posted on May 19, 2010 19:00
Your correspondent predicts that from next week French electronica will have yet another global star. His name will be Arnaud Bernard, his first name reversed to give the nom de pop of Onra.
How do we know this? Well, because next Monday (24 May) Onra will release his new album, 'Long Distance'. It's brilliant, and it should make him very popular indeed.
Truth be told, Onra (right) isn't a complete unknown. He became something of a cult hero on the blogosphere with his 2007 album 'Chinoiseries'. The title is a French-ism that suggests 'Chinese stuff' but actually means 'bureaucratic red tape', and the music was inspired by old Oriental pop records he picked up while visiting Vietnam, his father's homeland.
Now back in Paris, Onra's attention has turned from east to west. 'Long Distance' is drenched in the old-school dancefloor sounds of Detroit and New York. One track, 'WeeOut', starts with a burst of good old-fashioned scratching before laying down some très '80s beats and synths. Other tracks are more soulful, like 'Oper8tor', 'High Hopes' and the title track. And the whole thing fizzes with electronica. To say it's certain to be the best French album of 2010 feels like we're damning Onra with faint praise.
As it happens, the record is coming out on Dublin label All City Records, so we can make an adopted Irish artist of him. He's even launching the album in Dublin, with a show at Twisted Pepper on Abbey Street next Friday (28 May). G'wan Oirland!
On a related note, the Irish-speakers among you will have noticed that 'Onra' sounds exactly like 'anraith', the word as Gaeilge for 'soup' (hence the title pun). Wouldn't it be gas, right, if he was doing a show in the Gaeltacht and he went for dinner beforehand, and for his starter he asks for the soup, because he's Onra and the soup is anraith and that's him and... Oh wait: this presupposes that he'd be ordering in Irish. And what if he decides to have the salad instead? Well, maybe because he doesn't speak Irish he thinks the server is asking his name instead of his order and he says 'Onra' and instead he gets soup! Wouldn't it be wild? Or what if-
CLUAS gaffer: Just post the link and the tune, you eejit!
Um, right. To prepare for the album launch in Dublin next Friday you can hear some of 'Long Distance' on Onra's MySpace page. Here's 'High Hopes'. Twenty-five seconds in, what does that keyboard riff remind you of?