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Monday, Nov 14 2011 | 13:14 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

Onra (Arnaud Bernard) is a music producer from Paris, France. Coming mostly from a hip-hop background, his inspirations vary from genres such as soul, funk, jazz, reggae, boogie, modern soul, R’n’B, dub, world, prog rock, to name a few. He first appeared on the collab-album “Tribute” in 2006 with other french producer and friend, Quetzal, a hip-hop tribute to soul music which was played several times by Gilles Peterson, Benji B and covered on

He and his trusty two Akai MPC1000 samplers have toured Japan, China, North America, New Zealand, Viet Nam and all across Europe.

‘Same Same but Different’, the familiar phrase heard throughout south east Asia, is a perfect description to characterize Onra’s latest project, a follow up to his 2007 LP – Chinoiseries. So almost five years later, here we go back on the trail of another Asian beat journey with 32 hip-hop instrumentals inspired by Chinese and Vietnamese music.

A lot has happened in between: The Big Payback with Byron the Aquarius, a beats LP “1.0.8” plus 2010’s acclaimed boogie tinged hip-hop LP “Long Distance” while along the way he’s revisited South East Asia on a few occasions adding to his Asian record stack on each occasion. The exotic, mysterious pop and folk Chinese records of the 60s and 70s with their epic operatic and orchestral feel and sealed from the Western counter culture rumblings of the time, not to mention alive with vintage vinyl hiss and crackle, may not seem the easiest source material to work with but after hermetically sealing himself in his Parisian beat cave Onra has come with a more than worthy return for all the time and money spent in the vinyl basements and backrooms of the Far East. There’s ample variation but a coherent whole, from the more electronic feel of “A New Dynasty” and “All Night”, to the soundtrack vibe of “Mai’s Theme” and “Fight Or Die” and the straight beat sound of “No Matter What” and “Remember The Name” and he’s even found some breaks. Inspired by the idea of the LP as a sequence of film scenes this intense burst of beats and distinct vibes form an accomplished rounded full length.

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