Review: Jack Foley
HAVING jumped from the small Tru-Thoughts record label to Ninja
last year, Brighton-based DJ, Bonobo (aka Simon Green) now delivers
his first album for them, the bizarrely named, Dial M for Monkey.
The result builds on the success of his earlier efforts by delivering
a smooth, intoxicating mixture of beats and funky rhythms that
provide the perfect soundtrack to any chilled out mood.
Green may not be as spectacular, or well-known as fellow Brighton
DJ, Norman Cook, but his work sounds more accomplished, in that
it consistently continues to delight without ever feeling as though
it is trying to pander towards a more mainstream listener base.
Hence, certain tracks on the album have more in common with the
cool sound of David Holmes (in Ocean's
Eleven mode), while also possessing a retro-feel which belongs
in the Seventies era of cool that was epitomise by Steve McQueen.
Take, for instance, Pick Up, with its retro organs, Lalo
Schifrin-inspired drum breaks and flutes, which signals the album
at its funkiest, or the lazy, feelgood beats of Change Down
- both classic examples of why the Bonobo sound, once heard, is
seldom better for fans of this sort of thing.
The presence of a bigger label has also enabled Green to bring
in more instruments - so as well as the trademark drums and percussions,
we are also now treated to woodwinds, sitar (on the superb Flutter)
and saxophone at certain points, making Dial M for Monkey a far
richer listening experience than some of its predecessors.
Elsewhere, D Song sounds like it could slide into place
on the soundtrack to Six Feet Under or American Beauty with its
eccentric beats, while the lush, dreamy Something for Windy
sounds like exactly the type of track you should have streaming
from the stereo of a convertible in the middle of Summer (it comes
accompanied by a shiver-inducing whistle to boot).
Nothing Owed is the closest thing Green gets to an instrumental
ballad, with its simple, but oh-so effective guitar riffs and
sax, while the album is brought to a fitting finale with Light
Pattern, another cool selection of lush beats and organs that
winds things down well.
If you haven't had the chance to discover Bonobo yet, then dial
in now - this monkey is a magical thing!
3. D Song
4. Change Down
5. Wayward Bob
6. Pick Up
7. Something For Windy
8. Nothing Owed
9. Light Pattern