British producer, DJ and electronic music artist Simon Green, best known in electronic music circles as Bonobo is part of renowned and blogosphere dominating set of contemporary producers, DJs and artists that includes Four Tet, Jon Hopkins, Caribou and others who specialize in sleek yet downtempo electronic music. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for the past couple of years you may recall that Green’s critically applauded fifth full-length effort 2013’s The North Borders revealed that the renowned British producer had developed an expansive approach to his songcraft as the album’s material was comprised of material that paired his signature electronic productions with gorgeous arrangements of live instrumentation to create a sound that possessed a cinematic quality.
Interestingly, The North Borders also was part of a trend among a growing number of electronic music artists and producers to not only create a much more evocative and nuanced sound but to an attempt to reveal that there was real musicality within their productions besides a person tapping away at a laptop and turning buttons on a sampler. Since the release of The North Borders, Green has been extremely busy — he spent the following two years after the album’s release touring to support it, which included a SummerStage show with Moses Sumney and he followed that up with the release of the Flashlight EP at the end of 2014. And from “Pelican,” the EP’s second single, the material on that album retained Green’s signature production — skittering percussion, undulating synths and swirling electronics but with a decidedly house music and dance floor-friendly sensibility.
January 13, 2017 will mark the release of Green’s sixth Bonobo effort Migration, and his first full-length release in four years. Fittingly as Green mentions in press notes, the material thematically speaking focuses on migration. “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 renowned British producer and electronic music artist remarks in press notes. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the material possesses a transitory nature — some of the material, including the album’s first single “Kerala” was initially composed while on the road and then was road-tested and revised during Stateside DJ sets. And the album’s guest spots feature a number of artists, who have emigrated themselves, including Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based vocalist Michael Milosh of Los Angeles-based indie pop act Rhye, who recorded his vocal tracks while in Berlin, Germany; Australian-born, Brooklyn-based global, indie pop sensation Nick Murphy, formerly known as Chet Faker, who bonded with the British producer over a shared love of disco; Florida-born, Los Angeles-based Nicole Miglis of Los Angeles-based act Hundred Waters; and the New York-based Moroccan collective Innov Gnawa among others. Adding to the album’s transitory nature, Green also employs the use of found sounds that include a Hong Kong elevator, rainfall in Seattle, an Atlanta-based tumble dryer and a New Orleans fan boat engine.
As for “Kerala,” the single manages to further cement elements of Green’s signature sound while expanding upon it as shuffling and skittering 808s are paired with gorgeous yet arpeggiated and knotted strings. And the song builds up until Green drops a cut and layered vocal sample from Brandy that gives the composition a bit of soulfulness and swooning euphoria while possessing a shimmering and cinematic quality.
Directed by video collective Bison, who has produced videos for Jon Hopkins, London Grammar and Rosie Lowe and starring Gemma Arterton, the video compliments the shuffling and trippy nature of the song by creating slowly staggered looped effects in which Arterton is haunted by both terrors unseen by everyone else around her — until the camera pulls out to see an unidentified flying object hovering at the horizon.