|Bibio — The Green EP [Japan Edition] (2014)|
Bibio — The Green EP [Japan Edition]
ο→ The folk–meets–electronica project of self–taught producer/multi–instrumentalist Stephen Wilkinson.
ο→ Perhaps Wilkinson’s best instrument is his mastery over ambience. It is fundamental to and evoked by every physical instrument he picks up, be it his finger–picked electric guitar or his tape recorder. The purpose, then, becomes to create a self–sustaining world of various interdependent comings and goings that require careful blueprints and a well–researched list of harmonious ingredients. The result is a well–tempered mix of organic and contrived capable of rivaling even the most fertile metropolis.
Instruments: Guitar, bass guitar, singing, synthesizer, computers, alto saxophone
Location: Wolwerhampton, West Midlands, England, UK
Album release: January 27, 2014
Record Label: Warp
1. Dye the Water Green (5:24)
2. Dinghy (2:39)
3. Down To the Sound (2:35)
4. Carbon Wulf (3:05)
5. A Thousand Syllables (5:40)
6. The Spinney View of Hinkley Point (6:32)
7. Vera [Bonus Track] (2:31)
℗ 2014 Warp Records Limited
by Larry Day, 20 January 2014; Rating: 8/10
ο→ Wolverhampton producer Bibio, alter–ego of Stephen Wilkinson, has wasted no time in following up his previous release, Silver Wilkinson (Warp Records, May 13th, 2013: http://www.clashmusic.com/news/bibio-returns-with-silver-wilkinson), which came out on Warp during May of last year.
ο→ It’s a mini–rarities collection–cum–extended single, with Silver Wilkinson cut ‘Dye the Water Green’ spearheading the EP, and archived material padding out the rest of the space. They’re not selected willy–nilly though, with Wilkinson carefully curating The Green. All the ‘extra’ cuts were handpicked to compliment the lead single; noises chosen to accentuate the nuances and sounds welcomed to the fold that provided contrast. It’s a fairly fresh way of crafting a release — instead of bunching together tracks with temporal relations, he’s sewn together those with similar aural traits — the music’s not necessarily recorded or written at the same time, but it’s very cohesive. In a short time, Wilkinson’s created a whole world.
ο→ The musical NPCs that fill this new world are vital, not just supporting players. As mentioned before, the help build up the overall effect of ‘Dye The Water Green’ and by extension, the EP as a whole. ‘Carbon Wulf’ is lost, awash in a mire of early ’90s shoegaze and drifting static. It’s the ambient facet. ‘A Thousand Syllables’ (sounds like a prequel to that terrible Eddie Murphy film) is almost hymnal. The lead melody sounds as though its being played by a lonely ghost in the ruins of a cathedral; it’s classical to an extent, and Wilkinson is not messing around with dynamics. He uses silence and volume as deadly weapons. ‘Dinghy’ sorta jogs a memory in your head of some scratchy VHS playing ’70s kids TV shows; it’s vaguely twee, lo–fi and fantastical. All these tracks, whilst lovely in themselves, are made ten times better when tethered together.
ο→ It’s no wonder Wilkinson made ‘Dye The Water Green’ the central figure on The Green. The EP’s a heady melange of furry, spectral (if that can be a thing?) guitar noodling and therapeutic synth pads, and ‘Dye The Water Green’ represents the entire timbre: its propensity for eliciting calm. The police should blare it at times of civil unrest. It could be an anti–riot WMD (weapon of mass distraction). Make sure you tie a rope around your waist and fasten it to something like an anvil before leaping into The Green — it could be weeks before you find anything corporeal otherwise. (http://thefourohfive.com/)
By Brian Howe; January 29, 2014; Rating: 6.0
ο→ In his journeyman days with Mush Records, Stephen Wilkinson, better known as Bibio, often worked at the edge of the subliminal. Blending wobbly electronics with English folk, he split the difference between the detuned gurgle of Boards of Canada and the ethereal emotion of Nick Drake. He usually seemed misty and pensive, as if feeling his own smallness against the vastness of nature, which he recorded to infuse his productions with dusty space and light. But in 2009, something kind of amazing happened. Bibio hopped to Warp and took a J Dilla turn on Ambivalence Avenue, mainlining crunchy soul and juicy funk and richly haunting ballads, suddenly as extroverted as he had once been humble.
