Sep.22.05 Filed in: music
This week i have decided to review, as always, one of my recent favorites. This time around I have set my sights on a new mostly live ep by a musician that has, up until now, has released only electronic albums. I'm not to sure how long he has been around but I will have to say that his past two full lengths are really amazing as well and I have posted over in the favorites page a little snippet about those albums as well as links so you can check them out yourself. Bonobo is one of those electronic musicians that is fairly easy on the ears and I could see people from all sorts of musical preferences enjoying his music. Now, when I say easy on the ears I don't mean to cast out an insult. I am just saying that his music is so good that I feel as though a lot of people could really get into it. Right, so anyways, the album I have decided to review is a fairly new album called Live Sessions and as the name implies, it is an album full of live recordings. Well, almost full of live recordings. There is one studio track as well as a remix by four-tet.
The thing that makes this ep unique is the fact that the live material on the ep is played by a full band. The live tracks that are on here are from past Bonobo releases and are essentially covers of songs that were originally electronic songs but have been reworked and preformed live. At first, after being so used to hearing the original songs, I didn't really enjoy the ep all that much but as I gave it a chance and listened to it more it started to really grow on me. The songs performed translated strikingly well into this new format which housed a nice jazz feel to these reincarnations of electronic songs. The band seems to be right on with the songs they played and even leave room for a good bit of improvisation to liven up the mix a bit. I have seen other electronic musicians try this whole 'take your electronic songs and play them with a real band so i can get more respect in the indie rock world' approach and I have yet to hear a more solid attempt as this. Boom Bip had tried this on his last tour and I was pretty underwhelmed by the whole idea after hearing that. Bonobo has shown me that it can be done really well though and changed my views on the whole idea.
My only complaint about this ep is that it's so short! Four live tracks is just not enough. It makes me wonder if maybe these four songs are the only ones that were actually preformed live with a band. Its such a tease if you think about it. Maybe it's short because they wanted to use the type of cd they used to manufacture the cd. It is the size of a normal cd but only the middle of the disc is actually silver and contains data. Outside of this little silver ring the plastic is transparent and looks pretty slick. Im not to thrilled about the artwork and I feel like it was a waste of a cool idea that probably wasn't all that cheep to get manufactured but thats the designer in me saying that. Im just thankful that they didn't use those awful little mini cd's that are cute and all but oh so inefficient due to the fact that any slot loading cd drives such as ones in cars and some computers can not read these discs.
So onto the last couple of tracks which are a couple of b-side like tracks that seem to have been tossed on there to make the ep seem a bit more worth it. As I mentioned, one song is a new Bonobo track and one song it a remix by Four-tet of one of the live tracks I believe. The Bonobo track is a great song! Some of his finest work in my opinion. I remember when I first bought the album and was not all that into the live tracks so I just skipped ahead to this track because it was almost worth getting the ep to me. Maybe I'm making it sound better than it really is. The remix is pretty mediocre and its not at all four-tets finest moment. It is not however a bad song. Just not a stand out track. He seems to be remixing everybody these days!
So if your looking for a nice solid ep of instrumental semi electronic music look no further than 'Live Sessions' by Bonobo.
Check it out on iTunes: