There are extraordinary talents that few possess in the realm of creativity. Whether artistic merit, a keen imagination, or power behind production, some individuals seem to blossom in any medium. Simon Green, commonly known as Bonobo, is one evident example. Seamlessly switching between genres, from downtempo, chillwave and ambient, Bonobo is one of the finest and one of the most respected artists to come out of Great Britain.
2016 got off to a flyer for fans of Bonobo, with Simon Green confirming on Twitter in the early hours of New Year’s Day that a new album will be arriving in the next twelve months. Now, Bonobo is set to release his sixth studio album ‘Migration’ following on from 2013’s ‘The North Borders’.
Simon Green, initially performed his DJ sets under his then moniker Barakas, and together with Robert Luis as the duo Nirobi and Barakas. Green took to the moniker Bonobo in 1999, when his song “Terrapin” was featured on indie record label Tru Thoughts‘compilation album When Shapes Join Together. Working continuously post that, he released his debut album Animal Magic on Tru Thoughts in 2002. With the album being completely self produced, he quickly became one of the new downtempo pioneers.
Bonobo signed onto Ninja Tune, another indie record label, in 2003, releasing Dial ‘M’ for Monkey in 2003, and another one titled Bonobo Presents Solid Steel: “It Came From The Sea” in 2005. He followed these albums with Days To Come in 2006, which was eventually voted as the best album of 2006 by Gilles Peterson‘s listeners. 2009 saw him releasing his album Black Sands, which got him critical acclaim and saw him using tribal and Middle Eastern music influences in the album. The first single from the album, The Keeper, featured vocalist Andreya Triana, whose debut album Lost Where I Belong was produced by Bonobo himself.
The North Borders, Bonobo’s fifth studio album was the best reflection of the musician he is, transforming his strong influences and thoughts into rich and enlightened productions. The album also saw Bonobo announce the ‘The North Borders Tour – Live’.
The tour turned out to be a career defining tour for Bonobo. The band travelled 180,000 miles, doing 175 shows in 30 countries across 3 continents over 18 months in front of 2 million people including the legendary performance at London’s legendary Alexandra Palace.
Other than playing solo DJ sets, Bonobo also has a live ensemble, who orchestrate live versions of studio material, with a singer, keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist, string section, electronics, and drummer. Bonobo uses a wide variety of samples in his music combined with heavy, often complex basslines, with new elements in the music such as basslines or percussions coming one after the other, to create a magnificent soundscape.
Bonobo is all set to release his sixth studio album Migration (out January 13th via. Ninja Tune) and that’s why he is also our ‘Artist Of The Month’ for January 2017.
Speaking about the album, Simon says “It’s interesting how one person will take an influence from one part of the world and move with that influence and effect another part of the world. Over time, the identities of places evolve.”
The album cements his place in the very highest echelons of electronic music and beyond. The album is a mixture of lush productions, manic, beautiful, melancholy, joyful, packed with both emotion and technical skill. This is perhaps his most ambitious attempt yet to capture the very textures of human existence in his work, as Green says of the broad dynamics on the album, “Life has highs, lows, loud and quiet moments, beautiful ones and ugly ones. Music is a reflection of life.”