Earthy and sweet
Folktronic genre-bending English musician Bibio drops his 10th album Ribbons on Warp records. Blending organic traditional instruments with vocal oddities and electronic production creates an album steeped in spellbound nostalgia and a thick fog of folky mysticism. This album might have been released in 2019 but the crackle of the country fiddle and quick picked banjo recorded with care as if not to over sanitize its character doesn’t give it away. Yet the lofty and complex production and effects like the aquatic reverb Bibio is often swimming in, brings his use of old world sounds into a modern light.
“Curls” is a beautiful highlight. Carefully placed banjo picking, emotional fiddle, thick and heavenly vocals power through, as every element is delivered in a harmonious musical glaze. “Watch the Flies” is equally soothing and holds a strange power. Bibio’s vocals are poetic and like much of the lyrics on the album have a cohesive sense of environmentalism and organic earthiness. Listening to the first few tracks transports you into a sunny old English field of cows and chickens.
“Pretty Ribbons and Lovely Flowers” delivers a more abstract electronically produced experience. Ghostly female vocals echo across a field of soft synthetic explosions. This track turns the once sunny field of happy cows into a cloudy thunderstorm. “Old Graffiti” picks things back up, with some funky drumming, jazzy electric guitar stabs and beautifully delayed vocals. Melotron keys pump out groovy melodies around the dance-worthy percussion. “Valley Wulf” features tear filled guitar melodies and showcases Bibios composition talents, turning one or two instrumental elements into a wall of emotion and audio-visual cinematography.
Ribbons is a beautifully produced and carefully crafted album that molds a cohesive sound and story around a core set of old world instruments and new world techniques. The album brings up memories of old times, and although long at 16 tracks, hits a variety of complex human emotions while also being an easy listen.