Saturday, 13 April 2019

Bonobo ‎– Migration (2017)

Style: Downtempo, House, Electro, Future Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: No Paper Records, Ninja Tune

Tracklist;
01.   Migration
02.   Break Apart
03.   Outlier
04.   Grains
05.   Second Sun
06.   Surface
07.   Bambro Koyo Ganda
08.   Kerala
09.   Ontario
10.   No Reason
11.   7th Sevens
12.   Figures

Credits:
Bass Clarinet – Mike Lesirge
Cello – April Dawn Guthrie
Clarinet – Mike Lesirge
Double Bass – Simon Gree
Drums – Jack Baker
Electric Piano– Simon Green
Electronics – Simon Green
Flugelhorn – Ryan Jaco
Flute – Mike Lesirge
Guitar – Simon Green
Keyboards – Jon Hopkins
Mellotron – Simon Green
Percussion – Harrison Mills
Piano – Jon Hopkins, Simon Green
Producer – Simon Green
Programmed By – Simon Green
Synthesizer – Simon Green
Tenor Saxophone – Mike Lesirge
Trombone – Alan Hardiman
Trumpet – Ryan Jacob
Viola – Rocio Marron
Violin – Bianca McClure
Vocals – Innov Gnawa, Nick Murphy
Written-By – Jon Hopkins, Simon Green

It’s been a long road for Simon Green, aka Bonobo, since his 2000 debut Animal Magic. Back then, he was seeking a bridge between downtempo electronica and the more playful and experimental artists on his soon-to-be-label home Ninja Tune; he came off as a bit too fuzzy for the former and not quite adventurous enough for the latter. Over the years, Green has honed his craft, shedding his early Amon Tobin Lite image and taking downtempo more seriously as a genre. On this way, he’s discovered late-breaking success: His last album, The North Borders, became a mainstream hit across Europe in 2013. On Migration, Green makes his most sophisticated record yet. 
Green’s songwriting on The North Borders failed to match the sophistication of his production, and the album’s persistent moodiness grew wearisome. On Migration, Green has jettisoned the tepid slow-build dynamics: The nearly-eight minute colossus “Outlier” and its shuffling gallop of a beat leave downtempo in the dust, taking the listener on a journey that’s part Burial, part Rival Consoles. The song’s breakdown and slowly disintegrating comedown suggests Four Tet at his most delicate. These aren’t typical reference points for Bonobo, and show an artist still willing to seek new ideas. The piano of opener “Migration” is pulled from the playbook of post-classicists like Ólafur Arnalds or Peter Broderick and an “Amen”-esque drum break midway that amplifies the song’s sense of longing. The triumphant “Ontario” is the closest thing this relatively forward-looking record gets to nostalgia, with a booming beat and sitar that hearkens back to Animal Magic and other turn-of-the-millennium Ninja Tune releases. 
Green continues his periodic use of vocalists to transform his ideas into full-fledged pop songs. The results in the past have been hit-or-miss, but he finds his stride here. “Break Apart,” featuring the graceful genderless contralto of Rhye’s Milosh over a sampled harp, is exquisite; “Surface,” featuring Hundred Waters’ Nicole Miglis, is even better. Nick Murphy’s (fka Chet Faker) “No Reason” is less interesting, though it’s easy to imagine how it (or “Surface” for that matter) could become a club hit in either current or remixed form.

All told, Migration is an impressive improvement over The North Borders, and easily the most listenable record of Bonobo’s fifteen-plus year career. It’s a record with equal appeal for electronic music fans and general listeners, something you could put on anywhere. Essentially, it recasts downtempo as a genre with more potential than party music on the Bosphorus. 
Benjamin Scheim / Pitchfork 

Generation Next / Big Strick ‎– Like Father, Like Son (2014)

Style: Deep House, Techno
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: 7 Days Ent.

