Album Review: Bonobo – The North Borders

Album Review: Bonobo – The North Borders
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The North Borders ZEN195
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The North Borders is the newest release from downtempo electronic guru, Bonobo, marking his first full length release since 2010's Black Sands. The record opens with "First Fires", a track that builds slowly, and feels like standing inside a noise-cancelling headphone (because we've all done that right?). It completely numbs you out and engulfs you in a haze of perfectly paced rhythm and synth, while shuttling you into a zen state of focus. Each track flows seamlessly and deliberately into the next, and contributes to the overall success of the record as a whole.

The North Borders maintains Bonobo's tradition of creating full-unit masterpieces, this time welcoming in some familiar voices such as Erykah Badu. On "Heaven for the Sinner" Badu's voice oozes like a thick syrup over the glitchy network of exotic, downtempo beats in the song, making it one of the more standout tracks on the record.

"Cirrus" is the first single to be released off The North Borders with video accompaniment. It serves as a proper crash course for those who may be newcomers to Bonobo's sound, offering exquisitely layered beats and the kind of spiritual instrumentalism that has become his dogma. The video itself is as chaotic as the number of different sounds that clutter the track, however the end result is as visually intriguing as it is aurally.

Those who are more familiar with Bonobo's previous releases will be happy to find that The North Borders doesn't stray too much from its roots, however it may seem audibly more minimalistic than the albums that came before it. Regardless, the record remains a spiritual odyssey for the ears, a result to be expected from a producer as well-seasoned and firmly established in his craft as Bonobo is. Enjoy.

Electronic · Indie


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