News / / 12.04.13




There is a pervasive myth about Bonobo – that he is a ‘slow burner’, an artist that the world has taken a while to warm to. But there’s a more prosaic explanation for why he has enjoyed greater critical acclaim later in his career: his albums have got progressively better. Black Sands showed a deeper, sharper and more confident style of production, and on The North Borders Bonobo’s progression has accelerated further still. Catchy, non-threatening and melodic enough to soundtrack a dinner party, yet layered with enough ideas and rhythmic, electronic soul to sustain much closer examination – that’s a hard trick to pull off. From the yearning opener First Fires, to the understated but majestic Cirrus, to the lolloping chimes of Ten Tigers, this is the sound of a man hitting his stride. And as much as Bonobo’s artistry has developed, the musical landscape has changed around him. With the sun long since set on the chillout genre, there’s no danger of a man in wraparound sunglasses enthusing about Bonobo soundtracking a hackneyed moment he never actually had in a beachside bar. These days, you’d file Bonobo next to the shimmying, punctuated flow of SBTRKT, or the lilting, percussive house of Falty DL – and that’s exactly the kind of top class company he deserves.


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Words: Adam Corner