Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Post-Rock, Electro-Acoustic
What is the point of an EP? In the days where vinyl dominated, an extended play was simply a seven inch record with more songs than the usual single. There were, to be sure, legendary EPs like The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour and Mission of Burma’s Signals, Calls, and Marches, but now EPs seem a bit out of place. Many music nerds (myself included) will point out that vinyl sales are growing, but, in the digital age, EPs seem to be closer relatives to demos than to proper LPs.
Bibio played with a wide range of moods and sounds on 2013's excellent Silver Wilkinson, but The Green EP dives deep into the mood created by Stephen Wilkinson's favorite from the album, "Dye the Water Green. " A lovely example of the hazy folktronica that's defined much of Bibio's music, the track also offers a subtler version of that sound than on some of his releases with its aptly floating, flowing mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation and haunting vocal melody. Aside from "Carbon Wulf," an even murkier reworking of the interlude that follows "Dye the Water Green" on Silver Wilkinson, much of The Green EP consists of older, previously unreleased tracks that Wilkinson revisited and refreshed.
In his journeyman days with Mush Records, Stephen Wilkinson, better known as Bibio, often worked at the edge of the subliminal. Blending wobbly electronics with English folk, he split the difference between the detuned gurgle of Boards of Canada and the ethereal emotion of Nick Drake. He usually seemed misty and pensive, as if feeling his own smallness against the vastness of nature, which he recorded to infuse his productions with dusty space and light.
The Green EP is an extension of Bibio's last full-length, last spring's Silver Wilkinson. On this follow-up, the music producer's re-released last year's standout track (and his personal favourite), Dye The Water Green, accompanied by older tracks that fit the electro-cum-acoustic atmospheric soundscapes he's known for. The record is less about telling a story (often the case for instrumental tracks) than about capturing moments - lazy pastoral scenes, vintage vignettes of summer days.
The Green EP isn’t all-new. “Dye the Water Green” is a cut off Bibio’s 2013 Silver Wilkinson LP. “Dinghy” was recorded with Letherette’s Richard Roberts in 2006, while a good portion of the EP was recorded a couple of years ago. It’s fitting not because the unreleased tracks complement “Dye the Water Green”; The Green EP works from a conceptual standpoint, too.
On Bibio’s Green EP, the brilliantly-resourceful Stephen Wilkinson collects a new array of sounds and melodies and crafts something both experientially concept-heavy and open to unique interpretation. And it becomes hard to treat the songs as just such, as they feel more evocative of background scenery than they do straight plot. The trick is to let them swirl around you as Wilkinson waves the wand like some fantastic wizard out of Disney’s Fantasia.