Compiled as an addendum of sorts to his May 2013 album Silver Wilkinson, The Green EP sees Stephen Wilkinson AKA Bibio construct a wider context for the album’s second track, Dye the Water Green. In a press release back in December 2013, Wilkinson described the track as his favourite on the album, and stated his intention to release a follow-up EP that would include previously unreleased music from his archives that would complement the track. What results is a delicate thing of beauty, a pensive and emotional journey through some of the more ambient corners of Wilkinson’s musical past and present.
Opening with the track that inspired the release, Dye the Water Green’s lead guitar hook echoes throughout alongside Wilkinson’s crooning vocals, the elements overlapping in an endless call. In response to the call comes a plethora of faint xylophone hits, conjuring images of raindrops on a still lake. The track’s success is its combination of rich texturing with a light touch, executed with impressive production values. Dinghy contains all the elements a great guitar instrumental should – modesty, characterful tone, and the emphasis of soul over technical prowess; the track’s riff, not excessive in length, is repeated throughout, allowing variations thereupon to stand out. A real gem and potentially the best track on the EP, its biggest fault is its brief running time.
Down to the Sound exemplifies The Green EP’s blueprint quite well; ostensibly stripped back guitar music, underpinned with craftily inconspicuous production that lifts the songs far from their folky roots, into much more exciting territory. Carbon Wulf is a reinterpretation of Wulf from Silver Wilkinson, which reimagines the mournful, down-tuned and filtered chord sequence as an even more mournful, down-tuned and filtered chord sequence, albeit with a few nice embellishments. A Thousand Syllabelles can be difficult to pin down, its structure erratic. However this restlessness serves quite a visual function, affording the song a distinct cinematic quality.
The Spinney View of Hinkley Point, according to the aforementioned press release, is the first Bibio track to feature live drums, and as a result the composition feels wider and more authentically organic than the work of a seasoned producer trying to mimic authenticity. With its debt to hip-hop, jazz, lounge and world music, the EP’s closer invites comparison to Bonobo – however it is still very unique to Bibio, and this record in particular.
While it won’t set the world on fire, The Green EP is an extremely listenable record – perhaps Bibio’s most cohesive and structured to date – and its comparative absence of eccentricity will surely make it a much safer bet for a Sunday morning than his previous work.