Review of Late Night Tales Album by Bonobo

The only surprising thing about Bonobo's addition to the 'Late Night Tales' roster is that they existed separately for over a decade. Simon Green's heady mixes of midnight hour electronica and exotic down-tempo vibes run parallel to the 'Late Night Tales' modus operandi, and his selection of cuts for the latest release in their acclaimed series is unsurprisingly laser accurate.

Bonobo Late Night Tales Album

Beginning with the autumnal neoclassicism of Dustin O'Halloran's 'An Ending A Beginning', it soon melts into the juxtaposition of echo-riddled beats and smouldering vocals that are spread across his own back catalogue. Individual highlights are a moot-point when considering a concept such as the 'Late Night Tales' series as it is all about setting the mood and seguing from one track to the next, but across the 21 tracks on Bonobo's offering, Nina Simone's take on 'Baltimore' shines brightest; glowing funk that is downbeat and browbeat but not downtrodden, and riddled with violin swells as hypnotic as Nina's own sighs.

The mix as an entirety is eclectic but not forcibly so. The prominent percussion of Shlomo's 'Places' and The Invisible's 'Wings' are a world away from the minimalistic, introspective work of Matthew Borne and the aforementioned Dustin O'Halloran, but Bonobo bridges them together effortlessly. He never tries to overawe by using attention-catching mixing techniques but lets the songs breathe into each other or fit together like a jigsaw, as on the couplet of Airhead's dizzying post-rock/electronica hybrid 'South Congress' and Matthew Halsall's 'Sailing Out To Sea'.

Whilst click-of-a-finger access to global catalogues of music and the opinions of thousands of tastemakers, some would argue that the art of a compilation is redundant, but there is, and will always be, room for mixes as well considered as this.


Jordan Dowling

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