Bonobo: Fragments (Ninja Tune) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Ninja Tune

Jan 25, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

There is a tangible sense of relaxation on Bonobo’s seventh album, Fragments. This comes in part due to the inherent nature of his productions, and in part because perhaps he doesn’t feel the need to compete with his most recent, hugely well-received preceding albums, Migration and The North Borders.

It took a good 10 years for Bonobo, who was bubbling away along the top tiers of the super-cool Ninja Tune contingent “underground,” as it were, before his 2010 album Black Sands caught the ears of non-vinyl collectors. Its follow-up, 2013’s The North Borders pushed Bonobo into the mainstream in a big way with endless touring and larger and larger venues each go around the globe. 2017’s Migration has a sense of keeping up with that above-ground status. Fragments shrugs off that pressure and is all the more pleasant of an experience for it.

Fragments oscillates between two poles. On one side, low-key, meditative and unobtrusive textured atmospherics that subconsciously calm you down, such as the mellifluous “Elysian.” On the other, classic house grooves, such as the throwback “Rosewood,” quality shufflers, such as “Otomo” and the skipping “Closer.” When there is a vocal feature, it feels natural, a meeting of creative minds and talents rather than higher and higher-level marquee names. Not to say Bonobo’s guests aren’t top-notch, but the pairing feels organic rather than calculated. “Tides,” his collaboration with the poet goddess Jamila Woods, is absolutely delightful and has the latter’s earthy ’90s soul sister tones against Bonobo’s most carefully selecting bells and strings for a heady combination. “Shadows,” his collaboration with Jordan Rakei, is so well structured—Rakei’s vocals sound like they are carved from the same materials as the instrumentation, just with more flavor.

A reflection of its creator’s state of mind, Fragments is the perfect soundtrack to re-entry into normalcy after an extended stressful period. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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