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Album Review: Sleep On The Wing by Bibio

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Stephen Wilkinson, more commonly known as Bibio, is a multi-instrumentalist and singer from England. If you have listened to my latest podcast, you might have heard that I was a huge fan of his A Mineral Love album. I was surprised to hear that he was releasing another project since he released an album in 2019, but I was excited to hear this EP, Sleep On The Wing.

The first track from the EP is the title track, Sleep On The Wing. I first heard this track about a month back when he first announced the EP. I was actually excited to hear what this EP had to offer since I was a bit let down from his past two albums. It's a folk-like track with the string instruments repeating the same lick throughout the track. It's a happy and upbeat track that seems to appreciate the openness and nature in the world. The track ends with more classical string instruments, like violins and cellos.

After that, we have A Couple Swim, which is an instrumental track. The track starts with a guitar repeating an ascending line for the first half minute. Then, the track slowly builds with more instruments such as flutes and other various string instruments. Around the halfway point, it gets a little more creative in taste and less repetitive. It's such a peaceful and serene track that would pair perfectly with a bright and sunny day, especially spending it outside in nature.

Lightspout Hollow starts off with some bird chirping sounds, then opens up with an electronic/out of tune guitar. This is another instrumental track. The guitar is somewhat reminiscent of tracks off of A Mineral Love, such as Raxeira and Wren Tails. This is definitely more electronic in nature than the other two tracks so far, while still having a folk aesthetic.

Oakmoss is a little quieter and calm compared to the other tracks. This is also the only other track on the EP with lyrics. The track seems to follow this three beat time signature through the track, with 'pulses' on the first note of the triplet. Other than that, it returns to the more folk feeling without the electronic notes.

Miss Blennerhassett is definitely more playful in nature and sounds like something you would hear at some sort of festival or celebration. It's a short track, just a little over a minute and a half in length. The clapping effects definitely add to the joyfulness and happiness of the track.

The Milky Way Over Ratlinghope is the longest track on the EP, about four and a half minutes. It has a majestic and flowy feeling to the track with the violins trading off on passages. You do have vocals halfway through this track, but it's just "la" or "oh" sound effects. Other than that, they do add more to the several different layers of this track. Eventually, the layers fade out and you're left with the piano playing a single note every few seconds.

After that, we have another instrumental folk track titled Awpockets. Just like the last track, it starts out with just the guitar and piano, but eventually adds layers throughout the track. We eventually get some other violins and orchestral instruments. However, we don't have as huge of a wall or layer of sound as the last track. At this point in the EP, it seems like Bibio has exhausted most of his instrumental ideas.

Crocus finally changes it up in the EP with this track. It starts out with a reverbed and distorted bass. It also has a heavy electronic vibe to it with the heavily reverbed instruments, and it almost sounds like a synth at times. It does give a darker and mysterious vibe to the album, and a nice break from the normal folk and string instrumentation.

Otter Shadows is the shortest track on the album, and it is a little less than a minute and a half. We get the electronic like guitar that was found on Lightspout Hollow. I am not really sure how to feel about this track. I gave this track a few listens and I feel differently every time. One moment I enjoy the track, and the next time I don't like it.

The last track from the EP is Watching Thus, The Heron Is All Pool. The bass adds a more sorrowful feeling to the track and less upbeat compared to the tracks earlier in the EP. You also get the other normal instrumentation that has been used on most of the other tracks.

While I was enjoying most of the tracks earlier in the EP, it just feels like it didn't switch up and he was reusing the same material over and over again. While this would be peaceful to listen to when you're outside and enjoying nature, this isn't something I could listen to out of nowhere. Don't get me wrong, Bibio definitely knows how to play these instruments and create a track, but all of the ideas were quickly exhausted by the end of the EP.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Favorite Tracks: Sleep On The Wing, The Milky Way Over Ratlinghope

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