Responsible for one of this year’s finest chillout albums, The North Borders, British producer Bonobo, aka Simon Green, would appear to be the ideal candidate to take on the 33rd installment of Late Night Tales, the compilation series which invites artists to show off their musical influences and curate the perfect after-hours mix.
Unlike Royksopp’s soft-rock focused set earlier this year, the majority of the 21 tracks chosen are in keeping with Green’s own “edge of the dancefloor” sound, most notably the hypnotically woozy IDM of Lapalux’s “Gutter Glitter,” Shlohmo’s glitchy R&B-infused “Places” and the seven-minute Floating Points remix of The Invisible’s “Wing.” But considering the 37-year-old’s eclecticism, this still leaves plenty of room for manoeuvre.
Indeed, there are intriguing forays into jazz with Canadian trio Badbadnotgood’s highly percussive “Hedron” and harpist Dorothy Ashby’s oriental-tinged “Essence Of Sapphire,” a string of haunting piano-led pieces from Dustin O’ Halloran (“An Ending, A Beginning”), Bill Evans (“Peace Piece”) and Matthew Bourne (“IIV. Juliet”) and several ventures into funk-soul with the likes of Darondo’s “Didn’t I,” Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s “Flipside” and Menahan Street Band’s “The Traitor,” all of which help to create an impressively cohesive flow.
Elsewhere, YouTube sensations Peter & Kerry’s folksy acoustic reworking of Amerie’s R&B anthem “One Thing” provides this Late Night Tales’ biggest curveball, although Brooklyn singer-songwriter Eddi Front’s dramatic torch song, “Gigantic,” and the brooding post-rock of Airhead’s “South Congress” both run it a close second. Sherlock Holmes star Benedict Cumberbatch concludes the “Flat Of Angles” trilogy with the obligatory spoken word finale, while Bonobo’s own contribution, a cover of Donovan’s “Get Thy Bearings” featuring the lush soulful tines of fellow Ninja Tune signing Szjerdene, is as majestic as you would expect.
Bonobo’s selection is arguably the most obscure in the Late Night Tales series’ twelve-year history. But it’s also possibly the most cleverly put together, resulting in a very late contender for compilation of the year.