Album Review: Bonobo – ‘Migration’

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The sixth studio album from Simon Green aka Bonobo, aptly named Migration as it is his most ambitious and comprehensive release to date, delves among the shared human issues we encounter through life and portrays them through exquisite sound. Boisterous and calm, peaceful and turbulent, Green himself says “Music is a reflection of life.” Thusly, we see displayed across Migration a reflection of the multitudes of emotions and states of mind that are incredibly self-identifiable.

Music has always held a strong relationship with people as we have used it for countless years to not only entertain us, but to convey our feelings. Yet no music from our past has yet to evoke the diverse emotion experienced through a lifetime in the manner that Bonobo’s Migration has successfully performed.

Admittedly, the album took a few listens before truly appreciating its beauty yet more savvy listeners may not find this handicap. The opening title track is remarkably peaceful at the outset–audio fit for a museum until heavy distorted bass notes spin the tune into a symmetric chaos followed by a more familiar Bonobo sound.

Bass drum beats and outside the box melodies reminiscent of fellow countryman Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet are prevalent in many tracks, but they are not fully analogous. “Second Sun” is quite a departure from past Bonobo song structures, as a velvety guitar accompanies various pitched percussion instruments gently joined by woodwinds, strings, and bass. “Bambro Koyo Ganda” takes an unexpected left turn after the first 90 seconds suggest a world-oriented ceremony until the ecstatic dance party begins for the final three-plus minutes.

The “Migration” is also applicable in other aspects of the album. The guest appearances come from artists who span the globe, hailing from such locales as Morocco, Canada, Australia, and Florida, among others. Applicable also in the assembly of the album, Bonobo constructed much of Migration while on tour…and like any good electronic musician he took sampled recordings from random everyday objects such as a tumble dryer and an elevator, to name a few.

The album sets off with an ambitious goal but Migration accomplishes its task of capturing a lifetime of emotions and portraying them across a 62 minute compilation. The diversity of music and the various emotions that correspond are atypical of a single electronic release, which really sets Migration apart from its contemporaries.

To purchase the new album, click here. For a full list of upcoming tour dates as well as ticket information, click here.

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