Tracklist:
01.   Big Strick - 1802
02.   Generation Next - The Myth Of Miami
03.   Big Strick - Stickin' & Movin
04.   Generation Next - And You Too
05.   Big Strick - Rain Dance
06.   Big Strick Ft. Tony Coates - The Ride
07.   Generation Next Ft. Don Q - Mo' Money
08.   Generation Next / Big Strick - Like Father Like Son
09.   Generation Next / Big Strick - Full Of Life
10.   Generation Next - Flynn's

Credits:
Mastered By – PCMJR

Big Strick founded 7 Days Ent. after a string of releases on Omar-S's FXHE. In late 2012, the label released Resivior Dogs Volume. 1, which featured "Family Affair," a collaboration with Omar-S, and "Windsor Nights," a track from Generation Next, Big Strick's 16-year-old son Tre Strickland (and, as it happens, Omar-S's nephew). Generation Next has since released two solo 12-inches of aqueous jams on 7 Days Ent., and he returns here with Like Father Like Son.  
Like Jay Daniel's recent EP on Sound Signature, the two solo tracks here suggest a young producer with an impressive but still maturing sound. "And You Too" is wintry house, with a choked atmosphere and grotty sub-bassline. It's moody and slightly indistinct, but still effective. Generation Next works well with his dad on "Like Father Like Son," riding on a juicy bassline and tentative percussion that has the kind of gauzey, early morning sound Fred P's a master of. Still, Big Strick's own "Rain Dance" is the standout, evoking Rick Wilhite's Analog Aquarium, with muted bells, puffy arpeggios and dub reggae organs. Big Strick doesn't let the distortion overpower the arrangement, and the resonant metalwork and feathery kick together are divine. 
Big Strick founded 7 Days Ent. after a string of releases on Omar-S's FXHE. In late 2012, the label released Resivior Dogs Volume. 1, which featured "Family Affair," a collaboration with Omar-S, and "Windsor Nights," a track from Generation Next, Big Strick's 16-year-old son Tre Strickland (and, as it happens, Omar-S's nephew). Generation Next has since released two solo 12-inches of aqueous jams on 7 Days Ent., and he returns here with Like Father Like Son.  
Like Jay Daniel's recent EP on Sound Signature, the two solo tracks here suggest a young producer with an impressive but still maturing sound. "And You Too" is wintry house, with a choked atmosphere and grotty sub-bassline. It's moody and slightly indistinct, but still effective. Generation Next works well with his dad on "Like Father Like Son," riding on a juicy bassline and tentative percussion that has the kind of gauzey, early morning sound Fred P's a master of. Still, Big Strick's own "Rain Dance" is the standout, evoking Rick Wilhite's Analog Aquarium, with muted bells, puffy arpeggios and dub reggae organs. Big Strick doesn't let the distortion overpower the arrangement, and the resonant metalwork and feathery kick together are divine.  
Aaron Gonsher / Resident Advisor

Señor Coconut Y Su Conjunto ‎– El Baile Alemán (2000)

Style: Cumbia, Merengue, Latin, Cha-Cha, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label:  Emperor Norton, Multicolor Recordings, EFA

Tracklist:
01  Introduccion
02  Showroom Dummies (Cha-Cha-Cha)
03  Trans Europe Express (Cumbia)
04  The Robots (Cha-Cha-Cha)
05  Neon Lights (Cha-Cha-Cha)
06  Autobahn (Cumbia Merengue)
07  Homecomputer (Merengue)
08  Tour De France (Merengue)
09  The Man Machine (Baklán)
10  Music Non Stop (Cumbia)

Credits:
Arranged By, Conductor – Señor Coconut
Programmed By, Concept By, Producer – Atom™
Shaker – Ricardito Tambo
Vocals – Argenis Brito, Jorge González


Despite his name, his album title and the fact that his introduction is in Spanish, Senor Coconut is a German called Uwe Schmidt who fronts a six-piece Danish backing band. "El Baile Aleman" means "the German dance", a perfectly logical title for Herr Coconut's Latin-tinged Kraftwerk tribute LP (recorded in Chile). Only a maniac, you would think, would filter the Dusseldorf wunderkinder through an array of South American dance beats, but it works staggeringly well, not least because of the ingeniously Kraftwerkian vocals. 
The paradox of Kraftwerk is that their apparent iciness achieves sleek and sensual results, as, in its way, does Coconut's squad of ersatz Latinos. The Robots closely echoes the original's spooky shimmer, but with extra hip-swivel; Trans Europe Express uses Latin percussion to evoke a chuffing train; and Home Computer sustains the illusion that a digital pulse is ticking beneath its trumpets and jittery merengue beat. Surely unique. 
Adam Sweeting / The Guardian