From the moment Fragments begins, you know you've arrived. Where is of little consequence -- it's certainly not bearing of any physical location. Rather, it's a place of spiritual reflection and familiar reverie that British producer and DJ Bonobo, aka Simon Green, has carefully refined for over two decades. From early days as a downtempo solo project, to becoming a worldwide headliner and five-time Grammy nominee, Bonobo has become synonymous with some of today's best emotive dance music.
Fragments is Green's seventh album and follows 2017's wildly successful Migration.
Like a lot of creatives, the act of being stuck inside stifled Green's creative juices -- his often prolific rate of production slowed to almost nothing. This creative stagnation was only exacerbated by the way his adopted home of the US seemed to be descending into chaos as much as his native UK. Throw in the wildfires that hit his home state of California so violently, and it's easy to understand just why Green felt at such a loss.
There is a tangible sense of relaxation on Bonobo's seventh album, Fragments. This comes in part due to the inherent nature of his productions, and in part because perhaps he doesn't feel the need to compete with his most recent, hugely well-received preceding albums, Migration and The North Borders. It took a good 10 years for Bonobo, who was bubbling away along the top tiers of the super-cool Ninja Tune contingent "underground," as it were, before his 2010 album Black Sands caught the ears of non-vinyl collectors.
For British DJ and composer Simon Green to release a new album at the beginning of January seems like good news for everyone; an impeccable strategy that ensures a considerable percentage of eager listeners are looking for that introspective calm only he knows how to make. Given the hubbub and commotion of these uncertain times, our bodies and minds thank us for the enormous luxury of being able to stop for an hour to wrap ourselves in the cathartic and chillout melodies that Bonobo has prepared for us on his seventh studio album. After he experienced a mental and professional blockage during lockdown, the Brighton-born, LA-based artist kept away from music for a significant period of time.
Electronic producer Bonobo, aka Simon Green, has never been the most original creative mind out there. His productions started off fitting snugly within those omnipresent chillout compilations, and along the way he has adapted by borrowing from more contemporary artists. His newest record Fragments continues in this vein, only occasionally breaking the mezzo-forte threshold and with vocal guests who are competent but inconsequential.
Bonobo's catalogue is marked by periods of quiet evolution. From breakout 'Black Sands' onwards his fusion of club tropes, down tempo songwriting techniques, and gorgeous production elements has made for a thrilling series of full length projects, albums that have garnered critical acclaim and crossover success. 2017's 'Migration' for example reached the UK Top 10 on its release, balancing underground ideas with a huge audience.