Following his ambient atmospheric project, Phantom Brickworks, Stephen Wilkinson returns to the path of structured songwriting last explored on 2016’s A Mineral Love. Ribbons yields folkloric charm with an organic palette, incorporating a mostly acoustic-led approach exploring 60s and 70s psychedelia, soul, ambient, electronic and field recordings.
A self-taught musician, singer and producer, he plays nearly all of the instrumental parts on the album and unveils new instruments to his palette, bringing in mandolins, fiddle and other stringed instruments which give a new flavor to his music. But, while the sonics of the album are based around acoustic and other traditional instruments, the title Ribbons is extracted from the most electronic-leaning track on the album: Pretty Ribbons And Lovely Flowers. On the track, haunting, processed female vocals illuminate a route through dark ambiance and a repeating earthy distorted chord sequence. Referencing the endless ribbons of analogue tape and film used in his music, photography and cinematic work, the album artwork is designed by Wilkinson, where his portrait offers a window onto an English woodland scene with spring bluebells adorned with ribbons.