Days To Come

Many people are of the opinion that whatever Ninja Tune releases turns to gold, well in industry terms it doesn’t, but in the world of the underground leftfield… it certainly seems to. Ninja Tune host a plethora of talent in their ranks, from Coldcut themselves, to Amon Tobin, The Herbaliser, The Cinematic Orchestra, as well as many others and also their brethren at Big Dada – but today I’m going to talk about one Ninja Tune artist alone, and that artist’s brand spanking new album. Brace yourself folks, it’s Days To Come by the mighty Si Bonobo.

Previously Bonobo has released Dial ‘M’ For Monkey on Ninja Tune and also Animal Magic initially on Tru Thoughts, but it was the former that I first heard and although I really liked it, it wasn’t until last years Live Sessions that I really took note in a big way. If you are in any way into jazzy electronica then you simply have to hear the Live Sessions, even to this day I can play it all hours of the day and never get bored. So, you can imagine my excitement with regards to the impending release of Days To Come – well kids, I’ve heard it and I’d like to share my thoughts with you today.

The album is ten tracks long and equates to just over 45 minutes of audio. The proceedings kick off with a short intro named, funnily enough, Intro. It starts with some eastern pipes, chimes, and some calming bass notes. All designed to incite atmosphere, one would presume. Then it is straight into Days To Come, this track features the female vocalist Bajka and continues the eastern feel of the Intro, but also introduces a distinct jazz element. This is really laid back stuff and Bajka’s vocals compliment the music much in the same way Sia’s vocals compliment the music of Zero 7. It’s definitely a catchy track, not in the sing-a-long sense, but more in a foot-tapping sense.

Track three is Between The Lines, again featuring Bajka. This has a real heavy thudding funk soul bassline and hook, reeks of nostalgia, but presented in a fresh skin. Definitely sounds like it could have been included on the score to a 60s blaxsploitation film, but as I mentioned, there is a fresh element, and that would be the leftfield Tobin’esque electronic samples at certain points. Next up is The Fever and this one maintains the nostalgic feel, but this time it is in more of a latin guise. It’s like electro latin jazz. But the thing to remember with Bonobo is that, unlike Monsieur Tobin, he tends to use the electronic samples as a secondary emphasis to the organic sounds of the instruments that have been used. That is not to say that none of Tobin’s music sounds at all organic, but more to say that Bonobo seems to set his priorities in a different manner, hear for yourself…

Bonobo – The Fever
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This download is a sample of the music only and must be deleted from your computer within 24 hours of downloading. This download link will expire on 19th October.

Ketto is the hauntingly dark fifth track. Spooky strings are matched by deep bass tones and a head-nodder of a drum arrangement, claps ‘n all. At this point, fans of instrumental downtempo goodness will be in their element, as for anyone and everyone else… who knows, I just know that when I saw the tracklisting I was surprised at the amount of guest vocalists (ok, mainly Bajka four times!), and it is good to know that Bonobo can still create a kicking instrumental too – Ketto is really beautiful. Then comes the first single from the album Nightlite featuring Bajka. This track combines infectious energy and 60s sounding rhythms – I can just imagine the old “pinch your nose and wave your hand infront of your face” dance being done by some woman in a straight edged skirt and white knee high boots. The beats are strong, the samples are tight, and the arrangement is near on perfect – plus the vocals from Bajka fit as well as ever – it really is a fantastic track. Who’d have thought a mixture of electronica, jazz, 60s funky latin soul, and eastern strings ‘n chimes, would have made such a fantastic record? Bonobo did, I guess.

Reaching the back end of the album now and we are presented with Transmission 94 (Parts 1 + 2), the longest track on the album. This starts with some good old fashioned guitar and builds into a great drum break. Then enter the brass, quite an uplifting track indeed, yet classy. About half way in and the track breaks down into a deep jazz arrangement, presumably the transition from parts 1 to 2, it’s pretty reminiscent of The Cinematic Orchestra, and that is never a bad thing… ever. Track eight is On Your Marks, and it instantly starts with this amazing jazz funk drum break, it is backed by piano and cello. It sounds simple at first, although you can bet the arrangement is bloody complex, but it works very well – quite hectic in places, but never too heavy. This will appeal to fans of Shadow, The Cinematic Orchestra, and Prefuse 73, alike… although chances are if you like one of those, you’ll like them all! Anyway, give it a listen…

Bonobo – On Your Marks
>> download <<
This download is a sample of the music only and must be deleted from your computer within 24 hours of downloading. This download link will expire on 19th October.

