Having quietly plied his trade over four albums - as well undertaking remix and production duties for other artists - Bonobo (Simon Green) finally received wide-acclaim for 2010’s ‘Black Sands’, an exceptional immersive mélange of electronica. Smashing the boundaries of musical possibilities - with a subsequent remix of the album in 2012 - the thirty-six-year-old Yorkshireman now finds himself crowned with the reputation as one of the most pioneering figures in electronic music.
This standing is reaffirmed here, by the wealth of imposing talent joining the producer for vocal duties; guest of honour is Erykah Badu. On this outing, her musical sensibilities seemingly fit with Green’s like a glove; ‘Heaven For The Sinner’ manages to not only match the high quality of her past greatness on ‘Baduizm’, but inject a fresh twist, that leaves the appetite chomping-at-the-bit for further collaborations between the twosome.
Other standouts reveal the pure musicianship of the master at the helm. Lead single ‘Cirrus’ emerges as a sort of deep house affair; the intricacy of its percussion is a joy to behold. New talent emerges in the shape of Szjerdene; her jazzy tones feature on ‘Towers’ and ‘Transits’ - both tracks showcase sparse synthesized sounds, but most impressively highlight Green’s confidence to allow vocals to drive, mould, and energise a track.
‘The North Borders’ is a triumph - each listen is a revelation; seemingly it’s a breadth of work that marks a new, exciting era of electronic music. Certainly, its creator is destined to reach higher plateaus.
Words by DAVID AARON