mercredi 30 septembre 2009

Ocean Drive feat DJ Oriska or the french sound of summer

"Some people make it so why I couldn't do it ? I just wanna live all my desires"
That's the way goes the accoustic intro of Some people (mon désir) as well as its chorus. I didn't really took notice of this first single from Ocean Drive feat. DJ Oriska until follower Without you (perdue sans toi) came to my ears, using the same recipe, but englueing me into its musical mixture this time : same intro with a beautiful warm male voice with just an accoutic guitar which builds up with addition of layers of synthés, electro rhythm loops, sexy girl's vocal in french and anthemic catchy chorus.

I decided to learn more about who that Ocean Drive feat DJ Oriska project was and what a surprise : I found out the male vocalist is Gilles Luka, previously mindmaster of Galleon (remember So I begin, I believe and One sign in 2001/2002 ?) who wrote several hits for french pop/R&B goddess Nâdiya and went solo for a digital 80's influenced pop/rock album in 2008 80:08.

Ocean Drive was born by his association with two producers Just Uman and Nicolas Carel, and a little electro twitching by DJette Oriska. Although she is widely featured in the videos for Ocean Drive's first two singles, it is not her that sings the female parts in french but a vocalist named Sab.
I've read on their album's booklet french lyrics and additional production came from Johnny Williams and he is no newcomer in this business : with partner Louis Element, he was a leading force in the french dance music scene in the 90's, being part of Roman Photo, B-One and many more eurodance projects. He then went on becoming songwriter/producer with some real success as he was the one behind Allan Theo's hit album Emmène-moi in 1998 but more noticely the starting career of Lorie (writing and producing all her stuff for Près de moi, tendrement, Attitudes and many more). Another Gilles Luka usual partner in crime is brought in on two titles with rapper Smartzee. It is no wonder that with all the people and dedication involved in the project, Sony Music wanted With the sunshine, the album that has just been released, to become the sound of summer.

And I think it's perfect for the holiday clubbing, mixing 80's influences with elektro dance, french and english lyrics, male and female vocals, all together in a melting pot of musics. There's even a ballad, the touching and beautiful No one that was already featured on Gilles Luka solo album. His MySpace page reveals a new solo album (but in french this time) is on its way and the first single On s'évite (with a remix by Ocean Drive) displayed on his music sample player sounds irresistible : I can't wait !!

Let's go back to Ocean Drive and With the sunshine. The CD's first tracks are the two singles, Whatcha an all in english vocoderized and repetitive full on elektro number whose rhythm falls down in an odd calm pause before an electronical skat-ing. I don't understand its placing at #2 on the CD as I very much doubt it could follow Some people and Without you on the radios. But track #4 will for sure ! Because (connecte-toi) clicks on all the same buttons as previous singles with a great chorus and french verses and I can't see a single without these female vocals parts as the Ocean Drive project relies heavily on the DJ Oriska visual, even if she is not the one really singing. I don't forget these french lyrics make Ocean Drive elligible on radios in "french" quotas, and as that's rare in dance, a bigger exposure is guaranteed. With the sunshine (tellement loin) could also become single #3 but the lyrics are too summer-ish for an autumn release, I think.
I really like a lot We can make it, another all in english Gilles Luka song, and it is simply because the arrangements sound like a rip-off Giorgio Moroder's I feel love. That is not the first, nor the last, but it always have the same effects on me : I can't help but love this kind of disco with synthé layers constructed dance tracks. Don't give it up relies more on the usual sound but without french vocals so I guess it'll just stay a good album track. For nobody (donne-moi du son) is another Some people/Without you sound-a-like but the french vocals don't sound like being sung by the usual Sab : They sound more diva-like a la Geraldine from the Heben productions. In your eyes is a keyboard-led anthemic beautiful track and considering David Guetta's When love takes over success, it could possibly be promoed in the clubs to diversify their image a little. There's even bits of Visage's Fade to grey in the way this one sounds. Everyday is the one that sounds the more like a song escaped from Galleon's album but remixed with a little touch from 2009 and that makes me realize that, in fact, Ocean Drive isn't very far away from what Galleon was. There's only the additional elektro sounds of today and the french lyrics bits but the spirit as well as the lead vocalist are the same.
I've kept the two Smartzee featurings for the last as I thought they'd sound too R&B influenced for my tastes really. Digin' it is all rappin' it on minimal electro loops with a little bit of sung vocals but it is not catchy enough to follow the steps of Guetta & Akon's Sexy bitch hit. Your man has a stronger chorus and melody and a nice pulsating rhythm. Smartzee gives this track an energetic rap that boosts it up and if the electro/R&B trend keeps on building his way up in the charts, I think this final track could easily lift Ocean Drive ("without DJ Oriska but featuring Smartzee") back in the charts for a last round.

We're done with the album tracklisting, except for two last remixes, Without you by Romain Curtis, and the club extended mix of Some people. The real surprise would have been to discover a remix of the third single and then put a name on it. So will it be my favourite Because or For nobody, With the sunshine or outsider Your man ? Time will tell. All I hope is that Ocean Drive won't be another Galleon, two hitsingles, a further less successful third single and an album and off. Well, I know it may be just a summer project before re-launching his career but Gilles Luka has too much talent to just come and go from time to time in our CD players : there's place for him more steadily.

Just a last word about the dreadful multicolored cover image with DJ Oriska's sunglasses... the back page of the booklet has a way better designed multicolored look to offer, with a cola can with Coca look-a-like Ocean Drive logo and rainbow coloured soda drink escaping from it in a splash. THAT would have been a nice visual ! Maybe too camp, so uncommercial for the masses, but that's why I like it more...

1 commentaire:

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