|When a new album comes across my way by an artist I hadn’t heard before, I get semi-upset (not really) that I hadn’t heard of them before. Fortunately if I really like them, I’ll want to hunt down their previous work, and I can say that about Stephen Wilkinson, a British bloke who goes by the simple one-word moniker Bibio, and he makes one-man music.|
His new, third album is called Vignetting The Compost, has him creating all of the sounds heard and what hit me at first was how lo-fi and raw it sounded. It immediately reminded me of some of the surf movie soundtracks I’ve heard over the years, a bit of rock and pop with a love for folk sensibilities. In Bibio’s case it probably comes from his upbringing, but it’s the kind of music that brings to mind a sense of freedom that was once heard in those songs, representing that era very well. The lo-fi quality comes from the fact that, according to his bio, he uses cassette decks, a half-broken sampler, dictaphones, and experimental ways of affecting sounds, so the end result is different audio textures that is nice to hear in a time when twisting sounds is often done in an artificial/computerized way. “Flesh Rots, Pip Sown” opens the album as water cascades downs the falls and makes ready for the sun to come up and greet the day, at least that’s how I hear it. The entire album has that earthy quality where you can imagine dirt and dust collecting on the instruments, but what you hear within your assumed muck is well-written music done by someone who attempts and succeeds at capturing a dated sound without him sounding dated. That can be a challenge for some artists who don’t seem to grasp the power of a certain style, but he does. Each layer of his music pulls you in and never wants to let you go, and you never want to lose its grasp as you hear his guitar work in “The Ephemeral Bluebell”, “Over The Far And Hills Away”, or “The Garden Shelter”, nor do you want these songs to become too electrified (although it would work perfectly in the hands of other artists).
Bibio, at least with this album, is folksy, wholesome, surfy, melancholy, and colorful. It’s the sound of someone who makes music with cassette players. In the past those tapes would go into a shoebox and perhaps never heard of again. It has a personal feel, perhaps I’m applying my sensibility to the cassettes of yesteryears, but it’s a welcome change from the too-clean sounds of today. - This Is Book's Music