Bonobo: Migrations

Score: 9/10 – Animal magic.
With each new Bonobo release it’s becoming more and more apparent that Simon Green’s music is aging like a fine wine. Whereas his earlier works tended to lean more towards the playful side of digital sampling, 2013’s The North Borders marked a renaissance in the solo DJs career, with an ever more impressive song craft that had a much more sophisticated feel. Migrations takes that notion and runs with it, resulting in an album that may be his most accomplished work to date.
Few producers are as adept as Green at breathing life into digital music, and while it may contain a few less ‘stand out’ cuts than previous LPs, it could be argued that as a whole, Migrations is a damn near flawless collection of electro tunes that exude a wonderfully organic sound. His lo-fi, downtempo beats and sampled components are carefully built up layer by layer, going from gentle fluttering notes all the way up to a pulsing apex, before being brought down to earth again and fading out of the speakers like the end of a twinkling daydream.
What standouts there are really elevate the album further, particularly on the storming “Outlier” and the darkly tribal rhythms of “Bambro Ganda” featuring Morrocco-by-way-of-New-York collective Innov Gnawa. “Ontario” also holds its own, with its crackling drums and pulsing bassline a real joy to behold.
Like previous Bonobo albums, there is a sprinkling of guest vocalists, although in this case it’s much more of a low-key lineup. Ryhe’s Milosh drops a superb hushed aura over “Break Apart”, and the former Mr. Chet Faker Nick Murphy adds an understated charm to “No Reason”. Other highpoints include the sublime opening title track, slow-burning “Second Sun” and the shimmering “Kerala”.
The formula works so well that Migrations could be at home in almost any situation, melting nicely into the background if need be, but right there and ready to dazzle upon closer inspection.
Dan Ashcroft
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