It can be hard to be yourself while still being yourself. Somehow Bonobo (nee Simon Green) has managed to carve his own place in the world of electronic music, moving from his roots in downtempo to a sound that is more contemporarily informed. He's always had a penchant for melancholy strings and rounded out basses. In the past he may have mixed these sounds with jazzy breaks, chopped ever so slightly, but The North Borders sees Green taking cues from the post dubstep world. The UK's recent 2 step garage resurgence seems to have made its mark on Green's programming, especially on "Emkay." He's also continued to explore the live instrumentation that was such a focus of Black Sands. However, where that album resolved in a closing statement that drew your focus to the instruments, The North Borders is content to keep things consistently mixed up. Vocals feature more prominently on this album as well. Erykah Badu guests on "Heaven For The Sinner," a track that would not be out of place on one of her own records. And "First Fires" gets Grey Reverend for some slightly Massive Attack influenced vibes. Despite all of the progressions you'll still recognize this as a Bonobo record. The skilled producer has managed to keep updating his technique while maintaining his sonic imprint.
- music label: Ninja Tune 2013