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Migration is an album that, behind its poised structures and dreamy textures, is built out of turmoil. Simon Green, over more than a decade and a half, has come from humble beginnings as an eclectic DJ in Brighton, on the English south coast, to being one of the world's biggest electronic acts. This in turn left him essentially rootless and without a real place to call home for almost three years as he toured his previous album The North Borders around the world. Pieced together and composed on the road, then taken into various studios to add the many brilliant instrumentalists and vocalists who add to its richness and complexity, Migration is the sound of a world in flux. Where some can find the itinerant touring lifestyle draining and confusing, for Si it became a chance to observe micro and macro –local and global – aspects of 21st century life, to connect them to his own emotional experiences, and to remind himself that this dizzying world is still made up of real people's individual stories.
In all of that, it has become, perhaps, an album for our times. We live in a period of sometimes terrifying uncertainty, where all too often people are tempted to retreat into their own shuttered-off realities, or to seek easy answers in shouted slogans and false promises. Migration, on the other hand, is an embrace of uncertainty and contradiction, and most importantly of all, even though its scope is epic, it is full of conviction that small ideas, questions, doubts, and stories really matter. Blissful it may often be, but escapist it isn't. Along with the likes of Caribou, Floating Points, Four Tet and Flying Lotus, Si is flying the flag for modernist music that can be both widely accessible and exploratory, that can reach those arena-sized audiences yet still touch individuals deeply and specifically on emotional and intellectual levels. From all that turmoil, he has provided a timely reminder that artistry, introspection and a gentle, personal touch still have value and power in a difficult world.