If the term downtempo makes you worry that your ears will turn to jelly—and even for fans of the stuff, there’s plenty of good reason to—then you can do far worse than to acquaint yourself with Simon Green, the Brighton, UK, producer who records as Bonobo. Sure, plenty of what he’s done has a quality you might well dub “cinematic,” but the man’s ear for detail is as pointed as his textures are gauzy, and he’s quietly amassed one of the strongest catalogs on the Ninja Tune roster.
Green’s early work (on the Tru Thoughts label as well as Ninja Tune) concentrated on programming and samples, but beginning with 2010’s quiet stunner Black Sands, Bonobo albums are equally as likely to be orchestrated for human players. Green has also made a name as a DJ—witness his jazz-heavy 2013 contribution to the Late Night Tales mix series, or his rangy all-night sets for the Brooklyn club Output—and his new album Migration has a similarly wide scope. A typical standout is “Bambro Koyo Ganda,” featuring the Brooklyn-based Moroccan band Innov Gnawa, which crosses its guests’ traditional North African groove with hypnotic bells and violins. It’s a breathing example of what Green once dubbed “that idea of subconscious fluidity in music . . . following an idea and letting the music suggest what happens next.”
It’s easy to imagine Green turning into a go-to producer for more vocal and song oriented artists. In fact, he may well be doing that with another of Migration‘s guests, Rhye: “This is a conversation I’m having right now,” he told Bandcamp in December. “We’ll see. But I’m a slow worker.”