High Five: Onra
Multi-faceted French artist Onra might be best known for the neon-soaked permutations of '80s-funk featured on his lengthy 2010 LP, Long Distance, but—like any bonafide beatmaker—his tastes and production styles are widely varied. As his ongoing Chinoiseries exhibits, the producer born Arnaud Bernard also has a soft spot for vintage Southeast Asian music and hip-hop. His latest offering, Chinoiseries Pt. 2 (out November 15 via All City), once again melds those eclectic tastes into a deft fusion of dusty samples and head-knocking beats (as previously heard on "A New Dynasty" and "No Matter What"), so much so that we had to ask the tuensmith to divulge some of his secrets to us.
There is one main issue with Bernard sharing some of the top source materials (read: songs) that he used to make Chinoiseries Pt. 2: he can't read Chinese. So, instead of the usual artist and title information found in our High Five features, each track is basically anonymous, labeled as "Song 1," "Song 2," etc. But no matter, Onra still has plenty to say about each of his esoteric selections, all of which you'd be unlikely to hear outside of this illuminating feature.
One of the best samples I ever found on a Chinese record, I used this for "Remember The Name" on Chinoiseries Pt. 2. When I hear something like this, it only takes me a few seconds to know I'm going to make a banger out of it.
This is an example of a really good song with a nice soulful vibe to it. I made a beat with it, but it didn't make the final tracklist of the album. To find this kind of flavor on a Chinese record is pretty rare.
This song is a cover of Paul Mauriat's "Love Is Blue." I sampled another cover from the same song on the first Chinoiseries for the track "I Wanna Go Back," but it had different instrumentation. It was more orchestral, but this one is more guitar-orientated. I appreciate the dirtiness of the vinyl, too.
With this one, I share a jewel. It's one of the best samples I've found, and one of the best songs I ever found too. I love this tune. I wish I knew who the singer is because I'd be interested in searching for other stuff from her discography. I sampled it for "Mai's Theme," and, as you'll hear when the album comes out, I didn't do too much to it. It's just one of those perfect loops with a lot of emotion in it.
I have to share with you a very average track. I literally can't listen to this kind of thing anymore, and 95% of Chinese music sounds like this. Not impossible to sample, of course, but it's just really hard to listen to this kind of stuff for hours and hours. I had to cut it short.