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on 23 October 2016
Absolutely love this follow-up to Black Sands. Bonobo is a genius!
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on 17 August 2017
Great relaxation album
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on 14 August 2017
Great
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on 5 May 2017
Bonobo perfect again...
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on 28 March 2017
Another cool cd to my collection
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on 2 April 2013
As I'm nearing the end of an initial play through of this album, I thought I'd express my views on how this compares to previous Bonobo albums.

For me, Black Sands, Days to Come, Animal Magic and Dial M for Monkey had all exuded the particular style of down-tempo beats and soothing rhythms that made me a fan of Bonobo in the first place. Nothing could really top Black Sands for me - the logical conclusion and ultimate refinement of Bonobo's style.

It was with some trepidation that I approached this album wondering whether he'd played it safe, or had veered into a different style and lost that signature sound. Thankfully however, a fine balance between the two has been found; the album has a slightly edgier, more upbeat sound to it, bringing a freshness that was needed. I know most Bonobo fans would recoil if I were to mention dubstep in this review, and the album does not contain a dubstep track, but the beats on certain tracks have a post-dubstep sound to them (I'm not talking wub wub here, I'm talking basic beat), borrowing from Burial slightly in the use of samples and timing. It's a slightly more digital sounding album than previous efforts but fuller in vitality.

For these reasons I can understand why someone looking for a continuation of classic Bonobo could be disappointed, but I see it as an exciting new direction. If I've startled any devotees in my description do not panic - the changes are slight and the overall sound is unmistakably Bonobo but he hasn't been constrained by the niche that he's calved himself. It stands alongside Black Sands and not above it, which is surely no bad thing.
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on 1 April 2013
After his last album, Black Sands, I had high hopes for Bonobo's follow up record. It may be because I had set my expectations so high, that I felt a little underwhelmed by this effort.
Black Sands is my favourite Bonobo album, and one of my most listened to albums of all time. With The North Borders, it seems as though Bonobo has taken a step away from the complex, more instrument driven sound of Black Sands and pursued a stripped back, house-y type feel. It's not bad by any strech, just not the direction I was hoping he would push his music.

I would recommend this album as it's a good listen, but it harks more back to his earlier 'Dial M for Monkey' work rather than his more recent sound.
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on 24 June 2013
I come to The North Borders as a complete newbie to Bonobo. I heard him playing live tracks from this and previous albums on Gilles Peterson's 6 Music show, and fell instantly in love. The sound reminds me of early Massive Attack/Car Boot Soul, laid back, soul soothing, and scratchy enough to keep you interested. Can't get enough of The North Borders, and having no experience of Bonobo's previous work, can honestly say to other newcomers, if you want summat that wraps it's arms around you, and rocks away your cares, this is it! Will make it my business to seek out the back catalogue, but might have to wait til I get bored of this first...particularly loving the title track First Fires. Long may Bonobo burn brightly ;)
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on 4 August 2013
To my mind, Si Green has assembled for himself an almost flawless discography, with me highly rating pretty much every single song he's created. Considering his fairly prolific output, that's a feat unmatched by any other artist in my collection - to my ears at least. Thus he stands on a pedestal, in a loved but perhaps precarious place.

With Black Sands the logical epitome of the sound he'd created, what came next was always going to have to follow a slightly different route, else always play second fiddle. The North Borders sensibly does mark a modest departure from the prior formula, largely via the use of differing rhythms. At the same time, it also also marks a return to the more sequenced structure of earlier work, in contrast to Black Sands' more organic feel.

Does it work? Up to a point. Technically, it's flawlessly assembled, but it's proving lighter on the emotional melodic hooks that earlier work always snared me with, and it was that ability to never fail to deliver that had Si Green up on my musical pedestal. The fella's only human, and to my ears, this album represents the first slight misstep. That's not to say there is not some very high quality here, but where present it's diluted by a (shock! horror!) skippable track or two (naming no names, Erykah & Cornelia...), and thus the collection is not quite the accustomed vintage of yore.

There's a possibility that my review here may be a little hasty. A couple of instantly-liked tracks aside, Black Sands took quite a while to grow on me, before eventually realising it was one of the best* albums in my vast eclectic collection. Off the back of that, how could any new Bonobo album realistically measure up, initially at least? So if I do change my mind, and I assign The North Borders to greater much melodic heights, I'll be sure to return and 'fess up.

I'm fascinated to hear what Si Green creates next. I'm tremendously optimistic he won't do "a Zero 7" on me, and in the words of Keegan "I would love it, love it" if he returned at an ever higher level than that reached previously, somehow managing to surpass the heavenly heights of Black Sands. Regardless, and in the meantime, I must thank Mr Green for bringing to me over the years some of the most wonderful tunes ever laid down.

Speaking of which, Cirrus, Sapphire & Ten Tigers, what new joys.

--
*The Best Album? The Chameleons' Script Of The Bridge of course.
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on 6 April 2017
Arrived in good condition.
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