Bonobo
Black Sands


3.5
great

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
March 22nd, 2010 | 146 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Something worth your attention that probably won't grab your attention if you offer it.

Don’t go penalizing Simon Green for the “limits” of his music. It’s not his fault that down tempo has the uncanny ability to slip into the background in any given setting, much less past the attention of those people in the close vicinity. Since his Animal Magic was released in 2000, the English DJ has spawned a career that’s known for its consistency and large output, if not for containing any high level of “wow” factor, as he's had a hand in many-a-remix album, a dozen or so EPs, and four studio albums under the name of "Bonobo". Black Sands sees the DJ continuing his heavy bass tones and melodic trip-hop journeys even further into the present, picking up vocal assistance from Andreya Triana along the way on a few tracks - who worked with sonic neighbor Mr. Scruff (Andy Carthy) on his Ninja Tuna album – and delivering an end result that’s probably destined to be passed over, if only for the nature of its contents.

Getting right to it: is failing to grip us in any particular way really a negative for an instrumental album of this nature? Well, not in the strictest sense; in fact, it just proves how well Mr. Green is able to tinker with his tools, wave the atmospheric wand, and sweep our attentions away with his hypnotic down tempo – well, to some other place away from the music in question anyway. But that’s not to say that Black Sands is necessarily droning and monotonous in a boring way - quite the contrary, actually; most of the tracks contain a unique set of elements and tools specific to their goals. “We Could Forever” finds solace in the Caribbean with its limbo-islander pace and agenda; and on the opposite end of the spectrum, “Stay The Same” brings on the melancholy with a pop structure and a morose voice, by way of female vocalist Andreya Triana, moving along with a simple beat and the company of a jazzy saxophone. The remainder of the cuts fall somewhere safely between the two - possibly a little to the side on a few tracks - making Black Sands a pretty varied listen throughout its course, despite its often grip-less feel.

It’s the one-way path for each individual song on Black Sands – and as seemed to be the case, Bonobo’s past albums as well – that keep the mood of the album feeling very similar throughout, however. In general, what you are presented with within the first five seconds of any given cut is what you what are going to get for the remainder of four-to-six minute track lengths - with slight deviations here and there. With that in mind, it's pretty easy to understand why Black Sands could be trying and difficult to those more accustomed to the sped-up pace of trip hop - relatively, that is - or just the often-times more eventful IDM experiences. However, the aesthetic surroundings for Black Sands are spot on and soothing for the confines of the down tempo sub-genre, amounting to an album that does happen to flow by unnoticed, yes, but fortunately never hits any rough bumps along the way.

The entrancing title track is the structuring thesis of the album, and very much for the majority of this style of music as well: calm acoustic arpeggios lull and drift, a gentle electronic tinkering embeds itself in the background, and a saxophone returns from earlier to fill in any holes left unattended. Varying sounds aside, it never really goes anywhere in particular, really, but just slides peacefully along throughout its length. In much the same way, Black Sands grips without gripping, lulls you into a trance of lulling, and plays without you necessarily knowing that it's playing: essentially, down tempo in its purest sense, played by the rules of Simon Green, and in total, an overall great exercise in the art.



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user ratings (329)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
March 22nd 2010


5793 Comments


stream: http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/#/8

BallsToTheWall
March 22nd 2010


44482 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cool review. Will check out after I finish the new AOTP.

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

Ponton
Emeritus
March 22nd 2010


5793 Comments


Thanks. Hope you like what you find. I need to check out pharoahs eventually. Is the new one good?

Foxhound
March 22nd 2010


4570 Comments


I'm going to listen to this. Nice review.

BallsToTheWall
March 22nd 2010


44482 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Uhh...so far it's a letdown. Some great songs, some boring ones, but nothing like Ritual Of Battle which is what I was hoping for.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 22nd 2010


5793 Comments


Thanks Foxhound, just glancing over your stuff, and I think you'd like this.

Sorry to hear it, balls.

EVedder27
March 22nd 2010


6088 Comments


You are awesome Mr. Ponton. Take another one of my pos's.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


31218 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will be checking this out when I get home. Awesome as usual Jared

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

AggravatedYeti
March 22nd 2010


7685 Comments


sounds pretty great.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 22nd 2010


5793 Comments


Thanks guys, I think you would like it, Deviant. You might too, Yeti.

Wish
March 23rd 2010


262 Comments


Definitely going to check this out.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 23rd 2010


5793 Comments


Just going by your ratings, I'd think you would like this, wish. If you do, give Dial 'M' For Monkey a go as well.

Zeek
March 23rd 2010


83 Comments


oh what i thought i was the only guy on sputnik just kidding

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2010


17215 Comments


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo#Sexual_social_behavior

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

Ponton
Emeritus
March 23rd 2010


5793 Comments


"Bonobos are the only non-human animal to have been observed engaging in all of the following sexual activities: face-to-face genital sex, tongue kissing, and oral sex."



kingsoby1
Emeritus
March 23rd 2010


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

got the promo for this a few months ago, pretty cool stuff. he really hasn't changed his formula at all though.

Wish
March 23rd 2010


262 Comments


Just going by your ratings, I'd think you would like this, wish. If you do, give Dial 'M' For Monkey a go as well.
Thanks. Yeah, I got Dial 'M' For Monkey as a recommendation from a friend a while ago but haven't really given it a listen yet. Disappointed with myself.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2010


31218 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really liking this

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 23rd 2010


4461 Comments


I might check this out, been on a Four Tet/Pantha/Stars of the Lid binge lately.

Gyromania
March 23rd 2010


15791 Comments


Positively sublime review, Jared. I'm jealous. pos

Digging: Lantlos - .neon



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