|Origin:||UK, Europe & US|
|Label:||Ninja Tune (2017)|
|Format:||2 X LP|
|Genre:||Electronic , House N|
Brand new sealed 180 gram double album including art card set and free digital download voucher.
t’s been a long road for Simon Green, aka Bonobo, since his 2000 debut Animal Magic. Back then, he was seeking a bridge between *downtempo electronica and the more playful and experimental artists on his soon-to-be-label home Ninja Tune; he came off as a bit too fuzzy for the former and not quite adventurous enough for the latter. Over the years, Green has honed his craft, shedding his early Amon Tobin Lite image and taking downtempo more seriously as a genre. On this way, he’s discovered late-breaking success: His last album, *The North Borders, became a mainstream hit across Europe in 2013. On Migration, Green makes his most sophisticated record yet.
Green’s songwriting on The North Borders failed to match the sophistication of his production, and the album’s persistent moodiness grew wearisome. On *Migration, *Green has jettisoned the tepid slow-build dynamics: The nearly-eight minute colossus “Outlier” and its shuffling gallop of a beat leave downtempo in the dust, taking the listener on a journey that’s part Burial, part Rival Consoles. The song’s breakdown and slowly disintegrating comedown suggests Four Tet at his most delicate. These aren’t typical reference points for Bonobo, and show an artist still willing to seek new ideas. The piano of opener “Migration” is pulled from the playbook of post-classicists like Ólafur Arnalds or Peter Broderick and an “Amen”-esque drum break midway that amplifies the song’s sense of longing. The triumphant “Ontario” is the closest thing this relatively forward-looking record gets to nostalgia, with a booming beat and sitar that hearkens back to Animal Magic and other turn-of-the-millennium Ninja Tune releases.
Green continues his periodic use of vocalists to transform his ideas into full-fledged pop songs. The results in the past have been hit-or-miss, but he finds his stride here. “Break Apart,” featuring the graceful genderless contralto of Rhye’s Milosh over a sampled harp, is exquisite; “Surface,” featuring Hundred Waters’ Nicole Miglis, is even better. Nick Murphy’s (fka Chet Faker) “No Reason” is less interesting, though it’s easy to imagine how it (or “Surface” for that matter) could become a club hit in either current or remixed form.
All told, Migration is an impressive improvement over *The North Borders, *and easily the most listenable record of Bonobo’s fifteen-plus year career. It’s a record with equal appeal for electronic music fans and general listeners, something you could put on anywhere. Essentially, it recasts downtempo as a genre with more potential than party music on the Bosphorus.