Visualizers for music from a British producer Banoba seventh album Fragments, all played with the dynamics of light when it interacts with the natural world. For Rosewood, one of the album’s first singles, Ocean and Mountain Coast blur into one wormhole. For Tides (and Fragments in general on Spotify), the album cover comes to life; kaleidoscopic depths get lost and crumble, cornflower blue and radiant shades in sunset shades. Speaking of the album, Banoba (same Simon Green) told how he found his inspiration both in nature and on the dance floor. “I remembered again how much I loved the crowds, the movement and the people who connect with each other,” he said of the inspiration, finding a metaphor for the flow of the dance floor in the spotted light on the shaky trees and the rippling water. This concern about tracing the refraction of light and its (yes) fragments when interacting with the world suggested Banoba maybe on something more hazy than before.
Known for his sluggish and often overloaded works, he has become synonymous with the downtempo style, which is known to move into “safe” territory. This security has always been Banoba Achilles heel. He is undoubtedly skilled, and this skill has made it impossible not to focus on where he is able to press his sound when he tries. His manifesto of use “Electronic methods of creating non-electronic music” is not singular; this feeling is shared by the pioneers of the downtempo movement. Some may object Banoba itself belongs to this genus. But whereas peers like it Four Tet and Nicholas Year took the foundation after the rave laid by the like Smoky mushroom and Lemon jelly to new and increasingly distinctive places, Banoba has embraced a wave of decline from its summit to the establishment of its major trends (e.g. it is). And he stayed there. While a groundbreaking 2010 album Black sandswhich combined jazz and big band percussion Banoba signatures hinting at promising evolution, 2014 Migration took Banoba back to the beginning (Forks loved it, however). Then, of course, there is his infamous gifts of cloth a turnaround in 2019 that confused many but also wondered if this was the first sign Banoba finally breaking their own boundaries. Such was the expectation Fragmentsonly enhanced by the release of uncharacteristic of the genre singles like Otama and Ninja Tune advertise album as “his masterpiece.”
Download and stream Fragments here
Finally here in the final form, Fragments kind of justifies the hype. This almost the shift we wanted from him. The album sees Banoba exploring new places but on familiar waters. The course may be unknown to him, but it is one that has been held many times before. Fragments covers the currents of existing trails rather than diving a little deeper. This makes the album, albeit impeccably crafted and arguably beautiful, disappointingly haphazard. Potential for Fragments break the course Banoba is massive but never gets there. Opening one or two strokes Ghostbusterprologue to the melting instrumentalist Miguel-Atwood Furguson plucked harp and violin strings with trembling bass and boisterous electronics, smoothly bursting into the trembling intro Prices it’s an exciting start. Prices walks carefully, turning around Jordan Rakey vocals. To Banoba merit, he has always had the ability to work with the best vocalists for his musical direction. Rocket works great on Pricesrecalling the tonality of the style that has recently been popularized Rufus du Sol. The same can be said about Jamila Woods on a slow trip hop Tideswho completely obeys the will of her siren song. Tracks like Tech-house are reported Rosewood and tribal garage and bass Otama (accompaniment with O’Flynn) are some of the most intense and satisfying in the record. The latter remains a wonderful and clearest step towards something original Banoba takes over Fragments. Otama pushes Bonbo aesthetic in a direction that feels natural as part of his recent expeditions, almost making sense of it gifts of cloth possession. More moments that manage to merge Banoba with a potential future its sounds exist elsewhere, but they are fleeting. There is something intriguing about the techno house Corresponding and leaning towards the jungle Sapien. But just these tracks are starting to get into the exciting places we’ve been expecting Fragmentsthey scatter in the air, flickering like rays of sunlight dancing on the stormy water.
Perhaps expecting too much Banobaand perhaps an advertising cycle of praise Fragments how “the hardest and most trembling grooves Green ever created » mostly to blame. At the surface level this indicates a natural progression. This is definitely a course correction from Migrationand the closet we have Black sands successor. With a variety of styles and aesthetic influences from British rave to deep house, the album opens up an ocean of possibilities for wherever he chooses to go next, and hopefully this place will be deeper. If that Banoba wet his feet when it really was time to take a full step.
Watch the music video for Otama from Fragments below.
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