Monday, June 2, 2008

Onra - Les Chinoiseries

Les Chinoiseries
(02.2008, Favorite)
Verdict = J Dilla resurrected and injected with Vietnamese pop

I have always had swelling curiosity of French hip hop. There were a couple points in my life when I researched pretty hard to try and find some good French rappers and DJs and stuff, but I never quite found what I was looking for (for those in the know, please comment). Well, it has taken years, but Onra is now my first official hip hop acquisition from France. It is kind of funny because, while I can subtly hear some of the Frenchisms that I had previously heard in Onra’s beats, the album is distinctly Asian in concept and kind of negates the French tag altogether, so I guess I should probably throw out those first 117 words. Oh well, suffer with my critical inadequacies. Onra is on the beat meshing side of instrumental hip hop; keeping things in short, bite sized segments in order to maintain interest without the presence of an MC or vinyl scratching solos. Les Chinoiseries was culled from Onra’s visit to Vietnam where he dug deep for old vinyl and the effort pays. While the album still suffers from the occasional yawn worthy beat, the tracks on Les Chinoiseries are short enough to be continually transitioning into some beautifully culled Vietnamese pop gem set to a thick bass and drum. Among the thirty two tracks there are a few singles based on fuller Vietnamese pop songs, and these are certainly the highlights of the album, but the majority is simply high grade head nodders that work best as a chill back drop. All and all, the concept behind Onra’s Les Chinoiseries is a beautiful one and certainly worth a spin to send you deep into the Orient.

-Mr. Thistle

Onra on Myspace

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