Fink appears on the penultimate track If You Stayed Over, and the angle moves from funky jazz to a slightly more acoustic sound. Well placed on the album I think, and I very much subscribe to the “position your tracks carefully” school of thought. This track also features some stunning strings and I am a sucker for strings. It is a laid back track, but just immensely beautiful, right from Fink’s vocals, all the way to the subtle instrumental samples. The last track is a latin sounding ditty featuring Bajka and it is called Walk In The Sky. Bajka’s voice is very distinctive and so by this point you know what you are in for on that front, but this track is about as close to samba as the album gets, very laid back though. Fantastic outro track featuring some pretty nice intricate xylophone and cowbell samples.

Now, I’ve listened to this album quite a few times and I have to say it really does improve with every listen. I would imagine existing fans of Bonobo will like this, but there really is no reason why he shouldn’t pick up a load of new fans with this album too. As I mentioned before, this mixture of genres; latin, funk, jazz, soul, electronica, eastern strings and chimes, works so well. Bonobo has blended the sounds perfectly and even sought the assistance of the highly talented Bajka and also Fink to add vocals to his creations.

Albeit a record from an electronica based artist, make no qualms about it, this wont seem very ‘electronic’ when you listen, it is actually very organic. Bonobo has progressed his sound and perhaps after hearing feedback from the Live Sessions he decided the emphasis on the instruments was key. Although Dial ‘M’ For Monkey was a good album, I would liken the difference between that and the Live Sessions, to the difference between Matisyahu’s Live At Stubbs and then Youth. It was the same guy playing the same (or similar) songs, but the live stuff just sounded so much better. I think with Days To Come, Bonobo has managed to find the balance between the live and the studio, and has also progressed his sound, matured if you like – the end result is a very complete and satisfying album.

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  • http://sluttyfringe.wordpress.com/ sluttyfringe

    Good review chap – This Bonobo album is nice, it was a bit inoffensive on first listen but its grown on me like a simian moss.

  • http://sluttyfringe.wordpress.com/ sluttyfringe

    Good review chap – This Bonobo album is nice, it was a bit inoffensive on first listen but its grown on me like a simian moss.

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Yeah, although I liked it quite a bit at first listen, it is indeed growing on me still.

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Yeah, although I liked it quite a bit at first listen, it is indeed growing on me still.

  • http://www.myspace.com/aha_datura aha

    Well.. I have mixed feelings about Bonobo’s new album. I’ve listened to it like 7 times now and still… it doesn’t make me feel as good as two previous albums. It’s like I’m starting listening to this album, then I hear one or two tracks and it’s already end, while each track on Animal Magic and Dial “M” for Monkey were amazing and made me ask for more ;D
    Maybe it’s the vocals. I have nothing against Bajka’s voice, it’s good, but I really prefer to keep Bonobo’s music instrumental ;)
    I’m not trying to say that it’s a bad album or that I’m really disappointed, just it sounds like many others in this genre to me.
    Anyway, good review, Gav :D
    Cheers!

  • http://www.myspace.com/aha_datura aha

    Well.. I have mixed feelings about Bonobo’s new album. I’ve listened to it like 7 times now and still… it doesn’t make me feel as good as two previous albums. It’s like I’m starting listening to this album, then I hear one or two tracks and it’s already end, while each track on Animal Magic and Dial “M” for Monkey were amazing and made me ask for more ;D
    Maybe it’s the vocals. I have nothing against Bajka’s voice, it’s good, but I really prefer to keep Bonobo’s music instrumental ;)
    I’m not trying to say that it’s a bad album or that I’m really disappointed, just it sounds like many others in this genre to me.
    Anyway, good review, Gav :D
    Cheers!

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    It’s strange cos the way you feel about Days To Come is sort of how I feel (or felt) about Dial ‘M’ For Monkey. As a total listening experience, and although it is short, The Live Sessions is still my fav – but I do really like this new album.

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    It’s strange cos the way you feel about Days To Come is sort of how I feel (or felt) about Dial ‘M’ For Monkey. As a total listening experience, and although it is short, The Live Sessions is still my fav – but I do really like this new album.

  • http://palmsout.com/ Haldan

    hey there, thought you might like to hear a new in situ song. just posted it on the myspace (myspace.com/insituislove)

    hit me with an address where i can send you some cd’s in return for your stellar feature a couple months back.

    hope alls well

    Haldan

  • http://palmsout.com Haldan

    hey there, thought you might like to hear a new in situ song. just posted it on the myspace (myspace.com/insituislove)

    hit me with an address where i can send you some cd’s in return for your stellar feature a couple months back.

    hope alls well

    Haldan

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Good to hear from you, Haldan. Hope all is well?

    I’ll email you my address.

    Cheers mate. :-)

  • http://jeej.wordpress.com/ jeej

    Good to hear from you, Haldan. Hope all is well?

    I’ll email you my address.

    Cheers mate. :-)

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