By Kevin Bailey
Bonobo is known for consistency, quality, and a sound that remains uniquely recognizable no matter how it varies in tempo, genre, or creative output. When he drops a new album, it’s highly carries certain expectations.
His latest, Migration, reflects its theme as each track holds a feeling of wistful displacement and nervous excitement in varying capacities. This connecting line through all the songs gives the LP a distinctive feel that makes it stand out among Bonobo’s releases. Rather than showing off a wide range of energy and emotion, honing in on this theme makes it hold up as more of a story than just a compilation.
That isn’t to say it remains static. The theme carries the album forward in equal measure with the nuanced evolution of the track sequencing, which builds steadily from Bonobo’s contemplative, instrument-driven alt-folk tendencies to his multilayered, hypnotic, dance-friendly sound. The first half of the album relies on outstanding vocal guests for its sparse dreamlike sound, broken up by the aptly named “Outlier,” an upbeat 4/4 number that’s miscast within the slow opening of the album. The lead single, “Kerala,” marks a turning point toward Bonobo’s signature deep house style, reaching a crescendo with the standout number, “No Regrets,” before winding down with some soulful broken beat on “Figures.”Bonobo, Migration