Album Review : Migration - Bonobo

Simon Green, aka. Bonobo, returns to music following a three year drought in new material and a move to California with his appropriately titled sixth album “Migration”.

 

During his career Simon Green has already had to face a significant challenge in following up his near perfect album “Black Sands”, to which he delivered his most successful and popular album to date “The North Borders”. The release of “Migration” marks an even bigger challenge for Bonobo: maintaining musical and artistic credibility whilst simultaneously pleasing the thousands of new fans acquired through his mainstream success.

 

Whether Migration delivers on both fronts is still up for debate. Critics remain divided on Bonobo’s return. Some view the slow movement and softer dissolving sounds of the album as a brave venture into more subtle new ideas, whilst others view these same decisions as a means of avoiding risks and anything that might alienate fans. Despite Green’s usual beautiful composition and sophistication, “Migration” does fail to surpass the level of excellence listeners have come to expect from a Bonobo record and falls short of expectation. However, despite this, the album still stands tall as an excellently crafted and creative work. The production and formation of “Migration” still vividly highlights Green’s talent in crafting intricate drum patterns, utilizing unconventional sounds and structuring elegant string and synths sections.

 

One thing that is for certain is that Bonobo continues to break the boundaries of genre and challenge definition with every album. Even from his roots within the sphere of trip-hop, Bonobo cemented himself as a musician who could not be easily tagged by  the language of genre. Six albums later this still remains the case and Green bends the electronic music genre in every possible way. Throughout the album we can hear post-classical influences, splices of jazz, african percussion and even techno inspired basslines. This musical odyssey is highlighted even further through the range of featured musicians and vocalists Bonobo utilizes. Green’s choice of collaboration is incredibly astute, utilizing artists such Nicole Miglis, Nick Murphy, Rhye and even Jon Hopkins to elevate his own music, whilst retaining each their individual and distinct styles.

Although “Migration” might not be for everyone, Bonobo’s sixth offering hasn't become any less impressive and intelligent this time around and asserts itself as a welcome addition to Green’s discography.

 

By Seb Whyte