Release Date: Nov 10, 2009
Record label: Warp
Stephen Wilkinson aka Bibio ruled 2009 with three full-length releases. Vignetting the Compost came out in February on Mush and was more of Bibio's Boards of Canada-without-the-beat pastiche that his fans have come to expect. He then put out his Warp Records debut, Ambivalence Avenue, in June, and branched out into more beat-oriented and vocal material to great effect.
Bibio's Stephen Wilkinson had a banner year in 2009. He rang it in with Vignetting the Compost, an album that seemed to beckon spring with its delicate, pastoral electronics, then took his music several steps forward with that summer's Ambivalence Avenue, which was as dazzling as it was eclectic. Wilkinson closed the year with The Apple and the Tooth's hybrid of new songs and remixes by similarly wide-ranging artists who found plenty of ways to push Ambivalence Avenue's tracks in even more far-flung directions.
One year ago, Bibio was scenery, something you’d let linger on the player when you didn’t want the music to pull any stunts. He’d already released two fine albums of treated folk guitar loops, hold everything, and when this February’s Vignetting the Compost grew Bibio’s ambitions by about six centimeters I was ready to believe he was going to stay bundled up in his hidey hole niche forever. Whoops.
After switching up his game on the startlingly good Ambivalence Avenue, Bibio became his own tough act to follow. As if lingering in the moment, he now issues The Apple and the Tooth, which collects remixes of his breakthrough album with four new tracks. They lack the immediate impact of Avenue's highs, because they pull back from wrenched beats into the more familiar territories of folk and psychedelia.
One-third new tracks and two-thirds remixes by friends, colleagues and admirers - this isn't quite a follow-up to Stephen Wilkinson's Warp debut, Ambivalence Avenue, but it's more than mere between-albums filler. There are four new tracks and they're all expert, full of electronic papier-mache layers of arpeggiated guitars, glitchy drum patterns and joyful percussive samples. Combined they emit hints of early, day-glo hip-hop, Warp sonic ambition and introspection.
After what many now consider to be a sprawling banner year for Bibio’s Stephen Wilkinson – a year that not only found the self-taught producer growing by leaps and bounds – there wasn’t much else to conquer. Usually, when you get one good album from an artist then you mostly take it and run but when you get two great albums, well, now we’re just getting greedy. However, things change when you hit a creative peak where not only are all of your ideas being brought forward to fruition but they’re winning in every possible way.