Bibio makes new sounds
After five full-length albums and several EPs, Stephen Wilkinson has continued his ongoing project, Bibio, with Warp Records and released its sixth full-length album, Mind Brokeh. Wilkinson, originally from West Midlands, England, studied sonic arts and experimental during his time at Middlesex University in London. After graduation, he pursued his career as a music producer and began recording his own music under Mush Records, and later, Warp Records.
Wilkinson’s Bibio project has seen a fair share of success. That being said, there have been many ups and down in his discography career. Wilkinson’s newest album, Mind Brokeh, is a solid demonstration of the musician’s incredible production and mixing skills as well as his ability to create a detailed and comprehensive collage of sound. Still, Mind Brokeh doesn’t quite live up to Bibio’s most popular and arguably strongest album, Ambivalence Avenue. Although Mind Brokeh is no less adventuresome than Ambivalence Avenue, the album’s sound doesn’t quite flow as easily as that of the former album. The transitions between genres and song forms are often clumsy, causing the album to stumble in many places.
The song “Wake Up” embodies the majority of what listeners loved about Ambivalence Avenue. The song sounds forlorn at times; the grafted vocal samples, wiry loops, and insistent beats work together to create a feel of desperation. The song “Pretentious” is an example of some of the less favorable features of the album. The third song on the album, “Pretentious” causes an unnecessary break in the flow of the album, further emphasizing the ways in which Wilkinson has moved out of his comfort zone.
“Take Off Your Shirt” features an incredibly catchy guitar riff as well as spectacular vocals. Out of all the songs on this album, it is one of the most catchy and yet seemingly mainstream. “K is for Kelson” is extremely electronically oriented and bouncy. The album’s title track, “Mind Brokeh,” is a charming ambient tune equipped with soft bells and a looming cloudy apparition. It is unclear as to why Wilkinson chose to name the album after this track as it is one of the slowest and calmest songs on the album and does not aptly describe or represent the album as a whole.
If you have ever been a fan of Bibio, be sure to download this album. Despite the album’s inability to adequately compare with Ambivalence Avenue, it’s important to recognize that not many albums can. The songs on Mind Brokeh are well-constructed, short, and straight to the point. The album still contains the majority of the musical aspects that have made listeners adore Bibio over the years and it is great that this accomplished artist is pushing himself to try new things.