Music Reviews


Animal Magic

Tru Thoughts/Ninja Tune

When was the exact moment that chilling out became so complex an activity? Didn’t it used to be that one could come home, plop down before the TV, and just enjoy the comatose? Couldn’t a simple, meaty, woofer-splitting beat get your head-nod on, and you would be content? Has the proliferation of DJs and producers made tuning-out such the heady process it can now sometimes be?

Well, in the hands of Bonobo (nee Simon Green), it has become just that. Though geared for the chill-out session, Animal Magic is just way too complex, too intricate, too good for you to sit back doing your best Timothy Leary impersonation. No, this CD challenges you with the intricacy of its works. Not content with a simple, throbbing beat and quirky effects, this debut album paints canvases instead of producing songs. With fine beats, guitars, synthesizers, and even church bells, Bonobo evokes dreams of calm, windswept days lounging before a purple sunset beach. Take “Terrapin,” for example. Here we are given a soothing, lounge-y song with a subtle rimshot beat and subcontinent flavors accompanied by Close Encounters vocals. Yet, no matter how disparate the effects, there’s a cohesive whole seldom found by anyone who messes with the genre. Complex yet simply beautiful, Animal Magic adds depth and dimension that refuses to be relegated to simple background music.

Tru Thoughts: • Ninja Tune:

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