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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Bibio
Ambivalence Avenue
Warp

Rating: 9/10 ?


April 22, 2010
The quantum leap from folk musician to electronic producer is a feat not often accomplished nor expected. Perhaps Stephen Wilkinson a/k/a Bibio fell asleep on a pile of wonky IDM albums in anticipation of his Warp Records debut, thereby uploading his new methods in sitcomical fashion--or perhaps a more realistic explanation is in order. Whatever the case may be, the clumsily-titled Ambivalence Avenue is a superb synthesis of pastoral, minimalist folk and 21st century laptop sensibilities.

Merging experimental electronica and folk seems like a potentially crass assault on good taste, so it bears mentioning that the aesthetic Bibio crafted on his previous albums doesn't up and vanish just because he's learned a few things. This new bag of tricks is implemented with due subtlety that bolsters the charming simplicity qualities, while filling the tracks out and, cautiously, adding some curves. The new influence (specifically sampling, synths, and slightly off-tempo percussion) hardly peeks its head out until the fourth track, the brilliantly off-kilter groove "Fire Ant". From there on, the digital brushstrokes are fully apparent, varying from earnest ("All the Flowers") to playful and cool ("S'Vive") to ominous, on the album closer "Dwrcan." For as bouncy and beat-driven as this album can be, it is equally sentimental, particularly on the sweet "Haikuesque" and the heartfelt "The Palm of Your Wave." Rarely are polyrhythmic funk and sunlit, acoustic evocations blended so seamlessly. When listeners are more often than not presented with collections of disparate singles, it's a bit jarring to hear such a smattering of rhythms and melodies actually strengthen each other and function as parts of whole, though that's exactly what an album ought to do and Ambivalence Avenue succeeds.

Reviewed by Eric Collin Wedgewood


See other reviews by Eric Collin Wedgewood

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