine coincidence”.

Because she started making music from a place of childlike curiosity and a desire to play, she believes her sound is free and expressive in essence and she hopes her “spirit for inquiry” converts into tones, beats and lyrics which together compose “a rather original delight.”

The mantra behind the EP ‘Weird & Proud’ was to let improvisation and intuition be her guide. She wanted to try and create music that would be both ‘far out there‘ and ‘deep in here‘, in other words, something that the listener would not only feel deep in their body but also get fuel from for their mind and spirit.

‘Far out there’ certainly applies to the opening part of ‘Hello?’ where it sounds like Ground Control is trying to establish contact with Major Tom; Dr Who with the Daleks, or Quatermass with something in The Pit.

But she’s “a passionate lover of space sounds and beats to move one’s feet too” and they quickly take shape, in the form of something not that far removed from a Caribbean steel-drum beat.

The track is split nicely by a short bridge I suppose you’d call it, which could be the soundtrack to a Disney or Pixar film where there is some sort of subterfuge going on which will help a downcast character to prevail against all the odds. Think WALL-E or Inside Out for example.

I like music which can evoke such images and the more I listened to the track the more I recalled an event I went to five years ago at the Manchester International Festival, namely a virtual reality experience created by Laurie Anderson which took you to the Moon and beyond from the comfort of your seat courtesy of your little headset.

‘Hello?’ would fit that audio visual experience perfectly. It seems H-M O considers the album to be almost like a journey to outer space and apparently Anderson has plans for something more ambitious still so it might do yet.

Find her on:



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