Float Tank Broadcast 2/24/2017; Bibio’s “Ambivalence Avenue”
Written by Casey McCarthy on February 24, 2017
Life comes at you fast, so it can be hard to craft a DJ set at midnight the night before you have you KPSU timeslot at 9 am. Looking through my music collection I was wanting to find an album to play in it’s entirety like I had done a couple weeks ago with Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath, 1972. While thumbing through a stack of CD’s I pulled out Bibio’s Ambivalence Avenue. I knew this was the one. Don’t get me wrong, I have listened to this record probably a hundred times so it was no trip down memory lane or anything…. or was it? Bibio, or Stephen Wilkenson by name, consistently makes music that is both joyous and sorrowful at the same moment and sprouts past emotions in a magical way. Whether its the crispy guitar, fluid vocal overdubs, or MPC-based beats, Stephen is able to take the listener on a sonic journey into a dream like world where bird chirps and modular synths become one.
Ambivalence Avenue was Bibio’s first release through Warp Records, an independent record company based out of his home of England. Added to Warp’s already more than impressive roster, Bibio adopts styles somewhat different than his earlier releases Vignetting The Compost or fi through Mush Records. He takes his skill of nostalgic and warm guitar loops into a more electronic realm, incorporating more beats and crunchy analog synthesizers. Based off of a daydream that Stephen experienced while visiting London on holiday, the album has a strong sense of ambivalence. Some parts of the record such as Lover’s Carvings tell of acceptance of eternal love while tracks such as Palm of Your Wave are steered by melancholic vocals that send chills down ones spine, reminiscing of lost loves wished to be regained. Whatever mood you are in, this album is sure to cater to it.