As Hibou, Seattle-based musician Peter Michel creates a particularly dazed strain of melodic dream pop whose introspective themes often reflect the dissociative disorder from which he suffers. After his debut EP, Dunes, caught the attention of Seattle indie Barsuk Records, he continued to develop his sound over three well-received albums including 2019's Halve.
While still in high school, Michel joined West Coast dream pop outfit Craft Spells and spent almost eight months touring the U.S. and Europe as their drummer. Not long afterward, he developed an unusual disorder called depersonalization, which causes sufferers to feel like they are observing themselves outside of their body. Trying to cope with the anxiety brought on by his disorder, he formed his own project, Hibou, and began crafting hazy bedroom pop songs whose billowing melodies and shimmering guitar parts suggested a dreamlike state. He self-released an EP, Dunes, in 2013 and was subsequently signed to Barsuk, which issued his eponymous home-recorded full-length debut two years later. Having played all the parts himself, Michel employed a touring band to represent Hibou on the road, opening shows for groups like Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Phantogram. To further develop his sound, he worked with a producer, Dylan Wall, in a proper studio and recorded 2018's lusher and more intricate Something Familiar with his touring bandmates. A third Hibou album, Halve, appeared a year later that delved deeper into themes of melancholia and change. ~ Timothy Monger