Bonobo Wipes Minds On Black Sands

[Remy Schneider, Morphizm]

The sonic ventriloquist Simon Green has worked his fingers into the Bonobo doll again and birthed Black Sands, his fourth full-length LP released on Ninja Tune earlier this year. Its sonic Valium could soothe a rabid orangutan.

Green’s sophomore LP Dial M for Monkey boasted a molten kaleidoscope, featuring a bouquet of beautifully reverberating flowers. But Black Sands is more saturating bombardment, if apathetic in places. You love the music at first, but you hope it’s injected with vocals or thickening bass, perhaps cow bells and sitar, working nerve up to let the pieces breathe and come alive. Incessant loops cause Novocaine brain.

But it is insanely mellowing: A bubble bath and Black Sands? Stress killer, for sure.

The title track offers a glimpse of hope. Its film noir sound permeates like creeping smoke. “Cigarette Soul” take its somber spaces into more melancholy grandeur, gently perforating the heart with bleeding harp and tormented accordion. Its gradual uplift is filled with trumpets, tambourines and clarinets, evoking of the polyphony of Yann Tiersen.

But the xylophone electro-samba of “We Could Forever” begs for Jorge Ben’s voice, and “El Toro” pleads for a Matlock court scene. “The Keeper” and “Wonder When” are nicely hypnotizing, especially when singer Andreya Triana’s sultry voice trails off in a drunken lounge. Her low decibels don’t remove, however, the sensual element of watching her in the video for “Eyesdown” up above.

In the end, Black Sands is fantastically relaxing. But it’s left there. It won’t spark your movement, and its goosebumps will blanket but calm you. But we’re plagued by anxiety and popping Prozac like breath mints. So maybe we all need to chill the fuck out.

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