Album of the Week: Bonobo – Migration

Bonobo makes incredibly stunning albums. He orchestrates synthetic textures around UK-influenced percussive arrangements and vocals that create a visceral dialogue between the artist and his audience. Occupying that undefinable space somewhere between the dance floor and your headphones, Bonobo uses vocals, pop-indulgences and toe-tapping rhythms to create something unique and thorough, every time he approaches the album format. Some of the more astute of you might have heard “The North Borders” consistently playing in our café, and when we saw his new album, “Migration” on the shelf in “Big Dipper” we picked it up without hesitation and before even hearing a a single song. We knew it was going to be good, but only after listening to it, did we realise it was one of the best albums we had ever listened to.

An album from concept to execution, through and through, “Migration” expounds on that signature Bonobo sound with subtle R&B touches floating around Garage beats and evocative textures, which on this latest album often feature chamber orchestras. The album and the the accompanying booklet talk of movement and humanity’s constant flux within the space it occupies. In the abstract, Bonobo relays this as sweeping legato melodic- and harmonic movements that touch on something quiet and supple in the human spirit, where empathy reigns.

Bonobo’s production touches are masterful and his music has an indiscernible quality to it where it’s not one thing that catches your attention, but the complete picture of a song, where you can’t observe one element ending and another beginning. Harps, acoustic strings and a Moroccan drumming troupe flit between the spaces amongst the beats as human footprints in the dust of electronic expressions from cold synthesisers and drum machines. When vocals appear, Bonobo’s music is at it’s most serene, but on this album the artist has found that human voice in the abstract form too, and “Migration” stands as some of the best work the artist has delivered up to this point.