Phantom Brickworks
(Warp, 2017)

Bibio | Phantom Brickworks vinyl

When we first got into Bibio during his Mush days, a big part of the producer’s appeal was how close his beats hewed to a kaleidoscopic Boards of Canada template. Stephen Wilkinson’s elusive sound didn’t stay that way, however. For nearly a decade now, the mood-altering multi-instrumentalist has worked psychedelic soul, R&B, folk and pop music into his ambitious solo pieces.

The soft landing of Phantom Brickworks at the tail end of 2017 may be our favorite U-turn yet. Beautiful and largely beat-less, it’s more than an hour of painlessly slow ambient melodies and muffled vocals milling about in the void. Kinda like a narcotic cross between William Basinski and The Caretaker, or an alternate film score for The Shining if it ended with everyone playing in the snow, so happy together in the haunted clutches of the Overlook Hotel.