Stephen Wilkinson, who makes music under the name Bibio, has long had a place in my musical heart for his endeavours.
His 2009 Ambulance Avenue album is one I constantly return to.
As happens with artists and fans, we drifted apart a bit but I always found something to like on each successive album. Recently, that relationship has been renewed with the brilliant lilting song ‘Petals’, which I found out today opens his new record, his seventh, A Mineral Love, out on Warp on April Fool’s Day.
‘Feeling’ is the flipside of that quiet contemplative side, his daft smudged funk side. It’s brilliant.
Expanding on the making of A Mineral Love:
“This album celebrates the sacred and precious struggles of human insecurities through many windows of familiar musical forms. It’s also a celebration of my love of the craft of record making, drawing influences from many sources across all decades from the late sixties to the present. All these referential forms have a twist, some are more full on cocktails.
The album as a whole is an unashamed expression of my fondness of, and need for, variety. The juxtapositions between tracks are well considered and I’m comfortable with them – this is how I enjoy music. This is not a purist record, it is not trying to authentically recreate a specific time or genre but rather use familiar forms as a common language to communicate new ideas and new messages. I want to sing about struggle and tragedy with warmth, sympathy and respect. I want sadness to have bittersweet hope.
The whole album was made from scratch with no samples from other records. I partly want it to sound like sampled records but by crafting every single detail myself and colouring it to have familiar textures that resonates people’s forgotten memories. I enjoy the challenge of writing songs that reference the unique qualities and colours of music from different eras. It’s all guesswork though, I have no real reliable knowledge of why certain records sound the way they do, I taught myself how to play instruments, write music and produce. This album is my personal, filtered take on those forms and qualities. Some tracks are influenced by records I listen to often and some from ghosts of memories of things I heard while growing up, like 70s/80s American TV themes or 90s dance. Sometimes a filtered and tinted memory of a period is a more exciting source of inspiration than close study and mimicry.
I feel this album is built more from those memories and an exposure to music of many styles rather than close analytical study of any particular one. I think that’s why it all sounds like me, regardless of the deliberate references and nods to artists and records of the past. It is after all just a view through my stained-glass telescope.”
A Mineral Love Tracklist
02. A Mineral Love
04. Town & Country
06. The Way You Talk (Featuring Gotye)
07. With The Thought Of Us
08. Why So Serious? (Featuring Olivier St. Louis)
09. C’est La Vie
10. Wren Tails
11. Gasoline & Mirrors (Featuring Wax Stag)
12. Saint Thomas
13. Light Up The Sky