Best Of British 2010: Best Artist Album - Bonobo ‘Black Sands’ | Skip to main content

Best Of British 2010: Best Artist Album - Bonobo ‘Black Sands’

Best Of British 2010: Best Artist Album - Bonobo ‘Black Sands’

The Great Ape - Bonobo’s best album bowls us over

Always one of Ninja Tune’s most enduring and popular acts, it’s with the genretrashing, experimental, epic ‘Black Sands’ that Simon Green, aka Bonobo has really elevated his art.

The album, which arrived at the beginning of 2010, wowed DJmag on first listen, then burrowed its way indelibly into our affections after several more — always the sign of a great record, those that take their time to reveal their charms — such was its sublime, slow-burn subtlety. And it seems we weren’t the only ones, with DJmag readers also voting it their Best British Album of 2010.

 “It’s pretty amazing, actually,” baffles Simon Green when we grab him on the phone just after a flight into the UK for live dates, from his new home of New York City. “It’s been a really good end to the year. Quite a ridiculous year, and quite an amazing way to end it!” Perhaps the reason you voted in your droves, and why we nominated the record in the first place, is its embracing of up-to-the-minute machine beats. Indeed, ‘Black Sands’ saw Bonobo experiment with the electronic delights of futuristic two step garage, as on the sexy ‘Eyesdown’ and wonky dubstep, as on the Joker-via-Dorothy Ashby rhythms of ‘Kiara’, threading them into the lush, jazzy, orchestral grooves he’s become latterly known for. Inspired by new producers like Floating Points and Bullion, and nodding to his own past (like the trip-hop-heavy album ‘Animal Magic’), the result was a record that managed to satisfyingly marry his beat-making history and the live instrumentation of his present.

“I switched direction half way through making that record, cos I got really back into making beats again. I feel that it’s the record I’m most proud of in terms of having moved away into an unfamiliar direction,” Simon thinks.

Counting gigs at Glastonbury and London’s Roundhouse, as well as in Berlin and Paris as his highlights of 2010, Bonobo is already looking ahead to brave new horizons.

“I’m itching to get back to start making tunes. I’ve been making beats with a laptop and headphones. It’s been quite a refreshing way of working.”

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  The Other Nominees

Breakage ‘Foundation’Massive Attack ‘Heligoland’Four Tet ‘There Is Love In You’Altered Natives ‘Tenement Yard Vol.1’