Represented in North and South America
There are quite a few Raz Ohara stories that have been making the rounds, but the best one is perhaps the one about how he landed his first record deal: When his debut album Realtime Voyeur was released back in 1999, Raz was merely 24 years old and he’d only just arrived in Berlin. Here’s what happened: One day, Raz just walked into Kitty-Yo’s label office and dropped off a CD with some demo tracks. Since he’d run out of demos, his original plan was to return to the office later that day to pick it up again – but when he returned, he found the label bosses totally in awe and struck by his music, and thus a deal was made. It’s the kind of story that only gets better each time it’s retold…
Ever since, Raz Ohara has continually honed his production skills and refined his organic, dub-infused trademark sound, and yet the album he’s about to drop easily marks a milestone in his career. It’s a career that has repeatedly seen changes in direction, that has crossed over into techno and pop terrain, and that now sees him revisiting all the different styles, lessons and approaches of the past 15 years and rolling them into one massive oeuvre: Moksha. Accordingly, his latest full-length is jam-packed with intricate cross-references and wild cross-pollinations, while he’s making sure the vibe remains just right from beginning to end. A term like “dub” might be in the right ballpark, but you can also hear soul music on Moksha, at least hints of soul, subtle hints. It’s actually the kind of slow-moving, static-laden soul that can only evaporate from the infinite echo chambers of Ohara’s (dub) lab. Each track’s different, a world of its own. Extremely dense and yet transparently arranged, the soundscapes on Moksha are vast, roomy, and yet they remain somewhat mysterious around the edges. As if he was some kind of magician, it’s music that touches upon so many things at once, seemingly diverging, until it all converges back into a “whole” that makes perfect sense.
Strictly speaking, it does make sense, but hardly at first listen: Raz repeatedly makes sure the tracks’ ragged and tripping arrangements remain abstract just long enough to confuse the listener, until everything finally falls into place. Examples abound: Most beats and percussion elements seem to exist merely for themselves, usually dropping in when you least expect them – making the resulting groove patterns (and groove it does) even more miraculous and amazing. Elsewhere, warm layers of sound or frozen melodies appear out of nowhere, linger and grow for a while, then die down again. It all seems to form and flow at random, with tracks spilling over into the next, intertwining and flowing onwards: As a listener, you soon have to surrender and drown in these pulsating soundscapes, which Ohara wrote and produced single-handedly. Usually, he’d start with actual instruments and recorded bits and pieces, which he then reworked and sampled, thus blurring the lines between acoustic and electronic to a degree where it’s impossible to tell which is which.
We invite you to press play and listen to a recording of his club set.
Dates available upon request.
Dates available upon request.