Back in the year 2000, Ninja Tune was launching two of its most promising artists. One was a young Brazilian genius who used to blend electronic sounds with samba and bossanova. The second one was a british act named Simon Green, fond of trip hop and breakbeat. Their albums Permutation and Animal Magic, were released in between 1998 and 2000 and you may probably think that they sound very similar. In fact they’re both sons of a similar period, influences, record label, styles.
Nonetheless Amon Tobin’s Permutation received critical acclaim being an amorphous trip hop experiment. Bonobo’s Animal Magic didn’t get as much attention.
During the following 15 years, Tobin deepened his experimental research in music, releasing unclassifiable LPs like Foley Room and ISAM, considered extreme electronic operas up to now.
Green, modified his own trip hop style as well, but didn’t end up releasing cutting edge albums, instead he started a slow enviable path in the definition of a personal style which came out, in particular, in between 2010 and 2017 with three amazing albums: Black Sands, The North Borders and Migration.
Bonobo, as many other artists, understood that “trip hop” couldn’t fit anymore as a classification for himself.
Among classic down tempo works (“The Keeper”, “Sapphire”, “Figures”), he started developing a more rhythmic style (“1009”, “Know You”, “Outlier”) and a more refined music (“Kong”, “Jets”, “Surface”). His albums became more personal and his style recognizable worldwide, even thanks to impressive hits such as “Cirrus”.
Chosing as well a perfect way to combine the visual part of his works with album sleeves and music videos (Cirrus was an amazing short movie assembled by the animator Cyriak, as well as “Kerala” is a funky nip and tuck video experiment by director Bison), Bonobo got a way to show his creativity.
Green is not just another son of the trip hop era. Migration seems to be the third piece of a triptych: Bonobo hasn’t been looking for a way to release albums which could sound always original or different, instead he tried to improve his personal musical reflections, concentrating on little details he wasn’t willing to change or ignore through time; on the contrary, he succesfully kept nurturing them.
In his new album we find, again, down tempo, rhythm, elegance and (moreover) a bit of ambient influence (“Second Sun”) and a soft post rock inspiration. All of this sorrounding himself with good collaborators (Chet Faker and Jon Hopkins to name a few).
The result is stunning as Migration is an album that contains a mixture of elements which keep everyone satisfied: old style trip hop lovers, funky clubbers and, as well, all those people who didn’t know Green’s work up to now.
Migration is the natural prosecution of The North Borders exactly as this one was the natural prosecution to Black Sands. None of them betray its predecessor approach.
Take a look at these albums: it feels like you’re looking at three pictures of the same person taken at different times. Childhood, adolescence and maturity.
That young guy named Simon Green, who was a bit blurred by his own record label’s mates, is now taking his own revenge, showing up not only his capabilities and technical style, but a strong, unique, pivotal musical creativity.