ο→ Just as he tried to linger in that inspired moment on supplementary album The Apple and the Tooth, Bibio now strings out last year's Silver Wilkinson — the album where he slipped back into focus, however softly, after the confusing Mind Bokeh — with an EP built, from unreleased archives, around album track "Dye the Water Green", where lonesome vocals and gently driving acoustic arpeggios subtly give way to a slinky bass and chimes instrumental. Murky and mellow, the song delivers Bibio just about back to where he began: casting nostalgic melodies down a slow river of bending tape. Second track "Dinghy", a bright theme for bobbing guitar counterpoint, calls to mind wispy debut album Fi more than recent work.
ο→ Like the album from which it was derived, the Green EP is pleasantly moody, but less impactful than Bibio's increasingly anomalous–seeming 2009 epiphany. At six songs, with half of them three minutes or less, the EP floats by quickly despite its consistently restrained tempos, with the close matching of the new material to "Dye the Water Green" smudging over divisions between tracks. For about 25 minutes, it sustains a wistful, low–key atmosphere, punctuated by a couple bolder moments — the storm–threatened ballad "Down to the Sound" and the ambient folk of "A Thousand Syllables" — that feel like more than serendipitous single takes, both recalling Ambivalence Avenue's haunting "The Palm of Your Wave".
ο→ Bibio brings a certain refinement and voice to anything he produces now, but that doesn't change the fact that much of the EP is indisputably ad hoc. There's a stern baritone guitar improvisation on album track "Wulf", a nice power–trio style instrumental Bibio overdubbed by himself in someone’s rural cabin, a simple 2006 jam with his friend Richard Roberts of Letherette, stuff like that. It would be unfair to call them outtakes, too much to call them essential new Bibio songs. Green gives no inkling of what his next phase might sound like, but it's a tidy little stopgap release until he probably surprises us, for better or worse, again. Fortaken: http://pitchfork.com/
iTunes Album Review:
ο→ Bibio played with a wide range of moods and sounds on 2013's excellent Silver Wilkinson, but The Green EP dives deep into the mood created by Stephen Wilkinson's favorite from the album, "Dye the Water Green." A lovely example of the hazy folktronica that's defined much of Bibio's music, the track also offers a subtler version of that sound than on some of his releases with its aptly floating, flowing mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation and haunting vocal melody. Aside from "Carbon Wulf," an even murkier reworking of the interlude that follows "Dye the Water Green" on Silver Wilkinson, much of The Green EP consists of older, previously unreleased tracks that Wilkinson revisited and refreshed. "Dinghy," a collaboration with Letherette's Richard Roberts, delivers the quaintly lo–fi, damaged–tape vibe that is quintessentially Bibio; "Down to the Sound," on the other hand, obscures its crystalline keyboards and guitars with a thunderstorm. Of the previously unreleased tracks, the standout is "A Thousand Syllables," which, like "Dye the Water Green," takes its time unfolding its pastoral beauty. Together, these songs make the most of the dreamy, half–remembered sound at which Wilkinson excels. The Green EP isn't a release that surprises and demands attention the way that Ambivalence Avenue and parts of Silver Wilkinson did; instead, it seduces listeners into a reverie that's more cohesive and satisfying than the EP's patchwork nature might suggest.
BY RYAN THOMAS, 20 JANUARY 2014; Rating: 7/10
BY COFFEE AND VINYL REVIEWS; Score: [7.8]
Asian Dan Q&A: BIBIO; Dec 24, 2009
|Bibio — The Green EP [Japan Edition] (2014)|