A Mineral Love is a release that pushes the boundary of genre, something that Stephen Wilkinson, the UK producer behind Bibio, is fond of doing. With each of his last seven LP’s he has crafted a specific sound, sliding from the grimy hip-hop breakbeats of Ambivelance Avenue to fuzzy folk on Fi or loopy, whispering countryside acoustics on Vignetting the Compost. Though each of these albums have a calculated aura, they meld into each other. Wilkinson’s ability to create a consistent style, solely distinct to Bibio, while constantly experimenting is no small thing.
This 13 track release on Merge Records is marked by it’s infectiously funky nature and, tucked away in the corners of the album, moments that hearken to the gentle fuzzy folktronica melodies of Bibio’s past. The warmth of Wilkinson’s production is distinctive, born and refined since the tracks of his 2005 debut album Fi. Stylistically Wilkinson’s guitar work is loopy, influenced by folk melodies, and constantly in motion. On A Mineral Love pervasive bass lines, an infrequently utilized synth pad and those familiarly structured electric guitar melodies are complimented by guest vocalists like Gotye and Oliver St. Louis, Wilkinson’s own vocals, groovy as heck saxophone, and plenty of other small moments of experimentation.
Some of the loveliest tracks reminiscent of earlier, subtly groovy Bibio are “Saint Thomas” and “Town & Country.” Still, they have a reverb to them, a depth and energetic pace that lets them fit perfectly alongside livelier, disco laced funk tracks like “With The Thought Of Us” or “Feeling.” Even less catchy tracks that edge on cheesy have a lovely tone, and don’t keep the album from being worth multiple listens. You just have to be willing to get a bit brassy and old school with the falsetto’s and synth. Even if the pop centric tracks don’t catch your ear the funky, gentle groove of others will pull you right back in. As always, Wilkinson has put out a release that soothes and digs, this go around with disco imbued folktronica and spikes of ’80s synthpop.
Recommended If You Like: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Toro Y Moi, Mount Kimbie, Baths
Recommended Tracks: 7 (With The Thought Of Us), 4 (Town & Country), 5 (Feeling), 10 (Wren Tails), 12 (St. Thomas)