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Electronic/Dance - Released April 15, 2013 | Ninja Tune
On his 2013 release The North Borders, British producer Simon Green (aka Bonobo) continues along the organic-meets-electronic path that his 2010 release Black Sands followed, but this walk takes place as it's turning to dusk, and there are varying degrees of mist and chilliness along the way. Opener "First Fires" with Grey Reverend (singer/songwriter L.D. Brown) sounds like it could be quite warm, but it's entirely autumn-minded sweater music that wistfully wonders what to do with "faded dreams" as Green allows bits of glitchy sunlight to shine through his cloudy synth construction. "Emkay" is the clangs and echoes of a seaside port at night that wonderfully shuffles its way up to a lighthouse tune, then there's majestic songstress Erykah Badu wonderfully vibing ("We don't need no truth/Got plenty/Now it grows on trees") on "Heaven for the Sinner" over Bonobo's deep version of the broken beat. "Towers" suggests sleepy urban buildings in twilight with a vibraphone representing the little bits of life and light that will sparkle through the night, while "Don't Wait" is just before the dawn, as innocent chimes chase away the eerie things that lurk in the darkness. Still, it's not all drifting as the great "Know You" drops a jazzy breakbeat while the high stepper "Ten Tigers" struts to something sounding like an inverted handclap, although there's little here that will make sleeping cats jump off the couch. Fine song structure and an overall album flow that's nearly perfect are things Bonobo regulars might expect at this point, but his discography hasn’t offered up a rainy day soundtrack so fitting until this one, so hope the weatherman has bad news and plan on staying in. ~ David Jeffries
Electronic/Dance - Released February 22, 2019 | Fabric Worldwide
Electronic/Dance - Released January 13, 2017 | Ninja Tune
Following the release of his most successful album to date, 2013's The North Borders, as well as an even more triumphant world tour, British producer Bonobo (Simon Green) returned in 2017 with his sixth proper studio full-length, Migration. The album was partially inspired by his touring experiences, but also by the death of a relative. Green's family is spread out across the world, and they all reconvened in Brighton, England for the funeral. These types of experiences cause Green to question what identity means, and where a person is from if he or she is constantly moving. As with all Bonobo recordings, Green absorbs a multitude of cultural influences here, from the underground club sounds of London to American folk songs. Strangely enough, other than "Bambro Koyo Ganda," a collaboration with New York-based Moroccan group Innov Gnawa, the album somehow sounds less exotic than some of his other releases. This isn't meant as a complaint, though, as Green has always demonstrated a talent for blending disparate elements into a cohesive sound. As ever, he excels at incorporating acoustic instruments and drums in a manner that makes it difficult to tell if they're being played live or sampled and chopped up -- he devised an algorithm for the drum programming, yet it sounds human rather than computer generated. "Ontario" is built on booming, crackly breakbeats reminiscent of the classic '90s Ninja Tune sound, but the suspenseful swelling horns and delicate acoustic guitars and Rhodes keyboards take center stage. Other tracks are more club-focused and employ shuffling 2-step rhythms or thumping house beats, but the warm, emotive melodies are what drive the songs. Emotionally, Migration continues down the dusky path of The North Borders. It's not an outright gloomy or depressing album, but it's certainly not a carefree, relaxing chill-out record either. Tracks like "Grains" (built around an eerie yet homely Pete Seeger sample) seem world-weary but contemplative and quietly transcendent, and the Brandy-sampling "Kerala" is more outwardly ecstatic. The album ends on a subdued note with "Figures," which slices up vocal extracts from "Just an Excuse" by Elkie Brooks. House fans will recognize the sample from when Moodymann flipped it for his instant classic "Why Do U Feel" in 2012, but Bonobo's take is subtle and reflective rather than heart-wrenching, and it feels like it's approaching the sentiment from a different angle. With Migration, Green blends the unexpected with the familiar and emerges with some of his most affecting work yet. ~ Paul Simpson
Electronic/Dance - Released March 29, 2010 | Ninja Tune
