Onra ambles through Los Angeles, premieres 'To the Beat'
The inscrutable style of Parisian producer Onra can be ascertained by scanning the three club dates he's currently in the middle of.
On Monday night, he manned the turntables at the famed Funkmosphere, the terrain of modern funk messiah Dam-Funk and a temple for those who worship the four on the floor. It's an ideal fit for a man whose latest album, "Long Distance," riffs on the boogie funk and Prelude Records swing that Damon Riddick has so artfully mined over the last several years.
Tonight he's taking over Cinespace, home to the Tuesday night Dim Mak parties that perpetually resemble a hipster Hieronymous Bosch painting. With ample swing and '80s electro vibes for the Sparks set, Onra will surely win over the hirsute hordes. On Wednesday, he heads east to the Lincoln Heights beat mecca Low End Theory, where his fusion of rap, pop, R&B and funk will submerge itself seamlessly into the futuristic beats hammering out of the heavyweight sound system.
A decade ago, the chameleonic producer would've likely been making broken beat instrumental hip-hop for the beat-heavy Ninja Tune label. But in congruence with omnivorous bass music trends, his sound is unclassifiable -- sutured only by indestructible groove, sci-fi synths and rollicking drum patterns. Guest appearances include T3 of Slum Village, Missouri-based crooner Reggie B, and Hudson Mohawke collaborator Olivier Daysoul.
Shedding off the J Dilla comparisons that previously dogged him, Onra creates a strobelight-lit funkadelica, fluorescent beats that stay focused and tight amidst the amphetamine glow. "To the Beat" epitomizes the seratonin rush that Onra's tunes conjure -- proof positive that modern funk is not only getting its legs, it's displaying some fancy footwork. -- Jeff Weiss
Download: (Pop & Hiss Premiere)
MP3: Onra ft. Walter Mecca -- "To the Beat"
Photo: Onra. Credit: Onra MySpace