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The North Borders

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Editors’ Notes

While the fifth studio album from producer Simon Green (a.k.a. Bonobo) continues to soothe the eardrums with his signature style of soulful downbeat, The North Borders is also rife with previously unheard nuances. Over a more studied mix of acoustic and electronic textures, Bonobo mixes in some salient guest vocal parts—with Erykah Badu’s the most alluring. She sounds almost robotic in "Heaven for the Sinner” as her phrasing matches the deliberately stuttered rhythms pulsing over a delicate tangle of horns, harps, strings, and woodwinds. Grey Reverend sets a mellow vibe in the opening “First Fires,” where his smoky inflections recall moments from Terry Callier’s 1972 opus What Color Is Love. Similarly, the creamy inflections of electronica soul singer Szjerdene are a perfect fit the ethereal “Towers,” which nicely balances the rich resonance of wooden percussion with the slow percolation of drum-machine beats and what sounds like vintage analog synth tones. She turns up again in the more spatial “Transits,” which has a dusty-vinyl effect that approximates the warm crackles and pops of playing an old record.

Customer Reviews

Oh, so good except

I agree with most of the reviews that this is a good album. My only exception is a lot of these songs sound too similar. This is not a stand out album for me like Black Sands was but it is always good to get something new. Speaking of something new in this lost art. I just came across a album by Eric Walker called Tangier Dream and it is worth taking a listen to here on itunes and it was refreshing. I would love if we can get to see Bonobo and others in concert here in the USA!

Really really good but

I have followed Simon's work since the release of Animal Magic. His follow up Dial M was fantastic. Days to come took some repeated listenings to grow on me and still it isn't his strongest work for me. Black Sands is standout for me. I loved all of it including the remix version of the album. And I still think it is his best release so far.

I'm still putting this album through its paces but here is where I stand so far. It's got a decidedly more alt. hip hop feel than some of this other work. I really like that aspect of the album and think its where it is strongest. The tracks with vocalists aren't working for me as well as they did on Black Sands, I'm not finding the hooks that I gravitated to there. So its not as consistent an album for me but its still lush, with ornate quirky sounds that draw me in, I'm finding Emkay, Jets (reminds me a lot of Letherette here very sexy) Antenna are stand outs. Cirrus reminds me more of the feel of Black Sands material. Ten Tigers is another fantastic track. So I'm very pleased with quite a few tracks on here and maybe the ones I'm not feeling as much will grow on me. No new ground is being broken but you can be confident it feels and sounds like the Bonobo we love.

Another complete album!

One of the things I respect most about Bonobo is the ability to create not just an idea, but a complete atmosphere with music. I feel that this is a lost art, yet Bonobo has found a balance in sound that makes this album enjoyable from beginning to end.


Born: March 30, 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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The North Borders, Bonobo
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