Image: Grant Spanier.
With dance floors across Sydney closed, we’re looking for the perfect soundtrack to our summer nights spent at home. Transforming our lounge rooms into our own personal underground clubs. Enter Bonobo with his seventh studio album, Fragments. The musical project of Simon Green, the record arrives five years after his last album, and at the perfect time to appreciate the power music can hold within our lives. Feeling like a sabbatical, away from the rigours of everyday life, Fragments has elements of primal undertones subtly woven within engaging electronic soundscapes that spark natural and organic imagery.
Opening with the atmospheric Polyghost, the musicians collaboration with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, we are met with moving harp work and lush orchestration before taking an energising turn immediately in Shadows. With bewitching vocals from Australian/New Zealand artist Jordan Rakei, the haunting track fuses Rakei’s soulful vocals with Green’s considered and pinpoint production, built upon a driving baseline and string arpeggios. Rosewood best captures the albums swelling intensity before the dizzying Otomo, co-produced with O’Flynn, it transports us to another realm of euphoric IDM. The pairing of these two tracks showcase Green’s versatility and his ability to vividly create dynamic, textural soundscapes that spark vivid imagery through instrumentation and production.
Elysian, Closer and Age Of Phase serve as a trio of atmospheric dance floor bangers, laced with relentless production that will no doubt have you grooving along, bookended by the vocal talents of Jamila Woods and Joji. Woods lends her soulful talents to the RnB infused Tides, before Joji’s booming and smooth vocals shine on the melancholic From You. One of the albums more pared back moments, the stand out track is a down-tempo slow burner that serves as a palette cleanser, with the melancholia continuing into Counterpart which builds itself atop the musicians work on the Fender Rhodes. Closing with the breezy Day By Day, Green resists the RnB infused sonics of Tides, this time heralded by warmer sonics that simmer beneath Kadjha Bonet’s bewitching vocal performance.
Enlisting a treasure trove of guest vocalists, Green perfectly walks the line between contemporary instrumentals and meaty hooks. Building in emotional intensity, the record conceptually tackles themes of isolation and internal struggles, with breakthrough moments of joy that capture the warmth of being together. There’s a subtlety to the record, never explicitly revealing its intent, instead creating glowing tracks that allow the listener to immerse themselves within the world of Fragments. A sonic transportation to a natural realm away from the noise of what is going on in the world.
Fragments is out now!