Bonobo - “Fragments” Album Review
Bonobo kicks off the new year with the release of his album “Fragments,” a wonderfully produced LP that’s sure to enthrall the minds of those who sit down, chill and take a listen.
This British-born artist began his musical career in 2000 with the release of his first album, “Animal Magic,” met with mixed-reviews by critics and audiences.
Despite a rocky start, over the years he’s developed his sound, continuing to release albums such as “Dial ‘M’ for Monkey” in 2002 and “The North Borders” in 2013, often falling under nu-jazz, a genre that combines jazz and other genres like electronica or funk.
The long-time artist breathes fresh air into the genre by pairing his atmospheric and synth-driven sounds with that of the artists featured in each of his tracks. “The North Borders” features R&B legend Erykah Badu and exemplifies how well he’s good at picking each musician and making them fall into place with the tune and energy of his music.
“Fragments” is no exception featuring appearances from Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Jordan Rakei, O’Flynn, Jamila Woods, Joji and Kadhja Bonet.
From beginning to end the atmosphere of the music remains fairly consistent. “Polyghost” was a smooth and almost heavenly introduction with its soft, gentle guitar plucking and orchestral sounds.
The transition from each song to the next comes naturally as Bonobo leads the listener to places they wouldn’t usually expect, going from club to electronica. If one had to compare his music to any other artists’ work it would definitely be comparable to KAYTRANADA or Caribou.
Each track is diverse but remains consistent in keeping the audience engaged, something that a lot of experimental musicians often lack.
In a track like “Otomo,” one would expect that typical build-up you see with DJs and electronic music, but it does the complete opposite of that, taking a turn with the beats for a more frantic and exhilarating tempo.
With suave and cool vocals provided by Jamila Woods, “Tides” is proving to be a hit with more than 4 million plays on Spotify.
Some might prefer a more chill and beat heavy experience with Joji in “From You.”
By the time you get halfway through the dark and ethereal journey that is “Fragments,” you can get a good sense of the lyrics’ themes. Mentions of hopelessness, darkness and love take center stage making the experience not just enjoyable, but relatable as well.
Overall, Bonobo’s newest LP is an experimental and alternative-rock influenced project, yet very available for mainstream audiences.
Although not his masterpiece, it’s absolutely worth the time to take a listen.
Reviewer’s Favorite Tracks: “From You,” “Tide” and “Day By Day”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Tracks: “Sapien”
Jon Mead is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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