Raz Ohara has been releasing music for nearly a decade now in styles between and around dance-pop, always with his voice as the centrepiece of the work. His recent album …And the Odd Orchestra intensifies the focus on Ohara’s voice whilst minimising the rigid boom-klick to create an album full of discreet, charming moments that promise the possibility of an even more interesting and original work to come. It’s a real departure for Get Physical and a bold move for a label that’s seemed increasingly bound to the clean electro-house they’ve raised, owned and caned to death over the past few years.
Ohara’s recent ‘Whitnmey Nah’ on Get Physical’s excellent sublabel Kindisch showed an interesting direction, very different to what’s on offer here… With this EP you get the original album version of ‘Kisses’, which is a good but not amazing pop song off an album that has better and more interesting arrangements. Odds on though, a lot of people will be more interested in the remixes, especially Pantha’s, but before we get to him, there are also two ‘Over Temperature’ mixes (one ‘vocal’ and one ‘instrumental’), to mention, both of which are overly Ableton for my liking—over temperature, yes, but also half-baked, very much like something Magda would have played (once or twice) in 2006. To these ears this is redundant, boring minimal that doesn’t groove. Next.
To the Pantha then: du Prince’s epic version sounds a helluva lot like him and not much like the original (as happened with his recent remix of Animal Collective). This is no bad thing if you’re really into Pantha, but in this case the effect is dissociative—the treatment of the vocal is alienating and doesn’t build from the melodic building blocks of the original. The percussion just keeps trucking along beside a truncated, demelodicised rendering of Ohara’s voice that feels shunted into the background to make way for all that compression and ping-ponging percussion. On the other hand, the track has a nice, gentle build and a typically slow-swirling crescendo expressly-made for an afternoon of swooning. Just make sure you’ve got a divan to fall across before you hit play.
Overall, this is nobody’s best work, not Raz’, nor Pantha’s. Check out Ohara’s album, but skip this EP unless you’re a Pantha nut. But hey, who isn’t?
Buy Raz Ohara & The Odd Orchestra - Kisses at
Tracklist: Raz Ohara & The Odd Orchestra - KissesA1 Kisses (Over Temperature Vocal Mix)
A2 Kisses (Over Temperature Instrumental Mix)
B1 Kisses (Pantha Du Prince Remix)
B3 Party Is Over