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Animal Magic

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Album Review

At first repulsive and overbrewed, Animal Magic slowly takes shape as a solid debut of narcoleptic downtempo. Which isn't too surprising: Bonobo's Simon Green is known for making friends with intelligent electronic adventurers Mr. Scruff and Amon Tobin, and choosing a moniker after a species of chimpanzee Chris Morris made famous. In fact, his fusion of encouraging trip-hop, helium voices, and sitars probably isn't the quickest way to get you humming in the bath. But intimation is rarely used in pop music, and when it's put up against an uncharacteristically emotional pallor ("Kota," "Sugar Rhyme"), you're rewarded for your patience. If you hear Lionrock's hypnogogic avant-splatter or the solar affection of Air, that's because Green shares their use of textural organics in the middle of low-key electronic mood music. Although the result is not as colorful as Lemon Jelly, or as amusing as Bent, there's a balance that's just as effective, using the power of suggestion instead of cleverness to avoid the pitfalls of so much half-realized, barely aware chill-out that's always been in the market ironically fighting so fiercely for attention.


Born: 30 March 1976 in Leeds, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

With the experimental warmth of '60s French films and the pizzicato flavor of horizontal hip-hop, Simon Green's Bonobo project established the welcome niche of a pretension-free, post-party intellectual chillout upon the release of his full-length debut in 2000. Since then, his sound and scope have expanded dramatically, with his sophisticated compositions and arrangements incorporating live instrumentation and encompassing influences ranging from jazz, house, folk, and soul to African, Asian, and...
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Animal Magic, Bonobo
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