A successful career spanning the course of over 16 years is not something to be scoffed at in today’s music industry. With artists fading into the background as quickly as they spring to fame, maintaining a certain degree of relevance is becoming increasingly difficult. For Simon Green, aka Bonobo, his long lasting career is a testament to the ever evolving musical talents demonstrated time and time again over the years. In his sixth album, ‘Migration’, Green could possibly touch his widest audience yet, with a powerful and sensitive work of music.
As the title suggests, the album is thematically based in places, travel and moving to and from different corners of the globe. Green explains “It’s interesting how one person will take an influence from one part of the world and move with that influence and affect another part of the world. Over time, the identities of places evolve.” The album begins with a track laced in hope and a delicate playing of a ride cymbal. This progressively get louder and is joined by a more intense drum break as the track reaches its emotional climax. Unsurprisingly, hope is a reoccurring feeling throughout the album. A feeling that is present in everyone who migrates or travels to another part of the globe.
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The following song, ‘Break Apart’ presents a more solemnly emotive mood with Michael Milosh from RnB group Rhye delivering some hauntingly beautiful lyrics. “We’ve thrown apart these pieces/So I don’t go home”, depicts this mood that Green creates on the track with soft guitar arpeggios. In addition to this, the album features vocal contributions from Nicole Miglis, Innov Gnawa and Nick Murphy, all who have differing and distinctive inputs on the album. In particular, the track with Nick Murphy offers a 7 minute emotional journey over a minimal underlying beat, and is definitely a standout in the track list.
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The percussion, drum work and sampling is brilliant from Green once again, with tracks such as ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ and ‘Kerela’ being reflective of his years of experience in this musical realm. However, it is on the more atmospheric and ambient moments on ‘Migration’ that we hear some of his most unique work to date. Tracks such as ‘Second Sun’ and ‘Figures’ offer moments of pure bliss and beautiful string instrumentation. The ending of the album on ‘Figures’ fades into nothingness as the string section is slowly engulfed by reverb.
‘Migration’ stays true to itself thematically as Green takes us all around the world, to the different places where he started, worked on or finished the 12 tracks on the album. A wonderful trip into Green’s mindset, the beautiful and evocative nature of the album speaks on a personal level to those who have migrated or seen first hand the highs and lows that come from moving to another part of the world.
‘Migration’ is out now via Ninja Tune.