REVIEW: Onra – Long Distance

Out this month on All City Records is Long Distance, the latest album from Parisian native Onra. Long Distance is Onra’s third solo album following 2007’s Chinoiseries and 2009’s 1.0.8 and marks a distinct progression for Onra as a musician and beat-maker into producing tracks which feel very much like complete songs.

21 tracks deep, the album encapsulates the sounds of 80s soul and disco classics, late 90s hip-hop and the modern electro beats scene, all fused together to create Long Distance. Imagine a soundclash between Mtume, The Hitmen and Hudson Mohawke inside the Pyramide du Louvre, and you’re not too far from Onra’s future funk!

Tracklisting:

01. Intro
02. My Comet
03. My Mind Is Gone feat. Olivier Daysoul
04. Rock On
05. Sitting Back
06. High Hopes feat. Reggie B
07. Girl
08. Send Me Your Love
09. We Out feat. Buddy Sativa
10. Moving
11. Mechanical
12. Don’t Stop
13. The One feat. T3 from Slum Village
14. Oper8tor
15. Long Distance feat. Olivier Daysoul
16. Tape This
17. To The Beat feat. Walter Mecca
18. Wonderland
19. Jeeps
20. L.I.A.B.
21. Cherry (Outro)

Long Distance is a very good album, although honestly speaking, it’s not massively inventive and Onra has clearly been particularly inspired by Dam-Funk’s groove renaissance, substituting Dam-Funk’s live approach for a greater reliance on samples. 80s funk-boogie aficionados will notice the incorporation of lots of classic jams into Long Distance; the album’s lead singles High Hopes (featuring Reggie B) and Long Distance (featuring Olivier Daysoul) are essentially modern interpretations of S.O.S. Band’s track High Hopes and Carol Williams’ track Have You For My Love, respectively.

In addition to those features, there are guest appearances from Satvia on We Out Buddy, Walter Mecca on To The Beat and T3 from Slum Village on The One, amidst what is predominantly an instrumental album. Onra fans may recognise My Comet from the All City 7X7 Beat Series released in 2008. Don’t Stop is definitely another one of the standout tracks for me, with banging drums, squelchy guitar licks and celestial synthesizers executed to perfection – this one ticks all of the boxes!

Overall, the music is simple but remarkably effective – punchy kicks and obnoxiously reverb-heavy snares and hand claps form banging catchy drum loops. The bass grooves are repetitive, always funky and precisely in-the-pocket, and the head-nodding rhythms are flawlessly laced with suitable sample chops, warm pads and silky synth lines. Long Distance is absolutely jam-packed with good vibes and is definitely an essential for the clubs and parties!

mp3: Onra – Don’t Stop