Album Review: Bonobo ‘Migration’

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I haven’t done a full album review in about a year now. But I feel the new Bonobo record truly deserves one.

On Friday one of my all time favourite producers Bonobo released his sixth record Migration. His music is magical, complex, and emotional and its influences are vast, it’s perfect. So when news came out about Migration I was very excited.

In short the record is breath taking, I need to give it a few more listens to see it rivals Black Sands. But it looks like it might. Opening track ‘Migration’ is an emotional jazzy electronic journey, featuring Jon Hopkins on keys. It starts of the album great. Something to already note is the twists and turns in this record, as ‘Break Apart’ floats in, its full of hazy, dreamy chimes and percussion, and Rhye’s vocals are the cherry on the cake. ‘Outlier’ takes things more to the dance floor, this track was made for the DJ sets Bonobo has been playing ever since he stopped live touring The North Boarders and it’s a great direction, key influences on this track being Four Tet, but giving them that Bonobo edge. I’m excited to hear the remixes for this track. ‘Second Sun’ sounds like something label mates Cinematic Orchestra would make, I first heard clips of this on Bonobo’s Instagram and I knew it would be one of my favourites, its so dense and complex it made me cry. ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ influences are furthest on Migration the blend of African and dance music in this track is astonishing. ‘Kerala’ and keeps things dance based, with a more garage feel, packed with harps. ‘Ontario’ is the almighty blend of all Bonobo’s albums in one track, from the trip hop beat taken to heavier heights, to the squelchy bubbling synths, horns and sitar. You wont forget this track any time soon. ‘No Reason’ is a slow builder featuring vocals from Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker. It again takes things electronic again, but it’s the perfect fit after ‘Ontario’. Final track ‘Figures’ is a sample filled dream; with nods to acts like Mount Kimbie but still keeping that Bonobo feeling we all love.

It’s clear when you listen to this record that Bonobo’s time on the DJ circuit has influenced this album a lot. Some older fans may not appreciate this change in pace, which is understandable. But of course an act has to evolve they can’t sit in the same pond their whole career, which would be even worse. Bonobo may gain a whole new fan base with this record, with its dance edge. But what this album does give us is an exciting change of pace, while still keeping the complexity of older albums, and in these complexities and emotional tracks, is hopefully what a new fan base picks out and makes them want to go backwards in Bonobo’s catalogue, to find the less electronic gems but equally as beautiful.

5/5

Key Tracks: ‘Migration’ ‘Outlier’ ‘Second Sun’ ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ ‘Ontario’ and ‘Figures’

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