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2. An escape into nature
Music to transport you above fields of green
suggested reading method
To best savour this artwork, please take a moment to eliminate distractions. Consider minimizing all other windows on your computer; putting other devices (phone, tv etc) aside; taking a deep breath, to the full extent of your lung capacity; and focusing solely on the “artwork” section.
Once you’ve processed that to your satisfaction, the rest of the post is optional reading, provided only to share my own impressions and reasons for choosing this piece.
“Oakmoss” performed in live sessions by Bibio (Stephen Wilkinson), from his 2020 album Sleep On The Wing.
I provide the album art here as it first informed my reading of this song. From the arpeggio-like chords to the sweeping strings, Wilkinson sets the atmosphere for me to imagine being that bird, soaring in the clear sky over the fields. To add to this feeling, the flourishes at the ends of the melody lines suggest the English midlands of Wilkinson’s birthplace, with the humble heft of history and legend behind them. As the bird in the countryside, the air is warm, the breeze light under my wings, and nothing is in my way.
Moreover, the bird on the album cover is filled with images of city lights, perhaps to emphasize the contrast between busy modern life and our roots in fields and forests. How pleasant “Oakmoss” makes it seem, to return to nature with a carefree lilt buoying our steps.
In fact, this message corresponds well to my listening habits. My Spotify account has become too smart for its own good, churning out dozens of songs with the exact same feeling. Specifically, the algorithm feeds me indie electronic pop: a sound that’s trending to the point where the tracks are hard to tell apart. So when “Oakmoss” was released last year, it was a welcome change of pace – especially the live version I’ve embedded in this post, which showcases Wilkinson’s instrumental talent.
For all the reasons above, even if I’ve chosen to live in the city, I listen to this track whenever I want to cleanse my mind and think of simpler times.
Stephen Wilkinson is a multi-instrumentalist who records music as Bibio. He’s been releasing albums since 2005, and his work spans various genres including electronic, folk, hip-hop, and rock.
I first encountered Bibio’s Mind Bokeh album as a volunteer radio DJ for KSPC in 2011, during my undergrad years at Pomona (10 years ago!). That album, with super-catchy tracks like “Wake Up!” and “Anything New,” has stayed close to my heart since.
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