Onra brings back the funk in ‘Let Me Fantasize’

I never thought I’d see it firsthand but it seems like the 80’s are coming back into fashion. Not the baggy jumpers with waist belts and woollen leg warmers (thank god), but the music. In fact, they have been for a while, sneaking their influences throughout every genre. Pop. Rock. Alt. But in this case, it’s funk that’s getting its turn in the time machine.

ONRA’s latest release ‘Let Me Fantasize’, a murky, heavily-laden track of signature 80’s style vocals and smoggy synths, returns Onra to his funk roots. This after a hiatus following the release of his 2017 album, Chinoiseries pt 3, seeing him revisit his experimentation with Asian-style acoustics and samples as with Chinoiseries pt 2 (2011) and Chinoiseries pt 1 (2008). ‘Let Me Fantasize’ rubs similarly-built shoulders with early albums such as 2012’s Deep In The Night and 2009’s 1.0.8, however is a more refined take on the funk motion.

‘Future funk’ is how I’ve seen this track described and by taking inspiration from the 80’s, moving it to the present and adding innovative elements of electronic, they’re not wrong. Understating Onra’s experimentation in his tracks would, in fact, be a crime to his signature style. His eclectic mixing and inventive track composition are two of his most exciting skills as an artist, however in ‘Let Me Fantasize’, Onra pulls back slightly, making the mix more coherent, smoother, fuller but nonetheless equally as auteurist.

It describes the pain of one-sided want in a stylised and upbeat way. The descending, bold chimes and warping calls at the end of the vocals as well as the then ascending, rambunctious zaps of synth create a shifting dynamic. It feels all over the place, yet in his strange masterful way, Onra brings it all together to form his most consistent and rich track yet.

This is the third release from Onra’s upcoming album, Nobody Has To Know, which is set for release on the 16th of February. It follows ‘No Question’ and ‘Not Long Ago’, telltale signs of a great 80’s influenced album yet to come.

WORDS BY JULIE FENWICK
PHOTO BY EDDY HAMRA

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Just doing her best to survive in the Melbourne jungle