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Thread: Bonobo - Black Sands

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States

    Default Bonobo - Black Sands

    released Mar 23rd, 2010

    from the album - The Keeper

    YouTube - Bonobo - The Keeper featuring Andreya Triana

    from all music

    With the experimental warmth of '60s French films and the pizzicato flavor of horizontal hip-hop, Simon Green's Bonobo project established the welcome niche of a pretension-free, post-party intellectual chillout. An almost silent figure among Ibizian romanticists, Green began in Brighton, debuting in 1999 with a track on Tru Thoughts Recordings' When Shapes Join Together compilation. Though tempted by offers from Mute and XL after the official issue of "The Scuba EP" and the "Terrapin" single, Green stuck with Tru Thoughts for the acclaimed debut LP Animal Magic. Highlighted by downtempo dub, funk, and an equally likable use of sitars, Animal Magic was an obvious success and plans were quickly made for careful European support appearances, as well as a follow-up album, Dial "M" for Monkey, for Coldcut's Ninja Tune label. A tour to support the record followed and was documented on the 2005 EP Live Sessions. BBC Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson’s audience voted Bonobo’s 2006 effort Days to Come Album of the Year, and two years later the man’s live show would be documented on the Live at Koko DVD. After some time off he returned in 2010 with the Black Sands album, featuring the single “The Keeper.”

    album review

    Laid-back London groove maestro Simon Green (alias Bonobo) returns after a considerable absence (on the recording front, at least) with this fourth full-length helping of his masterfully mellow monkey magic. While it's not terribly divergent from the future-jazz cut-ups that made his earlier efforts such an instinctively natural fit with the turn-of-the-century Ninja Tune stable, Black Sands evidences a clear evolution into a more distinctive, sophisticated, and complex style, resulting in his most musically adventurous work to date, and certainly his most modern-sounding. Green's clearly been keeping his ear to the ground for a bit of rhythmic reinvigoration: the immediately striking "Kiara" reworks the hauntingly elegant string refrain that opens the album with submerged vocal splices and a halting, head-nodding left-field hip-hop beat á la relative Ninja Tune newcomer Flying Lotus, while cuts like the "Eyesdown" and "All in Forms" shade subtly toward the dubstep diaspora. Elsewhere, "We Could Forever" is a funky Afro-Latin workout riding an infectiously crisp guitar riff, and the scruffy, swing-inflected breakbeats that dominated Bonobo's earlier output crop up again on "Kong" and "El Toro." But while the grooves here serve quite nicely (and keep things consistently varied), it's the lush layers of unmistakably live instrumentation laid on top -- most of it played by Green himself -- that make the album really soar. That's especially true on the two closing cuts, both stretching toward seven minutes, which eschew electronics almost entirely and feel more than anything like dense, moody, compositionally intricate modern jazz. At the other end of Black Sands' polychromatic though tonally consistent spectrum are a clutch of cuts featuring the rather blandly breezy vocals of Andreya Triana -- silky smooth electro-samba ("Wonder When") and neo-soul ("The Keeper") that make for more than passable mood fodder but can't quite match the musical inventiveness displayed elsewhere (though Green does weave her vocals quite deftly among the clustered woodwinds and sparse stutter-step of "Eyesdown.") For a style of electronica (chillout/downtempo) that's grown decidedly dusty over the past decade -- even though Bonobo is clearly striving to move well beyond such staid genre divisions, and in many ways succeeding, that's probably still the best place to slot him if you gotta -- Black Sands is a welcome infusion of life and warmth.

    Track Listing

    1. "Prelude" – 1:18
    2. "Kiara" – 3:50
    3. "Kong" – 3:58
    4. "Eyesdown(Featuring Andreya Triana)" – 5:26
    5. "El Toro" – 3:44
    6. "We Could Forever" – 4:20
    7. "1009" – 4:30
    8. "All in Forms" – 4:52
    9. "The Keeper(Featuring Andreya Triana)" – 4:49
    10."Stay The Same(Featuring Andreya Triana)" – 4:45
    11."Animals" – 6:45
    12."Black Sands" – 6:49
    “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
    Will Rogers

  2. #2


    After listening through the album once, I am not impressed. Some songs are ok but the overall sound is so monotone. The beats and loops are all quite similar and you almost forget the music is there. On the other hand, the album is very high in musical quality, that is, even though I dont like it, all the song are very professionally done and are in a way very creative.
    I´m going to give it another listen and re-evaluate.

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