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Bonobo is the master of sunny, warm, chilled out, slightly jazzy instrumental electronica so it comes as a surprise to find some slightly bland vocals adorning the opening track. It’s very nice in a kind of sad Postal Service way but also has the electronics ‘n’ mope feel of some of the underwhelming Darkstar stuff.
It’s a nice enough track with some lovely strings but is completely dwarfed into insignificance when Bonobo returns to his signature sound on ‘Emkay’. This is what you pay your money for. Charming springy beats are joined by gorgeous rhodes piano trills, Craig Armstrong-like strings and vocal samples leading to something truly delicious. ‘Cirrus’ continues this with some bell-like rhythms being joined by warm melodic bass. It’s another terrific track that makes you ache for some warm weather to sit out on the back stoop with a pina colada.
The scattered drums and electronics are very reminiscent of his peer Fourtet, and if you were coming at this with no previous knowledge of Bonobo’s work that is the closest comparison. Bonobo, however uses warmer textures with a greater awareness of melody and space. ‘Heaven For The Sinner’ features the skirling voice of Erykah Badu and it is a much more successful attempt at luring vocals into Bonobo’s music than the opening salvo. ‘Sapphire’ reminds me a bit of some of Mice Parade’s more twinkly efforts, and ‘Jets’ just stuns throughout with cut-up female voice, trademark twinkles and naggingly familiar bass. It may all be a little too ‘chill out’ for those who like an edge to their electronica but on another cold winter’s morning Bonobo’s beautifully executed warm tones warm the toes and the soul. Beautiful, I really don’t want to turn it off to move to the next review...
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