Review : Bonobo - Black Sands Remixed
BbcWidely acclaimed upon its 2010 release, Simon Green’s fourth album as Bonobo, Black Sands, was the sort of immersive experience which didn’t sound like it’d lend itself to a track-for-track remix reinterpretation. And so it proves, as this 14-track compilation visits the same song a handful of times (inevitably the fine single Eyesdown), while offering a pair of nearly-new productions that never made the original album, Brace Brace and Ghost Ship – the latter was a freebie to promote Ninja Tune’s XX anniversary set.
Green’s little black book must be one he keeps closely guarded, as there’s an impressive line-up of talent on show. Lapalux might be a new name to some, but his forthcoming When You’re Gone EP, on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint, might change that – Radio 1’s Benji B has been highly supportive. The Lapalux take on Black Sands’ intro, Prelude, is to stretch it to nearly four-times the original’s length and throw a hard drive of wobbly effects at it: needless to say what was a curt, elegant introduction is mutated into something wholly different, but certainly of an equally high quality. The Banks remix of The Keeper sticks rather closer to its source material, embellishing what was there rather than attempting a complete rework, the core structure much as it was before.
Standouts present themselves in very different ways. The Machinedrum take on Eyesdown gives the Andreya Triana-voiced track an incredibly potent shot in the arm, with Travis Stewart transforming the trip-hopping vibe of the original into something rather more juke’d up. A version of the same number with additional vocals from Big Dada rapper Dels is a treat, likewise Berlin-based producer Cosmin TRG’s treatment of Kiara – whereas the Black Sands version is a strings-soaked broken-beat half-step, here it’s possessed by an ominous energy which spins its way close to the atmospheric electro of Modeselektor. But perhaps the most awesome remix is saved for the end: Duke Dumont’s ‘Grains of Sand’ reconstruction of the title-track has to be one of the most beautiful works of sound art this side of Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath, 1972. Close your eyes: it’s a perfect re-scoring of Blade Runner’s sci-fi city vista scenes....full text
NinjatuneBlack Sands came out in 2010 to almost universal critical acclaim and worldwide commercial success. Si Green aka Bonobo moved from being an underground producer of impeccable credentials to a poster boy for a new take on electronic music – contemporary and edgy but also soulful, song-based, sometimes lush but always emotional.
Black Sands Remixed gathers together a group of like-minded musicians and producers to interpret this classic album. Most of the material here has never been heard before (versions of a couple of the pieces were used as part of Ninja’s 20th anniversary XX campaign) and has been gathered with assistance from renowned DJ and label-head Alexander Nut. Recent Brainfeeder signing Lapalux kicks things off with a meticulous, sensuous re-work of “Prelude”. Banks fills “The Keeper” with spooky atmospherics. Cosmin TRG re-imagines “Kiara” as delicate heartbeat-house. Floating Points spaces “Eyesdown” out and adds to the groove, while ARP101 (better known as D&B producer Alix Perez) gives the tune an electronic re-lick and DELS adds heartfelt lyricism to the original.
Later in the record, Machinedrum turns the same tune into hyperactive percussion and echoed loops of sound. FaltyDL shows a subtle, understated exercise in rhythm and atmosphere for his re-work of “All In Forms”. Mark Pritchard lets in the air on “Stay The Same”, to create delicate, dub-soul. Mike Slott fiddles with the pitching on “All In Forms” to create robot emotion. Blue Daisy cuts up and plays with Andreya Triana’s vocals until “Stay The Same” really is “Not Quite The Same”. Duke Dumont finishes the record with an incredible use of ambience and orchestral build on his ‘reconstruction’ of “Grains of Sand”. Bonobo himself makes two contributions. “Ghost Ship” (originally given away to promote the XX celebrations) reminds the world of Si Green’s obvious talents, combining as it does a classic Motown shuffle with lashings of wobbling bass. “Brace Brace” is, quite simply, beautiful, showcasing once again his grasp of instrumentation and tone....full text
ContactmusicAfter the success of 'Black Sands' in early 2010, a remix album release was only a matter of time. The orchestral string arrangements, synthesized piano parts and sampled vocals within his work drew attention to Simon Green a.k.a Bonobo, who has been producing music since a teenager. 'Black Sands' was rewarded with critical acclaim, this lead to a series of remixes being collated by Bonobo and released as a stand-alone album.
'Black Sands Remixed' contains interpretations of the original tracks from the likes of Falty DL and Mark Pritchard, some mixes contain more aspects of the initial work than others but each mix is very much individual and has its own identity. With 'Eyesdown' cropping up in different forms numerous times throughout the album it may have you swiftly returning to the original version, after four different arrangements the song seems to lose some of the beauty that was its initial attraction. However on 'Eyesdown featuring Andreya Triana and Dels', although the instrumentation has not been changed to a noticeable effect the distinct vocal flow brings to mind 'Ghostpoet' as Dels' urban London accent has a satisfying ring to it as it lies on top of the washed out synths.
In addition to the remixes Bonobo has included some unused material from the Black Sands era, 'Ghost Ship' opens with a distinct bass line as jazzy piano parts are added to the solid drumbeat, the track wouldn't have been out of place on Bonobo's 2006 effort 'Days To Come' and is a clear example of his funk and soul influences. The other previously unused song included on the album is second to last track 'Brace Brace' a soothing guitar part twinkles over a brass ensemble yet the heavy bass remains a common feature. The two tracks fit perfectly into the album, often providing a welcome break from the intriguing yet sometimes irritating remixes....full text
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