Onra – Long Distance

The sun sets over a glistening Miami Beach. Clad in a pale blue linen suit, pink shirt and white golf shoes, you glance over the rim of your strawberry daiquiri at the peroxide blonde gyrating on the dance floor adjacent. You consider returning to the toilets before grabbing the keys to the Countach and disappearing off into the sunset…

Tempting as it is to continue with this clichéd metaphor, it does Long Distance little justice. Although the teaser video seems to pay obvious homage to Crockett, Tubbs and Rockstar’s Vice City, Onra has created a shuffling, deftly syncopated slap bass cornucopia that is far more innovative and original than you might initially be lead to believe. Back in 2008, following the digital release of his previous album, 1.0.8, Onra mentioned that his next full length record would be radically different. His stint at the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona (which also inspired Are You Satisfied, a collaboration with classmates Dorian Concept, Pursuit Grooves and Fatima), looks to be a big influence on his change of sound. My Comet, initially released as one of the All City 7×7 7”s in the same year, heads up the list of highlights from the album, sounding no less like future funk than it did 2 years ago. The track is vast, lumbering forth with explosive, crashing snares and a clinically obese bass line. High Hopes is a true neck snapper, with unashamedly filthy slap bass and echoing vocals provided by Reggie B. The Long Distance/High Hopes 12” released just before the album features instrumental versions of both, as well as a couple of other beats from the album, and is well worth a look. To The Beat has to be my current favourite, combining Walter Mecca’s chopped vocal fragments with a tight electro beat and hazy synths. Someone with Final Cut skills ought to butcher Breakin’ and create a video for this one – Turbo would murder this beat. Jeeps pitches down a vocal sample from Bahamadia’s UNKNOWHOWWEDU, and is pure filth.

Although there are places in which the influences of Onra’s fellow producers are apparent, and I find some of the vocals to be a little overbearing at times, Onra manages to weave a glistening 80s sound with fresh and inventive production. Long Distance receives a strong 4/5, and is available on double LP now, with the CD coming at some point later this month.


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