Jungles and city streets: Bonobo plays the Baltics

  • 2014-02-05
  • By Antra Bertule

RIGA - Here it comes! Another esteemed electronica musician visits Riga’s Palladium on Feb. 19. Riga is setting a precedent: Gold Panda, the British electronic producer and composer, performed in Riga on Feb. 4 and one year ago. How To Dress Well brought some groovy electronic bedroom tunes to the very same Palladium stage. For Riga audiences who appreciate fresh production and electonic experimentation, this is good news.

British, down-tempo musician Bonobo brings his latest record, The North Borders, released in 2013 via Ninja Tune Records, to the Palladium on Feb. 19. Ninja Tune’s reputation preceeds them: they are the legendary British electronic label who have operated since the 1990s. Bonobo’s work stands smartly next to other great releases, from Yppah, Kelis, to Toddla T. Most likely, Bonobo’s Palladium performance will be full of heavy bass-lines, soulful samples from female vocals, and the mandatory nostalgia so characteristic of his work.

Simon Green - stage name Bonobo - started his career in the late 1990s when he released his 2001 debut “Animal Magic.” The full-length LP was completely self-promoted and self-produced, an important step for an ambitious artist who has, as life goes on, proved that independence is a must in innovative music.

Bonobo’s distinctive vocals stand above the accompanying anonymous electronic instrumental jungle. His compositions often grow from a smaller musical sample, to great sonic landscapes, frequently filled with ethnographic quotations not limited to Moroccan world music elements, Chinese traditional songs, early Romantic violins, or French film soundtracks.
His “15 minutes of fame” starts now. Bonobo wrote a beautiful work back in 2010 titled “Black Sands,” which gained lots of attention. It was followed by an extensive world promo tour. “Black Sands” itself is a reflection of world music, including Brazilian bossa nova beats, beachy, atmospheric “nothingness,” Iranian instrumental pieces, cold and sharp hints of early rave, African jimbo-jambo rhythms and many, many more.

Virtuosity is a prerequisite for electronica musicians. It differentiates those whose music falls in the heap of cheap lounge/chillout, or, what’s even worse, musak, pumped into a business hotel lobby somewhere in Frankfurt.
What makes Bonobo distinctive from similar artists is his emotional approach towards every single beat. Life, and the world around us, breathe deeply in his records. It’s no coincidence that Bonobo has taken his stage name from the chimpanzee species of the same name. As it turns out, they are one of the most emphatic and delicate chimpanzees living in Africa.

“The North Borders” is his fifth studio record. Bonobo has toured with this new material since 2013 including the essential melomaniac gigs in Berlin, London, Austin and his hometown, Brighton, where his career began. He will play in all three Baltic States – Rock Cafe in Tallinn, Palladium in Riga and Teatro Arena in Vilnius returning to the UK afterwards and slowly closing the tour with gigs in USA.

Palladium Riga
February 19
For tickets, visit www.ticketpro.lv
From 35 euros.