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Bibio responds to the call of nature

“Some in the pub, some in the garden, some by a stream in the woods…” So Stephen Wilkinson, better known as Bibio, describes his lo-fi approach towards the recording of ‘Dinghy’, a song on the upcoming The Green EP. The EP is purportedly motivated by opening track ‘Dye the Water Green’, from 2013’s Silver Wilkinson, on which a significant amount of time was spent recording outdoors. This is good news for recent admirers of Bibio’s more naturalistic trend, in that it further departs from 2011’s Mind Bokeh, which was filled with fitful samples that gave life to more of an artificial aesthetic.

In this spirit, The Green EP sees Wilkinson’s deeper commitment to drifting folk, yet manages to be carefully positioned somewhere on the spectrum between organic and digital, solidifying his expansion beyond psychedelic light funk and jangle pop.

‘Carbon Wulf’ sees Bibio rearticulating Silver Wilkinson track ‘Wulf’. The recreation speaks solemnly through the voice of sonorous guitar, and gives meaning to the ‘Carbon’ qualifier, feeling in a cathartic sense like the ashes of the original, through the devastating effect of an analogue limiter.

‘The Spinney View of Hinkley Point’ is supposedly Bibio’s first track to be released with live drums. The naturalism in the track is evident, through the pitter-pattering heartbeat of the percussion, until at 03:20 he eases in some ululating electronic samples. Perhaps that’s where Bibio’s real talent lies: in the curation of an album such that it is masterfully placed at the point of least contention on the scale between naturalistic and electronic.

‘A Thousand Syllables’ is moodily melodic and has a muted sort of non-assertive splendour. It brings about a head trip that is reminiscent of the untroubled past, distorted by imperfections in memory (“Everything was magical enough…”).

The Green EP involves a lot of introspective experimentation that gives it a permanence that we can’t quite shake off. It never seems (or needs) to emphasise how diverse it actually is. As Bibio is wont to say: “I think putting yourself in different environments affects how you feel and act and essentially can lead to more variety”. This is certainly evident in both the manner with which the EP has been recorded and how it has ended up sounding.

4/5