Bonobo – Late Night Tales
Label: Late Night Tales Score: 8/10
Mentions of compilations – especially towards any day of gift giving – often leads to the assumption of cheesy songs dedicated to the worlds greatest Dad, or triple CD sets, that define a decade and breathe enough nostalgic air to puff out more chests than a gym on Venice Beach. The ‘Late Night Tales’ series however, seeps below the surface in terms of promotion and the exposure its garnered during its twelve year existence.
The curators of the series call upon people who they see as being the greatest producers in the world to, as they put it, “Delve deep into their music collections to create the ultimate ‘Late Night’ selection.” A strong theme for both artist and listener; allowing those called upon to express themselves in a manner often completely opposing their usual DJ set or live performance. And in turn for the listener, they see an artist they know and love in a different skin. Other specific criteria for the mix requires them to include an original cover track as well as a spoken word piece.
For the 34th instalment Late Night Tales chose a man whose music was most recently used to sell Citroen’s – As telling a sign as any that you’ve truly made it to the big time. – Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, whose ‘Northern Borders’ album released earlier in the year puts him six to the good. And following his breakthrough in 2010 with, ‘Black Sands’, has been a name synonymous with beautifully jazz flecked electronica, currently enjoyed by the masses.
His selections walk a path commonly treading in mood and to some extent age. Starting out with more traditional blues and jazzy stuff, making a possible nod to early influences on his own work. The opening tracks are sombre and reflective, following minor key patterns. Darondo’s ‘Didn’t I’ a clear highlight of the late night lovers woes felt by many a teary eyed soul.
Brown brings it right upto the present with choice cuts from, Romare, Shlomo and Lapalux, whose collective reign in bubbling, bassy territories pick up the mood in the process.
The inclusion of Brighton pairing, Peter and Kerry with their soft, acoustic rendition of Amerie’s classic, ‘One Thing’, sees the mood filter back into more solemn pastures. Finishing with Bill Evans’ timeless ‘Peace Piece’. A delicate and wondrous mastery of piano music, that encompasses perfectly the mind winding down at night, ridding itself of any niggling thoughts and worries, allowing dreams to alight unconsciously.
Benedict Cumberbatch narrates the spoken work piece that tails off the music. His insatiable tones startlingly enter the fray, though his vocal capacity instantly draws you into the monologue, ‘Flat of Angles’ Part 3. its a story written exclusively for the Late Night Tales series, circling a young, London living male and his various pitfalls and fairly benign happenings, that wouldn’t hold half as much interest if it wasn’t for Cumberbatch’s engaging delivery.
Bonobo’s picks make for a timeless listen. No doubt one that would be appreciated at a later hour, but one that could be called upon night after night and would still deploy intrigue and appreciation. Much like his own albums, it makes for divine background music to lull your mind away from despair.