Migration, the sixth album from Simon Green AKA Bonobo reaches new heights in his already distinguished discography by being his best record yet.
Building on 2013’s The North Borders and live shows which saw a cast of 12 musicians bringing his downbeat and ambient electronica to life, Migration manages to conjur up a nomadic sense of intimacy across its hour running time.
The ambient textures that could have lead Bonobo’s music to be called “chill” are refined here, expanded and richer, more detailed and human. Guest vocalists Rhye on ‘Break Apart’ and Hundred Waters’ Nicole Miglis on ‘Surface’ see to that, while Moroccan band Innov Gnawa bring that globe-trotting sensibility.
There are big signs of growth. ‘Outlier’ which sprawls out as a warm percussive upbeat jazz/house song in the vein of Floating Points grows tougher with a Four Tet-style beat. Innov Gnawa-featuring ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ could well drift off into pleasing worldly ambience but its rhythm and spark doesn’t let it settle. ‘Kerala’, which samples Brandy is soulful and warped in an urgent way while Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) adds to the expanse on ‘No Reason’. ‘Grains’ seemingly channels the vocal twists of James Blake in its construction.
Green says that the album is inspired by “the relationship between transience and identity,” and the album wisely doesn’t sit still for long. Ambient electronic and chilled music can often feel insular, a safe place to crawl to in your mind. Migration benefits from bringing in life from the outside.
The Internet’s Syd announced an upcoming solo album Fin, February 3rd on Columbia, which dropped with ‘All About Me’, a song about keeping your friends close set to an aquatic R&B beat and those Hud Mo-style heaves.
The xx – ‘Brave For You’
The xx’s third album I See You dropped today (review here), an album in which they embrace expansion & sing outward with growth and confidence. ‘Brave For You’ is a song sung only by Romy Madly Croft, dedicated to her recently-deceased parents. It’s a moving song which she sings “And when I’m scared / I imagine you’re there / Telling me to be brave / So I will be brave for you / stand on a stage for you”, while Jamie Smith supports the sentiment with subtle production that grows in strength over its running time.
Blanck Mass – ‘Please’
One of half of Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power returns with a third Blanck Mass album and it’s trailed with the heady clattering electronic jam ‘Please.’ which bares its teeth. World Eater< is out in March on Sacred Bones.
Bonobo – ‘No Reason’ feat. Nick Murphy
Migration, the new album from Bonobo dropped today and appears to be a return to form with standout tracks from Hundred Waters’ Nicole Miglis, Moroccan band Innov Gnawa, Rhye and this expansive house-leaning collaboration with Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker).
Sampha – (No one Knows Me) Like The Piano
‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ is a new song from Sampha written in tribute to his mother Binty Sisay and the piano that she owned. It was in her house from the age of three and was used in much of his upcoming album Process on Young Turks on February 3rd. Sampha says of his mother – “The more time that passes, the more I see the extent of her love for me.”
More of a collage-style dancefloor groover than an out and out collaboration, ‘Trust Me’ feels like a respite in a mix, a build towards a crescendo. Not only does Robyn provide vocals to this warm disco analogue-style production, it also features Abba drummer Per Lindvall and his brother David on bass. Lineage.
Laura Marling – ‘Wild Fire’
Laura Marling is set to release her sixth studio album Semper Femina on March 10th on her own Alarming Records in conjunction with Kobalt Music.
‘Wild Fire’ is our second taster of the album, and like her Reversal of the Music podcast which featured Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Haim and Shura among others), it is imbued with the exploration of femininity and the idea of a muse, in Marling’s recently adopted spoken-folk lilt.
“She keeps a pen behind her ear / in case she’s got a thing she really really wants to say / she puts it in a notepad / she’s going to write a book someday / of course the only time I want to read / is about her time spent with me / wouldn’t you die to know how you’re seen / are you getting away with who you’re trying to be?”
Sinkane follows up his ‘U’huh’ return single with another Afro-funk pop single about a booty call from someone odious essentially. The video, directed by Bráulio Amado & Bruno Ferreira was filmed in a single-shot in an apartment in Lisbon, Portugal and stars Kelly Nakamura, a classically-trained ballerina and dance instructor
New album Life & Livin’ It, due Feb 10th via City Slang.
“It’s been half a decade since I started releasing music as Chet Faker and all of you have been the driving force behind the music since. theres an evolution happening and I wanted to let you know where its going. the next record will be under my own name, Nick Murphy. Chet Faker will always be a part of the music. This is next.”
That was last week but I’m only one man and there’s lots of music and news and things to do out there so I only saw it now.
However, Murphy did debut a new track called ‘Fear Less’ on his new website, which is a bit of a banger indeed.