Bonobo is an English electronic musician and producer, whose real name is Simon Green is one of the veterans in the electronica dance scene. He has released seven solo studio albums, two live albums and several EPs, many of which we covered here at Sterofox including his 2013 masterpiece The North Borders. Lu actually had the fun idea to share his preference rank on his All 6 Bonobo Albums Ranked editorial. Today, we reveal #7 - Fragments, released via our friends of Ninja Tune.
What a start of this music year!
Bonobo's music is a mixture of different genres, including downtempo, jazz and ambient. After the release of his album Migration in 2018, Simon is back with a new album, called Fragments. We've been teasing you with all the pre-singles since he started the journey in October with "Rosewood". The LP features collaborations with prominent names like as Rhye, Joji, Little Dragon and Nick Murphy (Chet Faker). Bonobo is known for making the best out of collaborations, and Fragments is no exception.
For die-hard fans like us, you can split the album into 2 (at least on release day) - tracks we've heard, and track's we haven't. The second batch covers plbum's opening track "Polyghost" features Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, session musician, arranger, composer, music director, producer, DJ, orchestral conductor and educator. The list is long, but proves the skills Miguel brings to the table. This is the best opener ever. Cinematic all the way and it paves the way towards what's next - "Shadows" - a collaboration with someone we had the pleasure of interviewing - Jordan Rakei. This powerful collaboration showcases the best of both artists' styles as Bonobo's production takes a more techno-focused direction while Jordan's vocals create a truly atmospheric soundscape that immerses you fully.
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Jordan Rakei, an artist originating from New Zealand, has always been a rising star in the music industry. His tracks are rich and full of emotion, but his collaboration with Bonobo in "Shadows" takes the cake.
The second single from the upcoming record, titled "Rosewood", is a vibrant track that's sure to get the fans grooving. The tune builds slowly, with a balance of restraint and intensity. The first minute builds to the first drop as the song takes off. The percussion plays an important role in this song, especially in the beginning. It really sets the tone for the rest of the track; it goes along with the pianos and vocal samples that come in right before liftoff. As drums take center stage, synths come to the forefront soaring through the mix and shifting the intensity.
Speaking of liftoff, albums 4th composition "Otomo" is what excited Ivo back in November. It features English producer O’Flynn, who brings his own flavor and style to the tune giving us an even more energetic dance floor-ready track. Something we love Bonobo for, usually. Also, props for using a sample of the Bulgarian choir 100 Kaba-Gaidi. Easily one of the most magnetic tunes on the album.
And next comes "Tides".
Bonobo's creation "Tides" came out in October too and features Jamila Woods. It's a brooding, melancholic track that demonstrates the producer's ability to craft an incredible atmosphere. The song beautifully showcases the unique talents of both artists.
The music itself sends the listener into a deep state of relaxation and calmness, while also managing to arouse deep emotions. The production is impeccable; the incorporation of Woods' vocals is captivating and moving, creating a deep ambiance that plays with the senses and warms up listeners' hearts.
One can easily bundle "Tides" with the ease-in feeling of another of the new revelations today - "Elysian". Slow-paced, gentle, heart-warming. Just like in a typical Bonobo record, Simon does not leave listeners in the same BPM realm for too long. 2 of the most beautiful dance-like surprises "Close" and "Age of Phase" serve as album's dynamic and uplifting engine. The hard-hitter drums of the latter at 3:35 carry the perfect rave vibe.
The track features a heavy dance beat that is anchored by a thumping drum line. An electronic bassline rumbles underneath, giving the song an organic, tribal vibe.
The track "From You" is a clear representation of Bonobo's growth as an artist. This song is much different than anything we've heard from Bonobo in the past.
This song is a reflection on the dance floor, and it's absolutely brilliant. Over the top of all that stripped back beats and hazy chords lies the vocal melody, which is drenched in harmonies and exudes warmth. It’s the perfect introduction to the the album for those who are yet to discover Bonobo.
Fragments continues to flow like a river, full of different segments that leave listener without a moment of boredom. I couldn't think of a better closing combo than "Counterpart", "Sapien", "and Day by Day" featuring the lovely Kadhja Bonet.
Fragments is dance-ready, individual, uplifiting, thorugh-provoking and drenched in serenity.