Photo via Ninja Tune
UK producer Simon Green, better known by his stage name Bonobo, makes remarkable strides in his music with the release of ‘Migration.’ The 12-track album is proof of Green’s maturation in sound and concept, as he turns the dizzy and often incomplete feeling tunes of his past into full-fledged ideas.
That’s not to say Green’s past albums were bad. His 2013 album ‘The North Borders” had the potential to be something great had it not been for its lack of direction.
Consequently, Green’s previous ambitions of welding together slower electronica with more upbeat, experimental sounds didn’t quite stick. This time, however, all the pieces fit together to form his best work yet.
The album starts out with its title track. “Migration” is slow and haunting, with sparse vocals that hang above an interlacing melody.
“Break Apart” keeps the listener in a suspended stupor. There is a trance-like element, and Green rarely breaks apart from his slow wheeling concoction. He does however, transition into a more up tempo creation with “Outlier.” The lengthy song introduces new peaks in the album, waxing and waning from spurts of energy to relaxing lulls.
“Grains,” probably my favorite song off the track,” marks an interesting interlude in the album. It begins almost in a meditative chant. There are quivering instrumentals and transfixing vocals that cry out in the most subtle deviations. The song never wavers from its modern tantra, adding interesting texture to its counterparts.
The whole album comes together in fragments, like stained glass tiles making up a beautiful mosaic. Perhaps one of the album’s best features is its ability to transition from song to song. There are definite distinctions between each song, but the ending of one song fits perfectly with the beginning of the next. Even if the two songs are completely different in pace, it always seems like a natural transition.
Green’s use of vocals sprinkled throughout the album also makes it feel more complete. “No Reasons” is the best example of this venture. Guest vocalist Nick Murphy adds a new layer to the song bringing it out of electronica into a full blown pop song.
The album on a whole marks a crowning achievement in Green’s 15-year career. It draws upon the downtempo subgenera of electronica while still remaining open to the casual listener. It’s a beautiful piece that evokes a unique emotional response.
Bonobo is set to play Coachella this April, and though there are no confirmations on extra gigs, one can usually assume he will add more dates in smaller venues in between the desert festival’s two-weekend dates.