Customer Reviews: Black Sands
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on March 31, 2010
It's been said that it's hard to rely on artists to release what is essentially the same album over and over again, yet still maintain a sense of evolving direction and also a fresh set of ideas. This is why it's rather refreshing to hear Bonobo's newest effort "Black Sands" mix up the well-known directly instrumental approach with something more subdued and fluid.

Thankfully, Bonobo's trademark downtempo sound is still here, as are his well-crafted jazzy, almost Brazilian-esque lounge-ified melodies. Songs such as "Animals" and "El Toro" reflect the more upbeat rhythms as were heard in songs like "Pick Up", off "Dial M for Monkey"; yet there is a strikingly distinct other side to the album right from the get-go in the form of the decidedly modern instrumental hip-hop affair that is "Kiara". It is advised, should any person familiar with Bonobo's previous works hearing this track for the first time, to try and reserve passing judgment on the album solely based off of this song alone. One could even go as far as to say that if someone were to hear this, it would be easy to mistake it for another artist altogether. On the other hand, the return of vocalist Andreya Triana is a pleasant addition to this record, as her sultry, butter-smooth tone finds itself to be a perfect companion to the soothing compositions herein.

On the (slight) downside, there aren't as many direct standout tracks on this CD that will hit the listener upon first listen, such was the case for this reviewer with "Terrapin" and "Dinosaurs" off the album "Animal Magic". "Black Sands" definitely demands a bit more attentiveness should the listener wish to find that certain something that will resonate infinitely within themselves, calling them back to that first, shining moment on a repeatedly consecutive basis. "Black Sands" certainly requires more direct attention upon the first go around, as there are a lot more subtleties that can be easily overlooked should the initial listen be a cursory one. Give it a second (or even third) spin however, and it's most certainly safe to say that one could have no problem placing this in the background for any occasion. After repeated listens, this reviewer can safely say that "Black Sands" deserves a top spot in any music fans' collection -- let alone at the top of any die hard Bonobo fan's list as well.

Verdict: Buy it!
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on August 9, 2010
Having never heard a single Bonobo song, I bought this album on a whim and was blown away. Headphones are a must to hear all the intricate subtleties. There is no filler in this album. From start to finish, each song is masterfully woven together. As for the style, I believe the album cover serves as a perfect metaphor. If you like the samples of the songs, even slightly, buy the album. You won't be disappointed. As for me, I'm Bonobo's newest fan.
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VINE VOICEon April 11, 2010
Black Sands is by far Simon's most cohesive album to date. There isn't a single track I feel like skipping, which is a huge difference between this and his previous album, Days to Come. While the latter album was impressive as hell (especially with a second CD of instrumentals and demos) I simply didn't enjoy the vocal collaborations.

I certainly don't feel the same way about the collaborative tracks on this album. Featuring Andreya Triana, they are not only better than previous Bonobo vocal cuts, they are the strongest tracks on the entire album. And if Simon made another CD with all-vocal tracks featuring Andreya Triana I would be there to buy it on its release date.*

If you're worried that Black Sands won't sound like other Bonobo albums, then you can rest assured that it most certainly won't. Bonobo is evolving, and every new album sounds vastly different as he adds more layers of instruments, more mood swings, and more intricacy to his sound. Those of us who love his older albums have to let him evolve and assume that he'll blow us away with something completely different, yet distinctly Bonobo-esque, with each new album.

In short, Black Sands definitely does not disappoint, and can be enjoyed by fans of his previous albums, fans of Andreya Triana's other works, or fans of lush, moody jazz tracks with awesome beats.

