The Pick: Ogranya's "Sacred Forest"
Our song of the week!
Not many artists in modern times are big proponents of the volume strategy popularized by American rappers in the mixtape era and characterized by a consistent barrage of new music that maintains aesthetic and sonic cohesion. Mostly popular with rap music, this system has recorded excellent success for artists outside the genre globally. Yet, it is not one many alternative African acts are comfortable pursuing. Possibly due to fears of saturation or an inability to maintain the pressure, it is usually reserved for a class of artistes both skilled enough to navigate the dangers of complacency and rejection.
Ogranya is a veteran of sorts thanks to his impressive catalogue, one he has acquired over the last three years. His latest deluge of music has employed the aforementioned strategy to significant effect and has seen him release 16 singles (and a joint tape for fun) so far this year, starting off in January at an average of two and a half singles a month. More than just an opportunity to flex his phenomenal work rate, the singles have served as the buildup for the mysterious Project 52 and have shown a varied range of R&B-influenced records that draw inspiration from over half a century of styles and are tied together by his electronic touch.
His latest effort in the series titled “Sacred Forest” is a brilliant attempt at stripped-down, guitar-led, acoustic R&B. The emotive record is the perfect platform for a duet and Tchelle provides the perfect supporting act in the ballad, taking the second verse and singing an additional bridge for the two-minute cut. Very few independent artists are capable of taking a considered, time-intensive approach such as this to unveil new music, nor should they be if they do not possess such an extensive back catalogue. Yet, Ogranya’s recent exploits show that it is possible to maintain deliberate control over one’s art, from the staggered approach to the uniformity across motifs and soundscapes. The costs of being an independent artist are quite steep, evidenced by Ogranya’s daylighting as an architect. Moonlighting as an artist seems set to pay dividends if his latest releases have anything to say about it, though as major labels are sure to pay attention to more than the music. The strategy has built muted anticipation for the impending project, yet the quality of the music nullifies the need for any; Project 52 will almost certainly bear the weight of expectations as far the Nigerian R&B scene goes as well as pushing the envelope for our ingenious crop of songwriters.