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Bonobo Transcends his Cult Following on Fragments

The UK electronic act continues to blend soothing soundscapes and futuristic glitch-hop.

by Ben Boddez

It’s rare that an artist hits a peak in popularity seventeen years after the release of their debut album, but that’s exactly what happened with British electronic artist Bonobo on his last album. Five years later, and the man often heralded as one of the most consistent and quietly influential artists in the world of dance music has returned with his seventh collection of tracks. Mostly known for blending global influences with glitchy trip-hop beats and highly textured, ambient passages, Bonobo’s signature style continues to expand and experiment as he welcomes some big-name collaborations on board. The lo-fi vibes of Joji and the earthy tones of Jamila Woods fit right in with these mixes.

Listening to a Bonobo track often feels like a perfect combination between meditating on a mountain peak and a futuristic dance club, and Fragments is certainly no exception. His music somehow manages to be equal parts calming and motivating, offering both downtempo passages to get lost in and heavy and complex interlocking rhythm sections that raise heart-rates. The six-minute “Otomo” masterfully combines both, as a grandiose sample of a Bulgarian choir drops into a frenetic and percussive section that sounds like an alien space war. For Bonobo’s fans and all the new listeners that he pulls into his cult following, this project should offer the familiar comforting tones and a couple mind-bending surprises as well. 

Best Track: Otomo (Ft. O’Flynn)