Renowned electronic music producer Bonobo has unveiled Fragments, a new album and a magnum opus in what has been an illustrious career. The highly anticipated record is his seventh studio album and follows Migration, which was released five years ago nearly to the date.
One listen through the album is all it takes to know that the British DJ and musician is in a league of his own. Emotionally intense, Fragments rings true to its name and it's not hard to see that Bonobo has relinquished intricate and deep-seeded parts of himself within its 12 tracks.
The album was recorded and mixed by Bonobo over the last two years as he sought refuge on solo adventures into nature, away from the shutdowns. Having spent that time immersed in the natural world, he produced the new album by in interlacing electronic and organic sounds.
The integration of the Fender Rhodes piano, modular synthesis, recordings he had made of harpist Lara Somogyi, and his work with string player Miguel Atwood-Ferguson all elevate the musical themes throughout Fragments.
Back in October, when he announced the album and its eponymous 2022 world tour, Bonobo gifted fans the record's lead single. Setting the tone for what's to come, the thrilling "Rosewood" takes listeners on a winding journey. The aural experience is further brought to life by Neil Krug in the song's official visualizer.
Featuring Chicago-based singer-songwriter and poet Jamila Woods, "Tides" offered a second glimpse into the album. According to a press release shared with EDM.com, Woods' efforts acted as a catalyst for the record to come to fruition.
"I knew I had a centerpiece, I knew how it was all going to sound,” Bonobo explained. "Lyrically it captured everything the project was about. This track was a real turning point in the process of finishing the album and Miguel Atwood Ferguson’s incredible string parts at the end brought the whole thing to another level."
"Otomo," a six-minute masterstroke featuring O'Flynn, samples a Bulgarian choir (100 Kaba-Gaidi) while implementing arrangements more commonly found in U.K. bass music. The two have co-produced an infectious, rhythmic framework that elevates the dance track to anthemic proportions. Similar soundscapes seep into "Sapien" later in Fragments.
Featuring the multi-talented musician and Ninja Tune labelmate Jordan Rakei, "Shadows" was the fourth preview of the album. “[Bonobo] sent me the track and I actually wrote about three different verses and three different choruses," Rakei said. "When you work remotely it's really difficult to gauge whether or not an idea is suitable to their vision, so I wanted to make sure I was sending more than enough.”
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Pulling listeners in with soothing lyricism, the intoxicating "Shadows" is a standout track with its haunting grooves. "Save me, save me from the unknown / While I daydream, I leave this world to follow," Rakei croons, soundtracked by a contemplative, hypnotic beat.
"From You" marked the fifth and final glimpse of the album before its official release today. Enlisting one of the most enthralling artists of the digital age, Joji, Bonobo adds a unique voice into the mix. The Japanese luminary compliments the simple, yet moving melody beautifully.
Out now in full via Ninja Tune, Fragments flaunts some of Bonobo's deepest and most hip-shaking grooves. The album begins with "Polyghost," an enchanting, eerie cut textured with sensational strings courtesy of Atwood-Ferguson.
The idyllic "Elysian" conjures a dreamlike state of mind. From start to finish, it serenades listeners with soft, gossamer sound design. Here, Somogyi's harp and Atwood-Ferguson's strings meld together in perfect harmony.
Similarly to "Rosewood," "Closer" and "Age of Phase" hold dancefloor potential. "Closer" creates a progressive beat, adding in movement with subtle synth work while the latter track offers more percussion and builds some heat.
Clearing the air, "Counterpart" instills a sense of hope and relief. Harkening back to the Migration era, this track transports to a warm and welcoming dancefloor. “I remembered all over again how much I loved crowds and movement and people connecting with each other,” Bonobo reflects.
Closing with "Day by Day," a ballad with Kadhja Bonet, Bonobo channels a universal longing: "Inch by inch, day by day / We'll make this a better place." Concluding with an optimistic tone, Fragments, which feels like Bonobo's most emotionally intense record to date, encapsulates the ebb and flow of the collective consciousness.
Bonobo "Fragments" 2022 Tour Dates
18 Feb: Wildhorse Saloon, Nashville, TN
19 Feb: PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation, Newport, KY
20 Feb: EXPESS LIVE!, Columbus, OH
21 Feb: Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
25 Feb: Great Hall, Brooklyn, NY
27 Feb: Royale, Boston, MA
28 Feb: Echostage, Washington, DC
02 Mar: Franklin Music Hall, Philadelphia, PA
05 Mar: Higher Ground, Burlington, VT
06 Mar: Mtelus, Montreal, QC
09 Mar: History, Toronto, ON
10 Mar: Royal Oak Music Hall, Royal Oak, MI
11 Mar: Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
12 Mar: The Sylvee, Madison, WI
13 Mar: Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI
15 Mar: The Palace, Minneapolis, MN
17 Mar: Mission Ballroom, Denver, CO
18 Mar: The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT
19 Mar: Knitting Factory, Boise, ID
21 Mar: PNE Forum, Vancouver, BC
22 Mar: Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA
24 Mar: Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
20 Apr: AFAS Live, Amsterdam, NL
21 Apr: edel-optics.de Arena, Hamburg, DE
23 Apr: UFO im Velodrom, Berlin, De
24 Apr: Palladium, Cologne, De
25 Apr: TonHalle, Munich, De
26 Apr: Xtra, Zurich, CH
28 Apr: Le Centquatre, Paris, FR
03 May: The Brighton Centre, Brighton, UK
04 May: O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK
06 May: Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, UK
07 May: O2 Academy, Leeds, UK
08 May: Rock City, Nottingham, UK
16 May: Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
17 May: Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
18 May: Royal Albert Hall, London, UK