Bonobo: Fragments review – a wondrous nirvana

(Ninja Tune)
Si Green’s celestial, swooning seventh studio album is a restful ambient dream

At every afterparty since 1988, at least one partygoer has fantasised about their friendship group growing old together in a rave retirement facility where they pipe mellow bangers through the intercom. Sesh pensioners, this is your ideal soundtrack. Since 2010’s breakthrough Black Sands, Bonobo’s Si Green has used what he calls “electronic methods to make non-electronic music” to richly satisfying effect, and Fragments is his peak production.

As with the Cinematic Orchestra or Caribou, you settle into a Bonobo album or gig knowing roughly what the destination will be, yet never sure exactly how you’ll get there. Harps and strings are central to this year’s trip, but there’s ample space for skittery breaks, deep house and haunting choral samples.

Green usually finds singers who dovetail with his music, as with previous collaborators Erykah Badu and Nick Murphy. Here, the promising Jordan Rakei impresses on Shadows. Poet Jamila Woods brings Tides, the best song, a swooning beauty that expertly blurs its acoustic and electronic elements. With less dissonance and psychedelic experimentation than Jon Hopkins or Four Tet, Fragments may be too care-home comfort for some, but it’s brilliant, wondrous work.

Watch the video for Tides (Clouds version) by Bonobo.


Damien Morris

The GuardianTramp

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