New music from Simon Green aka Bonobo is always an event, but when it heralds the arrival of a whole new album, it’s really something to get excited about. The masterful, magisterial “Migration” is Green’s sixth album and it’s a record which cements his place in the very highest echelons of electronic music and beyond. By turns lush, manic, beautiful, melancholy, joyful, packed with both emotion and technical skill, this is perhaps his most ambitious attempt yet to capture the very textures of human existence in his work, as Green says of the broad dynamics on the album, “Life has highs, lows, loud and quiet moments, beautiful ones and ugly ones. Music is a reflection of life.”
‘Kerala’ itself was the very first track Green recorded for the new record, putting together a rough version of it on the tour bus while DJing across the States in 2014. It’s both a classic piece of Bonobo music and a development, all arpeggiated, twisted, layered strings and shuffling dancefloor rhythm. The music gradually builds until his introduction of a sample from RnB singer Brandy, itself cut up and dealt with as a further texture, with the whole sitting in a sweetspot of uplifting euphoria that he’s so adept at finding.
A contemporary of artists of the status of Four Tet, Jon Hopkins and Caribou, Bonobo also counts among his famous fans the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, Disclosure, Diplo and Warpaint. His 2013 album “The North Borders” went Top 30 in the UK and was number 1 in the electronic charts in both the US and UK. In support of that record, the 12 piece band Green runs played 175 shows worldwide, including two sell outs at the Sydney Opera House, an all-day festival at the Roundhouse and a sold out show at Alexandra Palace plus a number of high profile festival slots. Bonobo has built a large, loyal and engaged global fanbase: over half a million album sales and over one hundred and fifty million streams on Spotify point to the levels of success achieved by this quiet, self-effacing man. It might be difficult to imagine it, but “Migration” will take his beautiful, emotive, intricate music to an even bigger audience. “My own personal idea of identity has played into this record and the theme of migration,” Green explains. “Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around?” The personal, it seems, can also be universal.
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2. Break Apart (feat. Rhye)
5. Second Sun
6. Surface (feat. Nicole Miglis)
7. Bambro Koyo Ganda (feat. Innov Gnawa)
10. No Reason (feat. Nick Murphy)
11. 7th Sevens