Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue
Record Label: Warp Records
Release Date: June 22nd, 2009
Bibio isn’t a name that gets tossed around much in America. Why? I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it's for the same reason that other foreign artists don’t get enough recognition. But trying to pinpoint a reason isn’t helping the cause, so let’s get to the goods.
Bibio is the artist name of a British producer named Stephen Wilkinson. Taking influences from bands like Boards of Canada, Bibio released a handful of albums on Mush Records. Now being a newly acquired Warp Records artist, Bibio has decided to expand on the past and delve further into the folk/electronic spectrum with his new record Ambivalence Avenue.
Many music fans like to pinpoint and pick and poke artists to death by trying to label them more than a marked down clearance at Sears, but in all fairness this can’t be done with Bibio. Call it what you will, there are too many elements to name in this record. The title track “Ambivalance Avenue” starts the record off by showcasing the heavy, distant island drum beat that continues throughout the song. While it dominates the various vocal harmonies, the upbeat instrumentation backs the flow through and through. “Jealous Of Roses” sounds as if it could have been pulled off a Royksopp record, as the '70s-style sample holds throughout the song. One of my personal favorite songs, “Fire Ant” showcases Wilkinson’s talent in the sampling field and creates an insanely dope beat that I can see being used in the near future by an MC who has a eclectic taste of music (hello P.O.S.). “Sugarette” starts off nice and slow lives up to the name of the album, but quickly turns into electronic madness in the vein of Crystal Castles. Another stand out track on the album is “Lovers’ Carvings”, which is essentially a short little guitar ditty that comes full circle with claps and gentle vocals making this the finest example of Bibio’s folk side.
When you finish listening to Ambivalence Avenue you’re not exactly sure what to think. You feel like you have heard most of this before, but in the end it’s still something refreshing. I wouldn’t chalk this up for much more then that, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. At the pace Bibio produces music and changes the sound within in his music, you must take notice. The talent located in this man’s pinky surpasses many bands combined. The least you can do is give him your time, as this is shaping up to be one of the sleeper records of the year.