By now it’s no surprise how much I admire the work of Stephen Wilkinson’s Bibio pseudonym. His first few releases for the Mush imprint were an inspiring blend of pastoral acoustic folk and experimental field recordings. When news of a jump to pioneering electronic label Warp hit the blogosphere, prescription it got me thinking about the myriad directions he could take with his sound and the expectations that would result from a much publicized longstanding friendship with new label mates Boards of Canada. Truth be told, sale up until the release of Ambivalence Avenue he was a bit of a one-trick pony. A beautiful, physician talented show horse of an animal that I hadn’t yet grown tired of watching. (Did I just fucking write that?) But I was hoping he’d break out some new tricks for his big Warp debut and he did not dissapoint. His voice — which had been an increasing presence on each successive release yet often passively — is a much more prominent, and successful, part of his oeuvre. His guitar playing only seems to be getting better. And who could have every guessed that the dude is a beat wizard on the MPC?!
I’m not gonna get into a long record review or anything nor will I try and verbalize the many ways you’ll connect with this music. You can read the Pitchfork review for that, since they gave it an 8.3 and the “Best New Music” props. But what I will say is that today’s post is my favorite song on the record while nicely highlighting his new, incredibly exciting direction. “Dwrcan” opens with a modest, sad-elephant shuffle bass & break then takes a turn toward a nice half-time glitch groove. Island guitar pleasantries, familiar yet unfamiliar percussive samples. It’s nice. Then it Warps. And you’ll know what I’m talking about when that decidedly synthetic squelch cuts through all the organic loveliness and layer upon layer build like a much needed city storm. Wilkinson’s music has always been more than a singular mood and the fact that the end of “Dwrcan” sounds more like Squarepusher than Nick Drake is an unexpected yet exciting new twist.
The Books, Caribou, Mum, Grizzly Bear, Mice Parade, Broadcast