There’s something special about Bonobo’s music that makes it stand out from the pack. For 17 years, British musician and DJ Simon Green has been blending the worlds of ambient electronic, hip-hop, jazz, and even world music in a danceable and organic way that feels unlike any of those genres and instead is something that can only be called a Bonobo track. After receiving critical acclaim for bringing along a live band for his last album, The North Border, Green embarked on his Migrations tour with a full band accompanying him to bring his studio creations to life.
At a recent stop at the 9:30 Club, the band consisted of Green on bass, keys and programming, with support on drums, keyboard, saxophone, clarinet, flute, and vocals. As the band performed, the three LED backdrops took the crowd to various natural landscapes around the world - into the mountains, underwater, out in space, and much more, with rectangles of light interspersed throughout these landscapes. The backdrops evoked the same feeling that one gets when listening to Bonobo - it feels natural, yet otherworldly. You can hear it in songs like “Cirrus,” where ambient percussion meets buzzing synths and danceable drum beats. And vocalist Szjerdne does a great job filling in for Nick Murphy on haunting dancefloor track “No Reason”, where the haunt is turned up to 11 in the live version. The band’s genre-bending approach to music and attention to details in their visual accompaniment makes Bonobo a must-see live experience for all musical walks of life. His latest release Migrations is now available through Ninja Tune.
Opening for Bonobo was New York-based producer Chrome Sparks. His tracks drew from elements of funk, ambient electronic, and more, manipulating sounds with a plethora of synths and drum pads surrounding him. His latest release is the single “Wake,” released in March 2017 through Counter Records.