Like many of us, Bonobo mastermind Si Green rediscovered the restorative power of immersing himself in nature over the last couple of years, and such excursions inform Fragments: a collection of sad bangers, luminous as the swelling waves reflecting sun glitter on the album cover.
Tides (feat. Jamila Woods) – the record’s centrepiece – closes out with harp and strings, spotlighting this fluid, organic instrumentation that trickles through banks of modular synths and distinguishes the entirety of Bonobo’s seventh album.
Jordan Rakei’s vocal glints majestically within the old-school Shadows, which draws inspiration from Detroit house, Moodymann and Theo Parrish. Otomo, co-produced by ‘one to watch’ O’Flynn, features a haunting Bulgarian-choir sample that hits psyche-deep. When that crunchy beat drops – around the 1.30-minute mark – this track is as all-consuming as an exorcism.
Elsewhere: Elysian is Nitin Sawhney-level transportive; Age Of Phase’s wild, arpeggiated beat and spliced vocal percussion fizzes with sonic schweppervescence; and closer Day By Day (feat. Kadhja Bonet), which boasts this album’s only in-person-recorded vocal, infuses gentle optimism.
During our worldwide lockdown deprivation, Green “remembered all over again how much [he] loved crowds and movement and people connecting with each other”, so created this soundtrack for the exact kind of meaningful, collective dancefloor moments we’ve ached for while restricted to family/household boogies.
Like Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’s psychedelic boat ride (but for your ears), Fragments is awe-inspiring and miraculous.
Fragments by Bonobo is out Jan 14, including on JB-exclusive gold marbled vinyl (pictured above) and several other formats, via Ninja Tune.