Bonobo: Black Sands Remixed Review

In his ongoing quest to scale electronica’s tallest trees and swing from the highest branches of this dense sonic jungle, Bonobo demonstrated his alpha male qualities with the release of his acclaimed Black Sands album last year.

On Black Sands Remixed, Bonobo has taken this record to another level; lining up an ensemble of electronica’s brightest emerging talents such as Falty DL and Floating Points, as well as recruiting a few lesser known lights on remixing duties.

When you consider there was very little wrong with the Black Sands, this could appear a thankless task. Too big a departure from the beautiful continuity between tracks which made this album so good could leave you pining for the original.

But even with the myriad different producers fighting it out for Bonobo’s treasure, there’s still a continuity that runs through Black Sands Remixed, a fluttering and airy collection of sparse sounds that elicits an even more laid back and chilled out feel then its predecessor.

Naturally, each producer has stamped their own identity upon their respective song, leaving Bonobo’s signature sound as a mere flicker of light amongst an intense firework display.

Eyesdown is the most remixed track on the album, with no less than four different versions, but my favourite new interpretation has to be Falty DL’s remix of All In Forms. With its subtly effortless progression and unique ethnic flavour, the man also known as Drew Lustman beats out a rhythm that carries echoes of one of my favourite producers Forest Swords.

There’s enough new material to keep devoted fans hooked for a while too, for along with reworked versions of classics like Kiara and Prelude, Bonobo’s also included a couple of new tracks that didn’t make the cut on his original record.

With its quirky upbeat rhythm and warm tones, Ghost Ship sounds as though it could have been rescued from Days To Come; while Brace Brace feels as though it belongs in the background of a walk through the Sicilian countryside.

In essence, Black Sands Remixed is a completely new album constructed from the carcass of the original.

This could even herald the start of a new era in remixing. Why focus so hard on just making new electronica albums, when you can recreate and re-imagine great albums from the past; constantly chasing perfection until reaching the electronica’s pinnacle.

The genre’s Don Giovanni if you will.

Besides this collective remix has given a new lease of life to an overplayed record that has been collecting dust for a while now.

And any attempt to resuscitate a Bonobo track is cordially welcomed in my book.

I’m not saying Black Sands Remixed is better than its musical ancestor, but there are many more flavours for your palette to savour on this record when compared to the select yet highly delicious cuts of the original.

So it seems as though this Bonobo is climbing ever closer to that canopy of musical perfection with each passing day.

Being the lazy orang-utan that I am, I’ll simply continue to keep a close eye on everything this prolific British producer gives the green light too from ground zero.

Kareem Ghezawi

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Dates ‘n stuff

January 2012