Have mercy

A new album is imminent from English producer Stephen Wilkinson, aka Bibio, which gives me the opportunity to take a moment and shamelessly gush about his music. Bibio seems to be the sort of performer who, despite having the musical chops to scale any height he so chooses, prefers to fly way under the radar. If that diffidence helps him produce the sort of work I’ve highlighted below, all the more power to it.

It’s difficult to affix any sort of label to Bibio’s discography: there’s the quiet, age-pressed folk songs (new Ribbons cut “Curls,” below, is a great example), the sliced-and-diced funk tracks, the pop anthems readymade for their commercial podium. Something for everyone, in other words.

But the DNA is the same in each. No matter how it manifests, Bibio’s music is a cypher of the past, a worn vinyl waiting for you at the bottom of a time capsule. Even something like “You,” arguably one of his most future-minded cuts, mines its dizzy, chop-up gait from The Commodores’ 1976 hit “Just to Be Close to You,” retaining that scratchy warmth that suggests you’re listening to something that’s been played a thousand times or more on someone else’s turntable.

If you skip past the 4-minute mark on “You,” above, you’ll get a sample of one of my favorite Bibio calling cards: the strange, mutated postscripts he plops at the end of many tracks.

The absolute best iteration of this, in my mind, is around 2 minutes in to “Haikuesque (When She Laughs),” below. Take a listen, and wonder whether the main part of the track (pretty in its own right) is merely a prologue to the dark cloud that follows.

Anyway, I’ve embarrassed myself enough. Buy Ribbons when it hits this week, and be sure to take a gander at Bibio’s gorgeous discography. Earphones required.

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