I’m just through a first listen to Onra‘s latest album and as you probably expected, it’s a beauty. Like his 2010 album Long Distance, the new record takes you back to the sounds of the past, in my case that’s the time when I discovered my love for hip-hop of the late eighties and early nineties. Among the many collaborators are Black Milk, Olivier Day Soul, MC Melodee, Suzi Analogue. For a quick impression of what the record sounds, check out my favourite tracks 5, 6 and 8.
“Fundamentals” is out today and you can get your copy from All City, HHV, iTunes and all good record stores.
In the decade since Parisian beat-maker Arnaud ‘Onra‘ Bernard bought his first MPC in 2003, he has not only explored several distinct music genres, but, with his already impressive discography of six full length albums, helped shape their development too. After releasing ‘Tribute‘, his debut collaboration with Quetzal, Bernard began work on the project that would elevate his status as a one-to-watch beatsmith, returning from a trip to Vietnam with a haul of 30 records from the 60s and 70s. ‘Chinoiseries‘, the album born from this find, replayed masterfully chosen Chinese samples with a signature neck- snapping swagger. ‘The Anthem’, the LP’s standout flip, quickly became an alternative anthem of choice for many a discerning DJ and currently boats over 600,000 YouTube plays.
Concept albums culled from Bollywood samples, 80s soul cuts and a ‘Chinoiseries’ sequel followed, but it is Onra’s latest project that has caught even his most clued up compadres off guard.
Over the last couple of years, Onra has been performing live shows with Buddy Sativa, who adds live keys to his infectious MPC antics, and, during rehearsals, the pair discussed their mutual love of jazz. ‘Indica’, their first collaborative lean in this direction, appeared on Sativa’s ‘Deus Ex Machina‘ LP on Favorite Records in 2011. Since then, their experiments continued, and this week, thanks to All City Records, a spiritual, deep jazz LP under the Yatha Bhuta Jazz Combo alias will be released.
The album opens with ‘Universe Is Love’, a tribute to Lonnie Liston Smith, whose ‘Visions Of A New World’ album is one of Onra’s personal favourites. The creative process employed on this cut and throughout the set begins with a crafted drum track or bass tone, onto which sheets of instrumentation are layered; mistakes, anomalies and off-kilter happenings are encouraged and embraced. The lone vocal on this otherwise instrumental outing comes from Brooklyn poet Aja Monet on ‘The Time is Now’, an introspective, questioning delivery that recalls the Nation African Liberation Arts Ensemble‘s masterpiece, ‘Children’.
A chance meeting with the late artist Mati Klarwein‘s son at an exhibition in Dublin led to the completion of this coveted package: the LP is beautifully housed by Klarwein’s ‘Conceptual Tree‘ painting, joining the ranks of other landmark albums graced by Klarwein’s magnificent art, including Miles Davis’ ‘Bitches Brew‘, Santana’s ‘Abraxas‘ and The Last Poets’ ‘This Is Madness‘.01. Universe Is Love
02. UFO Paradise
03. Dark Karma
05. The Muse Inside
06. Endangered Species
07. Honey, Hash, Rose
08. The Garden Of Heavenly Delights
09. The Time Is Now
10. Cos (x)
11. Untitled (afrojazz)
12. Wandering, Wondering
After a one week delay, the album should be in all good music stores starting tomorrow. Pre-order your copy from All City, Rush Hour (LP or CD), Juno or HHV.
Words by Gavin Kendrick
One of the best things I had the pleasure listening to for a couple of weeks is the latest project by Onra and his long-time collaborator Buddy Sativa: the Yatha Bhuta Jazz Combo. It’s a fantastic album paying its respects to some of the greatest spiritual jazz records out there, even the cover artwork was commissioned from the estate of the legendary Mati Klarwein (Bitches Brew, anybody?) You might have heard the snippets mix before, now there’s a full track to stream, and on Monday you can walk into your record store and pick it up on 12-inch vinyl.
Last Sunday, NTS broadcasted a b2b set by Jamie xx and John Talabot live from Miami, now the three hour mix is available for download/stream.
Zombie Zombie and I:Cube performed a one off live session at Paris’ Raspoutine, which you can listen to on SoundCloud.
New York’s FaltyDL has become a regular on our weekend mixtapes lately, so we cannot but mention his latest mix on Solid Steel Radio!
Chaicago’s Hieroglyphic Being grace the Boiler Room with a 40 minute mix, Bass Clef shares a new mix, and xxxy uploaded his latest show on Rinse FM.
Not exactly a mixtape, but a teaser to the upcoming Yatha Bhuta Jazz Combo album, a collaboration between Onra and Buddy Sativa.
And to finish off this week’s selection, here’s a true diamond: check out this massive Rhythm & Sound DJ-set recorded in Detroit back in 2006 (and don’t let those Windows sounds drive you crazy, unfortunately they’re part of the recording!)
Looks like Monsieur Onra is giving away an outtake from his Deep In The Night EP released on Fool’s Gold last summer. You can download this “unreleased r’n’b shit” from his SoundCloud page, always a good source for one or the other treat.
Taken from the forthcoming Onra album Chinoiseries pt 2, Dublin’s All City label is giving us a first teaser to the record.
The download should make the wait for the release more bearable. Chinoiseries pt 2 will be available on vinyl, CD, cassette and digital download from November 15th on.
It’s been a while, so let me just update on a couple of mixes I’ve enjoyed recently.
On the occasion of having a new release out, Dorian Concept was featured on this Austrian radioshow. And they even talk in English over some of Dorian’s favourites and his new material.
Another huge favourite comes from DJ Nuts, who joined Gilles Peterson for one of his podcast sessions. Over an hour of quality Brazilian music!
It seems I missed out on a couple of recent Hotflush podcasts, but the latest comes from Twisted and it’s a recommended download.
For more hybrids between dubstep and techno, also check out the latest FACT Mix by Hessle Audio founder Pangaea or Dark Arx Podcast #5.
How about the recent show from LuckyMe’s Jacques Greene on Rinse FM?
Circus Maximus have a live-recording from French beatmaker Onra.
Last but not least comes another fine mix from Dutch Sotu the Traveller. Check his website for more of those, including another recent mix for RBMA Radio.
Almost forgot about this one: Scion A/V’s Blu Jemz talks to Onra about his musical influences and how some of them literally ended up on his album from last year, the wonderful Long Distance.
Onra will soon be touring through North America, check the dates on his MySpace page.
Taken from the magnificent Long Distance album, the forthcoming 12-inch from Onra will feature to remixes by Detroit’s Waajeed.
Video directed by Donal Thornton, who was already responsible for the cover artwork of “Long Distance” and the album sampler.
(via Trees for Breakfast)