Review of Bonobo – Black Sands (2010)

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Bonobo Black Sands (2010)

The album kicks off with a melodic 1-minute track called “Prelude”. This track is the perfect way to start the album, as it really sets the tone for the entire experience. Just like the introduction to an essay, this creation grasps the listener’s attention and really exhibits the entire genre of this album.

“Kiara” has a very nice transition from “Prelude”. It immediately hops into a nice melody, while slowly introducing more and more elements into the song, and working itself into a nice rhythm. It features a nice back and forth of string instruments and a very 90s-sounding synth. This track makes me imagine myself traveling somewhere, thirsty for adventure and new sights.

By far my favorite track of the entire album, “Kong” brings out many emotions. A simple feel-good melody mixed in with woodwind instruments fills you with a sense of discovery. This musical masterpiece has a nature-like feel, in the way that it makes me feel like I am in the middle of a jungle; perhaps the artist had this in mind when naming it “Kong”. This track is amazingly hard to describe, but perhaps that is why it is my favorite.

“Eyesdown” is the first track of this album which features vocals. This song feels much sadder and downtempo than all the other tracks. I think it is mainly due to the tone of the vocalist. The track has a really nice beat throughout, and although the lyrics are hardly recognizable, the addition of vocals is a nice change.

A higher-tempo track with a lot more energy is up next. Named “El Toro”, this song does feel like it is a bull when compared to the other tracks. A variation of a fast drum beat and strings, gives this song a sort of romantic feel. If I would trust my instinct, I would say this track is like young love, full of energy but yet so gentle and fragile at times.

“We Could Forever” gives off a weirdly tropical vibe and with the addition of high-pitched whistles and such, feels very tribal. Sounding like something you would dance to at a holiday resort, this song feels like a summer night under the stars. The trumpets in this song are also found in many of today’s tropical house songs, perhaps leading me to such a conclusion.

“1009” is much more of a tech-y song. It feels very experimental, while still fitting in with the entire genre of the album and broadening the horizon of the listener. A complex beat and a tricky melody, this track really does live up to its unofficial name of “MIX”, which comes from the roman numerals for 1009.

The next song on the list, “All In Forms” is a track with a heavy beginning and a pleasant vocal sample overlaid onto it. A stretched sounding synth, a nice piano track, along with emphasized drums in the middle switch up the entire form of the song. The ending of the song brings back the same sound heard in the beginning, leaving me to wonder if Bonobo wanted to name this song In All Forms, as this song is tremendous in all of its forms.

“The Keeper” returns with the vocals of Andreya Triana and has a very jazzy sound to it. The melody in this creation is much simpler than the previous ones and the song focuses greatly on the lyrics. The genre of this song sounds like pop, although the background does feel like Bonobo, so I’d say it would Bonobo-pop, as an artist like him cannot fit into anyone else’s genre.

With the same vocalist as the previous song “Stay The Same” is most likely my second favorite song of the album. A song about change, the melody and the vocalist convey the feeling of the song very effectively. Although it is a slow song, it does not necessarily feel depressing andd the melody does a spectacular job of bringing this magnum opus to life.

“Animals” is the next song on the list and, like all the songs without vocals, feels very upbeat and contains more energy. The longest track on the album, this song combines many melodies together, but it flows together extremely well. The title “Animals” most likely refers to the more improvisational and instinctive side of this song.

The song to sum the entire album up is given the very appropriate name of “Black Sands”. With a guitar melody in the beginning this song starts out like most others, with a positive melody. The thing about this song is that it soon becomes very slow with a feel of longing for something. A perfect track to end a perfect album, it says goodbye with a slow melody.