The art of the edit is no easy task. Change too few things and it’ll be called out as an unnecessary profanation, change too many and it won’t fit the bill anymore. Be it by extracting the track’s general essence, extending a loop, inserting a few percussions, recasting vocals, fiddling with the pitch, turning up the BPMs or slowing down the tempo and other sleight of hands… the only consistent nature of ‘edits‘ lies in their subtlety and wisely dispensed arrangement shifts.
Whilst some artists have made theirs this careful way of rejuvenating unknown nuggets and beloved classics – Jan Schulte under his many aliases, Lipelis, De Los Miedos, Moscoman, Japan Blues, Samo DJ and many more… the one that interests us today definitely counts as one of the finest acrobats in the category. Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Mori Ra makes his first appearance on Southern-California label Forest Jams, after doing the splits between Lyon and New-York, with a couple releases for both Macadam Mambo and Most Excellent Unlimited.
"'Oriental Forest' is a memorable journey into the lushest recesses of the Asian continent ; mapping the melodic richness of centennial harmonics, endemic tropes and contemporary alterations with equal composure"
This new four-track compilation of edits, ‘Oriental Forest‘, is a memorable journey into the lushest recesses of the Asian continent ; mapping the melodic richness of centennial harmonics, endemic tropes and contemporary alterations with equal composure. ‘China Airliner‘ opens the festivities with a silky touch, deftly refacing a mysterious Chinese folk-pop song. Taking the opening guzheng ballad and catchy vocal ritornello right over the canopy with an irresistible bass arpeggio for main vehicle, Ra gives the track an inch-perfect tempo upswing, precise and perfectly orchestrated. An easy-going stunner.
On ‘On The Edge Of Flip‘, the rhythm gets slightly faster, and even though Ra keeps superimposing layers in a seemingly casual manner, fusing variegated fragments to set up a fully-functional hybrid of stomping coastal house and crystalline synth-pop, you’re just left gobsmacked once you realise the track’s big-picture ends up clicking so naturally. Changing tone, ‘Oriental Gleaming Body‘ explores more spacious synthy horizons, taut chords cascading back and forth from an octave to the other, nicely counterbalanced by organic droplets and microcosmic bleeps and bloops.
‘Oriental Forest‘ hasn’t revealed all of its secrets and to say the least, ‘Groovy‘ grants a grandiose finale. Fueled on heroic guitar solos, languid vibrato and vocodized vocals reminiscent of Yellow Magic Orchestra in their heyday, it diffuses its fragile and haunting charm with absolute class. There is something particularly healing about Mori Ra’s utopian music. Everything seems in its right place, soothing and hopeful, light-hearted and flamboyant. As the world sometimes feels like turning into a stern place, it’s no surprise to see such a gem fly off the shelves in minutes. Brace yourselves, the no-repress is getting a repress.
Oriental Forest is out now, order a vinyl copy from Juno.
A1 China Airliner
A2 On The Edge of Flip
B1 Oriental Gleaming Body