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"Dial M for Monkey"
by: Sun-J

Bonobo's are the rarest of all the great ape species. One of humankind's closest relatives, the Bonobos are tiptoeing the line of extinction. These underrated primates are enclosed by a world of mystery, and in fact, most know not of their existence.

A perfect moniker or alias for Simon Green, the Brighton (which is technically the electronica capital of the friggin' world) based DJ (home of Amon Tobin, Fatboy Slim, Quantic, and Thievery Corporation to name a few) who sits at home perfecting his craft, and creating underrated, and under observed downtempo funk-meets-electronica music for the masses. Bonobo's music in one word can be described as 'lush.' Back at the beginning of the millennium, Green garnered interest and respect with his sitar-laden piece, "Terrapin." The creation eventually led to an album and a collection of remixes on the Tru Thought label, which in turn produced a deal with major, Ninja Tune.

What makes Green so special is his ability to mesh beats with the harmony and render them untraceable to the point where you sometimes don't even notice their presence, yet take them out, and will discover a large gap in difference. And in fact, the beats are ever so soft that they ricochet magnificently off of the other instruments, and thanks to his first time major label backing, on Dial M for Monkey, Green was able to bring in more musicians to the forefront such as saxophone, woodwind, strings, and organ soloists to expand the versatility. However, Green limits his duties to arrangement and bass, which fits his personality (and alias) appropriately. Quiet and unknown, similar to his demeanor; the bass is the foundation to virtually every song where upon several layers of instruments are placed.

Dial M for Monkey opens up with the track "Noctuary," an eastern tinged opener with multi echoes reminiscent of Theivery Corporations claim to fame. "Change Down" is DJ Shadow breaks meets Amon Tobin like drums to form an overall lazy beat that slings along with the instrumentation. "Pick Up," is a track with a superb flute courtesy of Andy Ross. Green successfully remixes the flute with a breakbeat and retro organs. "Flutter" contains those old spy movie horns. The one's heard in the old Batman television series that would sound out during a punch (along with a cartoon written noise) during a fight sequence. In addition, Green layered an infectious sitar riff, which floats above the subtle drums. "Nothing Owed" is the standout track; a jazzy ballad with staccato guitar, and electronic keyboards. "D Song" is filled with start-stop rhythms and rhode influenced eccentric beats. "Wayward Bob" is a trip-hop voyage filled with synthesizer while "Something for Windy" is a one-minute lush and dreamy groove with smooth strings and harmonious winds. The final track, "Light Pattern" is layered with complex, multiple string and horn tracks, yet Green ingeniously devises a plot so the bass and drums never get lost as they follow a flowing organ.

With the help of a major label Green was successfully able to step up his game. Blending the best of the 70's, mod soundtracks, globe-trotting exoitca, and trip hop, Dial M for Monkey, is the perfect soundtrack for the all American college student's favorite pastime, "chillaxin' ."


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