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Silver Wilkinson

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Album Review

Bibio broke big with dazzlingly eclectic albums like Ambivalence Avenue and Mind Bokeh, which showed Stephen Wilkinson could bring a sharper edge and more dimensions to his music. However, the breezy folktronica of his earlier work had a lot to offer as well, and the way he incorporates it into Silver Wilkinson never feels like a retreat. Bringing a more streamlined approach to the unabashedly pretty sounds he explored on albums like Vignetting the Compost, the results aren't quite as bucolic as before; instead, the dainty acoustic guitars and hazy analog synths on "The First Daffodils" sound more like memories of being outside than actually communing with nature. This mix of directness and dreaminess delivers some of Bibio's loveliest songs in some time, as on the sweetly tumbling single "A Tout L'Heure" and "Dye the Water Green," which emphasizes its unhurried beauty with a lengthy coda that's the musical equivalent of basking in a sunbeam. While the album's softly rounded edges and gentle peaks and valleys are familiar, the time Wilkinson spent perfecting his arrangements on Mind Bokeh and Ambivalence Avenue pushes his music forward in subtle but notable ways. "Sycamore Silhouetting" melds its acoustic and electronic elements with little of the Boards of Canada-like nostalgia he often uses; the gorgeous "You" brings a bit more delicacy to the finely chopped hip-hop he explored on his two previous albums, and "Raincoat"'s electric piano gives an early '70s singer/songwriter feel to the track's pastoral observations. But just when it seems that Bibio is going to spend all of Silver Wilkinson refining his previous sounds, Wilkinson includes some tracks that are among his most experimental work. "Business Park" morphs from intense synth rock into gentle tones that sound like looped elevator music, but the most striking example is "Look at Orion!," which moves from his homespun, lo-fi roots into darker electro sounds that are driving without being explicitly beat-driven. Both of these tracks are somewhat jarring when juxtaposed with the gentler songs that came before, but they're still in keeping with the creative ways Wilkinson combines and separates the driving forces in his music throughout the album. Even with some of its more unpredictable moments, Silver Wilkinson offers a scenic route through Bibio's music that showcases its depth as well as its breadth.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic Album

Fantastic new album showing the talents of an all rounded music artist. Equally as good creatively and production wise. 'You' is a masterpiece. Great Warp artist

A return to form

This album is the bibio I love, great album!

Great record

Bibio is totally underrated since ambivalence avenue. This record is fantastic, very much a grower. It's actually a pretty brave record, a couple of obvious singles but many really interesting surprising cuts that go somewhere you wouldn't expect. Great songwriting sensibility too.

Biography

Born: West Midlands, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Bibio is the folk-meets-electronica project of self-taught producer/multi-instrumentalist Stephen Wilkinson, from England's Black Country (aka the West Midlands). As a student of sonic arts at London's Middlesex University, Wilkinson was first inspired by '90s electronic acts such as Aphex Twin, Autechre, and especially Boards of Canada, but became equally intrigued by mid-20th century British folk. He combined these sounds in his own music, along with found sounds and field recordings, for a unique...
Full bio