Migration by Bonobo

Bonobo’s new album Migration is perfect…

As background music.

Although I probably shouldn’t admit this, I listened to Migration while doing other things important things on my post-exam-to-do-list: reclining a lot, sampling a Cadbury’s milk tray, contemplating my dour looking future, and browsing John Lewis’ women’s slipper range. More often than not, Bonobo’s album slipped seamlessly into the background as I browsed.

Whilst Bonobo is known for trip-hop, he seems to have ditched the hip-hop element and prioritised ambient sounds. The result is chilled, down-beat electronica, that sometimes extends to house on tracks such as ‘Brambra Koyo Ganda’, and ‘Kerala’. But more often than not it is too ambient. Much of the album drips in nostalgia, such as ‘Break Apart’, while pretty opener ‘Migration’, with its subtle bird noises and repeating piano, camouflages itself into your mind’s periphery.

With migration a hot topic these days, Simon Green’s album explores his move from Brighton to L.A. Perhaps it is this egocentric approach that has contributed to an enjoyable, but slightly bland album. Maybe it’s meant to sound like music to travel to, which would work, but even then it’s a soundtrack to your view, your thoughts.

‘Outlier’ proved a model of the problem; it was upbeat, but constantly simmered with the same beats and synth workouts, allowing it to sink into the background. ‘Second Sun’ was my favourite, with its wistful strings, and ‘7th Sevens’ actually built to some form of climax (Rejoice!). The track’s actually attention-grabbing drums (Rejoice! Rejoice!) worked to the extent that I had to stop my sampling, contemplating and browsing, to lay back and focus on the song.

In the end, Migration doesn’t really go anywhere, but would be an acceptable soundtrack if you were travelling home.

Emma Dutton

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