Laid-back London groove maestro Simon Green (alias Bonobo) returns after a considerable absence (on the recording front, at least) with this fourth full-length helping of his masterfully mellow monkey magic. While it's not terribly divergent from the future-jazz cut-ups that made his earlier efforts such an instinctively natural fit with the turn-of-the-century Ninja Tune stable, Black Sands evidences a clear evolution into a more distinctive, sophisticated, and complex style, resulting in his most musically adventurous work to date, and certainly his most modern-sounding. Green's clearly been keeping his ear to the ground for a bit of rhythmic reinvigoration: the immediately striking "Kiara" reworks the hauntingly elegant string refrain that opens the album with submerged vocal splices and a halting, head-nodding left-field hip-hop beat á la relative Ninja Tune newcomer Flying Lotus, while cuts like the "Eyesdown" and "All in Forms" shade subtly toward the dubstep diaspora. Elsewhere, "We Could Forever" is a funky Afro-Latin workout riding an infectiously crisp guitar riff, and the scruffy, swing-inflected breakbeats that dominated Bonobo's earlier output crop up again on "Kong" and "El Toro." But while the grooves here serve quite nicely (and keep things consistently varied), it's the lush layers of unmistakably live instrumentation laid on top -- most of it played by Green himself -- that make the album really soar. That's especially true on the two closing cuts, both stretching toward seven minutes, which eschew electronics almost entirely and feel more than anything like dense, moody, compositionally intricate modern jazz. At the other end of Black Sands' polychromatic though tonally consistent spectrum are a clutch of cuts featuring the rather blandly breezy vocals of Andreya Triana -- silky smooth electro-samba ("Wonder When") and neo-soul ("The Keeper") that make for more than passable mood fodder but can't quite match the musical inventiveness displayed elsewhere (though Green does weave her vocals quite deftly among the clustered woodwinds and sparse stutter-step of "Eyesdown.") For a style of electronica (chillout/downtempo) that's grown decidedly dusty over the past decade -- even though Bonobo is clearly striving to move well beyond such staid genre divisions, and in many ways succeeding, that's probably still the best place to slot him if you gotta -- Black Sands is a welcome infusion of life and warmth. ~ K. Ross Hoffman
Electronic/Dance - Released October 2, 2006 | Ninja Tune
DAYS TO COME is the third album from Simon Green's downtempo project Bonobo. Augmenting his usual rugged breakbeats with elegantly treated soundscapes, Green breathes new life into a well-worn genre. The album features a slew of guest musicians, adding a wonderfully organic and vibrant musicality that's rare in electronic music. Rounding out this versatile cast are the enigmatic vocals of Bajka, who moves effortlessly from soulful jazz crooner one minute, to psych-folk troubadour the next.
Electronic/Dance - Released October 6, 2014 | Ninja Tune
Documenting a tour that saw some 180 shows played across 30 countries, The North Borders Tour: Live is a triumphant live album with British producer Simon Green (aka Bonobo) and his band delivering the goods. Recordings are sourced from radio appearances and Croatia's Pula Arena, but most of the set comes from the Roundhouse in London, a late-tour show with all the band chemistry one would expect. All and all, a fine souvenir. ~ David Jeffries
Electronic/Dance - Released March 12, 2012 | Ninja Tune
Simon Green (aka Bonobo) has always blazed his own trail through the jungle of electro-dance scenes and genres, and if his experiments and musings have sometimes fallen a bit flat, it's never been for want of creative ideas. His 2010 release, Black Sands, was very warmly received (partly because it came after a long layoff), and this excellent compilation of remixed tracks from that album should be even more successful. The remix artists come from all over the stylistic map: Falty DL is here, as are Machine Drum, Duke Dumont, and Banks, among others. Interestingly, four contributors chose to remix the same track ("Eyesdown") and the results are all intriguing: Floating Step lends the tune a subtly two-steppy beat and mixes down Triana's smoky vocals; MC Dels adds a layer of rapping; Arp 101 renders the tune almost unrecognizable, creating a booming dubstep atmosphere; Machine Drum turns the track into uptight jungle dub. Other highlights include Falty DL's eerily gorgeous take on "All in Forms," the slippery dub funk of Cosmin TRG's remix of "Tiara," and Duke Dumont's soft and ambient mix of "Black Sands," which closes the album. The program also includes two brand-new tracks by Bonobo himself ("Ghost Ship" and the beautiful "Brace Brace"). If anything, this remix collection is even better than the original album -- and the original album was pretty great. ~ Rick Anderson
Miscellaneous - Released August 12, 2002 | Tru Thoughts
Electronic/Dance - Released May 31, 2005 | Ninja Tune
Defining the "stopgap" release, Bonobo's Live Sessions is too short to really sink your teeth into, but satisfying enough for when you need just a little quirky diversion. Most interesting thing about the whole EP is how well Bonobo's clever studio concoctions come off with the expanded live band, acoustic drums and all. The trippy, noir "Noctuary" retains its theatrical moodiness while the jaunty "Dismantling Frank" enjoys an acid jazz improvement. It's enough to wish for a live full-length, but then it's back to the studio after four cuts. The all-new "Recurring" is pleasant enough and the Four Tet mix of "Pick Up" has some thrilling drum moments, but both feel like slapped-on B-sides or bonus tracks that have little to do with the live cuts. A nice quick taster of Bonobo's melodic and clever downbeat electronica for when you don't have the time or cash for a full-length. ~ David Jeffries
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