Inspiration is a fickle thing. For many artists, inspiration hits them while doing the things they regularly do. For Simon Green AKA Bonobo, inspiration would strike during his relentless touring and consistent work schedule. When everything shut down at the start of the pandemic Green, and many artists of the same ilk, found themselves in an unaccustomed state.
Things were at a standstill throughout the world and that inspiration that would hit him while on the road suddenly dried up. The Brighton bred, Los Angeles based producer and musician found himself in an entirely different life flow than he ever had before. Heading out alone, away from the shutdown and into nature is where Green found that he was slowly garnering more and more inspiration, an inspiration that led to his latest, and utterly remarkable new album, Fragments. The album came into focus for Green while working with arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Chicago based singer and poet Jamila Woods. It was through these collaborations that bred the connective through line of the record. Fragments is a celebration of the connection we make through collaboration, through movement, through shared experience. While some of these things have been few and far between as of late, after listening to the optimism that fills every single space on Bonobo’s latest, the feeling is clear that it won’t be long till we are all able to connect again.
Using a combination of live orchestral recordings and UK bass and rave music, Green has captured something very soothing and special to take us into this new year. Tracks “Polyghost” and “Elysian” feature some of the most lovingly captured, meditative string playing. It all effortlessly bounces off of some of the more beat heavy tracks, like “Shadows”, but never feels at all out of place. Guests galore shine on Fragments. The aforementioned Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and harpist Lara Somgyi shine on “Elysian”. Vocalist Jordan Rakei lifts up the two step groove of “Shadows” and Jamila Woods enhances the already wonderful “Tides”with a Badu-esque melodic sensibility that is absolutely infectious. When she sings in the song’s ear worm of a chorus, “We won’t be dry soon/Here come the tides/You move when I do/You’ll never be mine” it is absolutely irresistible.
We are all entering another year of uncertainty. No one knows what will happen and that’s a frightening thing. Listening to Bonobo’s Fragments is a small step to rinsing some of that uncertainty away. The album is so steeped in an optimistic and beautiful atmosphere that it practically reaches through your stereo speakers to, at times, gently caress you as well as leading you by the hand to the dance floor. It’s a shame that it took some stillness across the world to inspire Green to craft such an amazing statement but it’s so nice to have this now, to uplift and, hopefully, heal some of the scars the last couple years have caused.
Order Fragments by Bonobo HERE