Bonobo Monkeys with Funky Breaks

Bonobo Monkeys with Funky Breaks
The time has finally come for Simon Green to bring forth his second dose of organic beats, and his first project for Ninja Tune since signing to the label two years ago. Better known as Bonobo, Green turned many heads when his new label re-released Animal Magic, his debut recording for the UK-based Tru Thoughts. Now the monkey man has crafted a gorgeous and more intricate follow-up that covers more musical ground than its predecessor. This extension of sound that graces Dial M for Monkey is attributed to Green's expansion of musical equipment, gathered instruments and his love for jazz.

"I ended up using a lot more jazz rhythms and a lot more percussion rather than just a straight-up hip-hop break," Green says. Dial M for Monkey strays from the down-tempo break-beats that Green laid down as the foundation of his sound, and branches out into what could be mislabelled as a global approach. "I wouldn't like to use any words like ‘world' or ‘tribal' because it's more to do with listening to jazz percussion. Stuff on the old Impulse! label like John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, that kind of sound, and how they used to use percussion. I just tried to emulate that a little bit and to make the drums a little more interesting instead of riding a straight funk break."

These drums weren't necessarily lifted from A Love Supreme though. Like most producers, Green is a collector and a large portion of his new record was in fact formed from the samples he dug up at record shops while touring North America last year. But the majority of the lush sounds heard on Dial M for Monkey stem from Green's own multi-instrumentalist talents. "I spent a few hours just putting loads of drums and percussion down," Green says of his ability to dabble in almost every instrument including woodwinds, sitar and saxophone. "I got myself a double bass and all sorts of little things like clay flutes — just stupid stuff that I've picked up and tried to make sound interesting. I was just shaking things in front of a microphone and making as much noise as I could and then going through them and getting into the programming."

Green has also made a good thing better by bringing in more gadgets to help him record, aligning his freestyle assault of random noise-making and beat-breaking. "[Animal Magic] was recorded on very limited equipment because I couldn't afford anything other than this tiny little sampler, and that was it. I just had to push the few seconds of recording time that I had and do as much as I could with them. So there were limitations, but at the same time it was a good way to kind of learn to limit yourself. Now I've got more options and it's not as a refined process as it used to be, where the track would have to end because I couldn't push the machinery any further."