I’m not an expert on electronic music in general. I’m also insanely late to the game on UK based DJ/Musician/Producer Bonobo aka Simon Green., who has been around since early 2000′s or longer. Being the out of touch blogger I am (don’t tell our advertisers please!) I hadn’t heard of him until a few weekends ago when a friend told me to check him out. We have eerily almost identical tastes in music, so I was sure I would enjoy listening to Bonobo. I’m glad I did. I was never up on much of the downtempo/trip-hop scene when it came about, but I enjoy a lot of music in the electronic genre. I’ve never been good with labels or grouping artists, but some of my favorites include Bibio, Flying Lotus, DJ Rupture, Diplo, Burial, Portishead, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Mr. Scruff, Four Tet, The Avalanches, Aether, Bullion, and Thievery Corporation. I pretty much just name dropped from probably many different genres, but to me they all kind of fall into a few key categories for me. Lumping them all together would probably mildly annoy electronic music purists so sorry in advance, but hey, I did start the review saying I’m not an expert.
On to the music. Bonobo is one of the more sonically diverse and multi-culturally influenced beat makers I’ve ever heard. After doing a little background research, it turns out he’s a talented musician, and plays a lot of the instruments featured in the albums and plays with a live band during sets. Hoping to get a chance to check him out live at some point, looks like I blew that immediate opportunity by missing his April show in Boston.
The new album features a mix of chill atmospheric beats, layered with samples and all kinds of instruments – sax, bass, vibes, strings, for an end result of a rewarding listen front to back. A few of the tracks also featured the soulful laid back vocals of Andreya Triana. I instantly recognized her voice, and then put it together that I had previously heard her on Flying Lotus’ spectacular Reset EP. My feeble attempt at covering a genre I’m not historically familiar with like I am indie rock etc leads me to make the only comparisons I know if. I definitely hear elements in this music which remind me of Burial, and some Flying Lotus, but there is a much greater feel of live instruments to compliment the samples, and in general this is a less darker work.
If you are looking for an album to put on and let play all the way through without ever hitting skip, this is a great soundtrack to a chill night out or even time spent alone, working, writing, or reading lousy blogs like The Giant Panther. All in all a spectacular album from Bonobo, and I would highly recommend branching out even if you aren’t terribly familiar with this type of music, you won’t be put off for sure, and you may just end up loving it.
Download Black Sands here
Bonobo on the web