Week 11: “Black Sands” by Bonobo


Bonobo is a solo musician from England whose latest album is, in my opinion, one of the best of 2010. Always a sure bet for great chill-out music, Bonobo has grown to include richer instrumentation in recent years. The title track on the album “Black Sands” is a beautiful example of how ambient electronic music doesn’t have to exclude live instruments. Oh, and also, a bonobo is a species of monkey that uses sex as a form of conflict resolution. Seriously. Look it up. The Wikipedia entry is only just barely safe for work.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The clarinet. Why? Because I don’t know of any other electronic act where you can say, “hey, I really like the clarinet in that song”.

2. The time signature. Okay, well there’s nothing inherently beautiful about 6/8 (or ¾) time, but it is somewhat rare in popular music, and in this song it has a way of making you want to sway side to side or ask someone if you may have this dance.

3. The horns. Nicely layered with some crunchy dissonance here and there.

Recommended listening activity:

Watching time-lapse movies of plants growing.

Buy it here.