Something keeps me from fully embracing Bonobo‘s music. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I have a suspicion that it might be all that stuff that makes other people absolutely love him. The finesse, purposefulness and richness of every sound, the calculated layering and methodical distribution of instrumentations. Pretty subjective, don’t you think – to blame a musician for creating perfection? Well, that’s how I am, I need some roughness and unpredictability, I need my music to punch me in the stomach. Black Sands does have some surprises though, and for folks not too familiar with Bonobo it could be a nice way to discover his work, for not only it is a nice representation of his impeccable producing skills, but it also incorporates a few elements that are not common to his work. Other than featuring female vocals (by Andreya Triana, who is doing a wonderful job) on three tracks, which are amongst finest on the record, Black Sands is also more bleepy and glitchy than Bonobo‘s previous releases, down to a nice little dubstep excursion on “1009”. Not that Bonobo is trying too hard to keep up. He doesn’t need to – he’s capable of doing whatever he’s set out to do, and “We Could Forever” would be satisfying for any modern electronica aesthete. It’s just he has all the bells and whistles (literally) and oh-so-popular claps so meticulously organized that some of the less skillful artists out there would make their music more noticeable just by having more spark. One of my friends said that the album is “good, but kind of sad.” I don’t think it is sadness as much as lack of excitement.

R.I.Y.L. Ratatat, Four Tet, tropics

personal favs: “We Could Forever”, “The Keeper”, “All In Forms”

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★★★½☆ tipkin’s rating

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