I have always been fascinated by electronic music. Being introduced to it at a very early stage in my life, I always kept scouting for more music and kept downloading tracks off various sites. My uncle played a major role when it came to helping me in discovering multiple artists. From Paul Oakenfold to Eric Prydz, Grammatik and so much more! I distinctly remember one such evening in late 2010, where I sat down next to him, asking him to suggest me more artists to check out. He handed over his headphones to me and made to listen to this track that blew my mind. It was not the regular kind of music that I listened to. It had something so charming and enticing, yet so soothing, I was mesmerized by what I had just heard. Intrigued, I flipped over the phone to see the name of the person who had created something so beautiful. The screen flashed a cover which had a scenery of sorts on it with the name, “Bonobo, Black Sands” written. The track that I had just listened to was none other than “Kong”.
Cut to October 2018, I’m standing by the stage at DGTL with tears streaming down my cheeks, a smile stretching for ear to ear plastered on my face and hand across my chest, lucky enough to have witnessed his magnum opus, “Outlier”. Straight after his set, I prance backstage to go and narrate my experience and thank him. Standing silently in a corner with a glass in hand, a cloth bag around his shoulder, almost personifying humility, a few words are spoken. “People don’t necessarily know who I am,” he tells me, which is quite surprising to hear, considering they come from one of the most widely played artists across the globe.
Known well for his unique style of experimental electronica, Bonobo is an artist whose work speaks the loudest for him. Starting off with a more downtempo electronica sound almost a decade back, Simon grew up listening to neo-hardcore music. Of course, we can see the influence rubbing in quite clearly into his earlier work. As time passed, we saw him infusing more jazz and upbeat tempos into his work. Having a discography spanning across six diverse albums, multiple EP’s and remixes, no two tracks give off a similar vibe. Each track is distinct and unique in its own beautiful way but blends together beautifully, as if they have this magical connect and understanding amongst themselves.
In the almost two decades of his career, Simon has always done his best to push the boundaries. With slowly incorporating more real-time instrumentation to his tracks, experimenting with new methods and styles, he has undertaken it upon himself to change the way the regular audience listens to and perceives electronic music. Over the years, he managed to find a common ground in between mixed electronic and live music and Bonobo Live is a result of the amalgamation of the best of both the styles.
An experience in itself, it’s Simons pet project that aims at delivering some of his best with a full band where few, if any, melodies and beats aren’t performed on the spot. Specialising in trip-hop fused with jazz and broken beats and funky overtones, he has managed to carve a niche for himself in the mainstream music network as well. The Grammy nominations stand as proof for it and reinstate the fact that the man’s music is here to stay.
Still, for all those who are new out there, one may ask, what about Bonobo Live is so special that it sells out in a flash and has people travelling from all across the globe to witness it live? Well, the music of course forms a major chunk of the show and is crucial, but it’s not the only thing that makes it stand out. It also serves as a platform for Simon to showcase his versatility as a musician and incorporate various styles and instruments throughout. The 8 piece band, the lights, the visuals, the live redemptions and the guest performers all come together to form something beautifully hypnotic. It goes on concurrently to form the perfect visual representation of what Bonobo’s music stands for. It’s unique, it has a plethora of different styles that one could possibly not imagine to watch together on the same stage, yet, it all flows so well together, it leaves one awestruck at points. It’s beguiling to see how multiple complex sounds and systems come together to form something that sounds so effortless and smooth, it ends up resonating with you.
No matter what we say, it doesn’t entirely do justice to the actual performance. Bonobo Live takes you on the journey that Simon has been through in his career, almost engulfing you in its beauty, making you laugh, cry, dance, celebrate, rejoice or at some points even just sit on the floor and watch in admiration. It’s the coalescence of all that Simon has listened to, been influenced by, and discovered over the years that he now presents in the form of a set. It’s one that you definitely must not miss.
Witness him in all of his glory as he plays live for Supersonic Arcade in Bangalore on the 15th of February and at Vh1 Supersonic on the 17th of February.
Get your tickets for Bangalore here and Pune here.For those in Bangalore there are amazing discounts available. Just INR 999 for students and INR 8997 for 4 passes in the price of 3!