For seventeen years, Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, has electrified, mesmerized, and astonished with his downtempo electronic style. His previous albums have often focused on a specific moment in time while the music revolved around a central sonic entity. For his sixth album, Migration, Green heads to new frontiers and offers his most expansive effort to date. The result is an album that is akin to a lavishing experience.
Migration‘s beauty lies in many elements that inspired Green. Space, nature, and time are noticeable themes heard throughout the record. The opening title track is captivating, as the piano, percussion, and production cascade into a chaotic serenity. A Tycho-like ambient soundscape is channeled on “Outlier”, which slowing grows into a hypnotic number. The solitude and mystery of the cosmos, however, are mostly heard in the delicate and stunning “Second Sun”, which is more symphonic than electronic. The chilling strings and the slight touches of the piano elevate the song’s mystery. On “Surface”, which features the enchanting vocals of Hundred Waters’ Nicole Miglis, the sound of ocean coming to life at daylight is heard.
The collaborations on the album also have a notable effect on Green. “Break Apart” features the stirring vocals of Michael Milosh, and the song has the sensuality of a Rhye number. It is an absolutely breathtaking number. A trip to past is taken on “No Reason”, as Nick Murphy’s smokey vocals give life to this hazy, sultry disco-esque track.
Migration‘s greatest successes, however, are in the songs that reflect the album’s title. With the assistance of Innov Gnawa, Bonobo has masterfully infused north African influences with western ambient on “Bambro Koyo Ganda”. The track is a wonderful mosaic of textures, sounds, and emotions. The spellbinding “Grains” weaves together melodies from the Orient with a trip-hop ambience, creating a majestic track that would rival Massive Attack’s most intimate numbers. Meanwhile, the soothing and hypnotic “Kerala” beautifully marries the spirituality of India with the darktronic of Scandinavia. The song is absolutely enrapturing.
In its totality, Migration is complex and rich. The album reveals Green’s maturation and progression as not just a producer, but also as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and storyteller. It is not solely an album to hear, but a voyage into familiar and undiscovered places and spaces. We are fortunate to be guided by the slight and expert hands of one of electronic’s and music’s great artists.
Migration is out now via Ninja Tune. It can also be purchased on Bonobo’s Bandcamp page and the usual sites. Follow Bonobo at:
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