Boorane Thru Jazz To Mars
A collision of jazzy Russian hip hop and house with a taste of the Soviet space race.
When you consider the surreal amount of hype surrounding the electronic music that has been coming out of Russia as of late, hip-hop is a genre that doesn’t really spring to mind. Despite this, however, instrumental hip-hop has actually played a vital role in the growth of the country’s thriving music scene. One of the key players in this movement is Boora, an artist who is widely recognized as “the father of the Russian beat scene.” For his latest outing, Boora has teamed up with long-term acquaintance Krane; together they form Boorane.
Their first release as a duo, Thru Jazz To Mars, is an eclectic collection of tracks that pays homage to their humble hip hop beginnings while simultaneously venturing into a sphere of swinging house—resulting in a collision of timeless and refreshing sounds. The EP is coupled with an aesthetic that touches Soviet space exploration, using samples from long-forgotten science documentaries from the Cold War era with two classic hip hop tools: the Akai MPC 3000 and E-Mu SP-1200. The duo cites a wide-range of influences from Theo Parrish to Pete Rock, Miles Davis and James Brown, and it stands out that they have accurately captured and reinterpreted the sounds of their heroes in a manner that is instantly catchy, rare, and charismatic.
The EP’s opening cut, “Intro Kusuk,” starts off with a blast, sampling the sound of a rocket shoving off into space before sliding into a laid-back, bass-driven groove—which sets the tone for the ensuing easygoing journey to Mars. “Find The Way”—featuring fellow Russian beat junkie and label owner Lay-Far—is an optimistic dance-inducing pacifist manifesto that repeatedly states the incantation, “Love has got to find a way,” alongside swooning Rhodes. Sinking further into the dancefloor, “Floor Work” takes on a darker, galactic attitude with its hulking 4×4 pattern and a bulky bassline. The A side of the release is concluded with a brief intermission titled “Space Skit,” keeping us on course with our mission to Mars.
The B side of the EP takes a more relaxed approach, pushing off with “V Rhytmah Jazza,” the release’s most notable gem. Crafting a bewildering collage of jazz piano, saxophone, and soulful drum breaks, Boorane employ precise and frequent layers of pause that add a great deal of grace and depth to the straightforward tune. “Starlight” turns off the thrusters for a drift through the cosmos with phosphorescent synths and a repurposed g-funk low-end, before the release plummets into sluggish hip-hop closer “Nocturne Outro.”
Thru Jazz To Mars is as deeply-rooted in music history as it is with fresh ideas; and although repetitive at times, the EP admirably presents a dizzying amount of musical influences in a concise blend of everything that makes jazz, hip-hop, house, and the cosmos so enchanting.
01. Intro Kusok
02. Find The Way (with Lay Far)
03. Floor Work
04. Space Skit
01. V Rhytmah Jazza
03. Nocturne Outro