Bonobo — Fragments — Album Review

Electronic | Dance

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

On thing that I think all music lovers can agree on, is that an ambient album is always welcome to set the vibes in motion at the beginning of the year. In the case of 2022, it seemed that it would be delivered onto us by Brighton-born musician and producer Simon Green, known professionally as Bonobo.

Despite beginning his musical career in my home city of Brighton way back in 1999, it would only be at the start of 2022 that I discovered Bonobo (who is now based in America’s Los Angeles) and his soothing electronic sound. Through his collaborative track with Joji, and teaser for his new album, I was able to get a sense of his musical style somewhat.

However, I was excited to dive in deeper. And with his seventh studio album Fragments, I was given the opportunity to do so.

This new album certainly got off to a good start, with an opening intro that not only established Bonobo’s knack for setting a tone, but also transitioned brilliantly into the next track. Featuring Jordan Rakei, the first true song, “Shadows” felt like a very apt combination. Bonobo’s subtly sunny tone worked incredibly well with Rakei’s vocal style. If this track, and the aforementioned collaboration with Joji, in the form of the single “From You”, showed anything, it was that Bonobo knows how to compliment a featured artist very well.

However, those moments unfortunately seemed to few and far between on this album. While I certainly appreciated being able to listen to what Bonobo could do solo, I saw the artist fall into that same trap that a lot of musical producers fall into; making a project that is, for the most part, too ambient for its own good.

And that pretty much is the crux of this album. The greater majority of this albums tracks started off pretty well. However, the repetition of these same melodies, without much in the way of noticeable progression, eventually gave many of the tracks a highly slippery grip in regards to being engaging or memorable in any way.

Out of all the albums that came out in the same week as Fragments, I knew that this would need the most time for a review. A big reason as to why this would be the case, was because I needed the most time to actually memorise most of the tracks, and give a verdict on whether they contributed to the albums appeal or not. But by that merit alone, I fear that most of them fell into the latter.

And while there were a few Bonobo tracks that pull through as quite memorable pieces, without the dependance of a feature, pretty much all of the tracks I actually kept as downloads included some kind of vocal elements in whatever shape or form. That being said, I feel that it is this element that ultimately drives the highlights of Fragments forward, which is a shame.

In short, this album still stands as a solid piece, and one that would work well for those in need of background music. However, the ambience of Fragments gets in the way of everything else.

Favourite Tracks: Shadows | Otomo | From You

Least Favourite Track: Sapien

Ninja Tune

Final Score: 52%

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My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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