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He’s the kind of producer who can simultaneously make you want to fall into a blissful sleep, but also get up and boogie. British producer Simon Green has been carving an impressive career for himself since the inception of his moniker, Bonobo, in 1999. And with more singles, EPs and albums than most of us dare to try and count, Bonobo has now graced us with a new, pounding studio release, entitled Migration.
Intense and pulsing yet all the while flowing and whimsical, this 12 track offering will build you right up, before dropping you quickly back down to earth. It’s the Bonobo sound we’ve all come to admire, but with guest vocals from such legends as Rhye, Nicole Miglis and Nick Murphy to boot, there’s a lot on this release to get excited about.
Opening title track, ‘Migration’, offers a mellow start to the record. A beautifully simple piano melody pulls the song along, while the drums shine. There’s little intensity in this track, but it serves well to warm listeners up to what is ultimately an ebb-and-flow kind of album.
What follows is a near eight-minute mammoth track called ‘Outlier’. But, given how ingenious this one is, you’ll almost be left wishing for it to be longer. Coupled with Bonobo’s classic sound are some samples that almost sound like they’re from outer space, this makes for a really interesting musical narrative.
Lead single ‘Kerala’ is light and airy production at its finest. Both warm and synthetic in sound, the track’s impressive intro features a delightful acoustic string melody, and only keeps getting bigger from there. Vocals, though simple, come in for the chorus and really add to the strength of the track, earmarking it as a clear winner on the album.
‘Surface’ is an incredible bout of energy that soars just about into 2018. Intense percussion drives this track, alongside the climbing vocals of Nicole Miglis’, whose sound when paired with Bonobo, feels like a match made in heaven. Nick Murphy fans can also rejoice that his soaring voice features on the track, ‘No Reason’. Yet another perfect match to Bonobo’s producing, it’s also welcome to have a lyrically driven song on the album amongst a sea of instrumentals.
An interesting choice of accompanying vocals comes in the track, ‘Brambo Koyo’. Featuring the talents of New York-based traditional Moroccan band Innov Gnawa, this track seems slightly identity confused. But boy does it work. The band infuses traditional Moroccan style chanting into Bonobo’s energetic electronic work and this makes for a real point of difference on the album. Make sure to listen right through until the violin solo as well. Like so many other moments in this album, it garners a huge “wow.”
Listen: Bonobo – ‘No Reason’ Feat. Nick Murphy