Ahead of Onra‘s upcoming DC appearance this Saturday, we are taking a look back at five tracks from the producer’s highly varied catalog.
Onra – Don’t (Bo Bun) (2006)
One of Onra’s first credits is an album with Parisian producer (now based in Cuba) Quetzal. The format is similar to Stones Throw Records beat tapes like Madlib’s Beat Konducta series and J Dilla’s Donuts: short instrumental hip-hop sketches presented as a data dump of great ideas. One of the highlights is Onra’s exquisite chop on “Don’t” where a melodic soul sample is restructured into a swinging calliope.
Onra – Relax In Mui Ne (Favorite Recordings) (2007)
Onra issued the first Chinoiseries album in 2007 (the latest installment, part three, arrived in 2017). This album is a beat tape made of records found in Vietnam while on a trip to visit his grandparents and creates hazy instrumental beats out of the battered source material. “Relax In Mui Ne” from the album would later feature on a compilation from the Parisian store Colette.
Onra – Long Distance (All City) (2010)
Following appearances on All City Records’ 7X7 series, Onra delivered an outstanding album on All City with Long Distance. Moving through chunky analog synth squiggles and lush boogie productions, Onra created a fantastic 80s inspired full length (and how about that outrun-ish looking cover art!). The title track features an outstanding, uplifting vocal from collaborator Olivier Daysoul.
Onra – We Ridin’ (All City) (2015)
On his second album for All City Onra channels golden age West Coast hip-hop and who is riding shotgun? LBC O.G. Daz Dillinger. “We Ridin'” finds Olivier Daysoul crooning to Onra’s Minimoog flex on this slice of everlasting summer.
Onra – No Question (All City) (2018)
On the latest album from Onra, we get a taste of more boogie straight from DÄm-Funk‘s Funkmosphere club night vintage. Criminally funky synthwork glides effortlessly over slamming 80s drum machine beats. Onra proves here that he can deliver vintage soul with excellent instrumentation and hi res production values.
Onra and Devin Morrison appear at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, April 27th.