Bonobo
Dial 'M' For Monkey


3.5
great

Review

by Andru Okenuf USER (32 Reviews)
December 26th, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In which Simon Green gains a wider following by being more direct

With the release of 2010’s Black Sands, Simon Green (better known by his stage name Bonobo) has become a more prominent figure in the trip-hop community. With it, Green’s mesmerizing beats simply went with the flow, and his consistent output over the course of several LPs and even more remixes became simply too much to ignore. But it was 2003’s Dial ‘M’ for Monkey, Bonobo’s 2nd LP and 1st with the major record label Ninja Tune, which helped propel Bonobo’s name into the limelight. And Green offered Coldcut, the label’s founders, exactly what they had asked for.

Opener ‘Nocturnary’ and closing track ‘Light Pattern’ serve as microcosms to the album as a whole. In the former, drum beats urge us forward as the effects spiral above peacefully, whereas in the latter an almost caustic harmony is established. Yet throughout, it feels like Green is trying too hard to achieve a sense of melody that normally comes naturally to him. During ‘D Song,’ the constant beat confines the track, one of the longest on the album, achieving almost nothing, whereas during ‘Pick Up,’ flutes attempt to power forward without creating any stirring atmosphere. Worse still, ‘Wayward Bob’ sees Green try and fail to mimic Tomoyasu Hotei’s ‘Battle Without Honor or Humanity,’ exploding rather than generating the smooth vibrations which make him such a successful artist.

But writing off the album as a whole would be a mistake. ‘Change Down’ sees the most gorgeous marriage of his new style with his old, the beat serving to direct Bonobo’s phantasms rather than overpower them and the stirring overture promises his new experiment was not in vain. Better still are ‘Flutter’ and ‘Nothing Owed’, two tracks which nod at his other albums. With a blaring trumpet meandering through soft chimes, the former sounds like a beautiful love child between Four Tet highs and the Thievery Corporation style lounge aesthetic. The latter, on the other hand, rescues the meandering back half of the album, a welcome mournful overture pulling at the weary hearts of listeners.

To many, the style of music he adopted with ‘Dial ‘M’ for Monkey’ makes his music more interesting, because it makes listening to the album a more active experience. The album is more instantly gratifying and is easier to interact with, giving it a deservedly wide appeal. So though Green loses a touch of the subtlety that makes him so great, ‘Dial M’ remains an album that can be enjoyed at any time, by nearly anybody.



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user ratings (93)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
aok
December 26th 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yay dissenting opinions. lemme know where you disagree ;)

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2011


31168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

has become a more prominent figure in the trip-hop community.


He was already a prominent figure, I'd argue that Black Sands made him more well known outside of the obvious circles instead

With it, Green’s mesmerizing beats simply went with the flow of his beats,


And yeah, I don't agree with this at all, this is easily his best work. This is also far more subtle than Animal Magic, I really don't get how anyone could think otherwise. That album was wrapped up in the end of the century love for big beat with its swinging percussion and screeching horn sections - this is far more subdued

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

aok
December 26th 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

swinging percussion and screeching horn sections


oh man yes. animal magic was gold. a lot of this lacked imagination though and simply went with the beat (thanks for the correction btw)

aok
December 26th 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

some great stuff on this one as usual:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2pG8EtH6CM (flutter)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEow1f7HZ3Y (change down)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onYRk2kteNk (nothing owed)

i like animal magic quite a bit better and dev likes this one quite a bit better. we can't always agree i s'pose ;]

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
December 26th 2011


50380 Comments


Dexter's Laboratory


Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

aok
December 26th 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you would know that trebor

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
December 26th 2011


50380 Comments


Well I did grow up in the 90's

aok
December 26th 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

*late '90s. you still a youngin and i never did watch dexter's lab

seedofnothing
December 26th 2011


3425 Comments


This is pretty chill daskells. Feel like sparkin' up.

Restrikted
December 26th 2011


1889 Comments


This was pretty good i thought

aok
December 26th 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yup. pretty good. and parts are quite good

Tyrannic
December 27th 2011


3262 Comments


didn't hear the album, but the review's good work. pos'd

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 27th 2011


23826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is better than Animal Magic but WHATEVER.

nice to see you reviewing on a somewhat consistent basis again.

Adash
December 27th 2011


1356 Comments


nice review, never got past black sands and animal so may have to check this out

aok
December 27th 2011


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this and days to come are worth it. this is pushing 3.5 for me but held back by a couple tracks i don't particularly care for

ProfessorVeerappan
March 29th 2013


791 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good album
after i heard Animal magic
suddenly this 1 was the immediate next that i was going look into
Dial 'M' for Monkey
...
intense

ProfessorVeerappan
March 29th 2013


791 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good album
after i heard Animal magic
suddenly this 1 was the immediate next that i was going look into
Dial 'M' for Monkey
...
intense



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