- The two versions of "Oasis" on this latest EP from Griffin James, AKA Francis Inferno Orchestra, are nicely realised recreations of the late '80s / early '90s "dream house" sound from Italy. It's a style that might feel familiar to you, even if you haven't heard of the scene. Dream house has the feeling of understated euphoria we often associate with the early '90s, present in music from The KLF through to The Stone Roses and the early rave scene. (The Dutch artist Young Marco is about to release a two-volume compilation called Welcome To Paradise: Italian Dream House 1989-93, which collects tracks in this "head-in-the-clouds" style.)
The "Celestial Body Mix" of "Oasis" is the dance floor version. The urgent early mood created by its chord stabs gives way to something brighter and more open, like reaching a clearing in a jungle. James uses pads, keys and historically accurate drum breaks to arrive at a feeling of bliss. The "Erotikk Mix" decreases the tempo and increases the humidity. The non-musical aspects—trickling water, bird calls, sexual groans—fit both the mood and the time period James is going for.
"Mating Rituals Of The Eastern Suburbs" leaves Italy and heads to Australia: the track is apparently devoted to "the humble inhabitants of the Burwood suburb of Melbourne." I can't figure out the social commentary James seems to be making (we hear the voices of these "inhabitants" at the track's end), but I can tell you there's a sort of primal energy here, with chants and rattling percussion that aren't a million miles from The Sugarhill Gang's "Apache." Oasis & A Time is mostly an exercise in mimicry, but it's an impressive one.
A1 Oasis (Celestial Body Mix)
A2 Oasis (Erotikk Mix)
B1 Mating Rituals Of The Eastern Suburbs