Simon Green, aka Bonobo, ought to be recognised and valued as one of Britain’s most talented and consistent electronic producers. Now six albums deep, Green has added to his impressive repertoire with Migration, an album that sways between both the familiar and the previously unexplored.
Migration takes you on a journey from the quintessential album opener and title track, drifting to the downtempo Grains, all the way up to the busy beats of Kerala (which includes a vocal lifted from Brandy’s Baby, a fine example of Green’s select use of sampling), culminating in the slow groove of Figures.
Along the way, Bonobo has continued to incorporate world sounds into his creations, with the eastern Ontario reminiscent of Terrapin (appearing on Bonobo’s debut, Animal Magic back in 2000). In the same vein, Migration showcases talent from overseas, and it’s fair to say that those who feature aren’t necessarily well known (notably, something that rings true throughout all of Bonobo’s past releases), but they certainly deserve to be.
Green delves into new territory in Bambro Koyo Ganda, seamlessly combining the vocals of the Innov Gnawa collective with a sublime house throb. Yet a particular highlight comes in the form of No Reason, pairing Nick Murphy’s (aka Chet Faker) raspy, haunting delivery with ethereal synths. Throughout the record, it’s clear that each vocalist has been married with Bonobo’s instrumentals because they’re a deserved, fitting coupling, not due to status alone. It’s Green’s signature, undeniable talent – his winning formula.
With each record, Bonobo gradually amends and adapts in his own way. There’s been no massive change of pace resulting in a shock to the system; instead, a genuine and natural migration – exploring, experimenting, but always remaining true to his origins. Whilst, periodically, there is a certain affinity to his previous work (7th Sevens evocative of the Black Sands era), Migration is nevertheless a finely redefined Bonobo.
Words: Connor Crabb