Three years on from his breakthrough album 'Black Sands', 'The North Borders’ has kept to a similar widescreen electro-acoustic soundscape, providing us with another selection of upbeat downbeat gems. Opener 'First Fires' has the melancholy and post-dubstep clicks and blips of a James Blake production, given extra similarity by Grey Reverend's vocal.
Bonobo has been playing with 2-step rhythms for a while now (check 'Black Sands' favourite 'Eyesdown'), and now with the UK garage revival in full swing, cuts like 'Emkay' and 'Know You' sound right on point for 2013. House cuts like 'Don't Wait' and 'Antenna' lead the way to an alternative dancefloor, while 'Cirrus' features a similar intricacy to Kieran Hebden's polyrhythmic creations. Star guest Erykah Badu adds typically sublime vox to string-laden wonky-hop cut 'Heaven For The Sinner', while upcoming singer Szjerdene is equally ear-catching on future R&B essentials 'Towers' and 'Transits'. 'Jets' expands on the kind of crackling atmospherics of a Burial production, adding lush strings and organic percussion.
'Sapphire' has a rolling dubstep rhythm, but with plucked harps and vocal samples sewn into the mix. Bonobo leaves us wanting more with the beatdown downbeat album closer 'Pieces', featuring sweet vocals by Cornelia and uplifting strings and woodwind.
Bonobo - The North Borders
1. First Fires Feat. Grey Reverend
4. Heaven For The Sinner Feat. Erykah Badu
7. Towers Feat. Szjerdene
8. Don't Wait
9. Know You
11. Ten Tigers
12. Transits Feat. Szjerdene
13. Pieces Feat. Cornelia