A bunch of electronic music innovators have been nominated for the Grammy Awards in 2018. It is with great pleasure we can conclude that Bonobo, Kraftwerk and Four Tet are among the nominated, and for good reasons one may add.
In the Best Dance/Electronic Album category, Bonobo’s album ‘Migration’ is nominated alongside Kraftwerk’s ‘3-D The Catalogue’, Mura Masa’s intriguing and self-titled album, Odesza’s ‘A Moment Apart’ and Sylvan Esso’s ‘What Now’. In the past there are many prominent acts in this category, such as Aphex Twin, Flume, Daft Punk and Skrillex, the latter two winning the award twice.
Migration is Green’s sixth album. It comes after a move to California, and finds him at the height of his popularity after his last album, The North Borders. As far as this stuff goes, that one was a home run. The rhythms were built with a beatmaker’s inventiveness, the arrangements were wonderful and the guest spots spirited. Migration, on the other hand, feels like a holding pattern. It keeps Bonobo afloat without doing anything new that might alienate fans. In that sense, it’s like a faded photocopy of its predecessor, with hints of what made it great along with a lot of grainy grey.
Both Bonobo and ODESZA double up on nominations with nods in the Best Dance Recording category, Bonobo with his collaboration with Innov Gnawa titled ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ and ODESZA with ‘Line Of Stight’ featuring WYNNE & Mansionair. Gorillaz featuring DRAM, LCD Soundsystem and Camelphat & Elderbrook are also nominated.
The idea of change, and whether or not it’s truly possible, has been a recurring theme for Murphy, and American Dream has him taking some legitimate steps away from his renowned style. While the album’s classic-sounding LCD tracks are comfortably familiar, they can also feel redundant, unnecessary reminders that struggle to supplant Murphy’s own past glories. So the record’s newfangled moves don’t just offer variety, they provide American Dream’s most rewarding moments and serve as the best justifications of this reformed group’s continued existence.
Gorillaz and LCD Soundsystem also are nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, while electronic innovator Brian Eno is nominated for Best New Age Album. Reflection is a generative piece. Eno approaches it less like an capital-A Artist, exerting his will and ego on the music, and more like a scientist conducting an experiment. He establishes a set of rules, puts a few variables into motion and then logs the results. Reflection opens with a brief melodic figure and slowly evolves from there over the course of one 54-minute piece. It’s not unlike the opening notes of Music for Airport’s “1/1,” with Robert Wyatt’s piano replaced by what might be a xylophone resonating from underwater. Each note acts like a pebble dropped into a pond, sending out ever widening ripples that slowly decay, but not before certain tones linger and swell until they more closely resemble drones. Listen closer and certain small frequencies emerge and flutter higher like down feathers in a draft.
View all the nominees here and watch the Grammys on January 28 to find out the winners.