CL Feature: British downtempo trip hop jazzy producer/DJ/musician Bonobo, who brings his full band to Tampa on Sunday (with video)

Black Sands is magnificent in its rich simplicity, each song connected via an overarching late night lounge vibe, atmospheric drama and several appearances by young emerging alt soul singer Andreya Traina, her vocals warm and intimate and velvety-smooth.


He and Traina met through shared friends and they struck up a mutually beneficial professional relationship; he produced her debut, Lost Where I Belong, and she appeared on three Black Sands tracks. “We were working on her record primarily, and then, obviously, as my record was coming together, she was in the studio a lot, so it made sense to bring her on board for mine as well.” But it wasn’t just a marriage of convenience. “There’s certain timbres in her voice that fit with the mood. That’s the main thing; there’s a lot of character in her vocals.”


Green said he originally put together a band because “I wanted to put on a live show but didn’t want to do the whole sort of laptop thing, ‘cause it wouldn’t have been an honest representation of how the music is made in the first place. So I wanted to do it as a whole band or not at all.” On this tour, Green leads his band on bass and electronics, and is joined by Triana on vocals along with players on keys, guitar, drums and horns. “And we come with our own light show.”


Bonobo Live Band feat. Andreya Traina


w/TOKiMONSTA/Versus Intl., Sun., Nov. 14, 8 p.m. doors, Crowbar, Ybor City, $12 in advance/$15 dos (all ages).


Check out three videos below of songs all featuring Andreya Traina


1. "Stay the Same"  live at The Roundhouse



The video for "Eyes Down"



And finally, "The Keeper"


In the current electronic music environment, virtually anyone with a laptop and the right software can try their hand at being a “musician.” The growing trend of modern innovators is, ironically, artists who aren’t afraid to go old school with live instrumentation.

Hailed as a downtempo pioneers, British producer/DJ/musician Bonobo (real name Simon Green) has been exploring his options beyond samples and programming since 2005, when he re-constructed five of his songs with live bass, drums, sax, keys, cello and guitar for his Live Sessions EP. In 2006, the Ninja Tune recording artist brought in a few singers and added live instrumentation to his sound for his critically-lauded third LP, Days to Come. His similarly well-regarded follow-up and one of this year’s many aural treats, Black Sands, expands upon this organic-infused aesthetic. “I just continued working where I left off on the last record,” Green told me when we chatted by phone last week, explaining that he’d grown tired of the beat-making process, but was re-inspired as he started work on a live record and discovered instrumental beat-making. “So I mixed it with the electronics into a cohesive whole that made sense.”

Green incorporates jazz, trip hop and funk-soul influences in his down-tempo grooves, brightens them up with classical and world music textures – swells of strings, horn arrangements, Latin and Afro-beat percussion – and adds some distinctive samples and processed noise. He generally introduces a new sonic component while casually ushering out another, sweeping symphonics on one track, flute samples and a jazzy guitar riff on the next. But his music still tends to have a grandiose, almost cinematic feel. Not that he ever goes into the studio with that intent. “I might just start with some abstract noise, try and find some harmony and rhythm within that, or start with an interesting sound and see what it lends itself to, see what direction that I feel it should go,” Green explained, boiling it down to “matching sounds and rhythms together to see what’s interesting.”

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