Multi-instrumentalist Bibio plants new sounds in ‘Green EP’

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If you put on The Green EP expecting a collection of raucously gripping tunes that command your attention, you’ll likely be let down. Even for anyone familiar with the previous work by producer and multi-instrumentalist Bibio, these songs don’t collectively deliver quite what is expected. Whereas his past releases were characterized by their mixture of a jangly, rhythmic folktronica with a more airily ambient sort, this EP is chiefly steeped in the latter. Far from being detrimental, this change compliments Bibio’s ideas pretty nicely.

The songs here retain Bibio’s proclivity for densely layered loops of his own instrumental samples, as well as his tendency to let songs ebb and flow organically rather than imposing a rigid verse-chorus structure on them. These continuities probably arise from the fact that the songs are actually made up of back-catalog material, recorded over the course of his career. In fact, “Dye the Water Green” was taken directly from his last LP, Silver Wilkinson. This EP, however, is his first record since his early career to completely abandon overtly synthesized sounds. That may seem strange for an electronic producer, but it is less so if one considers that his music’s placement in the genre is related more to format than content.

Take “Dinghy,” for example. Devoid of lyrics and clocking in well under three minutes, it might be mistaken for a throwaway, space-filling intro/interlude song on any other album, the sort that gets left off iPhones to save space for photo messaging apps. But The Green EP is less dense than most albums, giving the listener the space to appreciate its subtle complexities. Songs are doused in the grainy echoes of low-fi production, yet the strong sense of nostalgia they express comes instead from their soft, poignant melodies. Bibio definitely set out to craft songs for introspection, and in that respect, he has done well.

Contact Erik Weiner at [email protected].