Simon Green (aka Bonobo) is another artist on his fourth album and everybody has said that it is his most accomplished album to date; the magnificent Black Sands is proof indeed that it is.
With the recent interview with Gilles Peterson already promoting the new album a couple of weeks back, we already knew about ‘The Keeper’ as it was a previous single (see review HERE) but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a stand-out track with it’s downtempo gospel groove with jazzy vibes.
And we knew about ‘Eyesdown’, a track that’s been remixed by Floatiing Points, Warrior One, Appleblim & Kononazmuk no less, as that also features Andreya Triana; who is now a Ninja Tune signing in her own right and has been working with Simon on her own album and single, Lose Where I Belong that’s coming out very soon.
Would this mean the rest of the album would be less focused or wanting? Well you won’t be surprised to here that the opening tracks ‘Kiara’ is sublime beat meets Shawn Lee’s Beauty And The Beats in the style of Chinese guzheng player Bei Bei. ‘Kong’ is like a King-size version that’s beefier and heavy on drums.
And guest what? ‘El Toro’ is another track influenced by foreign parts with a more drums but with a jazzy flute vibe – a bit like a spiritual Mr. Scruff meet Natural Self, but in a very good way. My current favourite is the Afro highlife influence jazz-shuffle of ‘We Could Forever’ (for some ‘modern’ West African highlife on Soundway, see HERE) but I think I love all the tracks on Black Sands.
‘Animals’ is typically atmospheric jazzy Bonobo and the last track with Andreya, ‘Stay The Same’ is another track that you might have found on Days To Come but in contrast, ’1009′ and ‘All In Forms’ have that Bonobo vibe that’s been rinsed with housey-dubstep influences including a touch of Amon Tobin.
With this in mind, the new album seems ‘harder’ than its predecessor, Days To Come, (blimey, I’ve just realised that was 2006!) Not that Black Sands is really black as such. Simon is an accomplished musician; this is where the warmth and tenderness comes in on his productions (along with the tenderness of Ms. Triana of course); a contrast reflected in the composition of the photograph of the album cover?
With the US release last week, after he did a DJ set at Simon Says…, he’s off to the states for a tour with Andreya before returning for the European leg for the start of May. If you don’t know what to expect of Bonobo live, there’s the Live At Koko DVD that was released this time last year but Black Sands tour is even going to be better.
The album peaks with the Bonobo brilliance of the title track at the end and although there’s some very tough competition around, this is another album to get ecstatic about – love it.
Reviewed: Bonobo – Black Sands (Ninja Tunes) Cat. No. ZENCD140 Release date: 29th March 2010
01 Prelude (1:18)
02 Kiara (3:50)
03 Kong (3:57)
04 Eyesdown feat. Andreya Triana (5:26)
05 El Toro (3:44)
06 We Could Forever (4:19)
07 1009 (4:30)
08 All In Forms (4:51)
09 The Keeper feat. Andreya Triana (4:48)
10 Stay The Same feat. Andreya Triana (4:44)
11 Animals (6:45)
12 Black Sands (6:49)
Gilles Peterson :: 17th March 2010 :: Bonobo in conversation + Bugge Wesseltoft & Henrik Schwarz in Session at Maida Vale
Bonobo – The Keeper Feat Andreya Triana (Ninja Tune)
Bonobo – Eyes Down Feat Andreya Triana (Ninja Tune)
Bonobo – Black Sands (Ninja Tune)