Who is Onra? A maker of music of Vietnamese descent who lives in Paris; is that specific enough for you? I wrote about him before, when he created an awesomely slowdown-dreamy remix of Disclosure's 'F For You'. Only checking out his stuff when it appears in front of me, rather than actively seeking it out, I'm surprised that I don't indeed search it out – cause it's real nice yo. This time around we have a tasty little number from a compilation by "brick-and-click" clothing-etc. store Colette called French Kisses; essentially it's a Valentine's Day compilation. 'Gonna Make You Mine' – a romantic title, of course – is Onra's offering to this compilation.
Fading into your mind with a future funk feel – carried by a beat with plunging kicks, crashing snare, skiffly rush of hi-hats – the song is an instant body-mover. At least, for me it is. Maybe I'm just impressionable. But with that bass, bulging and pulsing along with the accented bass drum, it's difficult not to be dragged onto the virtual dancefloor. Minimalist funk chords in popping palm-mutedness whistle by, with occasional saxophone aching into the mix with supreme nocturnal romance flavours — cut-up vocal samples seem to be set to flanger, sounding like a synchronised crowd of voices. That's before the vocal samples proper come in (after a break with sharp-sharp cymbals), singing soulfully with reverb added, dew-dropped with glistens of icy synth.
It's a heavenly sound that takes the "piracy" of hip hop and sets it to work in a less brutal way, preserving sounds and snippets in order to build a neo-soulfunk track, rather than cutting sounds to insert above an equally cut-up beat; this – and some other recent tracks of Onra – suggest that this musicmaker, usually associated with hip hop, is taking a swerving towards something different. Not necessarily something new – just look at the vaporwave pirate-punks and Keats Collective's future funk, for instance – but certainly something full of life and worthy of a larger audience. Also, it just so happens to be a perfect sound for a Valentine's Day compilation: smooth, dance-inducing, flavourful.
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