Published Jan 11, 2017From the downtempo days of Animal Magic to the more club-ready fare of The North Borders, Bonobo has always made truly beautiful music. He often paints an elegant scene with foreign elements — gamelan here, Afrobeat there, chants and claps peppered throughout. So, it's no surprise then that his latest offering is another fine blend of beauty and culture.
Recorded mostly on the road amidst a jam-packed tour, Migration is perhaps even more well-travelled than its predecessors. Here, Bonobo questions the very nature of home: what it is, where it is and how to get there. The result is an extremely reflective record, just a few shades more tranquil than his last two albums, but easily matching their well-produced splendour.
This is not to say that it's all quietude. Lead-off single "Kerala" has a great subsonic thump to it, and the lazy 2-step percussion of "Outlier" reaches a lively zenith, but even that disintegrates into a mist of muted strings and keys. All in all, Bonobo has reeled things back a tad, like he was recording music just for long, introspective gazes out the window rather than the venues he was heading towards.
As usual, he's carefully plucked the perfect vocal collaborators. Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker) adds a layer of sorrow to techno ballad "No Reason" and Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters soars on "Surface," while Michael Milosh (the Canadian half of Rhye) provides his signature androgynous vocals, which are just as alluring here as when they first emerged a few years ago.
This album is yet another triumph in Bonobo's incredibly consistent career, and if the Black Sands and North Borders tours are anything to go by, the live rendition of Migration will be one of 2017's highlights. (Ninja Tune)