Stephen Wilkinson (aka Bibio) will release his first album for the historic Warp imprint on this year’s summer solstice. This is exciting not just for Wilkinson as a musician (making the jump from the respectable Mush label to one of electronica’s most revered and genre-defining), but also for us the listeners. Why you ask? Because Bibio’s sound has taken quite a jump as well.
His 2005 debut “Fi” and 2006’s “Hand-Cranked” received constant rotation in my waking hours of those years, but his recent release “Vignetting the Compost” was a bit of a disappointment. For all intents and purposes “Vignetting” is a fine album, but it sounds kind of uninspired to me. That’s why “Ambivalence Avenue” is so thrilling. It’s Bibio 2.0 – the production is amped, the song writing more structured and deliberate, and his style has gone from hushed morningtronica to an excellent balance of fractured beats à la Flying Lotus to tender folk à la Crosby, Stills and Nash. And it really works.
The album’s release on the first day of summer is fitting, and so far is in the running for tops of the season. Wilkinson may have very well carved a niche for himself here, stepping out of the Boards of Canada shadow that helped launch his career, but at the same time pigeon-holed his sound. “Ambivalence Avenue” is a sunny yet thoughtful album, perfect for drives on winding highways, impromptu kitchen parties, campfires, picnics, and stoned afternoon bike rides.
Dig it. Welcome summer 2009.
Edit: “The Apple and The Tooth” remix album comes out in mid-November courtesy of Warp Records. It’s a great re-interpretation of choice tracks from “Ambivalence”, as well as, four new songs from the man himself. Nice! It’s got remixes from Wax Stag, Gentleman Losers, Leatherette, Lone, Eskmo, and more! A really tight postscript for Bibio’s sound in 2009. Check it and wreck it!