Release Date: Apr 12, 2019
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
On 2017's excellent Phantom Brickworks, Bibio's Stephen Wilkinson took a deep dive into his music's ambient side that was unexpected, yet made perfect sense within his body of work. This time, Wilkinson spotlights the acoustic elements that have added warmth to his sound since the beginning, and the freshness of Ribbons suggest that his break from song-based music reinvigorated him. In interviews, Wilkinson has mentioned he prefers the simplicity of writing on acoustic guitar, and that purity shines through on the album's numerous instrumentals.
For a dude whose music is so unflappably chill, Bibio, the British producer Stephen Wilkinson, remains a restless musician. Over the past 14 years his path has zig-zagged between acoustic and digital extremes; it's only fitting that his landmark album was called Ambivalence Avenue, since Wilkinson cheerfully refuses to stay in any one lane for long. His signature mixture of acoustic folk, hip-hop beats, and easy-listening soul might seem tailor-made for the era of mood-based playlists and legal marijuana, but there's genuine weirdness to his warbly patina, wildlife field recordings, and fingerpicked six-string, all of which recalls oxidized cassette tapes curling in the heat.
Bibio is one of the most natural talented songwriters in the country. A musician seemingly capable of turning his hand to almost anything, the Warp artist - real name Stephen Wilkinson - can move from blistering electronics to opaque folk hymnals in the space of an album. With a catalogue that now stretches well over a decade, you could be forgiven to wondering if Bibio still has unknown stretches on the map left to fill.