BONOBO with SHIGETO at Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth), tonight (Thursday, April 18), 8 pm. $20. RT, SS, TM. See listings.
On The North Borders, his fifth record as Bonobo, Simon Green wants to break free of being typecast as a downtempo producer. "There's still very slow-mo stuff, but my musical palette is different from where it was 15 years ago when I made my first record," says Green over the phone from Brooklyn.
It's another strong release for Ninja Tune, Green's long-time label, which is now signing artists - like FaltyDL - who interestingly, he says, reflect the sound of the label's early days.
But for Green, The North Borders was an attempt at something contemporary that would reflect his DJ sets and listening habits. "It's more relevant to what's going on in music now than Black Sands was in 2010. I'm not trying to pander to any scene, but I feel interested in making music that sounds like it couldn't be made in any other period than when it exists."
So this record is a nod to the dance floors of London, full of house-y overtures, jittery two-step rhythms and dense bass.
"I moved to New York City three years ago, but I feel this is my London record," says Green, laughing. "No one wants to go to the club and listen to someone playing 92-bpm moody trip-hop for two hours. Well, some people do, but they're weird."
The North Borders, which Green made entirely on his own but will tour with a 10-piece band, also reveals a refined approach to music-making.
"When I started out, there was a naïveté in not knowing how to do stuff, so I'd find a loop and drum break, play a bass line and find a couple of lead parts. Now I'm working from the ground up and maybe writing a song with an orchestral arrangement, recording it and using samples as another texture. I'm not at the mercy of digging for breaks any more."