Saturday, 7 August 2010

Onra – Long Distance [All City]

Shimmering 80s nostalgia channelled through off-centre hip-hop beats and an infectious wave of boogie enhanced synth funk. This is the latest album from French producer Onra, Long Distance echoes the late night cityscapes on its front cover. Hinting at DâM-Funk’s retro boogie, but with hip-hop beat tape style rather than a live jam, or Hudson Mohawke at his least ADHD, maybe even an off-kilter Discovery era Daft Punk if they kept up break-dancing a lowered the tempo. Onra likes a concept, his last LP Chinoiseries was made up of samples he picked up on a trip to Saigon and this one switches it all together to concentrate on a wave of 80s funk, boogie and R&B.

The cosmic mantra ‘I want to hear future funk’ on ‘My Comet’ ushers in the first wave of spectral soul. ‘Rock On’ brings the boogie, with crunchy snare hits and lilting bass. ‘Send Me Your Love’ manages to both sound like Phil Collins soaked in cheese and woozy nighttime cool all at once, straggling the line between the two brilliantly. Another highlight, ‘Moving’ feels like a DJ Screw take on Cameo, mellow slowed down syrup funk.

When Onra works with vocalists it all comes together brilliantly, ‘High Hopes ft. Reggie B’ echoes new jack swing and 80s soul. ‘The One ft. T3 of Slum Village’ spits some verses over old school clattering electro breaks. Its Hudson Mohawke collaborator Olivier Daysoul that stands out with his Outkast-esq soul, this works best on title track ‘Long Distance’ where we see him at his most subtle.

The woozy-tape-warp soul of ‘Don’t Stop’ is another highlight; you can just sink into this one and vibe off the space and funk of it all. The phasing hypnotic soul of ‘Wonderland’ keeps driving forward, windows down, sleeves rolled up into the sunset. ‘L.I.A.B.’ keeps the cut-up grooves coming that’ll make your head nod before oozing into the final cut ‘Cherry’, which shimmers with a late night vibes.

Long Distance is a fine album Onra commits himself to the 80s R&B boogie concept and pulls it off in fine style. Put this on during a hazy summer evening, put on some shades even though its dark, it’ll protect your eyes from all the umbrellas in your cocktail when you’re nodding your head to these jams.

Onra - Long Distance - New Album (Teaser) from enozoib on Vimeo.

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