As one might have expected from his sixth solo album, ’Migration’ is from the offset very Bonobo. From the artwork to track titles to the overall sound, it’s undoubtedly Simon Green through and through (not to mention a few well-known features thrown in for good measure). And, after a four-year wait — it follows 2013’s ‘The North Borders’ — that’s all we’d ask for.
Green has always made textural, sample-based music, and ‘Migration’ is no exception (it even features the sound of a Hong Kong airport elevator). The album opens with a title track instrumental before we’re eased into proceedings via ‘Break Apart’, featuring Rhye’s heavenly vocals and somewhat pessimistic lyrics. This might have been best placed at the end of the album as, like a chunk of the LP, this track could reduce a menstruating woman to tears quicker than an RSPCA advert. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as ’Outlier’ gently protrudes its way into the twelve-song tracklist armed with an ultimately more electrocuted synth, to form the first of two seven-minuters.
Much like that 2am comedown feeling, ‘Second Sun’ arrives to change all of that. With its classical sections being so perfectly executed, and not a vocal throughout, the track is pure, heavenly bliss. But guess what — it’s not going to stay like that. ‘Surface’ (featuring Hundred Waters’ Nicole Miglis) restores a euphoric element to proceedings, while momentarily disguising the producer behind the track. Followed by the hypnotic ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’, which features the Moroccan-hailing, New York-based gnawa band Innov Gnawa.
But there’s momentary good news when the second round of seven-minuters reveals itself as that very well acknowledged feature with Nick Murphy, also known as Chet Faker. Soothing vocals and an off-kilter trip-hop blueprint create what is a classic Bonobo-Faker track — something true fans of the two could only have dreamt up. ‘7th Sevens’ presents acoustic patches and complete musical breakdowns aplenty, putting you on edge despite the overall calmness of the track.
Jazz-heavy, experimental but rooted in beats, ‘Migration’ plays with your emotions in a way that befits a post-break up period — and is yet another fine offering from the Ninja Tune mainstay.
Words: Mollie Mansfield
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