After a few weeks of letting The Indie Blender sit, I’m finally ready to get back to it. Our first review of 2017 marks the first release of 2017 that I have yet to really sit down and digest, courtesy of the British electronic musician known as Bonobo. I must admit, Migration is my first real attempt at delving into his catalogue, as I only have a casual familiarity with his earlier work. Migration is an ethereal, atmospheric record that works as a perfect companion to the cold winter.
Migration is an album that is true to its name. Just like in any real journey, the music always seems to have a purpose and to be in motion, but on the way it meanders into unfamiliar territory. The more beautiful, serene parts of the journey are illustrated by glistening tracks like “Second Sun”, and contrasted by the nervous tension of a song like “Outlier”. At times the journey feels triumphant, as illustrated by the blaring horns of “Ontario”, and in certain moments we here stories told by a variety of featured vocalists. The album drifts and turns, but is unified by a constant sense of forward movement.
The shimmering echo of Migration makes this album very suitable for the season of its release. Well, that’s at least true up here in Canada. The record is soaked in reverb and instruments that bounce off of each other, giving the feeling of sound ricocheting through a frozen cavern. It is somewhat subdued, but has a liveliness that lurks in the subtle interplay between layers. “No Reason” reinforces the seasonality of this record no only in its tone, but literally in the lyrics, urging the listener to “stay warm”.
I do have to say that while I have been enjoying Migration quite a bit, there is something about it that is not fully pulling me in. I can’t quite identify a reason for it, but somehow this album is remaining on the level of something I like listening to and that I appreciate, I don’t find myself needing to listen to it everyday. I’m sure this won’t be the case for many listeners, as it is undeniably a beautiful record. For a first release of the new year, I certainly am not complaining. Make sure you give Bonobo’s Migration a try on a cold, laid back winter’s eve.