At this point in Simon Green’s career as our beloved Bonobo, I am convinced that this human can do no wrong. Migration, as an album, strays away from Bonobo’s servitude to the dance floor, and is a compilation of what seems to be more explorative and mature content. Reminiscent of BADBADNOTGOOD, Four Tet, and even newer Gold Panda, aspects of unfamiliarity add a new twist to Bonobo’s otherwise soft piano and guitar sounds. Well layered, I noticed a growing texture of sound in nearly every track and it kept me interested where the bass lines may not have.
Different than previous albums, a heavier pop influence is apparent on this album with features such as Rhye, Nicole Miglis, and Nick Murphy, but Bonobo seems to find a natural balance with soft, ethereal sounding “Second Sun”, the worldly trance of “Bambro Koyo Ganda”, and the R & B groove of “Kerala”.
“Outlier”, holy heavens, takes a turn for the upbeat in the simplest way, and won my heart immediately. Simple downtempo drums, layered over a mixture of ethereal and cosmic sounds, with a steady buildup that makes it hard to stop moving. “Outlier” feels like a familiar house anthem, neutralized by classic Bonobo’s soft instrumental strums, and it feels damn good.
Every album needs a banger, so to say, and “Bambro Koyo Ganda” is it. An upbeat drum progression reminiscent of earlier work “Flashlight”, worldly chants, and a trance hook that is hard to escape, have my body convulsing almost involuntarily. Layers of bells, claps, and bass allow for 5 minutes of non-stop pulsating. Tight.
Seventeen years after his debut album Animal Magic, Green’s signature downtempo sound is still vibrant and relevant, as well as ever evolving, which is all we talentless people can hope from our favorite artists.
Bonobo’s upcoming tour with Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker will certainly be a beautiful crossover of electronica, downtempo, and pop. See it come to life at Red Rocks May 21st for what’s sure to be an unforgettable show!