* After I wrote this review, I discovered that Andreya's upcoming album (Lost Where I Belong, I think) is produced by Simon Green AKA Bonobo. So looks like I'll get my wish, and I'll get it this year!
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on August 19, 2014
From the Chinese strings that kick off "Prelude," you know you're in for something special with Bonobo's BLACK SANDS. Even as that track segues into the electro thump of "Kiara," it never loses its sense of surprise and wonder. "Kong" slides into a sweet spot between jazz, hip-hop and electronic music, dense with instrumentation and ideas. But the real magic starts when Andreya Triana appears with the slow-burning "Eyesdown." Her trio of songs, including the heart-breaking "The Keeper" and the melancholy "Stay the Same," gives the album a breath-taking soul. That's to say that the instrumentals pale; far from it. The Spanish flair of "El Toro" or the fuzz-guitar groove and altered vocals of "All In Forms." The clarinet of "Animals" shows his adaptability with many instruments, in a Cinematic Orchestra-like jam, as the title track brings things down to a simple, string-driven waltz. Simply amazing.
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on June 11, 2010
Bonobo creates a groovy and lush soundscape as a foundation for this album. For someone who owns a meticulous ear, use a set of quality headphones to transport you to Bonobo's musical dimension full of texture and instrumental layers. For someone who has not yet listened to Greene's previous work, you may have a small advantage. Rather than generating juxtaposition, you may welcome this album with open arms.

Personal gems include:
Kiara, 1009, All in Forms

Favorite on Album:
All in Forms: Just love the grooviness!

I could definitely do without the last track, Black Sands.
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on May 6, 2015
I first heard a review of Bonobo's Northern Borders on NPR. I bought the album and loved it, which inspired me to buy this album. The sound is techno, it's electronica, it's samples of innocent sounds turned into music. I'm a professional artist, and I use music like this in the background in my studio.
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on April 23, 2012
As I scrap up instrumental melodies to enjoy that drifts the line of Hip-Hop & Ambient, Bonobo has caught my ear throughout his catalog. And this is easily my favorite album by him.

The flow from the opening "Prelude" is a smooth ride going through with "Kiara" & "Kong". As a nice change of pace Andreya Triana makes one of 3 guest spots lending her vocals with one of the standouts "Eyesdown". Her also appearing on "Stay The Same" and "The Keeper" only adds to the enjoyment of this album. One of my favorite standalone tracks is easily "El Toro" with the drums combined with the beautiful melody giving me a near eargasm moment. "1009" also is right up there with it very cleverly named MIX when translated into Roman numeral, and the dope mixup on this easily sports it up as one of the best upbeat songs on here.

Not many down moments on here as far as tracks I'd really want to skip through. "All In Forms" for example is not exactly my favorite song on here but when listening through this as an album I'm not exactly eager to hit the ">>" button. But it is a tempting thought considering the more fulfilling Andreya track is next in the album.

Overall, this is definitely somewhere between a 4.5 - 5. With my enjoyment of similar artists such as Fat Jon, Nujabes and Blue Sky Black Death, Bonobo stands right in line with his dope discography and this is a huge highlight of his work. Give this a whirl, you won't be disappointed.
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on May 1, 2013
Innovative, breathtaking, just gorgeous sounds from Bonobo. Practically every piece sounds like an entirely new landscape compared to the last. Andreya Triana's vocals are stunning in The Keeper and Stay the Same.

I would have given it 4.5 stars, because on second listen, two songs wander a bit without the same direction and color of the others. However, it seemed unfair to give this album 4 stars based on such a ridiculous reason, given the strength of production in the album overall.

Buy it! Especially at 5.99--you won't find a better deal on beautiful new music anywhere else :)
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on February 28, 2013
Since this was released I still play this at least every couple weeks. It is amazing and for me to listen to it that often is a compliment because I listen to a lot of music. And I try to always have something new that I have not heard before playing. This is Electronica perfected. Very jazzy sophisticated and the blending of electronic samplers and instruments with real instruments comes together so perfectly. This is a great work of our time. Solid album start to finish.
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on July 31, 2012
This album is incredible. Every song is a beautiful interplay of high, mid, and low frequencies with very warming sound. Though the tone might not be upbeat, I think that's what makes this album so good. The tracks with vocals definitely enhance the overall sound. This album is a masterpiece.

Favorite track: Stay the Same
Every sound, word, and frequency is perfectly balanced. Make sure you have some decent speakers/subwoofer or headphones.
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