Swiss musician/producer/former architecture student Fabio Friedli (a.k.a. Pablo Nouvelle) comes to electronic music by way of his adoration of artists like Marvin Gaye and Gil-Scott Heron to Radiohead and The xx. Early on he broke into production by crafting hip-hop beats. As he progressed technically, so did his sound. He soon developed a moody, melancholy style that incorporates elements of soul, pop, and dance music.
On March 16 Friedli will release his third album, Wired (Armada Deep), featuring collaborations with UK soul singer Andreya Triana (Bonobo, Flying Lotus), Cameron Bloomfield, Jessie Reyez, and others.
Ahead of the LP’s release, we’re pleased to world premiere “Leave Now” from the upcoming collection. It’s an emotional meditation about the horror of war inspired by the bloody conflict in war-torn Syria that’s decimated the country.
Says Friedli of the cut, “‘Leave Now’ was the first song I wrote for Wired. It was a time where, aware of my privileged life here in Europe, I consumed a lot of uncensored news from Syria. I tried to create a raw and dark techno song that relates to the subject of war, oppression and destruction. The song really came to life when I stumbled across an unreleased recording of Fiona Daniel. Her pitched-down vocals are somehow super dark and at the same time, through the endless repetition, also filled with hope, that there is a way out of this blind alley.”
In 2013, not long after Big Shot interviewed downtempo bon vivant Simon “Bonobo” Green on the rooftop of a building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (watch the video interview here), he released his acclaimed fifth album, The North Borders and embarked on a nonstop tour around the world. Festivals. Club gigs. DJ sets. Name the city and Green and his band probably performed there — twice. An important musical statement in the arc of his career, Black Sands (watch Green explain how the album came together here) is where Green veered his sound in a darker, glitchier direction after arriving at a musical fork in the road. Having no doubt become a platinum member of his preferred airline, it’s no surprise that his sixth album, Migration (Ninja Tune), is a byproduct of his many travels and experiences. It’s also informed by his feelings about living as a Brit in New York outside of his native UK.
Migration is ambitious but not nearly as transformative as its predecessor. It didn’t need to be. The album finds him elevating his sound to a new plateau, one where he displays his seasoned mastery of conjuring thoughtful, compelling songs with sublime melodies and luscious instrumentation.
Green’s “No Reason”collaboration with Nick Murphy (f.k.a. Chet Faker) is pleasing, but he’s at his most brilliant when he’s heads down and cooking for the ‘heads. “Second Sun” is an emotive instrumental overflowing with cinematic strings and heartfelt guitar; the woozy “Grains” featuring snippets of folk music icon Pete Seeger is a case study in how to conjure understated euphoria; and “Kerala” is a quixotic, jittery sample track that skips along with perfectly placed samples from R&B songstress Brandy.
What’s next for Green is already known — he’s heading back on the road. Again. What’s certain is that whatever he sees and feels will manifest itself into the next chapter of his musical life. Safe travels, Simon.
Hard to believe as it may be for those who have been following the label since its inception, Ninja Tune is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. There’s obviously been a lot of water under the bridge over the course of that extremely eventful quarter-century, so when it came time to plan a proper celebration, the NT folks must have thought long and hard about choosing the musical talent to make their birthday festivities come alive. And it looks like they came up with some pretty damn decent choices.
There will actually be a whole series of events this fall to celebrate the label’s 25th, including a show in Amsterdam, three in London (with Actress, King Midas Sound vs. Fennesz, and others), and one at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, featuring The Bug, Earth and others. But be on the alert for the November 21 warehouse party in L.A. that boasts Bonobo, Sepalcure and Eamon Harkin of Mister Saturday Night, to name a few. The location? Shhh, it’s a secret! Ticket buyers will only find out where to go the week of the show.
Picking up where he left off with 2010’s acclaimed Black Sands, 2013’s The North Borders found downtempo beatmaster Simon Green (a.k.a. Bonobo) exploring darker, glitchier beats and collaborating with the likes of Erykah Badu and an array of rising talent. Since releasing his latest and greatest Green has gone on to crisscross the world, playing major festivals to sold-out club shows and bringing his magical grooves to 2 million people. His travels and performances have been documented on an upcoming new live album and DVD, The North Borders Tour – Live.
Set for release October 7 on Ninja Tune, the 11-track album opens with his breakthrough track “Cirrus” and features appearances by Szjerdene (“Towers,” “Heaven For The Sinner”) and Andreya Triana on the utterly gorgeous “Stay The Same.”
The album will be available in a variety of physical formats:
This live album will be released in deluxe packaging with a CD, a 70 page hardback book of photographs and stories from members of the band, as well as a bonus DVD featuring glimpses of hi-speed photography. There will be standalone CD and 2LP edition too, it’s an exhaustive, beautifully captured record of the show. The audio and video were recorded and filmed at The Roundhouse in London and in the incredible Pula Arena, a genuine Roman Amphitheatre. In addition, some of the tracks on CD are handpicked from breathtaking live radio sessions that happened whilst on tour. Packaged with the DVD will be moments of documentary footage filmed as the tour reached California.
If you’re itching to get your hands on new Bonobo material and can’t wait until October, Ninja Tune recently issued Bonobo’s “Ten Tigers” single, which features “Duals,” an unreleased Bonobo track from The North Borders recording sessions.
Check our 2013 interview with Green shot in Brooklyn and watch a teaser for the DVD below.
2. Towers feat. Szjerdene
3. Stay The Same feat. Andreya Triana
6. Ten Tigers
10. Heaven For The Sinner feat. Szjerdene