Ninja Tune have assembled a truly exceptional line-up of producers for this full remix album of Bonobo's Black Sands, with exclusives from Duke Dumont, FaltyDL, Machinedrum, Mark Pritchard, Cosmin TRG and Floating Points all shining very bright indeed. With such a stellar cast, highlights abound: Banks' adds a glacial chill to the Andreya Triana-vocalled "The Keeper", Cosmin TRG works "Kiara" into a bubbly and gut-wrenching Detroit fantasy while Floating Points lends a deep, jazz-step vibe to "Eyesdown". In contrast, and in full on hazy-juke mode (ahead of his forthcoming Planet Mu collaborations with Om Unit), Machinedrum kills it with his own steroid-popping mix of "Eyesdown", while Duke Dumont rounds off the album with the exquisite beatless time stretch of "Black Sands". Highly recommended.
Heaven For The Sinner (feat Erykah Badu) - (4:09) 101 BPM
First Fires (instrumental) - (4:37) 111 BPM
Heaven For The Sinner (instrumental) - (4:07) 101 BPM
British producer Bonobo recently celebrated nearly 15 years in the game by scoring his first hit album. "The North Borders" broke the UK top 30, and these here are two of its highlights, culled from the LP to form a new single. "First Fires" features Grey Reverend and is a slow and emotional widescreen slice of brittle beat. "Heaven For The Sinner" features shuffly beats and even more cinematic moodscapes and it also boasts Erkah Badu warbling all over it, something you don't get everyday on Ninja Tune releases.
Undoubtedly the most popular artist on the ever increasing Ninja Tune roster, it's always great to see some new material from the studio of Si 'Bonobo' Green, especially as he's spent the best part of two years touring his fifth studio LP. "Flashlight" is sadly not a cover of the Funkadelic classic of the same name, but it does demonstrate Bonobo at the top of his powers, weaving together an intoxicating melange of garage-brushed rhythms, ocean deep basslines, cooing vocals and compulsive textures. It's complemented by two tracks that draw Bonobo closer to the dancefloor; the playful, broken rhythms of "Pelican" contend for top spot with "Return To Air" which has a touch of the Jamie xxs to it.
Bonobo's North Borders album just keeps on giving... Here we find one of its many highlights, "Ten Tigers", getting a floor-minded rework by Bonobo himself. Retaining most of the original aspects, he's added a slightly heavier dynamic that's idea for all floors. Also on a remix-flex is UK starlet Maya Jane Coles who flips "First Fires" into a treacle-thick, bass heavy house driver. And if that's not quite enough, Bonobo has also given us a brand new track... "Duals" is a bright, breezy and skippy broken beat affair that's laced with myriad uplifting textures and counter melodies. In a word? Dreamy. Ten (tigers) out of ten.
Since first emerging at the tail end of the '90s, Simon Green has become downtempo music's most marketable star, appealing just as much to occasional listeners and 40-something housewives as underground heads. Throughout that time, he's carefully shifted his sound to take in current trends and musical developments, whilst retaining a certain picturesque aesthetic. This fifth full-length, his fourth for Ninja Tune, continues that trend. Amongst the usual shuffling beats and twinkling melodies you'll find garage-esque vocal cut-ups, rubbery dancefloor rhythms, Floating Points style neo-jazz, string-laden two-step and some seriously wonky soul featuring vocals from Erykah Badu.
A couple of years ago, Ninja Tune's Bonobo scored a big hit with his album The North Borders. Then he went on tour and The Borders Tour Live is what it sounds like. It's an 11-track beast comprising cuts recorded at The Roundhouse, Camden Town, The Pula Arena, Croatia and some live radio sessions too. When this career-defining tour wraps up at Alexandra Palace in November the band will have travelled 180,000 miles, taken in 175 shows in 30 countries across 3 continents over 18 months in front of 2 million people, but you can hear it here.
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