Oka - Music makes me happy...

With an album title like "Music makes me happy", I had high expectations from the outset from Queensland 3 piece outfit Oka. I must admit, its cute graffiti-style cd art did made me smile!


Oka describes their music as "musical traditions and cultures together – ancient and modern – black and white"... and they definitely achieve this with an eclectic mix of instruments and sounds.


The cd opens with the track, "oka gets ya high" which is a fusion of electronic beats, slide guitar and lyrics that, at times, remind me of Shaggy during his "Boombastic" days.


The second track "chihuly" is very mellow and lyric free with the mixture of Yadaki (didgeridoo), silver flute and soprano saxophone – this track was a definite favourite of mine – it instantly evoked a feeling peace and calm – music is very talented if it achieves this in my often chaotic home whose soundtrack consists of various cleaning equipment and two screaming children!


Track 3, the album title track, "music makes me happy" picks up the pace from the previous, with a funky beat and the return of the vocals, with the Yadaki sound reminding me of KLF's "Last Train to Transcentral".


"don't fight the feeling", track 4, again slows things down, with the vocals sounding very much like Seal, with the lyric of "don't fight the feeling" repeated and then sung in various compositions of that sentence – a very gentle track that again helped me to chill out.


Track 5 - "old skool" - takes a less is more approach, with a teasing sound and phat sounding beats and a mass of electronic noises intersecting the track, again, with a lack of lyrics. Then "island time", sixth on the CD, starts off slowly but gradually picks up the pace, with a relaxed sound and no vocals.


That is where my individual rundown of each song ends. The final 5 tracks had a very similar sound, all consisting of no vocals and different configurations of their instruments of choice. In particular, track 9 and 10 both have a background noise that I found very annoying. On first listen I thought these two tracks were one and the same and had to check my cd player quite a few times to see when the change in track happened!


The CD, to begin with, had each track having a definite differentiation from the last, with Oka alternating between fast and slow, some instrumental, some with lyrics. Then from track 7 onwards all the songs start blending into one another, with no lyrics and no distinct individual sound for each song.


Perhaps I need to see them live to experience them properly – their live performances are described as "amazing onstage energy and emotionally charged..." - which makes me think that perhaps some of this, in my personal opinion, has not made the transition from stage to CD. In all, Oka's music made me happy... sometimes... with the first 6 tracks perhaps a perfect dinner or bedroom musical accompaniment.

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