Last week I managed to miss my first Mixtape Monday since launching the blog, the power of the bank holiday to mess with schedules! No fear, I’m sure you all coped admirably with the absence of a new mix to listen to and my witterings on the subject. No such luck this week, I’m back baby!
While Bonobo’s popularity has exploded in recent years (with his sold-out Alexandra Palace and Tobacco Dock shows in London serving as testament to this), he’s been around a long, long time, beavering away at his wonderful music. I actually got to warm up for him a long time ago, in the back room of the legendary Nottingham nightclub The Bomb, at the long-running bass music event Detonate. It was around the time of his record Dial M for Monkey. I remember Big Daddy magazine (or was it Grand Slam, Big Daddy’s successor?) reviewing this, and channelling the spirit of Spinal Tap with their very very succinct “Dial B for Boring” contribution to musical criticism.
This seemed harsh at the time, and even crueller looking back. But back then Bonobo was nominally linked to the hip hop scene more than any other you could really identify, despite what he made not really being hip hop per se, so I imagine that was the metric they were using to judge him. These days he’s found a much more house oriented niche, while still floating around in that space between genres. Being honest, if someone asked me to define Bonobo’s sound then I’d struggle to go for a particular genre, and instead would head towards words like “organic”, “intricate”, “delicate” and so on.
This mix takes in a good few of his productions, along with the likes of Dark Sky, Maya Jane Coles, Maribou State, Jimpster and others of that ilk. You generally can’t go far wrong with Essential Mixes, and this one is at the top table of that already elite selection.