Under his moniker Bonobo, Simon Green has covered all grounds when it comes to electronic music. Starting off playing very out-there and abstract hip-hop, he has since delved more into the realm of electronics, which he injects with pockets upon pockets of his own unique soul. The Flashlight EP is the latest release from Bonobo since 2013’s well-received North Borders, taking everything on that album a little further: the intricately layered ambience, the finely-chopped samples and the dynamic use of live instrumentation.
On this latest release Bonobo takes a very similar approach to his songwriting and applies this to a short but sweet fresh catalogue of sounds. As usual the songs on this EP are deceptively minimalist upon first listen. The simple hooky beats and gentle guitar samples found on first track ‘Flashlight’ create an accessible surface level that people hearing this artist or even this kind of music would find it hard to not move to.
After multiple listens of this nearly sixteen-minute EP, the lush layers of ambience begin to peel away and the depth of the music reveals itself. The pulsing hush of the bass and the subtle female vocals of ‘Pelican’ lay a foundation to a track that wouldn’t sound out of place in a club. Bonobo adds his own twist to the formula in the way he cuts the delicate female vocals, slots in finger clicks and claps atop the beat and adds in layers of subtle ambient sounds of laughter. This notion carries through to ‘Return to Air’, which is an even more soothing rendition of this idea.
While the Flashlight EP is not remarkably different to the last release, you can see he’s trying to take his defined style and tweak it to be more suited for a live setting. He takes an incredibly rhythmic and movement-oriented formula whilst making it simultaneously minimalist and ambient, sparking the mind as it works the body. If this is the future of dance music, then this is a very exciting time indeed.