The career of Sean Green, aka Bonobo, has been one of slow yet steady ascent. A DJ and producer, his debut record Animal Magic contained the trademarks of a man impressed in the details. One could listen to the record without realizing the jazzy, funkified trip-hop beats have been playing and seeping into your brain. The sitars ring, the guitar strings fuzz, drums mute, and all of a sudden the listener is transfixed. When Black Sands came out in 2010, the formula was complete – global melodies, hip hop precussion, a meditative producers touch. “Kiara” remains one of my favorite “play-this-any-time-of-day” track of the past 5 years, while “Eyesdown” is the most seductive 9 megabytes available for remixes. Listening to Black Sands can be akin to sitting in a Van der Rohe chair. The details are everywhere, you just have to look.
So needless to say, The North Borders might be the most anticipated release on Ninja Tune this year.
Instead of diverging from his formula, Bonobo uses this record as a chance to expand and elaborate on the ideas crystallized so well in Black Sands. Earlier in 2013 Bobby brought you the video for Cirrus, the first single. With impulsive, whimsical energy, the percussion builds the cyclical song into a swarming mess. Erykah Badu herself makes an appearance in “Heaven for a Sinner,” a track built so well for the chanteuse that I can’t imagine them not working together. Yet the meditative complexes of the record showcase Bonobo’s finest talents. “First Fire” drips with infatuation, Grey Reverend croons “Honestly I can’t believe it’s burning again / Like the first fire,” and wine glasses clink as lips entwine. “Jets” is an instant mainstay for any lounge worldwide while “Antennae” will populate every urbanite’s travel mix, public transportation be warned.
This isn’t Black Sands Part Deux; this is a border you want to cross. Feel free to hire your coyote for this one.