Tag Archives: Bonobo

Personal Soundtrack

22 Apr


The Song

Lazuli by Beach House

“Lazuli” has Beach House’s trademark sonic ingredients – chiming piano, shimmering guitar, entrancing beat, angelic vocals – all mixed together in a hypnotic song that lulls you into a reverie before taking off behind expansive guitar and piano runs.  Beach House is releasing their new album Bloom on May 15, and from the sound of the new tracks, it appears their excellent brand of dreamlike pop/rock is back in full force.

Listening to Beach House often feels like you’re floating gently along in the clouds before hitting a huge updraft and taking off, in sync with the soaring vocal and instrumental surges of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally.  The duo are experts at creating peaceful background music and fading off in your subconscious before locking into a groove and snapping back to your attention with expansive and theatrical melodies.  They’ll suck you in before you even realize they’ve got you, and at that point there’s no way to resist.

The Activity

It’s finals season, and that Anthropology 101 class you took as an easy elective has turned out to be much more difficult than you expected.  You let things slide all semester and now you find yourself needing an A on the final to keep your grades up.  You have pretty much no idea where to start on your marathon study session, so you enlisted the help of your lab partner.  She seems to know what’s going on, and it doesn’t hurt that you’ve been harboring a crush on her ever since the first lecture session.  For now though, as much as you’d love to get to know her better, you’re facing a daunting pile of notes on human evolution and this is set to be an all-business study session in your apartment.

You always study better with music on, so after you guys go over a few flash cards, you throw on some peaceful Beach House to help with a bit of textbook reading.  Everything’s quite studious for a several minutes, but a subtle vibe is slowly building in the air.  Neither of you notice the energy in the room until you come to the book’s section on the sexual proficiency of those deviant bonobos.  Sidelong glances turns into accidental eye contact and shy smiles as you both struggle to stay focused.  Just then, Victoria Legrand’s soaring vocals sync perfectly with the shimmering melody behind her, and the losing battle with self-control is finally abandoned for good.  Textbooks go flying, hands get busy, and the Beach House study break is in full effect.


Personal Soundtrack

26 Feb

The Song

We Could Forever by Bonobo


Bonobos are a species of great apes that aren’t as well known as chimpanzees, their close relatives in the animal world.  Their relative anonymity is a shame, because they are amazing creatures that love to party.  Seriously – they are most known among anthropologists (people in the know) for their high levels of sexual behavior.  They use sex in nearly all of their group interactions, and have been observed employing and enjoying a staggering variety of sexual positions.  Bonobos are great, so it makes sense that their musical namesake is top-notch as well.  Simon Green is the man behind Bonobo, and under that moniker he’s released laid-back, dynamic electronic music that draws upon jazz, hip-hop, and distinct global sounds.

“We Could Forever” comes from Bonobo’s 2010 album “Black Sands,” and it provides the backdrop for the best international dance party you’ve never had.  The track has a humming energy from the get-go, with an urgent cymbal tap backing a percolating rhythm.  The song’s frenetic jam nears a cresting point near the halfway point, but right when you take a breath, a flute goes bananas in a breakdown and the groove continues.  “Forever” exemplifies the unique greatness of Bonobo’s music – it has instruments and sounds culled from all areas of world music, combined with electronic touches that create an immensely satisfying groove.  Sometimes Bonobo provide a funky rhythmic backdrop to your chillout time, and sometimes with songs like “We Could Forever,” they drop the subtlety and implore you to start dancing.

The Activity

You’re trekking through a lush jungle somewhere near the equator, alone with your thoughts and the low buzz of insects.  Your shirt clings to your back in the humid air and even though it’s nighttime, you have no problem finding your way under the brilliant pearly light of the full moon.  You came on this trip to get away from the grind of everyday life, and find some adventure that you’ve been sorely lacking lately.  So far, everything’s been great with your stay in this tropical and foreign land, but you still don’t feel as if you’ve had any truly crazy experiences.  You took a local’s suggestion and ventured out on a night hike, hoping to find something, and were disappointed until the faint sounds of music reached your ear.

You stopped to gauge direction, and followed the rhythmic pounding of drums as they got louder and louder.  Finally, you come upon a clearing among the vines, and find a vibrant, throbbing circle of people dancing and playing instruments around a bright fire.  There are people from all walks of life, from locals to the beautiful Australian travelers you noticed at your hostel earlier, and they are all in varying states of dance and disrobe.  You move cautiously forward into the clearing, and are noticed by a young Brazilian couple who smile and groove over your way.  The woman grabs your hand as you ask What Is This Place?  The man hands you a gourdlike instrument to shake, and simply says Dança.  And you do.