Bonobo – Black Sands

January 01, 1970

(Ninja Tune)

Bonobo (presumably known as Simon Green to his mother), has
crafted a triumph of a new album. On Black
, the producer/musician has combined the sounds of forward-thinking
electronic music and moody acid jazz into an orgy of slinky live and programmed
instruments. These aren’t the typical downbeat instrumentals you used to hear
in the background of VW commercials. This is exciting, vibrant, electric production
that doesn’t necessarily require a close listen, but rewards you if decided to
pay special attention.


The album’s opener, “Kiara,” (it is actually preceded by
“Kiara Prelude,” but it’s really all one song) features beautifully cinematic
strings flaring up over an icy electro beat, a perfect example of what Bonobo
is able to achieve here. From there, “Kong” takes a decidedly more organic
approach, with a fairly traditional jazz construction anchored by a swinging


Let’s stop right here with the descriptions, because without
listening to the actual music, this kind of sounds like run-of-the-mill mid’90s
trip-hop. It isn’t. Black Sands,
whether frantically intertwining guitar and bass riffs (“We Could Forever”) or
taking a breather with the excellent singer Andreya Triana doing her thing over
a smoky vamp, is a success. Kudos to Bonobo for being able to resurrect acid
jazz, rightfully written off by many as boring and dead, and breathe some
vibrant new life into it.


Standout Tracks: “Kiara,”
“We Could Forever” JONAH FLICKER


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