With his third proper album as Bonobo, Simon Green has done what all artists aspire to do: take a bar you've already set high with your previous outing (in his case, 2003's Dial M For Monkey) and show significant progress. Days to Come very well might be the most listenable album to be released this year. Bonobo is easily labeled as down-tempo, but this should not be mistaken for some Buddha Bar/Mushroom Jazz compilation throwaway. Days to Come is complex, orchestrated music from a man who has moved well beyond his 2001 debut, Animal Magic (Tru Thoughts) to create an album that successfully blurs the line between a programmed and live sound.
To put it simply, everything this time around sounds fuller and better defined. But that's not the only difference: For the first time he makes room for vocalists, employing the talents of the mysterious Bajika (who also collaborated heavily with Ubiquity's Radio Citizen) and labelmate Fink. Both are used as strong complements to Green's interesting but always understated instrumentals. Simon boasts a wide-ranging list of influences, from Stereolab to Sun Ra to Madvillain, and subtle hints of all of them can be heard throughout the album. That isn't to say Days to Come lacks cohesion; in fact, it's one of its strong suits.
When people talk about nu-jazz or artists who want to make dynamic instrumental music that moves far past loops and vocal samples, Bonobo should be one of the first examples cited. Days to Come stands as one of the highlights of the ever-increasing Ninja Tune catalog.
My recommendation: Don't limit this to computer speakers. Even your iPod barely gives this album enough room to breathe. This is full-bodied music that deserves for speakers with range and balance. Give it the proper sound setting and you will be rewarded with its versatility. A subdued evening cooking dinner, a lazy Sunday morning, even an inspired late-night spin -- whether as background or main ingredient -- this record will provide what you need.
Artist: http://www.bonobomusic.com/Audio: http://www.myspace.com/bonobomusic
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